Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Composer Illustrated: RICHARD CHARLES RODGERS

Richard Rodgers
By Al Aumuller, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CONTRABASS TROMBONE - Music-Instruments of the World

Trombone



Monday, June 26, 2017

Do You Want to Learn the TROMBONE?

The trombone is a member of the brass family and the horn and come in different sizes. The most common ones are the medium sized or tenor trombone and larger sized or bass trombone which are both pitched in Bb. They produce heavy sounds which are lower than the trumpet and are used when the orchestra is playing loud sections or in harmony with the higher horn and trumpet parts.

Trombones have a cylindrical shaped tube and a cup shaped mouthpiece and are related to the trumpets. But instead of valves which a trumpet has, a trombone has a moveable slide which moves in and out. A player will stop the slide at any of the seven positions to get the range of notes available to produce. At any of the positions a series of notes can be produced by tightening or slackening his lips. The notes produced are a series of natural notes called harmonics. When the slide is pulled out completely, the range of notes which can be produced will extend downwards for six semitones.

Trombone - Photo: Wikimedia CC


Like other brass instruments, the sound of the trombone is produced by blowing air through pursed lips producing a vibration that creates a standing wave in the instrument. When the player moves the slide out it extends the length of the air column and lowers the pitch.

Trombones are played in a variety of situations like orchestras, military bands, jazz bands, dance bands eg the big band.. <br>Orchestras generally have two tenors and one bass trombone. The other groups having varying numbers of trombone players.

Let's take a look at two well known trombone players. <br>1. Slide Hampton (Locksley Wellington "Slide" Hampton ) was a famous American trombonist, composer and arranger who played all around Europe after he was in his dad's band, named Hampton's Band. He toured with them a lot and is probably the best role model for starting trombonists. Slide Hampton was born in 1932.

2.Tommy Dorsey ( Thomas Francis Dorsey ) was a great American jazz trombone player as well as a trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He had a smooth-toned trombone playing style and was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing". He is famous for The Spell of the Blues and The Boogie Woogie. Tommy Dorsey was born <br>November 19, 1905 and died November 26, 1956.

You now know that the trombone is a brass instrument of varying sizes and can be played in a variety of situations. You have been given examples of two well know trombonists which could look up on YouTube and see if the sound tantalises your taste buds. Then you need to make the final decision; Do you want to learn the trombone?



Sunday, June 25, 2017

BALLROOM DANCING - The Jive and Samba

The fastest of all the Latin dances would be the Jive.  According to some sources the roots of this dance are in New York's Harlem area, others put the origin of the dance with the Negroes of the southeast United States where it resembled the dances of the Seminole Indians.  Depending on which source you are looking at either the Negroes copied it from the Indians or the Indians copied it from the Negroes.

Jive performed by Charles-Guillaume Schmitt and Elena Salikhova, France
Photo: Wikimedia

The Jive is a face paced, rhythmical dance that was influenced by a number of other dance styles including Boogie, Rock, African American Swing and the Lindyhop.  In the late 1800's the Negroes in the south held Jive competitions where the prize was a cake which is how the dance became known for a while as the Cake Walk.

Unlike the other ballroom dances the Jive doesn't require moving around the dance floor, however, even though it looks like the dancers feet are flying every which way the feet should be directly under the body with the knees always close together.  You'll see the woman being twirled a lot and lots of kicks.  The music that is associated with the Jive is commonly called Ragtime, possibly because the participants dressed up in their finest clothes ("rags") or maybe because of the syncopation of the music giving it a ragged feel.   

Ballroom Dancing - The Samba

When the Samba music plays its party time!  The Samba originated with Brazil's Rio Carnival and is comprised of several different South American dances.  While walking and side steps are the main moves with heavy hitting rhythm and lots of hip action the Samba is the perfect party dance. 

By Ailura  - SAMBA - Photo:  Wikimedia Commons


Slaves imported into Portugal in the 16th century brought along their dances (a few of which are the Catarete, Embolada and the Batuque).  Europeans thought these dances were quite sinful as the dancers were close enough to have their navels touching.  The Batuque was an incredibly popular dance - so much so that at one time it was outlawed.  The Batuque was done in a circle with dance steps resembling those of a Charleston with a solo dancer in the center of the circle.   Down the line carnival steps were added and members of Rio's high society decided that once the dance had been modified to use the closed ballroom position it was then a proper dance. 

Eventually aspects from all these dances and probably others combined emerging as the Samba we know today.  

Some things the judges watch for in a good Samba are steps like the Volta (crossing in front of the body), the Samba Roll (moving the upper body in a circular motion while going through a six step turn), Botafogo (traveling walk that includes a direction change) and dancers who have a good balance of moving and stationary moves.  They will also look for outstretched arms and the distinctive climax of the Samba where the dancers throw their heads back and their arms are splayed out to the side. 



Saturday, June 24, 2017

MUSIC Inside Us

Everyone of us has music inside. And it is not an abstract statement, but scientifically proved fact. Molecules of DNA "sound" inside us and it is very important if music from outside is in keeping with music inside us.


Scientists pay great attention to researches concerning music’s influence on human beings. Attention to such researches has increased recently and their results are interesting and convincing. For example, after listening classical music cows have increased their yield of milk and mimosa and petunias have grown faster and burst into bloom 2 weeks earlier. 120 breast-feed mothers took part in experiment in Japan. Some women listened classical music, other women listened pop and rock music. In first group the amount of milk increased in 20 per cent, and in second group - reduced twice.

Such researches are the attempt to synthesise science and art (music). But in ancient India science and art were considered to be the parts of single creative power. All knowledge of ancient India one can find in the Vedas (Holy Indian Scripture) and one of four main Vedas Sama-Veda is entirely dedicated to music. According to the Vedas the creating of the world started from the primordial sound "OM", which appeared while division of the Almighty (Sadashiva) and his creative energy (Adi Shakti). "OM" was the foundation of the universe and the first musical sound.

Human subtle system consists of 7 main chakras (energetic centres) and 3 channels, which rule mental, emotional and physical life activity of person. 7 chakras of our subtle body revolve with certain frequency and form an octave, which consists of 7 tones of proper altitude. Intervals between them should reflect intervals between chakras. These tones were called musical sounds - notes (’svars’ in Indian music). They sound - sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni and they are in keeping with chakras - from first till seventh. 5 notes can change (fall and rise), creating 5 additional sounds (left and right aspects of chakras). Thus, these notes are built-in subtle body and represent the ideal "repository" of information, the repository of those feelings, emotions, wishes and thoughts, which composer or performer has.

While listening music a person receives some influence on subtle level, which later appears on physical body. Same notes can bring destruction or good, it depends on the inner condition of person. For example, anger, aggression, drug intoxication and so on, which have power over the mind of composer or musician, will find the reflection in his music. There are some styles and forms in music which reflect only such bad qualities. Such music may do harm not only the musician, but also a person who listen to it. Clear, inspired people, who have lucid mind will never create such music. They created only folk music with great variety and classical music which has its roots in folk music.

Let’s listen to music, which is in keeping with music inside us.