Thursday, August 25, 2016

Band Instrument Repair - FLUTE - The Foot Joint

The foot joint of the flute consists of 3 keys on a C flute and 4 keys if there is a low B on the foot. The foot joint keys are the property of the baby finger of the right hand. The keys are made in such a way as to be pushed in different combinations by the baby finger.

Flute
Photo  by Khairil Zhafri 

One of the weakest points on the flute is where the foot joint joins the body. This is called the lower tenon and can be easily damaged. The foot joint can become loose and cause air leakage and loss of sound or become to tight and be very difficult to remove or put on. This can lead to numerous problems. The fact is that the foot joint is long, almost 6 inches in some cases, and the tenon that supports it's weight is only half an inch long. Supporting that much weight and length as well as being constantly put under the pressure of the keys being pushed down can tend to take it's toll if not maintained.

Like the body of the flute, the foot joint keys, springs and pads have to be maintained. Replacing, leveling, and seating all have to be done in order to have the keys seal correctly and thus allow the lower notes to play.

Almost all of the keys of the flute work in conjunction with one or more other keys. This means that when you press down on one key it may also cause one or more other keys to be pressed down at the same time. These keys have to be regulated so that when it is required that two or more keys close at the same time, it has to be the same time or you will have loss of sound and the flute won't play. Regulating the keys so that they work in this fashion is probably the most vital repair of the instrument. It requires a delicate balance of bending and leveling the keys as well as seating the pads better and adjusting spring tensions.

The final result of all of this should be a flute that is solid feeling, with no rattles or excessive key noise. No sticky pads or loose feeling keys. When you press the keys it should be very light pressure with a big sound and minimal effort. The last thing you want when you are playing a flute or any instrument really, is to be fighting with the physicalness of it instead of just enjoying the artistic and creative nature of it.

To sum it up, you need to have respect for the instrument you are playing and give it the attention it needs. Care and maintenance mean that it will always perform the way it is intended to play and you will enjoy your creativity uninterrupted by physical glitches.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Proper Way To Care For Your DRUMS

Your drums are not just instruments that you set on a stage and play, and then take home again for practice without ever touching them for maintenance or cleaning. The truth is, if you don't want to take the time to clean them and keep them properly tuned, you are not true to your trade. Depending on the type of drums that you have, there way be variations on the maintenance that the manufacturer recommends. How you care for your set depends also on the material from which it is made.

Dave Weckl's drum kit @ Jazz Alley, Seattle, W...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, if there isn't a rule regarding drum care, what do you do? As with your clothing, you follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. When you buy a new outfit, you check the label for laundering instructions – or you should – and the same is true of your drum set. Cymbals for the most part can be cleaned with a window cleaner, but how you clean your drums needs to be depends upon a variety of factors including material of the skins and of the outside. Steel is not recommended, though sometimes used, and there will be a different method than other material, which is usually simply soap and water or even glass cleaner for a shine.

As a drummer, you should be proud of your skins and want to keep them clean in between performances. It doesn't take more than perhaps a half hour a day to keep your set looking in top condition, but you want to make sure that you know exactly what you need to do before you even take the set home. If you order your drum set online, be sure you read all of the instructions regarding care and maintenance before you ever set up the kit, because some kits require oiling before you ever use the drums for the first time. Failing to do that when required can result in your drums sounding out of tune or not blending in with the rest of the musical instruments in the band.

Bear in mind that your drums are a major investment, and if you want them to last you for years to come, you have to take the time to take care of them from the day you first own them. You do not simply leave them to collect dust when you are not using them nor do you only take them in for maintenance when they don't sound as good as they did when they were new. Regular cleaning and routine maintenance will be your drum kit looking and sounding new for many years to come. It is unnecessary to buy a new set every few years if you take care of what you have from the start.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A.K.A. DUOS In POP MUSIC

Pop music in the 1960's produced several top recording duos dotting the music charts and influencing future song writers and groups to this day.  Let’s explore a  few successful duos from the 60's that also recorded as lesser known names before they hit it big as the names they are known as today.

An early release by duo that called themselves Tom & Jerry in 1957 did not fair well, although the duo did manage to crack the top 100 on the music charts.   But subsequent releases proved to be very substantial, not only for pop rock, but for folk rock as well.  After minimal success as Tom & Jerry and reuniting together in the mid 60's as Simon and Garfunkel, the duo forged a path through pop and folk music that is iconic.

20 Greatest Hits (Simon & Garfunkel album)With a barrage of finely crafted pop and folk arrangements, Simon and Garfunkel amassed many pop hits such as “Homeward Bound, ““Sound’s Of Silence,” “I Am A Rock,” “Mrs. Robinson” (from the movie “The Graduate”), “The Boxer” and the Garfunkel-led ballad “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” among others.  After they split up, Garfunkel went on to record several well-received albums, but Paul Simon became known as one of the most prolific and vital song writers of the pop music era.

After the split from Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon scored top ten pop hits with “Mother And Child Reunion,” “Kodachrome,” “Loves Me Like A Rock” as well as “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.”  But Simon broke new ground musically and personally in 1986 with the album “Graceland,” which he adeptly mixed a collage of musical genres and political statements into one of the most remarkable solo albums of all time.  Somewhat controversial, it remains the benchmark for all solo artists who want to experiment with their musical background and add a mix of different cultures to the album to capture not only their already existing fan base, but create a new one as well. 

Although popular for their 1959 hit “Baby Talk,” Jan Berry and Dean Torrence rode the waves of the Beach Boys-led surf music sound in the early 1960's.  Previously known as Jan and Arnie, their infectious hit “Surf City,” (the duo’s only number one hit) was co-written by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who also provided back-up vocals.  Jan Berry returned the favor in1966 by singing lead on the Beach Boy’s hit “Barbara Ann.”  Jan and Dean had other chart hits such as “Drag City,” the prophetic “Dead Man’s Curve” and the whimsical “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.”  The duo’s success was cut short in April of 1966 when Jan was critically injured in an automobile accident.

The Two of Us (Sonny & Cher album)The husband and wife team of Caesar and Cleo did not secure fame until they changed their name to Sonny and Cher and went on to pop mega-stardom, not only in music, but in television as well.  Their breakthrough hit “I Got You Babe” reached number one status and held that position for three weeks in 1965.  While still together as Sonny and Cher, each scored hits recording separately, Sonny with “Laugh At Me” and Cher with “All I Really Want To Do” and “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”  Their magical musical combination and wisecracking repartee spawned a highly successful CBS-TV variety series that ran from1971 through 1974.  As a duo, Sonny and Cher secured top ten hits such as “Baby Don’t Go,” “ The Beat Goes On,” “All I Ever Need Is You” and “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done.”  Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce in 1973, but the story of Sonny and Cher does not.

They were briefly reunited in 1975 and Cher continued on to a brilliant solo career and Sonny entered politics.  Sonny Bono was elected mayor of Palm Springs, California and then elected to Congress in 1994 until his tragic death from a skiing accident in 1998.  Cher continued in music and also added a first rate acting career to her repertoire.  

As a solo artist in the 1970's, Cher scored hits with songs like “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves,” “The Way Of Love,” “Half-Breed” and “Dark Lady” among others.  Cher was also an accomplished actress, with starring roles in the acclaimed motion pictures “Silkwood” and “The Witches Of Eastwick.”  In 1987, Cher won an Oscar for her role in the movie “Moonstruck.”  She revived her musical career in 1989 scoring a top ten hit called “After All,” a duet with Peter Cetera from the motion picture “Chances Are” and the intense reflective “If I Could Turn Back Time.”  Remarkably, ten years later Cher was again in the Top 40 with her number one hit “Believe,” which spent four weeks as the top pop song and remained on the charts for twenty-five weeks.  To this day Cher remains peerless and is one of the most celebrated female singers and her trademark voice will be heard for decades to come.



Monday, August 22, 2016

The Influence Of BLUES GUITAR On Modern Music

Anybody interested in modern music sooner or later asks the question, "Where did it begin?" Well, if you leave blues guitar music out, you will not have much of an answer. So let us look at where the blues came from, where it went and who it met on the way. We will also take a look at the "blues guitar sound" and how it has its unique effect on our feelings.

El considerado rey del Blues con su inseparabl...
El considerado rey del Blues con su inseparable Lucille.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The blues as a musical phenomenon began around 1911 when W.C. Handy published popular songs, notably "Memphis Blues" and "St Louis Blues", which affected the hearts and souls of the black people. By the nineteen twenties the general population were beginning to hear this new music through its influence on jazz. Early blues singers like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday sang with jazz bands while others played with "jug bands" accompanied by fiddle, kazoo and washboard.

Of course to people like W. C. Handy who were brought up singing in church, the piano was the natural instrumental accompaniment to their songs. But the guitar is portable and always was popular so it had to have a place in blues and jazz. Blues guitar players like twelve string guitarist Leadbelly and future electric guitar player B.B. King were making sure the guitar would be an integral part of the blues. Other blues guitarists made their living in smoky saloons playing slide guitar using a bottle neck or the blade of a knife to fret the notes.

After the Second World War young artists like Elvis Presley and Bill Haley were wrapping the blues in a new package called "rock'n'roll" and the players of the electric blues guitar like B.B. King were heralding the arrival of the lead guitar, soon to be a great attraction for both musicians and audiences. Throughout the evolution of the blues the guitar had always taken its turn for solos in jazz bands but now it competed with the singer for the attention of the audience.

Blues guitar can be played in any key that takes your fancy and comes in three basic forms: eight bars, for example "Heartbreak Hotel", sixteen bars like "Saint James Infirmary" and  twelve bars like  "St. Louis Blues". For some reason the twelve bar blues form is way more singer-friendly and popular with audiences than the other two, and it is the basis of many great songs outside the blues idiom.

If you go poking around the internet you will find that the blues scales are just your garden variety major and minor scales except that the third, fifth and seventh notes are played flat. However, you may be astonished to learn that blues players managed for centuries without knowing about European musical theory. They learnt to sing and play from their families and friends just as many of the young white blues players of the nineteen sixties learnt from imitating the artists they heard on records.

And this is where the blues takes another direction. After years of imitating their idols something odd happened to the white blues guitar players in Britain and the USA. They developed their own authentic, original styles. The older blues players even began using the new arrangements of classic songs and adopting some of the unbluesy musical innovations introduced by young white guitarists like Eric Clapton. So the beat goes on. A foreign culture influences American popular music and in turn gets fresh input from a new generation of guitar players from all over the world.



Sunday, August 21, 2016

SAXOPHONE Giants: CHARLIE PARKER

Portrait of Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Mile...
Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, and Max Roach,
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Going To Kansas City
Charlie Parker was arguably the most influential saxophone player in jazz history. He was born on August 29, 1920 and was fortunate enough to be raised in Kansas City at a time when the music scene was in full stride. He took up alto saxophone at age 11 and was soon sneaking out of his house at night and into the nightclubs and theaters to watch and learn from the jazz greats of the time. Parker claimed to have learn a lot about playing saxophone by watching the fingers of the great Lester Young move up and down on his saxophone keys.

Yardbird
The older jazz musicians would hang out in the alleys during breaks and soon took a liking to this young kid. They helped sneak him into the clubs. Because of his fondness for eating chicken they gave him the nickname Yardbird. This was later shortened to the name he was known the world over for, Bird. As a teenager Parker became a serious musician who practiced 12 to 15 hours per day. He was soon playing in local bands and joined Jay McShann's territory band 1938. This band embodied the Kansas City jump blues style and toured the southwest as well as Chicago and New York.

52 nd Street
Bird moved to New York City in 1939 to further pursue his music career. He soon joined the big band of Earl 'Fatha" Hines and met Dizzy Gillespie. Bird, Gillespie, and other musicians such as Theolonius Monk, Kenny Clarke, Bud Powell and Charlie Christian were bored and fed up with the big bands who employed them and began hanging out at after hours jam sessions on 52nd Street in Harlem. These musicians soon developed a new style of jazz called Bebop. This new music was marked by fast tempos, sometimes intricate harmonic structure and the instrumental virtuosity of its players.

Now's The Time
By the mid 1940's Bird was leading his own groups and headlining recording sessions. During this period he recorded such Now's The Time, Yardbird Suite, Anthropology and Confirmation. Parker continued to record and perform through the early 50's even pursuing his interest in combining jazz and classical music by recording an album with strings, Bird With Strings, in 1949.

The Baroness
Haunted by a lifelong addiction to heroin and alcohol Charlie Parker died at The Stanhope Hotel in New York City on March 12, 1955. At the time he was staying in the suite of his friend and patron Nica de Koenigswarter who was known as the 'Baroness of Bebop" for hosting jazz jam sessions in her hotel suite.

Bird Lives
Charlie Parkers impact on modern jazz cannot be overestimated. Countless prominent jazz musicians followed in his footsteps and pointed to bird as one of their main influences. In jazz studies programs at colleges and universities across the globe his music is the standard to which all else is measured.
Bird Lives!

    By Joel Krett
    Joel Krett is currently playing tenor saxophone and harmonica with The Subway Show Band out of Morgantown, WV. and is an avid jazz fan.
    Article Source: EzineArticles