|The Violin - Music Instruments of the World|
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
|Double bass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
A double bass is one of the largest musical instruments you can buy and is commonly used in orchestral music and genres such as jazz.
But people who are purchasing one for the first time may wish to consider a number of factors before making an investment. For instance, what size of double bass do you intend to buy and do you have to stick to a budget?
Double basses in different price ranges are available, so musicians have the option of deciding what sounds best for the amount of money they intend to spend.
The age of the player could also influence their choice, as a three-quarter size instrument would probably be more suitable for younger people.
And the type of music you want to perform is another factor. For example, jazz musicians, in particular, are often known to favour three-quarter size double basses.
There are four main parts to the instrument.
Firstly, there is the bridge, which supports the strings and transfers vibrations to the body of the double bass.
This contains the F hole - a space on the main body of the instrument that allows sound to escape.
Double basses also contain tuning pegs similar to those on most types of guitar, which make the strings longer or shorter to get them into tune.
And finally, they include a tail spike, which allows musicians to balance the bow on the floor when playing the instrument.
Musicians can buy a brand new double bass at highly affordable prices, but some may opt to purchase a secondhand instrument.
However, if you do intend to buy a used double bass, do not worry too much about aesthetics, as the sound should be its most important quality. Indeed, the large size of the instrument means that you would be very lucky to find a used instrument that does not have at least some superficial damage to its body.
But a double bass with well-repaired cracks should not present a problem to any musician, although if it has severe cracks, it could make a strong buzzing sound when it is used.
People who are looking to buy a secondhand double bass should also look closely at whether it has any loose parts that may need replacing, such as a tuning peg.
And since this instrument is likely to be a long-term investment, make sure it is a good quality item that is not likely to fall apart any time soon.
Other practical considerations also need to be addressed. This is a very large instrument so do you have sufficient storage space for it? A double bass stand can be purchased to ensure it is stored safely and neatly.
And for those who plan to play their instrument outside of the home, it would be prudent to see whether it comes with a hard case, as this should stop it from getting damaged in transit.
Musicians should remember that they will need to keep their instrument well-maintained. For example, a double bass player will need to use rosin to make sure the bow is properly looked after.
But if prospective players take all this into account when making a purchase, they should be able to make the most of their double bass.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
|The Beethoven String Quartet from the USA; Gustav Dannreuther (violin), Adolf Hartdegen (cello), Otto K. Schill (viola), Ernest Thiele (violin). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It is seen as one of the most important forms in classical with most major composers writing music for this genre. Traditionally it will have four movements with a large structure similar to that of a symphony. The outer movements are fast while the inner movements consist of a slow movement and a dance movement like a minuet or scherzo. The twentieth century has seen this structure abandoned by most composers. Other chamber groups can be seen as a variation on the string quartet.
Historians have come to the conclusion that the string quartet arose by accident. Composer Joseph Haydn was working in Germany for a rich baron who wanted to hear music immediately and as it happened the only available players were two violinists, a violist, and a cellist.
The baron suggested that Haydn try his hand at composing something that these four musicians could perform and so the string quartet was born. This form of music proved to be so popular that Haydn continued writing pieces in this form and the style soon spread.
Quartet composition flourished in the classical era. Both Mozart and Beethoven wrote a series of famous quartets and to this day remains a popular form and are seen as a true test of the composer's art.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Friday, September 29, 2017
|Photo by Rod Waddington|
Like most other string instruments, double basses are made in a particular way in order to get the right sound. Maple, spruce, and ebony are the three different kinds of wood that are used in its construction. The strings of the earlier double bass models were made out of the animal gut, but today they are made out of steel, which holds a better pitch and a better volume when played. The strings are quite durable and are normally played with a bow, though they are sometimes plucked.
Another difference between the double bass in the past and the one that is constructed today have also differed. The earlier double bass was only constructed with three strings. Today, the double bass has four strings. It is interesting to note that while the double bass had only three strings in earlier times, other string instruments in its family had five or six strings. Today, the double bass is tuned in fourths and the strings are tuned to E, A, D, and G. While this is the norm, there are the odd basses that are tuned to fifths; it often depends on the musician's needs of the instrument. As a result of the size, the musician also has the opportunity to choose whether they would like to play the instrument standing up or sitting down. Most these days prefer to sit down to play the instrument. They will sit on a stool that is measured to a certain height so that the musician can reach the notes easily.
The double bass might not be as picked as often as some other instruments by beginners, but it is one that can be a rewarding instrument to play. While it is sometimes used as a bass and is referred to as a bass, it does have the ability to play more than background notes. It is quite flexible in what it can play because of the range of notes it can hit, it is only that the pitch is so low that many will prefer to have it in the background. It might not be a good choice for someone who is new to reading and playing music, but it could be if it is something that the person really wants to play. Musicians who have played a few other string instruments may have an easier time picking it up because they are more familiar with playing string instruments.
Friday, January 20, 2017
While violin quartet music can sometimes be a daunting task, especially for beginners who are looking to improve their skills, there are a number of simple, fast tips and strategies that can make your life a lot easier when it comes to improving your violin quartet abilities. The key is to understand the violin's role in the quartet, which depending on which violin you are playing, can vary. Sometimes a violin is used for melody whereas other times you play the role of harmony or rhythm. Here are three simple tips you can use to make figuring out your role in violin quartet music easier and more enjoyable.
|Wilma Norman-Neruda as a first violin of the string quartet at The Monday Popular Concerts in St James’s Hall, London; also pictured Louis Ries (violin 2), Ludwig Straus (viola) and Alfredo Piatti (cello). |
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First off, treat each voice in the quartet as though it were an orchestra. The structure of a quartet imitates that of a chamber string orchestra with two violins, a viola and a cello, so you should approach anything you play with the same mindset as in a chamber string orchestra. Violin quartet music usually involves a duet between two violins alternating a melody against each other while the viola and cello are used as rhythm and harmony, but know your role accordingly just as you would in a chamber orchestra.
Next, understand whether you are playing harmony or melody. Melodic lines are clear and open and should be played with intensity, whereas harmony should see itself as a support for the structure of the melody. If you are first violin, you will primarily want to focus on being the singer of the group, whereas a second violin playing violin quartet music functions more as a backup singer most of the time. Know which role you have and how it changes your function in the violin quartet music.
Finally, tune it up and keep the rhythm tight when playing violin quartet music. When you practice on your own, you work with technique of fingering and hand position to refine your own sound, but in a rehearsal or performance, you need to listen to your intonation and rhythm with relation to the other players. This is a key difference and cannot be overlooked. You cannot play an instrument effectively without listening to the sounds around you, and if you play violin quartet music without hearing your relative tempo, rhythm and intonation with the other players, you are overlooking the purpose of a rehearsal and treating it more like your own practice room. Keep rehearsals productive by focusing on group intonation and rhythm when playing in a group.
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