Showing posts with label Piano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Piano. Show all posts

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.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

PARRY - PIANO CONCERTO in F-Sharp Major

Hubert Parry circa 1916
Hubert Parry circa 1916 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hubert Parry (1848 -1918) was an English composer, teacher, and music historian. Some of his contemporaries thought that he was the finest English composer since Purcell, but his academic duties left him little time to compose. He came from an upper-middle-class family and as such went to school at Eton. Although he excelled in music while at Eton (as well as sports) his father demanded that he study for a different career, so when he went to Oxford he didn't study music but law and history.

He worked as an insurance underwriter at Lloyd's of London from 1870 to 1877, all the while continuing his studies in music. He tried to obtain lessons from Brahms, but he was not available. Parry ended up taking lessons from Edward Dannreuther, a pianist, and writer. Parry's compositions began to be known by the public and he was also hired on as a music scholar in 1875 by George Grove as an assistant editor for the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians to which he contributed 123 articles. He was appointed a professor of composition and musical history at the Royal College of Music in 1883. He became director of the College in 1900 and worked in that capacity until his death.

The Piano Concerto in F-sharp Major was one of Parry's first major works. He began the work in 1878 and completed it in 1879. It was premiered in 1880 with his own teacher Dannreuther as soloist. It got rave reviews but some considered it avant-garde. Parry went on to write much vocal music, five symphonies, and other pieces, plus books on music and music history.


Parry thought that German music and traditions to be the standard, so with the oncoming World War, he felt confident that the English and Germans would not fight each other. Of course, he was sadly wrong and had to watch his musical world become yet another victim of the war. Parry had suffered from heart disease for many years and when he contracted the Spanish flu during the 1918 pandemic, it took his life.

Parry wrote only one piano concerto. It is an interesting piece, not least of all because to think that it was at one time considered avant-garde. It is very well written, with a piano part that calls for the skill of a virtuoso. It is one of the many neglected pieces in the repertoire that could use an occasional hearing.



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!




Saturday, April 14, 2018

CHOPIN - Piano Sonata No. 2 'Funeral March'

English: Arthur Rubinstein Français : Arthur R...
Arthur Rubinstein  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Arthur Rubinstein (1887 - 1982) was a Polish pianist and one of the great virtuosos of the 20th century. He was declared a child prodigy at the age of four and had perfect pitch. By the age of thirteen, he had already made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic.

He toured all over the world during his long life. There may have been other pianists that could play a certain piece or composer with more insight, but everything Rubinstein played was rock-solid in interpretation and technique. His tone was golden, he was incapable of producing a harsh tone from the piano. His repertoire was huge. For example, he could perform in short notice 27 different piano concertos. He was also an excellent chamber music musician.

He made recordings from 1928 to about 1976, with most of his recordings being done for RCA. all of his RCA recordings have been issued on music CD, the entire set contains 94 CD's and runs to 106 hours. He concertized until his eyesight failed him and he retired in 1976 at age eighty-nine. His last concert was in Wigmore Hall in London where he had first played nearly seventy years previously.

Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin.
Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rubinstein is most well known for his Chopin performances. Rubinstein was one of the first pianists early in the 20th century to play Chopin as the music was written. That's not to say he played it coldly and analytically, but Rubinstein purposefully rids himself of the excesses in performance and interpretation that had become somewhat of a tradition in Chopin's music. There is no better player of Chopin's 2nd sonata than Rubinstein. He plays with expression and passion that totally serves the music.

Chopin's 2nd sonata confused music lovers when it was first published in 1837. Schumann said it lacked cohesion and Chopin "simply bound together four of his most unruly children." The sonata is in 4 movements and follows the layout of Beethoven's Piano Sonata #12, which was one of Chopin's favorite Beethoven sonatas. The sonata opens with what some have called a tribute to Beethoven, as it is very similar to Beethoven's opening of his final piano sonata, Opus 111 in C minor, another favorite of Chopin. 

The second movement is a scherzo, the third movement is the famous Funeral March. The enigmatic final Presto movement has been subject to many interpretations. In the preface to the American edition of the sonatas, James Huneker quotes from Karol Mikuli, the editor of the sonatas and one of Chopin's pupils, that Chopin said of this movement, "The left hand and right hand are gossiping after the March". Arthur Rubinstein himself said of the movement that, "One hears the winds of night sweeping over churchyard graves, the dust blowing and the dust that remains."




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.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What Makes GRAND PIANOS Sound Better?

Blüthner Stil Flügel
Blüthner Stil Flügel
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Grand pianos are seen as the pinnacle of all instruments and are widely associated with the glamorous jazz scene and classical recitals. But what is it exactly about the grand piano that makes it sound better than other types of piano, and is the fact that grand pianos are considerably more expensive really justifiable?

Grand pianos are a relatively modern technology in piano design.  Furthermore, they have proven to be the preferable design of choice for most of the world's top pianists and enthusiasts.  They differ from the other major classification of upright pianos in a number of ways, largely relating to configuration and size.  The grand piano strings horizontally, and benefits from the force of gravity in its mechanism.  Additionally, its sprawling structure allows for a fuller sound to resonate through the bridge, giving an impressive tonal distinction between grands and most upright models.  Uprights, on the other hand, strive to be tight and compact, whilst also affording similar tonal quality.  Of course, something has to give and with uprights, it’s the overall sound quality which is simply non-comparable to that of a grand.  However, the compressed mechanism on the upright is beneficial as a small and compact instrument for practice and smaller public recitals.

Additionally, the grand piano also allows more accomplished pianists to perform ornamentation and certain other musical features thanks to a special lever, which holds the hammer above the string for longer.  This means that by rapidly tapping the key, the hammer has less distance to move to reach the string which ultimately correlates to an increased ability to perform ornamentation and more complex staccato rhythms.  With the upright design, it is impossible to include this feature, therefore you will never be able to achieve the same overall responsiveness and feel as with a grand piano, and the more accomplished player should feel limited by the scope for ornamentation on the upright.



The fact that the grand piano occupies more space allows its mechanism more freedom to strike the string clearly.  Additionally, the horizontality allows for a deeper resonation through the wood which adds to sound.  Throw in the added benefit of the repetition lever, and you've got yourself a quality, unbeatable sound.  Although the uprights really can't compete, they certainly have the edge when it comes to space-efficiency and cost.  It really is a case of determining your needs and objectives, before selecting the piano that's right for you.



Monday, March 5, 2018

CLASSICAL PIANO MUSIC – appeal remains eternal

Piano Sonata in A Major, op. 101, Allegro: man...
Piano Sonata in A Major, op. 101, Allegro:
manuscript sketch in Beethoven's handwriting.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even though the genre of music changes with the change of ages, the appeal of classical piano music remains never-ending. This is not said by a few people only but by a great number of experts in western music also. If you are cynical still, you can make a meticulous research in the cyberspace and get acquainted with the reality. There are if truth be told, ample numbers of websites in internet dealing with classical piano music and you can have a lot of info from them. What makes classical piano music so attractive down the ages? Classical piano music has not only been instrumental in shaping the route of western classical music but has brought to the fore illustrious composers also.

One of them is certainly Beethoven; internationally celebrated German composer of instrumental music (in particular symphonic and chamber music) and what is most striking that he continued to compose even after his auditory sense was lost. Another unparalleled great composer is certainly Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a creative Austrian composer and child prodigy. He is considered a master of the classical approach in all its forms.

Are you interested to have a feeling of classical piano music? In that case, the internet can be a good friend of yours. To cut a long story short, websites are cropping up across the internet without a single interruption and people from all over the world can log in these sites and start on to learn classical piano music and its different versions.

Thanks to the mounting popularity of classical piano music (certainly a turning point once again), many websites are offering the same at reasonably priced rates or even at free. Again, a number of websites do maintain archives of classical piano music and enable the ordinary of free members even to download a number of them.

Now we must focus on the saga of learning. An assortment of websites let users initiate to teach themselves the basic chords along with notes and in this, the application of computer keyboard is enough. If you are the learner, many websites will educate you how to read classical piano music also. For that reason as soon as you get the same, the free classical piano music websites will appear useful for you. This is a good idea since paying money for a piano for a keyboard or a piano is pricey and you may have to expend a good amount of money. On the contrary, use of a computer keyboard is a good and cost-effective approach. Many people have already learnt the basics in this way and you can join their group before long given that you have the dedication, forbearance, intelligence and acumen. Remember that the combination of all these give rise to a new facet of your – competence.



This is just the beginning and on condition that there is proficiency, you can learn Beethoven’s "Fur Elise"- considered as one of the most illustrious creations in the realm of classical piano music. The majority of young piano students gain knowledge of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" during the early part of a career. You can also revel and learn "The Entertainer" of Scott Joplin, "Canon in D major" of Pachelbel and certainly "Moonlight Sonata" of Beethoven.




Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Keyboard Sonatas of MOZART

Family portrait: Maria Anna ("Nannerl&quo...
Family portrait: Maria Anna ("Nannerl") Mozart,
her brother Wolfgang, their mother Anna Maria (medallion) and father, Leopold Mozart
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mozart, born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756, was christened Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. Born on the feast day of St. John Chrysostomus, his first two names honored the saint, and Theophilus came from Johannes Theophilus Pergmayr, his Godfather. Theophilus is Gottlieb in German, a name Mozart sometimes used, and Amadeus is Italian, the name Mozart preferred and the name with which he is identified by in the world of music.

Leopold, Mozart's father, was a fine musician and had a wide reputation as a wonderful violin teacher. It is he who was Mozart's first music instructor and who introduced Mozart to the public. At the age of five, with his father's guidance, Mozart began to give performances.

Mozart was a prolific composer of opera, keyboard works, vocal pieces, symphonies and chamber music. He was a gifted pianist, violinist, and conductor. Nearly all of his compositions were commissioned works, no commission being too small or too large. Mozart's music is a depiction of the man himself, ranging in moods of comical, noble tragedy, simplistic elegance, courtly majesty and heroic works full of the spirit of freedom.

In December of 1774, Mozart traveled to Munich where he composed a set of six sonatas, K. 282 in E-flat Major included. These six sonatas represent Mozart's earliest surviving works in this genre. Mozart's early works are a light, cheerful style associated with the Galant movement in Italy. The Galant movement was an emphasis on classical simplicity (such as less ornamentation, an increase in the importance of the melody, musical phrases of a regular length and so forth), as compared to the complexity and ornate nature of the Baroque era.

Mozart also modeled his compositional style after many of his contemporaries, including Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, Johann Christian Bach, and Franz Joseph Haydn. It is Haydn's influence that is particularly noted in K. 280, 281, and 282.

Mozart's keyboard sonatas were not originally intended for the concert platform, but instead for a more private context. They were valuable tools for teaching and they also provided repertoire material for Mozart's performances in the homes of patrons.

The Sonata in E-flat Major, K. 282, begins atypically with an Adagio movement. The movement is in a two-part form or binary form. This first movement, in the key of B-flat Major, is very expressive melodically and demonstrates a strong interplay between forte and piano.

The second movement consists of two minuetts, in the keys of B-flat and E-flat Major. The first of the two minuetts is simple, yet energetic, and reminiscent of Haydn's style. The second of the minuetts has a livelier left-hand accompaniment and "snap-rhythms." This second movement also exhibits the same striking contrasts between forte and piano.


The third movement, in the key of E-flat Major, is in miniature sonata allegro form with a very short development and a full recapitulation. The upbeat motive recurs in a variety of forms, giving an impression of compact unity to the whole movement. This motive also serves as the thematic basis for the development section. The recapitulation begins exactly as the exposition. The coda, tail/ending extends the opportunity to show off the pianist's technical ability and ends almost as an afterthought. It is as though the pianist has stopped, but the music continues on.



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




Monday, November 6, 2017

The Story of FRANZ LISZT's "Liebestraum"

Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Franz Liszt was born in 1811 in the Kingdom of Hungary, which was then a part of the Hapsburg Empire. His nationality is often disputed since many records were destroyed by the Ottoman Turks. Usually, he is claimed as either Hungarian or German, though a small group recognizes him as a Slovak. Adding to the debate, his musical character is often described as French.

His father had dreams of being a musician, and he studied piano, violin, and guitar while attending university. Because of his poverty, he had to give up his music lessons and was employed by Prince Nikolaus II Esterhazy. On several occasions he sat in with an orchestra on the second cello, keeping his musical love alive.

Liszt's father claimed that by the age of nine the boy had played through all of the works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and others. He was forced to buy over eight thousand pages of new music by the masters so that young Franz could keep playing. In 1820 he played to an elite group of socialites who offered to buy his education abroad, but it took two more years before the prince would consider a leave of absence for his father.

Franz's early lessons in Vienna were hard for him because his instructor forced him to learn proper fingerings. Liszt attempted to outsmart his teacher by telling his father the teacher was trying to show him illogical fingerings. Lessons continued after Liszt's father realized his son's trickery.

Early performances in Vienna established him as a child prodigy, but tragedy soon struck. His father's sudden death and a failed love affair in France threw him into depression. He didn't play or compose for a few years until revolution took over Paris.

Travels and tours throughout Europe allowed Liszt to meet many noted composers and artists of the day. He had many love affairs and a few children as well. Eventually, he ended up in Weimar, where he wrote the Liebestraum.

The Liebestraum is a delicate piece of music written in his own romantic style. Playing it requires dexterity in both hands and a grasp of sensitivity that takes time to master. No classical pianist's repertoire is complete without the Liebestraum.

Liebestraum is German for "dreams of love." The name Liebestraum is often used to refer to the third of the pieces, though it is actually the name of the entire set. The three parts are based on poems by Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath. Each poem describes a different type of love: exalted love, erotic love, and mature love.

The third movement of the Liebestraum is the best known. It is also a reliable test of a pianist's ability. At the time, a version of the Liebestraum for piano and high voice and another for piano two-hands was published.



Throughout his varied life, Franz Liszt created mesmerizing works, including the Faust Symphony and the Liebestraum. He is often called the greatest pianist who ever lived, and the Liebestraum is a great argument in his favor.




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