Showing posts with label Keyboard Instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keyboard Instruments. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2018

Clean your PIANO keys

Upright piano from ca. 1900 (A. Jaschinsky) , ...
Upright piano from ca. 1900 (A. Jaschinsky), inside. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am sure that many of you would be passionate about music and might be having some of the musical instrument to enjoy this pleasant joy given to us. There are different sort of musical instruments that people usually owe such as guitar, trumpet, drum, woodwinds, strings or piano. Out of these pianos is the one that is not easy to play and also to maintain in comparison to the other ones mentioned.

So if you have a badly stained piano and you want to care for it then it doesn't require any professional cleaner or polisher but all you need is a regular soft buff with a lint free cloth. Any sprays or harsh chemicals will damage the surface of the delicate keys and shall also make the instrument look older and worn than what actually it is.

For cleaning the ivory keys you should not:
1. Immerse in water
2. Scrub with a brush or even a scouring pad
3. Use any type of chemicals or even washing up liquid can damage the previous surface
4. Spray with furniture polish
5. Use air-freshener anywhere near the keys or piano

Ivory should be gently wiped with a soft clean cloth and for stubborn marks or fingerprints you should first wash your hands and thereafter you can use a mild non-colored toothpaste on a damp cloth but ensure that you gently rub and never scrub. Rinse with fresh milk with another lint-free cloth and buff well.

You should leave the piano open on sunny days so that the keys stay bleached and don't turn yellow. Keys that are badly discolored or stained should be scrapped and recovered by any professional piano cleaner.



For cleaning plastic keys you should not:
1. Use chemicals
2. Leave the piano open for long period of time as this shall cause discoloration of the keys
3. Use furniture polish as this could be very harsh

Dust regularly and wipe occasionally with a soft solution of warm water and vinegar on clean chamois leather. Then buff well for added shine. If you want to clean the casework that usually gets very dusty you can use a vacuum cleaner attachment to get rid of any cobwebs or dust. It can take some time but it will surely be worth and remember not to use any water or liquid to clean the casework. For stains and marks, you can consult a professional piano cleaner or tuner.



Monday, October 1, 2018

How To MEMORIZE A SONG The Easy Way


Do you always need to have the sheet music to play a song? Do you wish you could sit down at the piano and just play like your favorite performers do?

Well, you are not alone. Most pianists feel the same way as you do.

But don’t give up just yet:

There is an easy way for you to conquer this problem, and it’s guaranteed to work.

The 3 x 5 Method

Part 1: Creating Your Tool In 5 Simple Steps:

All you need is a 3 x 5 index card to get started.

1. Mark off 4 empty measures evenly spaced across your index card (from left to right)

2. Place the chords for each measure between the bar lines.

3. Continue doing this for the entire song: always staying with 4 measures per line.

4. Use repeat signs as well as 1st and 2nd endings to save space as well as to simplify.

5. If the song has a bridge (middle section), draw a horizontal line below the verses and then place the chords in the same way as you did for the other measures.

Note: Many songs have 3rd verses that are the same or nearly the same as the 2nd.
No need to write these chords on the card.

Part 2: Using Your Index Card as Your Ticket to Success

1. Put the index card on the piano and play the chords with your left hand in time (slowly) as you look at them on the card instead of on the sheet music.

2. Next, focus exclusively on the first 4 measures. Look at the index card as you play the chords with your left hand and the melody with the right hand. You will surprise yourself at how easily you’ll be able to play the melody without music after a few minutes.

3. Repeat step #2 without the index card this time. Even if you need to refer to the card a couple of times, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to memorize this section.

4. Every time you practice, review the part of the song that you have already memorized. Once you can play this with confidence, follow the same process to memorize more of the song—always concentrate on 4 measure sections.

5. Carry your index card with you in your pocket or purse at all times. Anytime that you have a free moment—standing in line at the grocery store, sitting traffic, waiting for your meal to be served—pull out the card and review the names of the chords in order.
Remember to focus on 4 measure sections before moving ahead.

Part 3: Free at Last

1. Once you have the first song memorized, play your newly memorized song on as many pianos and keyboards as possible. You may need to refer to the index card occasionally. That’s okay. You’ll still be building up your confidence.

2. Start working on another song and follow this same method. This will actually help you play your first memorized song better because you’re now developing this habit.

3. Set a goal such as: “I play 5 songs beautifully and confidently from memory by…pick a date.” Review this goal 2 or 3 times every day.

4. Use visualization to help you: picture yourself playing the piano effortlessly a concert stage, as the center of attention at a party or just sitting in your living room alone.

The instrument is clear of all traces of music, and you are smiling from ear to ear.

5. Listen to recordings of your memorized song by great performers to inspire you.

Action Exercises

Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, spend part of your daily practice sessions working on your songs to be memorized. Your investment of a few minutes every day will yield powerful results.

Second, copy the chords onto an index card for each song you want to memorize. The act of writing alone helps to imprint the chords into your memory.

Third, review the chords on your 3 x 5 card every time you have a free moment. Your time away from the piano will become a turbocharger for your time at the piano.




Monday, July 16, 2018

The "BAGATELLES" by BEETHOVEN

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are three collections of bagatelles by Beethoven: "Seven Bagatelles, Opus 33", "Eleven new bagatelles, Opus 119" and "Six bagatelles, Opus 126". They originate from his time in Bonn, were probably originally intended as middle movements for sonatas but presumably considered by Beethoven in the course of the work on those compositions as too light in character.

To determine the origin and the dating of the Bagatelles are not altogether easy. As with many works of Beethoven the opus numbers themselves do not lead to a secure dating of the composition. Beethoven set the opus number only on the occasion of a publication. But even with extensive works the publication followed by no means immediately after the completion. For example, the big string quartets Opus 130, 131, 132 in A minor: Opus 132 the oldest, with Opus 130 following.

Besides, between the first design and the completion of single works with Beethoven often years lay, and the composer was known as very economical in regards to ideas, which he now and again after long breaks took up again, an exact dating especially of the smaller pieces, who filled the breaks between larger works, is especially difficult.

The bagatelles Opus 33 were published in 1803. The autograph carries the label "par Louis van Beethoven in 1782", therefore, one could presume, the whole work still belongs to the early years, Bonn. However, the authenticity of the label is questionable, sketches are found for the first and sixth part next to sketches of the oratorio "Christ on the Mount of Olives" (composed in 1801, first performance 1803) and to the Symphony No. 2 in D major (composed in 1801/02, first performance 1803).

Thus, even without a critical review, it can be supposed that the bagatelles of Opus 33 belong mostly to the years of 1801 and 1802, nevertheless, single parts appeared or were sketched before.

The contemporary criticism did not receive the collection particularly benevolently. The only preserved report refers to the name "Bagatelle", with contemptuous poignancy: "Do earn this title in the farthest sense of the word".

More difficult still is the exact dating of Opus 119. Already Hans von Bulow, to whom still no reliable research material was available, doubts in his Beethoven edition the statement of Schindler that these bagatelles were written around the time of the Missa Solemnis in 1822.

"We are not able to believe to this insurance so absolutely: to us these sketches seem to come from a different era, even if the majority, this some special peculiarities leads one to believe, belong seem to belong to the so-called last period." Bulows assumption has proven right.


Single sketches of Opus 119 are already found in 1801, mixed with some of Opus 33. The whole collection is made up of two different groups: No. 7-11 appeared first in 1821 as a contribution to the "Viennese Pianoforte School" compiled by Friedrich Starke, further sketches are found together with sketches of the Sonata in E major, Opus 109, of the Benedictus and the credo for the Missa, belong to 1820. No. 1-6 were finished two years later. The remaining parts are probably treatments of sketches from 1800-1804.

The history of the "Six bagatelle Opus 126" and their origin are indisputable. The sketches are from the year 1823 and are found besides those to the Quartet in A minor, Opus 132, and to the final choir of the Symphony No. 9. Bülow wrote: "Bezüglich dieses letzten Heftes glaubt der Herausgeber auf Grund der darin ersichtlichen charakteristischen Stileigentumlichkeiten versichern zu konnen, dass sie sämtlich aus der spätestens Schaffensperiode des Meisters stammen, was bei dem vorangehenden Hefte Opus 119 in Abrede gestellt werden musste." (Regarding this last collection, the publisher believes on grounds of the style characteristics to be able to affirm that it originates from the last period of the master, something that cannot be said for the preceding collection Opus 119."



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Easy Left Hand PIANO CHORDS, Chord Books and Chord Sheets For Beginners

Scott D. Davis
Photo  by ohlin 
As a music teacher, I am frequently asked how to play left-hand easy piano chords when learning to play the piano, electronic keyboard, and organ. Well, the first thing you need to do when learning chords are to learn the popular or basic chords first. These are major chords, minor chords, and seventh chords. These piano or keyboard chords are basically the foundations on which other chords are built. For instance, let's look at the C family of chords:
C
C6
C7
C9
C11
C13
All the chords above are basically a C chord with an added 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th or 13th. So when learning chords it's important to learn the basic C chord first. If you come across a C11 or C13 and you don't know what it is, just play the C chord. That's not to say you shouldn't eventually learn the 11th and 13th chords, but for beginners, just playing the C chord is adequate and harmonically correct and it means you can keep playing the piano or keyboard without stopping, which is what every learner wants to do.

The other thing to consider if you are learning on the electronic keyboard is that if you use the Auto Chord system that many of these keyboards have, then you won't be able to play the more advanced keyboard chords because the keyboard can't recognize certain chords, such as 11th and 13th chords.
Actually, keeping the number of chords you learn to a minimum will help you to play more pieces of music and the way to do this is to learn how to substitute one chord for another as mentioned above. 

For instance, if you learn to substitute all 9th chords for 7th chords, then this would cut your learning time by a hundred percent, obviously, you have to learn the 7th chords first, there are 12 major chords with a seventh and 12 Minor chords with a seventh and we can even reduce this further. Instead of learning all 12 major and minor chords all at once, just learn what you need. You do this with the help of key signatures. Most beginners start learning to play in the key of C and there are only a few easy piano chords associated with this key, they are, C, G, Dm, Am and sometimes F. If you pick pieces of music in this key you can learn these chords faster. When you are accomplished with those chords move on to the next key which is normally G.

This is the easiest and most enjoyable way of learning to play, it means you get to play music virtually straight away and you can move at your own pace, learn as many easy piano chords as you personally want. Many people just want to sit down and play a few tunes, nothing fancy and if you are one of those people then this is the way to go. Remember you don't need to learn a ton of chords be able to play music, just learn what you need and enjoy yourself.



Friday, June 29, 2018

How To Read PIANO SHEET MUSIC Fast

Schumann's "Erinnerung"
Piano Sheet music - Photo by pfly 
Learning how to read a musical piano sheet music should not cause you to worry. You do not need to have a very high IQ to do this. All you need to do is to have the patience for constant practice and an easy-to-read musical piano sheet. If you have all these, then learning would be easier. There are tips that you can follow and hopefully, these will help you as you slowly learn to read piano music.

Firstly, you need to begin by having a quick glance over the music sheet in its entirety. Next, look over the music sheet a second time, but this time, try getting familiar with the notes, tempo indications, articulations, and chords. Spend extra time reading notes that are difficult. Flagging these cords may help you understand them later.

Next, you should also study its key and time signatures. These keys might still be very unfamiliar to you, you can consult music books first. These key signatures are very important in understanding the music piece.

The third thing you should do is look for significant changes in the piece, tempo changes included. You need to identify key changes throughout the entirety of the music. When these changes have been seen, you should try to become familiar with the crucial key changes and the new keys.

Next, you need to look for common passages within the music piece. You need to point out whether there are repetitions in certain motifs or phrases in the piece. If you see that there is a variation somewhere, then you can always choose to familiarize yourself with the basic passages. Familiarizing yourself with basic passages can make you learn the variations much faster.

Most importantly, always try to play the musical piece incessantly especially for the first time. Try not to stop playing when you do it for the first time even if you feel it impossible to continue playing. This manner of playing helps you get a closer look and an aural experience of the entire musical piece. Repeat it for several times until you already get the hang it the piece. You will notice later on that you know how to read piano notes.



Monday, April 30, 2018

History and Role of the piano in the Modern World


The modern piano developed its form from two keyboard instruments, the clavichord and the harpsichord, which originated from early in music history. These keyboard instruments operate on the principle of direct connection between the applied force or pressure of the player on the keys, and the volume of sound. Meaning, the harder the pressure or force the player applies on the keys, the louder the sound of the instrument, the lighter the touch, the softer the sound.

Earlier musicians, however, encountered a problem with the clavichord and harpsichord: the sound was relatively diminutive as compared to how they would have wanted it to be, considering the fact that keyboard instruments were often played in large rooms (chambers), cathedrals and churches.

Around the year 1700, Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) created the new keyboard instrument and coined its name from the fact that it could both play "piano" (soft) and "forte" (loud), addressing the problem of the old keyboard instruments. Thus, the pianoforte, or what we call shortly now as the piano.

Aside from the direct connection between the fingers on the keys and the sound, the piano also has two different pedals which are the “sustain” or damper pedal and the “soft” pedal. The sustain pedal allows the pianist to hold the tone or sound even after releasing the key. The soft pedal veils or muffles the sound. There is also a third pedal called the “sostenuto” pedal. However, not all pianos have this.

Other kinds of keyboard instruments include the pipe organ which was most prominent from 1600-1750 when it was commonly used for church music and considered then as the "king of instruments". The accordion is also another kind of keyboard instrument, as well as the modern organ and electric keyboard.

The role of the piano in the modern world is very versatile. The piano can cover a wide range of musical types from classical to pop to jazz. It can cater to a wide variety of audiences from music connoisseurs in concerts or artists in theatres, to children and pupils in pre-schools. Very noticeably too, piano students can very well play other instruments as well, even without its formal training.

The piano is also a very relevant tool in the culture of society. Since the turn of the 20th century, many households have been able to acquire their very own piano. From this assessment, we can infer that modern society believes in the benefits of studying music and piano in particular.

In almost every gathering (social, religious and even political), one cannot undermine the important role of music. It expresses ideals. It bonds the youth. It provides for a positive, productive & creative channeling for this generation's aggression and collective angst.

The importance of music on the development of a person, and eventually, of society cannot be understated. Perhaps its time to rethink how this important element of cultural and social development in our society has been treated.




Sunday, April 15, 2018

3 Steps to PLAYING Comfortably for a Crowd

Batsheva Dance Company theater crowd in Tel Av...
Batsheva Dance Company theatre crowd in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most people are not comfortable performing in front people. When I say of performing, such as an instrument, or singing, or acting, I mean more than just knowing how to do well at your chosen craft, I mean doing it well and in front of people. It’s the “in front of people” part that gets us every time. How many of us sing like a bird in the shower but then when people are watching we can’t carry a note. Here are three steps to start you on the road to comfort (never complete) when called on to shine.

1. Don’t neglect to practice. Whether you sing or play an instrument practice is a key to being relaxed. The more familiar you are with what you are performing, the less anxiety you will have about messing up.

2. Don’t back up. Piano teaches pass this on all the time. If you mess up in the middle, or any place in your piece, don’t back up and repeat the offending passage. Keep going. Chances are your audience didn’t even notice.

3. Try not to be critical of your technical skill. Focus more on your overall performance. How does it sound as a whole? If you’re a pianist and you worry during your piece about your fingering then you’re ignoring the song and how it sounds. Worry about technicalities when you practice. Which should be often.

With time playing in front of and for other people will come much easier. You'll be a natural. So use every opportunity to show your stuff!




Friday, April 13, 2018

7 Tips for Effective MUSICAL PRACTICE

English: A piano player who lives only for it....
A piano player who lives only for it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The quality of your practice is much more important than the quantity. The old saying "practice makes perfect" is only true if the practice itself is perfect. Here are 7 tips to help make your practice more effective and efficient. 

Practice motions slowly 

The muscular memory of our bodies allows us to physically carry out patterns of motion with little or no conscious involvement. Examples of muscular memory include walking, riding a bicycle, typing, and of course playing a musical instrument. 

In order to develop this memory, the muscles require training in the form of repeated conscious guidance from the mind. First, the mind must learn the pattern. Then the mind must "teach" the pattern to the muscles. 

The mind initially must control all the motions of the muscles. The more controlled and precise the motions, the more quickly the muscles will develop muscle memory. 

Slow practice also allows the mind to teach "antagonistic muscles" to relax. Antagonistic muscles are those that move in opposite directions. By relaxing antagonistic muscles you can reduce tension and facilitate faster and easier performance and avoid potential injury. 

Practice in small cells 

A "practice cell" is simply a finite series of motions. Musical cells can correspond to anything from a few notes to an entire work. When practicing, it is important to practice small cells of just a few notes. Practicing small cells limits the amount of information the muscles have to learn at one time. It also facilitates the mind's focus and concentration. 

Link the end of one cell to the beginning of the next 

To help the muscles develop a sense of continuum throughout the piece of music, the last motion in a cell should be the first motion of the following cell. 

Practice each cell in bursts 

Once the muscles have learned a pattern, they will be capable of executing it without conscious control. Initiate the pattern through a conscious command and allow the muscles to execute it in a burst. 


Don't practice mistakes 

For every repetition required to learn a pattern of motion, it takes 7 times the number of repetitions to change the pattern. If in the course of your practice you make an error, stop. Review in your mind the pattern. And further, reduce the speed of your motions. 

Pause between repetitions 

When dealing with repetitive activities, the mind is better able to focus when the repetitions are broken up by short pauses. After two or three repetitions, pause for about 30 seconds to regain focus. 

Take frequent breaks and don't "over-practice" 

B.F. Skinner and other experts have found that the mind's ability to learn drops significantly after prolonged intense concentration. Research shows that studying too long (i.e. more than four hours) can deplete chemicals in the brain necessary for learning. Therefore, it is best to take frequent breaks (a 5-minute break about every 20-25 minutes) and practice no more than 4 hours consecutively. 

By applying these techniques, you can dramatically improve the quality of your practice. You'll be able to use your time more efficiently and increase the effectiveness of your practice.





Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Before Fingering, Learn the Notes on the PIANO First

position of C on a keyboard
The position of C on a keyboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Once you have recognized your future in front of the piano, it can be a start. Eventually, it becomes more easy and fun. You can play almost all of the songs written in songbooks fluently. You can even write your own composition.

Now that you have established that energy in you, there’s still something that lacks. Why, do you think it’s enough to have the spirit without even knowing the chords? If you have mastered and identified the basic and major chords, things would be more favorable.

Alright, here are some bits on learning the notes on the piano. After these simple steps, you’ll have a brief background on fingering.

Lesson # 1

There are 88 keys comprising of 12 notes (white and black keys included). These basic notes are the seven basic letters namely A-note, B-note, C-note, D-note, E-note, F-note and the G-note. The first key colored in white is the C-note. You have to remember that the C-note is always the key that is connected in front of two black keys. While the F-note is the key that stands in front of three black keys compacted together. From the first C-note to the next C-note is called Octave.

Lesson # 2

Black notes represent sharps and flats. But they are used in a different way that would depend on which side you’re going to start. A (#) that symbolizes a sharp is the black key right after the white key. While a (b) is known as the flat. You can recognize this by spotting the first black note indicated on the keyboard. With these definitions, you can conclude that a Db is also a C#. Easy, right? No need to fuss about it. Familiarize these notes and master it.

Lesson # 3

The lesson doesn’t stop there. You have to realize that the C key right in the middle of the keyboard is also known as the middle C. You can easily spot this because it’s usually right below the piano’s name. The middle C can function as a wall that separates the right to the left. This means that those situated at the right part of the middle C is for the right hand and fingers to play. That goes with the left hand and keys.

Down with the fingering techniques. Once you have memorized and familiarized yourself with the notes, it’s time to let your fingers do want they meant to do. Teach those fingers to act the way a pianist should.



Fingering is simple for as long as you make all those fingers work. After learning the notes, stare at your keyboard and put the necessary fingers on the important keys. To do this task, find the middle C. This would be your basis to find all other keys like D, E, F, and so on. Remember, major keys are the white keys.

You’ll notice that the piano’s keyboard is number from 1-5. This will enable you to trace where to put your fingers. 1 is equivalent to the thumb. 2 is your index finger. 3 is for the middle finger. 4 is the ring finger. Lastly, 5 is the pinkie. As starters, you must put your thumb corresponding to the C-note. Locating the other keys would be easier if you first find the middle C.

Run your fingers through these notes. Make sure that every key corresponds to a different finger. Try it in a slow then a moderate aiming for a faster pace.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Joy Of PIANO Improvisation

Jesus "Chuchito" Valdes - Detroit Jazz Festival 2009
Photo  by Brian Callahan (Luxgnos.com) 
If you have never experienced the fun and joy of improvising on the piano, then you are missing out on a great experience. Imagine an artist who does not know how to draw or paint without tracing or copying another’s work.

That is unheard of. Yet, many piano players lack the ability to improvise on the piano! This is caused by years of rigid piano lesson/structure and a lack of proper guidance.

Many piano players rely on sheet music to be able to play, which would be like an artist only copying another’s artwork and never creating something unique. Improvisation is a fun process. It enables the pianist to bring out the latent potential of creativity and expression inside them.

One thing that will help any piano player to improve on the art of improvisation is to allow unstructured creative time during one's piano practice hours.

Time to just sit down and make up music on the piano is crucial. No agenda, no structure, no goals to accomplish. This process is extremely important in the world of piano playing.

In order to allow the inner expression to come out, one needs to let it reveal itself. A good example of this is how young children play the piano. If you can observe a child learning the piano do so. Very often, young children are able to reach a creative and fun play "scheme" without any guidance at all. Similarly, any piano player should allow 15-30 minutes of "free play" without worrying about hitting the wrong notes.

Traditional piano lessons emphasize the ability to read notes. Reading ability is no doubt one of the most important skills any piano player can possess. This emphasis, however, has created some "lopsided" players who can only play piano by reading. Eventually, this type of player will lose their interest and passion for music.

Many young children drop out of piano lessons as a result of struggling with music reading. Children who are younger than 5 or 6 are discouraged from traditional piano lessons due to the fact that they cannot yet read musical notes properly.

Music is commonly referred to as a "language." There are many ways of learning a language. Young children master the language skill by frequently talking and interacting with their peers and caretakers as well as imitating other people. The ability to read comes a little later in their life. A similar approach needs to be taken to foster the love of piano music among young children. Sometimes by just allowing young children to make up music on the piano without placing emphasis on playing the correct notes can be just as important.




Friday, November 24, 2017

GRAND PIANO - Music-Instruments of the World

Grand Piano - Music-Instruments of the World




Thursday, November 2, 2017

The History of the PIANO

dusted
Photo  by ercwttmn 
Many people do not realize that the PIANO is a stringed instrument. Because the strings are hidden away inside of the piano, and out of sight, it is not generally realized that strings are used to create the sounds of the piano. Because of its stringed quality, the forerunners to the piano include such instruments as the dulcimer (which was played by hitting stretched strings of different lengths with a hammer). But all of it began in the annals of prehistory when humans noticed that a stretched animal-gut string created different sounds depending on length and tautness.

Keyed instruments that resembled some sort of a keyboard first appeared in the middle of the 12th Century. It was called the monochord. Eventually, enough keyed strings developed into the clavichord. This instrument was unique, in that having keyed strings better facilitated the ability to strike more than one string at a time. This meant that it was possible to produce two sounds, or notes, at once. It until a couple of centuries later, in the 14th Century, that metal wires was used in place of strings for many instruments, including the keyboard instruments.

The harpsichord came into being before the piano did (sometime in the 14th Century). It was based more on the old instrument called the psaltery. A psaltery was a simple instrument where the strings were placed in a box and then plucked with the finger, or with an instrument called plectra. When the keys of a harpsichord were struck, plectra pulled on the sting, plucking it. However, the harpsichord was incapable of creating changes in volume.

It is unclear exactly when a truly hammered keyboard instrument appeared. There are letters indicating that an instrument that could play both loud and soft was available in 1598, but historians are unsure as to whether this was a hammered piano or a cleverly rigged harpsichord. In any case, most historians agree that what can actually be called the "pianoforte" did not make an appearance until 1709. This instrument was capable of a wide range of artistic expression.

The name piano is a derivative of the term pianoforte. "Piano" is a term that means "soft," and "forte" is one that means "loud" or "strong." The name given the piano originally is quite descriptive. It basically means "soft-loud" and describes the feat of being able to play a keyboard instrument with varying degrees of volume. Originally, there was little interest in the pianoforte. However, as an article written about the new keyboard invention was translated into different languages made its way across the European continent, makers of clavichords and harpsichords began also to make pianos.


As the piano evolved, it began to take different forms, including upright grand (1739), upright (1800), and different styles of grands and uprights, including those that expanded to include more octaves. While the keyboard arrangement has not changed much since the 14th Century, keyboard instruments have expanded to include more than one sounding board and several octaves.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Well-Tempered Clavier by J S BACH

Well-Tempered Clavier MuseScore edition
Photo  by MuseScore 
The Well-Tempered Clavier is generally referred to as the pianists' "Old Testament of Western music", also in Barenboim's fingers, it definitely has an "Old World" condition to it. Seen in its entirety, the performance brings to mind Edwin Fischer's recording from the thirties: great pianism, frequently elegant playing, notably by means of the liberal use of the pedals.

This is, needless to say, planets independent of the incisive, razor-sharp resolution that Glenn Gould, as well as Mehmet Okonsar, brought to these works. As opposed to concentrating on offering the spectacular complexity as well as the polyphonic aspect of those compositions, Barenboim is without a doubt more happy putting together an abundant harmonic texture to each piece, magnificently experienced on a contemporary Steinway.

I'm a tremendous fan of Bach. He was simply a fabulous genius and far in advance of his time period and the Well-Tempered Clavier is just mind-blowing. As a recreational piano player, I discover his music a genuine treasure. The complexity and beauty of his music continue to be so incredibly inspiring.

There are considerable records to support Bach's claim that he employed the Well-Tempered Clavier as part of his lessons, nevertheless, the work accomplishes so many purposes that it must be an easy task to overlook its part as a teaching tool. Obviously, the most crucial feature of the Well-Tempered Clavier is that its full of sublime music from cover to cover.

The fact that it illustrates Werckmeister's "well-tuned" technique pertaining to keyboard instruments seems incidental to us all right now, however, it was outstanding in Bach's day. We still wonder at the genius which expended each prelude and fugue using a unique musical style, drawing on a multitude of compositional processes to shed light on his students. The idea sounds dry, having a piece in every key in ascending arrangement from C major, however, the result could not end up being closer to excellence.

Fugues are usually said to be in a number of voices or parts (the term voices may be used whether or not the fugue has not been written with regard to singers), which is, self-sufficient melodic lines. Fugues are generally in from three to five parts, however, eight and even ten parts are achievable in large choral or orchestral fugues. Fugues in fewer than 3 parts tend to be rare since with 2 parts the actual subject is only able to jump back and forth between the upper and lower part. The best-known illustration of a two-voice work is certainly the E minor fugue out of Book 1.

These forty-eight preludes and fugues in all the major and minor keys have got very little related to public virtuosos, stages or even audiences. Like a lot of Bach's work -- especially the music written, or at least put together when it comes to the ending of his existence -- the ''Well-Tempered'' makes statements, advances concepts, draws together bodies of expertise. Moreover, its lessons happen to be learned, and its particular messages attained, in the home.

The Bach preludes and fugues are actually, to utilize Schumann's well-known explanation, the keyboard player's "everyday bread." All musicians exercise however rarely perform them. Wrapping one's ears and fingers around these pieces amount to both an undergraduate and a postgraduate training: what things to make visible, what you should render as background, how to make the load of the finger interact to the control from the ear and so forth.

My commitment to the original issue of Gould's performance of the Well-Tempered Clavier was sizable however by the time Okonsar's recording emerged it had wanted to some degree.

There was (and still is) no doubt Gould's awesome proficiency to managing, varying as well as diverse touch in clarifying textures through 'orchestration', however Okonsar's reading of the work and the eschewing all forms of obvious pianism remained (and remains) a new testimony to his faithfulness to representing this kind of music, as he observed it, devoid of seeking back to the harpsichord or forward to the nineteenth-century piano.

As numerous reviewers at that time excited, Gould's was an impressive success, yet the cautiously calculated however communicative as well as packed with feelings playing of Okonsar, along with some idiosyncrasies added up to an analytical as well as a human performance of it.

The actual doubts began to find their way in, and retrospectively, with Prelude I of Book 1: the varying articulation of the last few notes of each group speaks of Gould as well as Okonsar, but what does it say of Bach? Echo answered as it did to other, subsequent concerns.


The actual harpsichord cannot provide more weight to any one line, nor is there any proof that players of Bach's period employed severe variations of articulation pertaining to such a function, notably in the ready-balanced texture and consistency of a fugue; such 'painting by way of numbers' is an anachronistic imposition.

Amongst the currently available piano versions of the 48 Schiff's on Decca remains, in my opinion, the most effective and the freest from excess; its pluses and minuses were broadly mentioned. Keith Jarrett's recording (ECM/New Note) is all that particular may well reasonably desire. That both occupy simply three discs may encourage a few readers to purchase Gould's and/or Okonsar's sets, both amaze as well as irritates by turns, and also over which controversy will certainly likely carry on for a long period in the future.

    Although I am a literary person and a novel editor classical music is always there when I work for publishers. As a side effect, I started to provide some reviews and articles on a couple of classical music papers as well. My favorite Bach interpreters are Glenn Gould and Mehmet Okonsar.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

HARPSICHORD - Music-Instruments of the World

Harpsichord



Monday, July 24, 2017

The Pucky Sounds of the Classical HARPSICHORD

The harpsichord is related to the organ and the piano, to mention a couple that has been created with the same idea of the harpsichord. The harpsichord was developed around the same time that the clavichord came around, which was sometime during the 16th century. It is a stringed instrument that is played by pressing the keys. When each key is pressed, it strikes the string and this is what causes the string to vibrate in order to make a sound.

Harpsichord, angle view
Harpsichord- Photo   by     Princess Ruto
For a while, the harpsichord was a popular instrument that was often used during the baroque music period. Its popularity may have been maintained had it not been for the creation of the piano. Once the piano was created, popularity fell from the harpsichord as the piano became the preferred instrument.
The harpsichords design is not too different from that of the piano, probably because the basic design of the piano originated from the harpsichord. The sounds produced from the strings of the harpsichord alone are not very loud. In order to enhance the sound, each string is set over a bridge that allowed the string to vibrate freely. The harpsichord also resembles the piano in appearance when one takes the time to compare the two.

With such similarities, one might wonder why most would abandon the harpsichord for the piano when the piano was invented. It could have been that the piano was more efficient and more versatile than the harpsichord, though the harpsichord is still played today in modern music. While it may never again be anywhere near as popular as it once was, the harpsichord appears to still have a place in music and it might never be obsolete. While it shares similarities with the piano, it is still its own unique instrument that offers its own unique sound.

While most will favor the piano over the harpsichord, there are some who play the harpsichord because they like the sound. It is not an overly complicated instrument to learn how to play. Someone who has interest in learning how to play it and finds a good teacher will have little trouble. The sheet music is also fairly basic and few will have much difficulty in gaining good control of the instrument. Someone who is familiar with playing the piano will have even less difficulty because the basics are more or less the same.


Finding a harpsichord to play might not be as easy as finding a piano, but they are still being constructed. Finding a used one might the best idea for someone who is new to playing the instrument because a new one can be quite expensive. Finding a teacher who can teach the harpsichord may also prove easier than one would think. Again, the basics of playing the harpsichord are not too different from the basics of playing the piano. They are related instruments and share many similarities that make it possible for one to have little trouble in playing both. The harpsichord is certainly an instrument that is worth the effort for anyone interested enough to give it a try.

    By Victor Epand
    Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments.
    Article Source: EzineArtilces


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Keyboard Technique - Playing BAROQUE PIANO Compositions

Baroque music is formed in large part from contrapuntal textures (having two or more independent but harmonically related melodic parts sounding together). Written for the harpsichord, these textures aren't as well suited to the modern piano's thicker tone and rich, low harmonies. So, special care has to be taken when you interpret Baroque period music on the piano.

An upright pedal piano by Challen
An upright pedal piano by Challen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In contrapuntal music, the individual parts are of equal importance, even though their inter-relationship is continually shifting. To reproduce this type of texture well, you need to train your mind, ears and fingers to follow the course of individual contrapuntal lines, as well as their combined texture, so the pianist presents a picture of an ever-changing whole.

Pianist H. Ferguson gives this analogy: You can think of the music as a kind of conversation, in which the voice shifts continually from person to person, as each person makes a contribution without unduly raising his tone. The dynamic range shouldn't be too great (a true fortissimo is rare, since several people shouting different things at the same time will never make themselves understood); and touch and tone should be lighter than in homophonic music typical of the later 19th century.

A semi-legato is more usual than a legatissimo, especially if the notes are quick-moving, since it promotes clarity. It also allows freer play for the subtle kaleidoscopic changes of thought and mood particularly characteristic of Bach. The sustaining pedal should be used sparingly; it should never be allowed to obscure the line, or produce the kind of impressionistic haze that is only heard in modern music such as Debussy.

So, when you interpret Baroque music during piano instruction, try to avoid the thickness of sound that is characteristic of the piano, yet was foreign to the harpsichord. This is especially important with close-position chords in the bass. These sound clear and transparent on the early instrument, but on the thicker-toned piano of today they should be played carefully to avoid a muddy sound. One solution is to lighten the middle notes of the chord, so they are less prominent than the octave played by the fifth finger and thumb. Sometimes it helps to break the chord slightly and play it as a quick arpeggio.



Occasionally in Baroque music there are passages that would have been comparatively easy with the light and shallow touch of earlier instruments, but now are extremely difficult, or impossible, with the deeper and heavier key-action of today. For instance, the repeated triplet octaves in the right hand part of Schubert's song 'Der Erlkonig' were originally not terribly hard to play, but for the modern pianist they have become a virtuoso athletic feat.

In playing fugal music, then, you might find the following points helpful:
  • Characterize all parts of fugue with carefully defined articulation.
  • Make sure that the articulation for the main part is contrasted with that required by the counterpoint, and by parts 2 and 3 if the fugue happens to be double or triple. This ensures that each part remains distinct when several occur together.
  • Characterize the episodes of the fugue in the same sort of way.
  • Keep the texture as light as possible, particularly the top and bottom lines.
  • Don't feel that the part must always stand out as though it were played on a solo blaring horn. The other parts are equally important.
  • If you do want to bring out a particular part, stress it only very slightly. Its characterization, coupled with the generally light texture, will do the rest.
  • A moving part will always stand out more clearly than a static one; if an even balance is required, the part that moves most needs the least stress.
  • Always aim for clarity.

    By Barbara A. Ehrlich
    Barbara Ehrlich is a private piano teacher based in Bedminster, NJ with a roster of current young piano students that includes a broad array of student ages, cultures and backgrounds. New Jersey Piano Lessons works closely with parents to oversee and coordinate music activities in a variety of areas, including piano lessons, technique, theory, ear training, and sight-reading.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


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