|Tuba - Music-Instruments of the World|
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
|Duduk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The Mey and Duduk are two closely related instruments of the double reed family. Perhaps best known in America are the duduk performances on the soundtrack to "The Last Temptation of Christ", where the mournful and plaintive tone of the duduk is used to great effect.
The Mey is the Turkish name, Duduk the Armenian term, for an ancient woodwind instrument that also includes the Balaban of Central Asia and the Chinese Guan among its varieties. The essential feature is a short cylindrical tube with 7 or more fingerholes and one thumbhole coupled to a very large flattened grass reed, with some sort of adjustable "bridle" affixed to the reed. Even though it is sounded with what looks like an inordinately large zurna (sorna, mizmar, raita, suona, shenai, shawm, etc.) reed, inviting classification in the oboe family, the double reed in question behaves more like a clarinet, in that unlike the zurna and other early and folk oboes, the mey/duduk is capable of dynamic shadings from a whispered pianissimo to a full forte- although it is not capable of the blasting fortissimo of the folk oboes, allowing the mey/duduk to be used indoors in intimate situations. It also is a significant voice in the Armenian orchestra, carrying significant melodic material. Several sizes are found, tube lengths ranging from 6 or 7 inches to over 16 inches.
Again acting like the clarinet, the cylindrical tube and reed function as a tube closed at one end, and thus play an octave lower than one would expect for a short tube. Bora Ozkok referred to the Turkish mey as the "grandfather of the bassoon", although the clarinet is a better analog. Indeed Turkish clarinet style is heavily based on the older styles of mey playing.
The basic 7 hole + thumbhole fingering is also the same as that of the zurna family; that is, it produces roughly a major scale plus one note above, the range of a ninth. "Roughly" a major scale because it produces a natural scale, not a tempered one, although the lip can bend a note enough to play any interval, plus half-holing is also used to fill in the many shadings of pitch used in Oriental musical systems. On the rarer models with more than 7 fingerholes, the additional holes are located at the lower end of the tube.
It is difficult to give a definitive pitch of the various sizes of mey or duduk as the same instrument may play as much as a whole step apart with different reeds. One can only be precise about the pitch of a specific reed and tube combination.
The following are some hints for setting up your mey or duduk:
First, the reed, although large, only goes in the mouth a short distance, something like a half inch more or less. The lips may be loosely drawn over the teeth, or even slightly forward as if saying the German (or Turkish) vowel "Y". Do not use your teeth on the reed.
The reed must be wet; if the tip is closed it must be soaked until open. However, if the tip is too open, it will be almost impossible to play, so adjust the bridle to close the tip more. If this doesn't work, wet the reed and carefully press the tip of the reed closed; a gentle clamp of some sort, even a lightly sprung open paper clip will help.
The reed must fit the socket in the upper end of the mey/duduk. If it is too large as is often the case, gentle sanding or scraping on the base of the reed will adjust the size to match the socket. Wrapping the base of the reed with a bit of waxed dental floss or waxed hemp thread makes the fit exact and airtight, and minimizes the danger of the reed being accidentally knocked loose while playing. Waxed floss or hemp is used in a larger amount to fit the smaller reed to a larger socket, if that be the case.
The reed must be free of cracks; the only exception is if the crack is directly along the crease dividing the two sided of the reed. I have played reeds with a split there and they continued to play well. It is notable that modern oboe, bassoon, shawm, bombarde and bagpipe chanter reed are made from two pieces of cane folded over. Thus the side-split mey or duduk reed would work, acting as if it was made in two parts like the modern cane reeds.
An emergency repair can sometimes (and I mean SOME time only- not always!) be effected on a split reed by using Super glue; this is only a temporary solution and the reed should be replaced as soon as possible. Obviously one should be very sure the glue is dry before attempting to play the reed.
In many cases the reed must be tuned to the tube and its coupled air column. To test the internal tuning, play the lowest tone (all holes and thumbhole closed), then see how close the match is to the octave note (LH 1st finger only closed, thumbhole open. Then test the next octave pair, the tone produced with all holes closed but for the lowest, and its match, all holes open. If the higher octave notes are flat, then the reed must be shortened. Using a very sharp knife or scissors, trim a tiny sliver off the blowing end of the reed; test again. Continue little by little until the octaves are accurate. I caution you to only remove a tiny amount of the reed tip at one time. You can always remove more if necessary, but it cannot be put back on.
In the traditional styles the mey/duduk is never overblown, but if it were, like the clarinet it would produce a note a 12th above the fundamental; without clarinet-like keywork there would be a gap in the scale. Playing is therefore confined to the fundamental range, and no overblowing used. Like the bagpiper, much use is made of a limited melodic range.
With care, the reeds can last for some time, but like all organic materials is unpredictable, so for the performing musician an extra reed, already fitted and tuned, is a must.
To care for the tube of the mey or duduk, regular oiling of the bore and the exterior is recommended. I prefer to use sweet almond oil, as it is human-friendly and unlike other vegetable oils resists rancidity.
Article by David M. Brown, Head of Lark In The Morning's Department of Ethnomusicology and Research.
Thanks for reading!
Monday, February 20, 2017
|Beethoven in 1818 by August Klöber|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Beethoven's Early Life
Beethoven was born in Germany. His family were musicians. His family was not rich. Because his father was a poor provider, Beethoven's family got a little bit of financial help from Beethoven's grandfather. Beethoven didn't learn very well at school and his family couldn't afford to send him to a good school. Beethoven had to live under a cloud of shame due to his father's bad reputation.
Beethoven also lived under his fathers pressure to make him into a famous child prodigy like Mozart had been.
As a young adult, Beethoven studied with a famous composer called Haydn. They didn't get along so his lessons ended. He also taught some pupils that became famous musicians too.
In his 20's Beethoven also moved away from Germany to Vienna. When he moved away his father died. Beethoven wrote many great compositions and managed to impress the right people at various court concerts.
Also, in his 20's Beethoven started to go deaf, affecting his social and work life.
Beethoven died of Oedema (excess water and swelling of the body) when he was 56. However doctors back then weren't as informed at making diagnoses and doing autopsies- so there were probably other health problems that contributed to his death too.
Beethoven's social life
Beethoven had a difficult personality and would often openly insult people and burst into fits of anger. He couldn't ever commit to a woman or have a normal relationship. He was attracted to women, but only really loved one woman who left him after some time to marry someone else. He never got over her and always loved her.
When Beethoven's brother died he adopted his nephew. However, the relationship wasn't very good. They often fought and his nephew even tried to commit suicide.
On top of the stress with his nephew, in his later years Beethoven had financial stress. Even though Beethoven still had work, his cashflow was not reliable because of the financial difficulties of his patrons who themselves were experiencing dwindling finances.
Listening to Beethoven's music
If you take the time to listen to Beethoven's music it will open up a world of emotions that can't be explained in words. Beethoven agonised over his compositions and was a perfectionist. He also lived in a time of great social upheaval- the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.
His works express everything from personal feelings of longing and frustration, to his desire to support or denounce the vast political and social movements which he lived through. He broke the rules of musical composition by changing the structure of his pieces and he was equally as talented at composing for orchestra's as he was for solo piano. Beethoven was certainly a unique person to be living in that time and this is what made his music so famous.
Go onto YouTube or iTunes and listen to Beethoven's music. Research when his works were written and try to match it to what Beethoven was doing at that time in his life. Was he full of hope and adventure, having just arrived in Vienna? (such as in his early years)... Or was he despondent and disillusioned? (such as in the years leading up to his death).
Sunday, February 19, 2017
|Bassoon reeds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Bassoon reeds are the key to the warm, dark, reedy timbre of this unique instrument. A member of the woodwind family of instruments, the bassoon has been around in its current form since about 1650, although the dulcian, its immediate forerunner, was of a similar shape.
However, unlike the bassoon, the dulcian was extremely limited in range and register. It was a "primitive" instrument and had a mere eight key holes, which severely limited the range, agility, and dexterity of the instrument.
The bassoon typically plays music which has been written in both the bass and tenor registers, although it is not unknown for the instrument to occasionally play higher than these. Indeed, the preferred range of the instrument is such that comparisons are made to the cello when comparing the sound to any other musical instrument, and to a male baritone voice when comparing to that of a vocalist.
Some aficionados compare the upper ranges to the sound which is reproduced by the oboe. However, an oboist would probably strongly disagree with that comparison. The instrument is a regular and important element in the orchestral, concert band, and chamber music literature and genres. As such, it has been featured heavily in the evolution of popular classical music. The bassoon sound and range has influenced many composers throughout history, including Paul Dukas, Jean Sibelius, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Shostakovich specifically composed symphonies including No. 1, No. 4, No. 5, the No. 7 "Leningrad" first movement, No. 8, and No. 9 around the bassoon.
Musicians who make the bassoon their instrument of choice tend to have large hands, because of the angle and spacing of the keys and the wide register which can be achieved. The instrument is not everyone's preferred or favorite instrument, and has been disparagingly referred to as the "clown of the orchestra," although it has to be said that, if it was stretched out to its full length, it would perhaps be considered more a "clown" than is the case now.
Traditionally made from maple wood, there has been a tendency of late to find them being made from ebonite, a hard black rubber. However, purists brought up on maple wood bassoons will hear nothing of it and, although there is no difference in the quality of the sound, traditionalists remain unconvinced. Perhaps this is the latest in the long evolution of the bassoon and its place in the history of classical orchestral and chamber music.
Midwest Musical Imports is the home of all things related to classical and modern musical instruments, including oboes and reeds, clarinets, bassoon reeds, bassoons, and English horns among others. Increasing numbers of amateur and professional musicians are placing their trust in the reliability of Midwest Musical Imports. Check out the website today for more detailed information and a secure platform for purchasing at mmimports
Tom Jacobsen is an expert article writer specially this subject bassoon reeds
Article Source: EzineArticles
Saturday, February 18, 2017
|Dima Koldun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Alexander Lunev is a rising star of the music industry and is one of today's most talented, versatile and consistent hit composers. Not surprisingly, he has worked so successfully with many high-profile stars with mega-hit status. He not only established himself as a prolific composer, musician, but also as a star producer in his own right!
Widely regarded as a composer of immense talents and variations, Alexander Lunev caught the imagination of the world by collaborating with award winning Russian pop star "Five Stars" and Dima Koldun.
Only recently, Alexander wrote a brilliant song entitled "Lilac Flowers" for the super Russian pop-diva Sofia Rotaru, and another song for a tremendously talented and world-renown Russian singer, the dashing and sexy Nicolai Baskov.
Having rocked the Russian music industry in 2006 when he received the "Best Russian Act" nomination for RMA (Regional Music Awards) at MTV's 13th annual European Music Awards held in Copenhagen on November 2nd 2006, Alexander Lunev is going strength-to-strength in challenging his own high standards of music.
Lunev's song "Never Let You Go" was brilliantly portrayed by Dima at the Euro vision 2006 and became a runaway hit. The song was bestowed with MTV Russian Music Awards 2006 Best Composition. Some of the other top-shelf songs composed by the legend himself include "Through The Eyes Of The Eagle", "Following the Trail", "Above the Ocean", "Drowning Man", "Return to the Heavens", "Never Let You Go", and "Lady Flame".
Alexander's composition talent has taken him places. His songs have been performed at places like Los Angeles historic Wilshire Ebell Concert Hall, San Francisco's pride Palace of Fine Arts, besides New York and Miami.
Alexander is also involved with composing music for the movies. The Russian movie "Frenchman" includes Lunev's two masterful compositions. Alex has shown tremendous interest in diversifying his music vision by writing and producing the rock-opera "Prodigal Son", based on classical evangelic texts.
After remaining unsigned with any major recording label in his initial months of glory, Alex has established his own production company in June 2007. Aptly named, ‘Columbus, Lunev's new venture has signed hot and happening Dima Koldun of Euro vision ’07 fame. Dima, the 22 years old from Belarus, is a nominee for MTV's Russian Music Awards 2007, besides finishing at 6th place in Euro vision ’07. Dima recently recorded Lunev's song "I am for you", which is already creating waves among music enthusiasts.
Alex's talents got a special recognition from the organizers of "Five Stars". This prestigious Russian music contest was held in the city of Sochi during September 5 - 8 2007 and Lunev was one of the five judges to pick the winner who will declare open the Winter Olympics at Sochi in 2014. This contest offers a great opportunity to the participants to display their musical talent that has remained untapped so far. Besides, the contest also serves as a fishing pond for the top producers, record labels, agents and media, including Channel 1, MTV, Europe +, and Russian Radio.
The depth of Lunev's compositions has made him an instant hit among all age groups of people. However, teenagers and youth have lapped up the new-wave music with both hands. But there's more good news in the offing! Alexander Lunev is not yet satisfied with his achievements. He wants to compose music that everyone can enjoy for long times to come. And considering his oozing potential, the "ageless" music is not something beyond Lunev's capabilities. In fact, Alex is already on the job to compose the music that redefines every contemporary boundary in the music world.