Thursday, November 15, 2018

CONTRABASS TROMBONE - Music Instruments of the World

Contrabass Trombone - Music Instruments of the World



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Trumpet - Tone Versus Range

English: Trumpet mouthpiece front view large
Trumpet mouthpiece front view large  - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the trumpet world, high note playing is perceived as one of the more difficult tasks of learning to play.  Trumpeters tend to believe that they have to switch to a "jazz mouthpiece" to achieve high notes on a trumpet.  So then they have this belief that they play 2 different mouthpieces - one for tone, one for high notes.

What's interesting to me is that while some mouthpieces can tend to aid in the ease of producing faster air, that's all a high note really is.  Players who turn to shallower cups tend to play with a brighter sound in general (hence the jazz mouthpiece).  Once in a concert setting, they tend to return to a "C" cup or a "B" cup and regain a "classical" tone (hence the classical mouthpieces).

If a player learned to develop a clear upper register on a "C" cup, they wouldn't necessarily have to switch mouthpieces and confuse muscles, air stream, embouchure, or their minds with varying degrees of myths!

The mouthpiece that I've developed is close to a "C" depth, what I've changed for my playing is the rim size.  I have found that the rim size affects my comfort - not my tone.  There are other variables in the anatomy of a mouthpiece that will either enhance or hinder one's tone and range, such as backbore, throat size, etc.  But if we stay with a standard backbore and throat, such as in the Bach line of mouthpieces, we can change tone just by changing cup depth.


This is what most trumpet players don't want to face up to - if we just did the work without looking for equipment to do it for us, we'd come out with a lot more money in our pockets and a lot less frustrated!  My line of mouthpieces are great because they don't offer a bunch of hocus-pocus, empty promises, or claims that they will give you range that you don't already have... they do offer a more comfortable rim, and variable rim sizes in a kit form - something that most manufacturers don't do.



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

OPERA MUSIC: History, Evolution, and Rebirth

English: Photograph of the facade of the Metro...
Photograph of the facade of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, New York
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
If you've ever attended an opera, chances are you were enchanted by the timeless allure and sense of sophistication of this beautiful style of music and performance.  It is truly amazing to reflect on the fact that this enduring genre has been going strong for over 400 years, and even enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the United States and abroad.

Opera's roots are firmly European.  The very first opera house, actually a theater designed to host opera performances, was built in Venice, Italy in the 1630's.  Composers of the day were mingling dramatic stories with music that ebbed and flowed.  Audiences clamored to experience this blend of music and literary art on stage, and thus opera was born.

In those years, singing and dancing were commonplace at most public gatherings.  Due to the size of crowds, strong powerful voices were recruited to perform certain singing parts, both male and female.  In time, singers were specifically trained for operatic performances, a practice that continues to this day.

As the 17th century dawned, the popularity of opera spread to other European countries, like France, Germany, and England.  Indeed, some of opera's most famous works come from composers not native to Italy, like Mozart, Richard Strauss, and Georges Bizet.

The Passion Blooms In The United States

As a land of immigrants, it is only natural that those coming to the United States brought along their skills and passions.  Certainly, this is clearly most evident in New York, where the Metropolitan Opera House opened in 1883.  Opera spread to other cities across the country, and audiences filled theaters nationally.  Later, well-known opera master like Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and Giuseppe Di Stefano displayed their unique talents to a vast and appreciative American audience.

The Present Day

Opera continues to attract and enchant, witnessed by the fact that 135 opera companies operate in the United States today.  Recently, there has been a surge in opera's popularity, as these innovative companies reach out to those unfamiliar with this musical style.  An inclusive educational approach has taken hold and broken down some perceptions that opera is only for the elite.  Casual informative lectures, subtitles, and relaxed dress codes are just a few strategies opera companies use to attract attendees.

Most importantly, many of these same companies have developed training programs for young singers.  Many of these young artists are now performing and thriving in venues across the country.  It is hoped this continuing education approach will keep opera thriving and vibrant for generations to come.



Monday, November 12, 2018

How to Develop a Great FLUTE Embouchure

CatalĂ : Detall de l'embocadura d'una flauta tr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Learn how to develop a great flute embouchure and you are well on your way to being a great flutist.

Embouchure is a French term for the position of the lips and facial muscles used when producing a sound on a wind instrument.

Keep the following steps in mind...

1) The facial muscles and lips should be relaxed.

A tight embouchure with the corners of the lips pulled back and lips stretched produces strain and stress, a puny sound, and tires the player quickly.

Strained facial muscles inhibit the air from flowing freely out of the body. It's like putting your hand over a garden hose--the water is slowed down.

Try these exercises...
a) Pout as if you are unhappy or angry.
b) Imagine the corners of your mouth are reaching down to the floor. 
c) Roll your bottom lip out and try to hold a pencil with your bottom lip.

2) Keep the lower jaw relaxed as well.  Imagine this...
a) You are holding a golf ball in your mouth.
b) Your lower jaw is falling off your face onto the floor.
c) Try to yawn with your lips closed.

3) Concentrate the strength and power in your abdominal area. 

That's where the airstream originates.  You need a fast airstream pushed from the abdominal muscle up through your lungs and out the mouth. If your lips are strained, this gets in the way of that rushing air coming out and your tone is not nearly as vibrant as it could be.

Keep these important elements in mind and you will develop a great flute embouchure.



Saturday, November 10, 2018

How To Choose An ELECTRIC GUITAR

PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar
PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For a music aficionado, the electric guitar is the instrument that offers the greatest thrill. Many classes offering courses in guitar playing have sprung up. Hence purchasing the right electric guitar will help you to enjoy your learning experience. Here are some easy to understand tips that will enable you to make a correct decision in purchasing your electric guitar.

Are all the guitars the same?

No. There are many types of electric guitars available in the market. The right guitar depends on the sound that you are interested in. While some guitars can easily switch between jazz, blues and rock without any perceptible difference, the others cater to only one type of sound. Choosing the sound that you want will simplify your purchase decision. Besides, the sound you also need to take into account the location of the neck on the guitar. The two most common types of positions are the "set-neck" and the "bolt-on" necks. The set-neck allows you to keep on playing longer than bolt-on. The meeting point of the neck and guitar is tighter to allow the sound to move freely between the two.

The only disadvantage of set-neck is that it is difficult to repair or replace once it is damaged. The bolt-on style is available with the cheaper versions of guitars. The design is simple, locking the neck in a slot of the guitar body. Musical experts consider that this type of neck style does not give good quality sound and cannot be played longer, but this is more due to the type of materials used. If you don’t mind spending money for a superior quality sound but not a durable electric guitar, go for a set-neck.

What are frets?

You can choose the electric guitar based on how wide and long the neck is. 21, 22 and 24 are the number of frets that you can get with the usual guitars. The guitars from Stratocasters have 21 frets. This gives you a shorter neck but opting for large frets will let you play more easily. Jackson guitars have higher frets. The number of frets you should choose will depend on the number of notes you want to play. A higher number lets you play more sounds.