Friday, July 29, 2016

Major Flute Repertoire and Composers

8:00:00 AM
Discover a sampling of flute music from Baroque to Modern Periods. Learning about the music from each time period will help you improve your understanding of flute literature. Listening to representative works will improve your understanding and appreciation for the music of the past and discover how composers changed their styles and techniques over the centuries.

Baroque Period

Baroque composers were experimenting with new ways of creating sound by creating highly ornamented compositions. Occupying the years from 1600 to 1750 the Baroque period is home to the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, and Tartini.

Sample Flute Works:

Bach, J.S.: Sonata in G Minor
Corelli, Arcangelo: Sonatas No. 9
Handel, George Frideric: Sonatas in D and G major, E, A, and B minor.
Telemann, Georg Philipp: 12 Fantasias
Vivaldi, Antonio: Concerto in G Minor Op. 10 No. 2 "La Notte"

Classical Period

The Classical Period deals with music from 1750 to 1820. Classical music focused on balance, proportion, and order. Compared to Baroque music the Classical period was very tame and structured. Often people confuse the term Classical with an uppercase "C" to classical with a lowercase "c". The distinction is that Classical refers to a time period, while classical refers to all Western art music.

Sample Flute Works:

Beethoven: 6 Themes and Variations for Flute and Piano, Op. 105
Gluck, Christoph Willibald: Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Haydn, Franz Joseph: Concerto in D
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: The Magic Flute
Quants, Johann Joachim: Concerto in G

Romantic Period

Romantic period composers were experimenting with human expression, sentimentality, and the power of the individual. Harmonic tonalities and musical forms expanded, and virtuosos began to take the limelight. The Romantic composers wrote music from 1820 to 1910.

Sample Flute Works:

Chopin, Frédéric François: Variations on a Theme of Rossini
Debussy, Claude-Achille: Syrinx
Saint-Saëns, Charles-Camille: Airs de ballet d'Ascanio
Satie, Erik: Three Gymnopedies
Schubert, Franz: Variations on a Theme of Trockne Blume

20th Century Music

Music written after 1910 can be considered part of the Modern Period of music. Smaller ensembles, and less emotionally charged music became the norm for these composers. The music poses intellectual and challenging harmonies and melodies. Composers experimented with extended instrument techniques such as key clicks and multiphonics.

Sample Flute Works:

Berio, Luciano: Sequenza I
Copland, Aaron: Duo for Flute and Piano
Varèse, Edgard: Density 21.5
Messiaen, Olivier: Le Merle Noir
Poulenc, Francis: Sonata

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Temperature Can Lower the Pitch of a Guitar

8:00:00 AM
Temperature has an affect on acoustic instruments; the guitar proves to be no exception to this rule. This explains why professionals recommend that you tune in the hall or concert arena before you play. A sound check helps to ensure that the guitar plays in tune with the rest of the instruments in the hall.

Intonation

When referring to the sound of a guitar, typically that refers to the timbre or the characteristic of the actual guitar sound. However, one component of sound referred to as intonation or pitch does have an effect and can be changed due to temperature fluctuations. Intonation affects the overall degree of highness or lowness of pitch. Musicians around the world have standardized pitch to A=440 hertz. This means frequencies vibrating at 440 cycles per second result in the pitch A. From that starting point, tuning the other pitches of an instrument becomes possible.

Warm Temperatures

When the temperature of the instrument or the air surrounding the instrument results in a heating of the instrument, the pitch or sound of the guitar will increase. When a pitch goes above the standard accepted frequency it is referred to as sharp. An instrument can be sharp to a small degree without the audience noticing. Since overtones, the unheard pitches that help to color the sounding pitches, ascend instead of descend, a sharp pitch doesn't stick out as much. This is good news for performers since the stage lights create large amounts of heat, raising the overall pitch of an ensemble during a performance.

Cold Temperatures

Cold temperatures lower the pitch of a guitar. This is more problematic because as a pitch goes below the minimum frequency it begins to sound dull and is easily recognizable by the audience. To prevent this, the performer generally tunes the instrument a little higher if the room is cold. This helps to prevent the tuning from dropping too low and keeps the instrument in a suitable pitch range. Orchestras and large ensembles generally tune the entire ensemble to A=444 hertz or higher to ensure that the pitch stays above a certain threshold.

Acoustic vs. Electric 

An acoustic guitar reflects changes more apparently than an electric guitar. The reason for this has to do with the manner that sound travels. In an acoustic guitar, the strings interact with the air around and inside the instrument. If the air turns cold, the air in the instrument will also be cold, lowering the pitch of the instrument. In an electric instrument, the sound travels electronically, so there is very little, and in most cases no, change in pitch.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Patterns to Learn Music Notes: A Tutorial

8:00:00 AM
A common technique for memorizing the names of the notes in the treble and bass clef is to use acronyms and using phrases in which the first letter of each word relates to a note on the staff. Staff systems have five lines and four spaces; this allows for easy cognition of visual representations of musical notes. More than five lines and four spaces would make it more difficult to quickly identify on which line or space a note is placed.

Treble Clef Lines


To learn the names of the notes in the treble clef, use an acronym such as "Every Good Boy Does Fine" to remember that the notes on the lines -- from bottom to top -- are E G B D F. You can also create your own acronym; this will help ensure that you have knowledge of the note names and will help you concentrate on each individual pitch.

Treble Clef Spaces


The treble clef spaces are easier to remember than the lines if you remember that when you look between the lines you see your "face" -- the names of the notes in the spaces -- from bottom to top -- spell out the word F A C E. If this is all you remember, you can still identify the other pitches in the staff by moving up alphabetically from the spaces to lines. For example, the first space is F, the line right above it is G, then the next space is A and so on up the staff.

Bass Clef Lines


The bass clef lines have another famous -- and related -- acronym to remember the patterns of notes: Good Boys Do Fine Always. Again, the first letter of each word is the note name of a line on the staff. From bottom to top, the names of the lines are G B D F A. As with the treble clef, you can also create your own creative acronyms to help you memorize the names of the notes on the lines.

Bass Clef Spaces


The bass clef spaces use another well-known acronym: All Cows Eat Grass. In music, you always work from bottom to top when identifying chords and other musical elements. Again, creating your own acronym may help you memorize the pattern.

Friday, July 22, 2016

What Are Musical Devices in Poetry?

8:00:00 AM
Knowing the six most common types of musical devices in poetry will help you get a better understanding for the techniques used in literature. These devices are considered musical because they use similar sounds to link each other. Learning about these devices will make you a more informed reader of poetry.

Rhyme


Rhyme is a musical device that uses vowel sounds that rhyme through similar construction. To qualify as a rhyme, the vowel sounds and all of the sounds that come after the vowel sounds must be closely related. For instance, the first part of the word can be any consonance, but once the vowel is sounded, the rhyming word must be similar. The words dream and steam both start with different consonants, but end with the same vowels and consonants. There are three types of rhyme used: end rhyme, in which the last words rhyme; internal rhyme, with words inside the line rhyming and approximate rhyme, in which the words don't match but sound similar.

Alliteration


Alliteration constitutes another musical device. It is percussive and uses the consonants at the beginning of a word to rhyme. The only thing that must sound similar are the first letters of each word. For example: stealing stones from the sea is an example of alliteration because of the "s" sound at the beginning of each word.

Consonance


Consonance is similar to alliteration, but it involves the repetition of the consonance sounds anywhere other than the beginning of the word. This creates a more subtle percussive musical device for the rhyme. The following words are an example of consonance: walk up to the pup. The words up and pup both end in an "up" sound making them qualify as consonance.

Assonance


People often confuse assonance with rhyme. However, there is a subtle difference. Assonance occurs when the vowel sounds of a word are repeated without continuing to imitate the other sounds that follow them. For example, the words note, broken and coats all have assonance "since-since" the "o" sound repeats.

Onomatopoeia


Onomatopoeia occurs when a word attempts to imitate the sound that it is describing. This technique uses a musical device to create the imagery and sound of the object being imitated. For example, a cat "meows" or a clock "ticks" are examples of onomatopoeia in literature. Words that imitate their actions are also considered onomatopoeia, such as the word "popcorn."

Refrain


The refrain consists of at least one word or words that repeat regularly in a poem. It could be just one word that is repeated or as many as an entire phrase or line. These refrains usually comes at the end of a stanza. In a song, we would call the refrain a chorus, since it is the part of the song that repeats itself. One poetic example would be the phrase, "Quoth the raven, Nevermore" in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Are the Altissimo Notes?

8:00:00 AM
Altissimo registers are penetrating and dramatic.


The altissimo notes are the highest notes on an instrument. They are typically the most difficult to play successfully and require advanced ability to play correctly and in tune. The altissimo register refers to woodwind instruments including the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophones. Learning about these registers will enable a composer to write easily playable music.

Flute

In flute playing, the altissimo notes are anything that is higher than a D6. Since middle C is C4 and occurs directly below the treble clef staff, D6 is about two octaves higher. This means that the first D above the treble clef staff is the start of the altissimo register. The flute begins to sound shrill and penetrating in this register. It is advisable to use a piccolo instead of a flute if the melody hangs in the altissimo register.

Oboe

The oboe has the same altissimo range as the clarinet. The highest note is a C7, although it is generally recommended to avoid writing over Bb6. Playing altissimo on the oboe is almost never recommended as it is a new technique for oboe players and difficult to produce these high pitches. Composers should only use the altissimo range if they are writing for a highly accomplished professional player and only in a solo piece.

Clarinet

The clarinet begins its altissimo range at C6, which is only a major second below the flute altissimo range. This equates to the first C above the treble clef staff. The clarinet needs careful playing in this range, as it is easy to squeak and lose control of the instrument in this range. Clarinets typically have a smooth controlled sound and the high notes avoided except in solo literature.

Bassoon

The bassoon is the bass of the woodwind family, and as a result, the altissimo register is lower than on the other woodwind instruments. Bb3 is the highest note playable before having to go into the altissimo register on the bassoon. Notes in this register are shrill, and it is better to use another double reed instrument such as the English horn or oboe.

Saxophone

The saxophone will play regularly in the altissimo range especially in jazz music. The nature of the saxophone lends itself to a sharp and clean higher altissimo range. The altissimo starts about an octave above the F or F# on the top line of the treble clef staff. This applies to the tenor and alto saxophones, which are the most commonly used saxophones in orchestra and jazz ensembles.

References

"The Study of Orchestration"; Samuel Adler; 2002.

Learn More!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

What Are the Characteristics of the Renaissance Art Styles?

8:00:00 AM
Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist of the Renaissance period.

Understanding the characteristics of Renaissance art styles will make it possible to develop a deeper consideration and appreciation for the artwork. Artists of this time were concerned with different ways to create three-dimensional forms and add greater emotional impact to their paintings. The Renaissance art movement that spread through Europe from the 14th to 17th centuries has left a lasting impression on artists.

Perspective

Renaissance art gave high priority to a conceptualization called perception. Perception is the relationship between points on a grid; it places objects so that they appear along a vanishing point, creating three-dimensional drawings. One method of accomplishing this is to create buildings as if they were receding into the painting, as in Masolino’s painting from the year 1425, "St. Peter Healing a Cripple and the Raising of Tabitha.” Two buildings appear adjacent to each other with the same vanishing point. A vanishing point creates two parallel lines that allow an image to converge upon a single point.

Sfumato

Sfumato is a commonly used technique that appears frequently in Renaissance art. The technique creates a contrast between light and dark portions of the painting. The “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci, depicts this concept perfectly with the dark shadows that shade parts of her face. This technique lends a degree of emotional realism to the work and allows the artist to create an impression “in the manner of smoke,” according to da Vinci.

Foreshortening

Artists of the Renaissance developed a technique referred to as foreshortening to create the illusion that an object was smaller than it actually was. An example of foreshortening, illustrated by using the image of a simple box, is possible. A three-dimensional box in which the edges are straight up and down does not create foreshortening; however, by angling the lines outwards to a small degree the box will appear shorter, even if the lines of the non-foreshortened box and the foreshortened box are the same lengths.

Chiaroscuro

Casual observers may confuse chiaroscuro with sfumato, since both techniques employ light and dark contrasts; however, with chiaroscuro the technique applies to the entire composition to create a sense of volume. For example, the edge of a woman’s leg, darkened on the sides against a dark background, creates a three-dimensional form to provide contrast and volume. A major distinction between sfumato and chiaroscuro is the intent behind the shading: emotional realism versus volume and contrast.

References

"A History of Western Art"; Laurie Schneider Adams; 2008
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Harp Instruments

8:00:00 AM
Harps come in several varieties, from folk harps that fit in your lap to massive orchestral harps capable of playing complex music. Each harp has its own strengths and weaknesses; the harpist must know what harp to choose for each situation. An orchestral harp, while more versatile, is overkill if you are playing simple folk melodies.

Celtic


Celtic harps are a generic term to describe all harps that use levers instead of pedals to change pitch. These harps typically are quite mobile and have significantly fewer strings than the orchestral harps. Celtic harps may only play diatonically and do not have an option for playing chromatically in the middle of a phrase. The pitch can change with a lever, but the lever will change every pitch on the instrument simultaneously. Diatonic music is music that uses only the intervals between the white keys of the piano: A to G, without any sharps or flats. The two types of Celtic harps are folk and Irish harps.

Folk


The folk harp is a lever harp that doesn’t use wire strings; instead, the strings are made of nylon or gut. It is a classification of a Celtic harp, but it shouldn’t be confused with the Irish harp since the Irish harp has wire strings. These harps are the most common type of Celtic harps and are generally less expensive than Irish harps. These harps come in a variety of styles, from the amateur seven-string harp, to larger harps that have several more strings.

Irish


Irish harps are Ireland's national instrument. The harp strings are made of wire and used to play traditional Irish folk music. These lever harps can be found in bars and taverns across Ireland as musicians gather to play folk music for the customers. The Irish harp is a type of Celtic harp. In fact, since many people associate the word Irish with Celtic, many times this harp goes by the name Celtic harp.

Pedal


The pedal harp is the type of harp used in the orchestra. It consists of seven pedals that the harpist can use to change individual strings up or down a half-step. The orchestral harp consists of several strings tuned diatonically when all of the pedals are in their default position. The harpist can create chromatic music by adjusting the pedals; however, each pedal applies to every octave variation of the note changed. For example, depressing the C pedal to play C sharp will change all of the Cs to C sharps.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to Make a Hand Trumpet

8:00:00 AM
Making a hand trumpet provides the ability to create impromptu tunes using just your hand. This humorous trick requires little skill, but the more you practice the more proficient you will be at playing all sorts of melodies. Playing the hand trumpet provides a great way to entertain your friends. Hand trumpets are simple musical devices that anybody can play with little to no experience. With some practice, playing melodies on your hand trumpet will come easily.

Step 1 Make your right hand into a fist. Leave a small hole between your thumb and index fingers. This hole will allow the air to travel through your hand.

Step 2 Buzz with your lips and keep your embouchure firm. To form an embouchure, pretend you are sucking through a straw.

Step 3 Blow through your lips into your hand. To raise the pitch increase the tension in your lips. To lower the pitch reduce the tension.

Place your left hand over your right hand and pretend like you are pressing valves. The hand actually has no effect on the pitch. It is the tension in your lips that creates the sound.

Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Make a Guitar Theme Song

8:00:00 AM
Knowledge of the guitar and its techniques are necessary to create an effective theme song. The instrument range and idiomatic practices common to the guitar should be evident throughout the song; otherwise, the song will lack specificity to the guitar and be playable on any instrument. Additionally, following guidelines for the creation of the melody makes the creation of your guitar theme much simpler. The process of creating a guitar theme requires creative thought and experimentation.

Step 1 Learn to use your ideas in musical notation instead of using tablature (written-out fingering). Tablature is fine when an entire ensemble is playing and the guitarist needs to improvise chords; however, tablature is not effective for creating rhythms needed for a theme.

Step 2 Study chords specifically used on the guitar, such as the G6 chord that consists of a G, B, D, G, B and E. Learn about other guitar chords that appear commonly in guitar music, you will need these to set chords to your theme.

Step 3 Write a theme by using stepwise motion and experimenting on the guitar to come up with a theme. Some good guidelines are to use mostly stepwise motion and avoid large skips. If you do use a large skip, don’t continue the skip in the same direction, move in the opposite direction after the skip. This will help create a suitable contour.

Step 4 Add chords to the theme by looking at the main beats of the melody. Use a chord that fits two characteristics: Have one note that corresponds to a melody note and at least one tone in common with the previous chord. Common tone progressions allow you to write logical chord progressions without much effort.

Step 5 Create a memorable guitar riff to differentiate your song from other songs. A guitar riff is a short musical idea that is easily recognizable by its rhythm and melody. A riff may contain only two notes as long as it is memorable. Simple riffs usually end up being more memorable than complex ones. A good way to write a riff is to tap out a rhythm first, and once the rhythm is established, add pitch to the rhythm.

Remember that when it comes to memorable themes, complexity is not always better. Warnings

Friday, July 8, 2016

How to Make a Cello Sound Beautiful

8:00:00 AM
laying the cello with proper technique will ensure that you produce a high-quality, professional sound on the instrument. Proper bowing techniques and maintaining good posture will ensure that you maintain not only a proper sound but also help prevent injuries, allowing you to enjoy playing the cello for years. Regular practice and attention to form ensures that your sound will improve, making your time spent learning more productive and rewarding.

Sit up straight on the edge of the chair. Position the ribs, or sides, of the cello between your legs and keep your shoulders relaxed and free of tension.

Hold the bow out straight in front of you and balance the bow between your right thumb on the bottom of the grip and middle finger on top. This is where the majority of the weight of the bow should fall. Wrap the remaining fingers loosely around the bow stick. Remember that the remaining fingers are just for support.

Hold the neck of the cello with your left hand and wrap your fingers around to play the required string for your music. Use a fingering chart to learn the correct fingerings for each pitch. Remember that you play one string at a time on a cello. Keep some distance between each finger to avoid cramping your hand and creating tension. Use the pads of the fingers to play, not the tips.

Pull the bow across the string from the frog to the tip for a down-bow and from the tip to the frog for an up-bow. Use a consistent pressure and try and maintain a stable sound.

Practice playing major scales by holding each note for eight seconds. Do this throughout the entire range of the instrument to develop a high-quality sound. Practice vibrato on each note by rocking your left finger back and forth and keeping an open hand.

Find a professional teacher who has experience playing in an ensemble. Such musicians make quality teachers even if they have retired from playing professionally. Apply rosin to the bow to improve the friction between the cello strings and the bow hairs. Spend about 25 to 30 seconds applying rosin to the bow if this is the first time you have done so. Otherwise, the amount of rosin is a matter of preference and experimentation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

How to Make a Guitar Sound Acoustic With Distortion

8:00:00 AM
You can create a pure acoustic sound on an electric guitar and apply distortion by tweaking a few settings. However, the sound your electric guitar produces will only come moderately close to that of an acoustic guitar. An acoustic guitar creates sound with its internal sound chambers, and it is difficult to replicate this sound using the digital signals of an electronic instrument. It may be necessary to buy additional equipment to create the sound you are looking for.

Step 1 Apply distortion to the amplifier by turning the volume knob counterclockwise until it is off, then turning the gain knob clockwise to the 8 o'clock position. Gradually increase the volume while playing until you have an appropriate amount of distortion.

Step 2 Find heavier strings for your guitar. The heavier strings will help provide a sound that is more similar to an acoustic guitar.

Step 3 Adjust the tone knobs on the guitar to the highest setting, then slowly turn the knobs down until the treble sound is dissipated. Listen carefully to the change in sound and stop when you get a sound that is similar to an acoustic guitar.

Purchase and attach an effects pedal to your amp to make the guitar sound like an acoustic guitar. Several companies manufacture pedals that you can use. Consider amplifying an acoustic guitar through the use of an electric pickup attached to the strings. This will give you an acoustic sound and allow you to use your amp to create distortion.

Monday, July 4, 2016

How to Make a Fiddle Sound Like a Violin

8:00:00 AM
Making a fiddle sound like a violin does not require much effort on the part of the player since a violin and fiddle are the same instruments. The terms are usually used to denote different playing styles. Fiddle playing uses a looser interpretation of rhythm and generally appears in folk music. Violin technique means music is played exactly as written, with an occasional improvisation during solo sections. However, many classical musicians also affectionately refer to their instrument as a fiddle. So the difference between fiddle and violin playing is not clearly defined. Practice with a metronome at all times.

Concentrate on getting a clean and clear bow-stroke with each movement. The technique in fiddle and violin playing basically stays the same, but a more consistent tone generally accompanies violin playing.

Avoid playing country, blues, folk and bluegrass music on the violin. Stick to music written by classical composers to avoid the harmonies and folk-like melodies of fiddle playing.

Practice your violin vibrato by gently and methodically rocking your finger back and forth on the string while you bow the violin. Fiddle playing has a much wider and erratic vibrato. Keep a measured tempo to avoid your violin sounding like a fiddle.

Learn to play the several classical violin bowing techniques. Detache requires that the violinist alternate each note between an up-bow and a down-bow. Spiccato involves bouncing the bow across the string to create several articulations. Legato involves playing all of the notes under one bow. In classical violin technique, each note must be sounded completely, while in fiddle playing you will often lightly touch notes.

Friday, July 1, 2016

How to Find the Pitch in Music

8:00:00 AM
Many musicians spend a lifetime learning to find and identify musical pitch. Identifying pitches within music is certainly possible, but to do so will require an integrated daily practice routine of ear training.

The benefits are well worth the effort you put into this task, as learning to hear the individual pitches and identify them within a piece is similar to moving from a black-and-white to a color television: You'll still be able to see and comprehend what is happening, but you'll have a more detailed experience.

Schedule your training on a daily basis for best results. Start by setting a schedule for yourself. To develop the ear, your brain needs daily reinforcement. Without a schedule, your training will fall flat and you will be unable to obtain the skills necessary to identify pitches.

Daily practice is required to develop this skill; each session should last between 30 and 45 minutes each day. Avoid practicing ear training for longer than 45 minutes, which will tire the ear and may actually prove counterproductive to your training. The ear is sensitive and responds better to light exercise and routine practices.

Study one interval at a time for best results. Study one interval at a time until you have it memorized. Even if it takes several weeks or months to learn the sound of a single interval, you must study one interval at a time. Doing so will ensure that you do not confuse the interval with any other interval in the musical spectrum.

When studying intervals, the best option is to record them on the piano and then play them back randomly or have a friend play them for you. Having a friend play may motivate you to continue and see the practice through to the end.

Learn intervals in the following order for best results:

 1) Perfect octave
 2) Perfect fifth
 3) Perfect fourth
 4) Major third
 5) Minor third
 6) Major sixth
 7) Minor sixth
 8) Major second
 9) Minor second
 10) Tritone
 11) Major seventh
 12) Minor seventh

After learning two intervals, compare the two and see whether you can identify each interval correctly. With practice, it will become easier. 

Pitches are the sound produced. while notes represent what you see on the page. Study the names of the notes in both the treble and bass clefs. With the notes memorized, you can start to associate note names with intervals.

Take a course in music theory to improve your knowledge of intervals. Once you have learned to identify intervals by sound and you know the names of the notes, you can begin to find the pitch in music.

Comparing intervals is a good way to develop your ear. Find the pitch by comparing the intervals of the melodic line and notating them using your knowledge gained so far.

Start with simple melodies, and don't add harmony until you can accurately copy an entire melody with ease. As you build your skills, you'll be able to notate more complex melodies and begin to add harmony. This skill can take several years to develop, so be patient with how you are progressing.

As long as you keep practicing every day, you will develop the ability to find the pitch in music.

The website UreMusic offers a music theory course that provides you with a complete set of intervals for practicing ear training. Study with a private tutor who specializes in music theory for detailed instruction. Don't get discouraged. You'll have good days and bad days; just keep practicing every day.

When using headphones, be careful of the volume. Loud volumes can damage your hearing. Do not play an interval louder to try and identify it, which will only hurt your hearing over the long run.