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

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


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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS - Organs, Harpsichords, Pianos, Keyboards & Synthesizers

Even non-musicians are familiar with keyboard instruments. Few people reach adulthood without having had at least one opportunity to bang on a keyboard of some type. However, many people (including musicians) aren't aware of the history behind keyboard instruments. Their evolution is both fascinating and surprising.

Keyboard instrument in the Musical Instrument ...
Giovanni Battista Boni, Cortona, 1619 - clavecin. 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people mistakenly believe that the harpsichord was the earliest keyboard instrument. Harpsichords were undoubtedly a precursor to the piano. However, the pipe organ actually predates the harpsichord by some 1100 years. In fact, the pipe organ was the only keyboard instrument until the invention of the clavichord and the harpsichord.

The earliest pipe organs were massive structures. Upon their emergence, few companies actually made pipe organs. Even fewer people were trained to install and repair them. Their size and complexity made them difficult to work with, although the sound they produced was magnificent. Pipe organs often contained multiple keyboards to operate the many pipes and produce the rich sounds that the instrument is associated with. Naturally, this was not the type of instrument that the average person played at home. Most pipe organs were located in churches and concert halls.

Eventually, more compact versions were invented. Pipe organs evolved into regular organs, which most people of today are familiar with. They were more easily afforded by smaller parishes and even private owners. They were also much more compact and easier to repair.

Keyboard instrument in the Musical Instrument ...
Various keyboard instruments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The clavichord entered the scene in the early 15th century. It first emerged as a "practice instrument." Since not all musicians could afford or had easy access to an organ, the clavichord became a convenient alternative. It provided organists a means for practicing at home without having to go to a church or other location to find an organ. Clavichords were smaller than today's piano and may be compared to today's smaller keyboard synthesizers, minus the need for electricity.

It was likely very shortly after that the harpsichord was invented. The harpsichord more closely resembled today's piano. This may be part of the reason that people believe the harpsichord was the first keyboard instrument. Modern pianos are based on a very similar design to its predecessors. Harpsichords, however, were much smaller (though larger than the clavichord). The harpsichord had many variations that operated on the same basic musical principles. Some of these include the virginal, the spinet and the clavicytherium.

Keyboard instrument in the Musical Instrument ...
Hieronymus Albrecht Hass, Hamburg, 1734 - clavecin.
 (Photo credit: 
Like music trends always do, the harpsichord fell out of fashion upon the advent of the piano. The piano, though usually a bit larger, produced a cleaner sound. Harpsichords became all but obsolete within just a few decades. Ironically, harpsichords have come back into fashion in recent years because of their unique and distinctive sound. They are often heard as part of the backup for many contemporary songs, though relatively few people actually own a genuine harpsichord.

The piano is by far the most common keyboard instrument today. They are found in nearly every school and church in North America, as well as in millions of private homes. Most every music student has at least some piano training. They are one of the easiest instruments to learn to play and provide a good musical basis for learning other instruments.

Of course, with an electronics-loving society came the natural evolution of the piano to a plug-in version. These are commonly referred to as synthesizers. Aside from the obvious difference from the piano in the requirement of electricity, synthesizers are capable of mimicking many different instruments. Even the most rudimentary of synthesizers usually have several different instrument modes. The more complex the machine, the more sounds it is able to reproduce. More expensive models are extremely complex and technical. Their technology is of such quality that it can be difficult to distinguish their sound from the actual instrument they are mimicking.

New advances in technology, especially in computers, are being made every year. How this will affect the further evolution of keyboard instruments remains to be seen. It appears, though, that the good old fashioned piano is here to stay for awhile.

    Duane Shinn is the author of the popular online newsletter on piano chords, available free at Exciting Piano Chords & Chord Progressions! []
    Article Source: EzineArticles