Saturday, August 4, 2018

FRETLESS GUITARS - An Issue of Taste

fretless "fretboard"
Photo  by alikins 
If one examines the average guitar, either electric or acoustic, one will find small raised bars running width-wise across the instrument's neck. These bars are called frets, and they are placed on stringed instruments to allow the player to accurately and consistently determine where to depress a string in order to produce the desired note. However, not all guitars use frets in the same way; in fact, some lack frets completely. And although such guitars are fairly uncommon, they are by no means unheard of.

A fretless guitar is one that lacks frets completely. Its strings run from the guitar's bridge to its headstock. The instrument is played in the same manner as a fretted version. Because this guitar is, in a manner, less structured than its fretted cousins, it is capable of a wider variety of music. Most guitars are confined to 12-tone scales, but some musicians prefer fretless guitars because they allow for more tonal experimentation.

Fretless guitars also produce a different sound from their fretted cousins. The strings of a fretless guitar are only ever depressed between the player's fingertips and the soundboard. Such a technique absorbs the energy from the string's vibration faster than would occur if a fret were used. As a result, the strings of the fretless guitar have a more "damped" sound.

Without the frets to create a barrier between the strings and the fingerboard, fretless guitars can sometimes suffer from additional fingerboard wear. In an effort to counteract this problem, the fingerboard of a fretless guitar, especially a bass guitar, is usually made of a hardwood, such as ebony. Another solution is to apply a coat of epoxy to the strings or to use a type of string, such as flat-wound, that will reduce fingerboard wear.

Some artists criticize fretless guitars on several counts. For one thing, these instruments are much more difficult to play than typical guitars. The lack of frets leaves more room for error in hand positioning. As a result, more listening training is required of a fretless guitarist in order that he may be able to discern the minute differences in intonation that his instrument permits. Another common complaint is the fact that acoustic fretless guitars are simply softer than those with frets. On bass guitars, this problem is at least partially solved by the instrument's strings. Bass guitars use much heavier strings and have a heavier body overall, which creates a naturally louder sound. The issue, of course, can be solved on non-bass guitars via the use of pickups and amplification.

Although fretless guitars are not the norm, they have gained a certain number of followers, especially among electric bass guitarists. The use of these guitars is particularly common in jazz, funk, and R&B, probably due to the fact that the sound of a fretless guitar is similar to that of a double bass. Famous fretless bass guitarists include Bill Wyman (formerly) of The Rolling Stones, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and the incomparable Sting of The Police.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Japanese Zen Flute SHAKUHACHI - History, Information and Facts

La fête de la musique 2014 au musée Guimet (Paris)

The shakuhachi is a Japanese end-blown flute. It is the Japanese most well-known woodwind instrument. The shakuhachi flute (or also known as Zen flute) is used by Zen Buddhist as a tool for meditation as well as playing jazz, classical and traditional Japanese folk music. This flute is made from the very bottom of a bamboo tree, but versions now exist in ABS and hardwoods.

Although the bamboo flute is quite simple in appearance, it is very difficult to play; its unique and magical quality is revealed to the listeners by the purity of its tone. In the hands of a master, the flute produces an extraordinary, subtle, sensual music – prized as being perfect for meditation and relaxation. Its beautiful, soulful sound made it popular in 80’s pop music in the English-speaking world.

The name shakuhachi is derived from the term “isshaku hassun” meaning one shaku and eight suns (1.8 Japanese feet). Usually, the term shakuhachi refers to the standard size instrument, which is 54.5 cm in length, but it can also refer to many different sizes ranging from 1.3 – 2.5 shaku (39.4 – 75.7 cm) and longer. The shakuhachi is usually made from the root portion of a thick-walled bamboo (known as madake in Japanese).

There are two contrasting styles of making these instruments: the first involves using a style that is similar to the Zen Buddhist monks from the past. There is no filler in this shakuhachi and it is also sometimes called as ji nashi or hocchiku. If you look down the bore of a ji nashi, you can see some nodes of the bamboo protruding. While the second style has a filler made up of a certain mixture of ingredients, possibly including a powder called tonoko, lacquer or urushi and water. This is finished to create a polished surface.

Shakuhachi can be made in one piece (it is called as nobekan) or in two pieces with a middle joint (this also called as nakatsuki). Two of them has no difference in quality, only the two piece is easier to transport and often contains filler. The top part of shakuhachi is called utaguchi – literally ‘song mouth’, and this contains an insert made of various materials such as buffalo horn, ivory and plastic. Its shape is based on the preference of different schools.

Shakuhachi flute is possibly the simplest non-percussive instrument ever conceived. This instrument has no keys or pads like a western flute, no strings like a violin or guitar, no mechanism inside like organ or piano, no reed like a clarinet or saxophone, it does not even have a mouthpiece like a recorder. Zen flute has only five finger holes, which is fewer than the penny whistle or much other wind instruments. To play a note, your mouth and lips must become part of the instrument. Despite this simple construction, this instrument can produce an inconceivably broad range of musical sounds

The Zen flute came from China to Japan sometime in the 6th century. The instrument was then adopted by a sect of Zen Buddhist monks around the 15th century. During this period, the flutes began to be made from the spiked root section of the bamboo – so the flute could double as a particularly ferocious weapon. That probably explains the flute’s long association with the martial arts.

By Susan Wong
Feng shui bamboo flutes
are used to ward off the bad chi whereas the lucky bamboo plants are used to attract wealth.
Article Source: EzineArticles

Thursday, August 2, 2018

DAZZLING Success Tips

Photo: Pxhere
Have you ever wondered the reason for pop and rock stars success? They range between religion, exotic tricks and genetically predetermined luck.  Still, one hit twinkling stars are shadowed by megastars Rolling Stones, Madonna, Aerosmith, Sting, Paul McCartney and others.

So what is the key to their triumphant success, which brought them world recognition, glory, popularity and vast amounts of money?

One of the tricks is to achieve acclamation in one sector and then, moving on, make the use of it in another one. The most widespread example among women sees a combination of abilities to sing and to perform. 

Barbara Streisand, Madonna, Jen Lo, Mila Yovovich and Britney Spears proved their multiple skills in businesses they embarked on. The top stars now engage themselves in fashion. Christina Aguilera asserts it a trick of raising one’s slipping popularity.

Meanwhile, all pop starts to enlarge personal fan-base by applying these methods. For example, Madonna’s music is fancied by a bulk of the world’s population. There some, yet, disadmiring her musical activity, however, thrilled to films, featuring Madonna or books, she poses the author of. 

Thus, the increasing popularity occurs. It’s still in question whether its self-realization or money bids that pop idols chase. They say, if the talent takes place it’s multiple.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Insight Into KLEZMER Music

Anakronik Electro Orkestra - 14 oct. 2008 - Université du Mirail
Photo  by aleske 
The Klezmer music is the traditional Jewish music originated in Eastern Europe in the last centuries. In fact, the term Klezmer is a Yiddish word which is a contraction of two Hebrew words, "kli" and "zemer". The meaning of kli is instrument, tool, while zemer definition is air, melody, song.

So the Klezmer is the instrument of the song, the vessel of the voice. At the origin, the word klezmer was employed to designate the itinerant Jewish musicians (the plural is "klezmorim") who were playing at weddings and celebrations, traveling from village to village. The Jewish folk music had many cultural and geographical influences. Although being essentially an Ashkenazi music the impact of the Oriental, Greek, Turkish, Jewish and non-Jewish communities living in the Ottoman empire was not negligible.

Wherever they were, The musicians picked up music from the people living around them, the Gypsies, Romanian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, Lithuanian, Polish and many others. But in spite of or maybe thanks to all those external influences the Klezmer kept his particularity, his characteristics, and his unmistakable sound. At the beginning of the 20th century, this music style was indexed as Jewish music, Yiddish folk music or even as "Bulgar", but gradually the word Klezmer began to refer to the style and the repertoire.

It is probably Moshe Beregowsky, a Russian-Jewish ethnomusicologist who used for the first time the term Klezmer as the music performed by the Klezmorim. In the seventies, while the Klezmer revival occurred, the word was definitively adopted as the generic term for the musicians and the music style.

Hence, while the music itself is a few centuries old, the word Klezmer is a kind of neologism. In fact, the juxtaposition of klezmer and music is a tautology, a redundancy. Although the Klezmer is a secular music, its roots are religious, liturgic. The fact is that globally and in every culture, music has always a religious or mystical origin. It is a way to accompany the rites or the ceremonies, to reach a state of trance and to approach the divinity.

Klezmer is not an exception, the Psalms of King David in the Bible are maybe the first apparition of structured music. The Klezmer adopted also the intonation and the voicing of the cantor at the synagogue. The Klezmer is not playing, but rather he is singing through his instrument, hence first the violin and then the clarinet were the instruments of predilection for the Klezmer because they are very close to the human voice.

The art of klezmer is an art of interpretation, many players can play the same tune, the same melody, the same nigun (nigun in Yiddish means a wordless melody), but it will always sound different because each musician is expressing his deep emotions and revealing his own soul. Giora Feidman, the great clarinet Klezmer player called this "the inner voice". Maybe the Klezmer is the most appropriate musical expression to show off sentiments, feelings, sensibility. It can be joyful, it can cry, it can burst out laughing or burst into tears.

But in spite of this ambivalence, there is always a message of hope.

    About the Author: Arik Nitsan is a clarinetist who is specialized in Klezmer and world music. For more resources on clarinet and Klezmer, visit his website: clarinet-klezmer - Source: 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Violin From A-Z - FRANCOIS TOURTE

F.X.Tourte engraving by J.Frey 1818.jpg
Francois Tourte (Photo: Wikipedia)
Hello, today I am continuing with my series everything you need to know about violin from A-Z. We are now on T for Francois Tourte. Francois Tourte is credited for the creation of the bow as we know it today. He made is known for making a significant contribution to the development of the violin bow and is considered the most important figure in its history. He has often been called the Stradivari of the bow.

Francois Tourte was a Frenchman that started out making watches but soon changed to bows for classical stringed instruments. He began his career as an apprentice to his father who was also a bow maker.

After his father died he took over the business and in collaboration with virtuoso violinist G.B Viotti began to make important changes in the design of the bow.

The biggest changes he made were to lengthen them slightly, use more wood in the tip and a use a heavier nut. He also invented the idea of having a screw in the nut used to regulate the tension in the hair. His final innovation was the invention of the spreader block. Violinists of that time complained that the hair was tangling when attached in a bunched or roped fashion; the spreader spreads the hair out into a flat ribbon preventing it from tangling.

Tourte's bows were made from pernambuco wood and were noted for their heaviness. He never varnished them and instead rubbed them with pumice powder.

Tourte was noted for his extremely accurate and neat workmanship at the height of his career he could name his price and would destroy any bow that was not absolutely perfect before leaving his workshop.

    By Eric B Hill is a professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Monday, July 30, 2018


Clarinet with a Boehm System.
Clarinet with a Boehm System.
(Photo credit: 
For the most part, I loved my childhood. I loved growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters. I always had a playmate and there was never a dull moment. We had a great family time and my mother was the most amazing cook. We all had to take lessons of all kinds from the time we were really young. I remember being forced into trying piano and clarinet from around the time I started elementary school. At first, I was quite excited about the piano and quite hesitant about learning the clarinet.

My feelings changed rather quickly, however, when I began showing a natural talent for the clarinet. I had trouble mastering the ivories of the piano and my mouth and fingers just naturally worked together on the clarinet in a way that my mom said sounded just like magic. I think she might have said that simply because she wanted to inspire me to stick with the instrument for her own listening pleasure.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but eventually, I came to enjoy playing the clarinet as much as my mother loved hearing me play. I guess I liked it because it was the one way I stood out from among my siblings. In a large family, I had to take any opportunity I could get to stand out and make a name for myself. The clarinet was my opportunity and I grabbed ahold of it with all I could.

I signed up for private lessons after school and I became a part of every local band and orchestra that would accept me. I guess my perfectionism was evident even from these early years. All of my hard work paid off when I was offered a scholarship to a well-known music conservatory where I went for three years after high school. My parents could not be more proud of me, except I think they were a little concerned that I would not make a career out of clarinet and would be stuck poor and leaning on them.

My time in the conservatory led me to get a master's in music education and I have found my calling as a teacher of clarinet at a local university. It is my privilege to use my love for the clarinet and my talents to help other students achieve their dreams with the clarinet as well. So follow your dreams, whatever they are. For me, it was the clarinet. I'm so glad that I grew up playing it.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

BASS CLARINET - Music-instruments of the World

Bass Clarinet - Music-instruments of the World

Friday, July 27, 2018

Why You Need A SINGING TEACHER Or Vocal Coach

Coogee Public School - Singing Group
Photo by State Records NSW
As a singer without any formal vocal training, you would probably have wondered whether to hire a vocal coach to train your singing voice. Well, your procrastination is hurting your singing career.

Just name me any famous singer who never had any vocal training? Yes, some of them may have gotten popular without any formal singing lessons but all these popular singers, without exception realized that they have to engage a vocal coach at one time or another take their spectacular singing career to superstardom and to stay up there.

So what makes you think that you do not need vocal lessons? If you are already singing professionally, then it is vital that you take up voice training to separate you from the mediocre singers. This is how you can get noticed when you are above the pack and above your singing competitors.

If others do not believe in vocal training and you do, then you would already have won because you will be singing much better and control higher fees for your performances.

You need to take care and respect for your voice. That is your musical instrument and your voice determines whether you succeed or fail in your singing career.

Finding a good singing teacher can be a little tricky. There are many so-called vocal coaches out there proclaiming themselves to be singing teachers after merely reading up a few books. As this industry is not regulated, there are many charlatans out there.

The best way to determine a good singing teacher is to ask good singers. After all, they are already good singers themselves and their recommendation won't be all that bad, isn't it?

However, since singing teachers are human beings, it is thus important that the teacher-student relationship is good and you can get along your vocal coach. The chemistry between you and your coach must be good, otherwise, when you are singing under stress, your voice will come out as very strained and that voice is awful to the ears. If you can't along with your singing teacher, then you may need to change your vocal coach.

One way of eliminating this human problem in learning how to sing is to get VCD, DVD and video singing lessons of famous and proven vocal coaches. Not only is it much less expensive than hiring a vocal teacher, you can work at your own time and own pace. Since the teaching tools are yours, you can practice your vocal training anytime and anywhere. Better yet, you are learning from the best!

Most good singing coaches will have a vocal workout lessons plan for you. Learning how to breathe and use your diaphragm properly are the basics of a singer's inventory. You will find out how remarkable your voice can get when you mastered only these two singing exercises. Once you are using correct breathing and diaphragm control techniques, your singing voice and confidence will soar.

So, if want to bring your singing career to greater heights then go and get a vocal coach now and start practicing singing skills now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Sound Dependency on SAXOPHONE Mouthpiece Kit

Two mouthpieces for tenor saxophone: the one o...
Two mouthpieces for tenor saxophone: the one on the left is rubber; the one on the right is metal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The most important question to be answered is: What kind of music we wish to play? The answer could be: Classical, Jazz, Pop or All and based on your answer the horn mouthpiece should be selected. It will have an effect on the type of sound your saxophone makes. There are a few things to be considered when buying a mouthpiece. Some of these include material, opening, and tone chamber. These notes will try to give a few tips for choosing a saxophone mouthpiece.

A professionally selected mouthpiece will improve sound more than any other part of the saxophone. For general playing - classical mouthpiece is good enough. They are plastic but look like made from hard rubber. There are three excellent mouthpieces which are reasonably priced: Rousseau 4R is about $70, Selmer S80 C* is about $100 and the new Rousseau plays like an S80 with a little different sound. All three of them could be recommended for all of the saxophones. Jazz mouthpieces are a little more complicated. If you play Alto sax, most people will go for a hard rubber mouthpiece as opposed to the metal, which tends to be a little bright for the Alto Sax. If you are going to play a lot of rock music,  you may want that bright sound. The favorite mouthpiece for the Alto Saxophones for general jazz playing is the Meyer 6M. This is a classic that has been around for a long time.

It would be smart to start here before anything else for Alto saxophone. Tenor and Baritone sax is generally preferred to a metal mouthpiece. For Tenor Horn musicians really like the Otto Link 7 or 6. These mouthpieces have a good sound and are pretty popular all around. Before paying the big bucks for a mouthpiece, you should always try it out first. If you bought 10 of the same exact brand and tried them all, you'd find that they all play differently. Always try out first and pick the one that works best for you. Later on, you may want to buy a handmade mouthpiece and enjoy the wonderful sound that comes from that. 

Be prepared to pay the big bucks for one of these! You will definitely need a different size of Reed for jazz mouthpiece. Then use a classical one. Most people use a little shorter size of the jazz mouthpiece. Also, if the mouthpiece feels funny on the teeth, a musician can buy a patch to put on the mouthpiece. This will feel more comfortable on the front teeth and protect the mouthpiece for a longer time. If a person just begins to learn to play the saxophone, he really should stick with the classical piece. After he advanced, he will probably want the jazz piece for all other styles. 

If you are not interested in popular styles of music, you won't need the jazz piece. There is a  great difference between the two types, and if you plan on playing all styles, you will definitely need both types of mouthpieces.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Lyrical Accompaniment of the LUTE

Lute - Photo by quinet
In general, a lute is a stringed instrument that loosely resembles a guitar, but has a round body, a deep and round back, a fretted or unfretted neck and is a member of the family of European lutes. The instrument is played by plucking the strings, which vibrate and create the sound.

The strings are placed over a bridge which allows them to vibrate freely and the body of the lute is hollow in order to intensify the sound so that others can clearly hear the instrument. While the instrument is not overly popular today, it was incredibly popular during the baroque music period when people would play the instrument alone or as an accompaniment to other instruments.

When the lute was created is not clear. There is much speculation about how long it has been around. Some say that a variation of the lute may have existed during the time of the Ancient Egyptians, but others say it may not have existed until the 1500s. It is difficult to tell when exactly the lute was first created because there were so many instruments that existed throughout history that somewhat resemble the lute.

Though most may think that the lute is an instrument of the past, it is one that is still played today; however, the instrument is often custom made and is not one that is easily found in used music stores. As a result, this particular stringed instrument can be quite expensive to acquire. Finding someone who can teach one how to play the lute is not as difficult and the lessons may not be as expensive as they can be for other instruments.

In general, the lute is not the first instrument that people will choose to play, probably because it is not one that is seen as often as the guitar or the saxophone. The general population is influenced by the instruments they see most often, which will leave the lute out of the picture because it is not too common in much of today’s music.

This is not to say that the lute will never gain popularity again or that there is not really any place for it. People who play the lute find music to play, though it may not exactly be rock and roll.

Anyone looking for a unique instrument that is out of the norm might want to give the lute a try. It has its own unique sound that is not duplicated by other instruments and one that takes skill and practice to be able to play the instrument well. It can be a little challenging for some, while it can be easier for others at the same time. Some experience with playing the guitar might make learning how to play the lute easier, while someone with no experience is starting from scratch so they may have a more difficult time at first. Someone who really has an interest in learning to play the lute will probably have little difficulty regardless of whether they have previous experience with stringed instruments or not.

By Victor Epand

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments.

Article Source: EzineArticles

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Electric *VIOLIN* Shock Treatment!

A five string electric violin.
A five string electric violin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An annoyed grimace spread across my conductor's face upon hearing a Bach concerto played with crunchy distortion in the band room before an orchestra rehearsal.

Expecting to find a headbanger guitarist mocking the establishment by shredding away at a time-honoured classic, his fury slowly melted into a pitying look of concern and sad loss, as if inside his head he was thinking, “Dear God, there goes another one.”

My dad had bought me an electric violin and I was making heads turn with my heavy variations on the classics.

The Zeta Strados Modern violin, with its funky profile, maple flame finish and revolutionary bridge pickup design, has been the height of electric violin technology for some time. Technology aside, this violin made it possible for me to be regarded as cool by my peers, even though I was still playing music by dead guys with wigs.

My model even had five strings, which made it more of a violin/viola hybrid, the low range is perfect for raunchy power chords and guitar-like riffs.

Despite my conductor's fears, the arrival of the Zeta did not mean the end of my classical playing, though it did make me humbly aware of the huge proverbial iceberg of music that lay hidden beneath Beethoven and Mozart.

The electric violin made it possible for me to play in heavily amplified situations free from a fussy microphone and a clumsy mic stand and completely eliminated feedback. Word got out that there was an electric violinist at school and I played in all sorts of bands, from country to heavy metal, jazz to pop and disco to swing.

I soon discovered this violin wasn't limited to playing in loud venues entirely. My Zeta became very useful in studio situations where consistent levels, tone and timbre are required. No microphone is needed here, so engineers don't have to fuss to get the mic in the exact same spot every session and the room doesn't have to have good acoustics. I just plug in my patch cable directly into the main mixer and play, leaving reverb and levels up to the engineer.

Forget the noises of passing trains, cell phones and even the player's breathing into the mic wrecking a good take. This gal stomps to the beat, playing free from headphone or isolation booths, and chatting it up with the engineer between solos. And since Zetas are designed to sound exactly like an acoustic violin rather than a “bowed guitar,” the end result sounds unmistakably like a regular, old-fashioned violin.
Granted, there are things you can do to tweak your violin into sounding quite unlike a violin. I plug into an effects box and play with chorus, reverb and distortion effects. Better yet, Zeta makes the “Synthony,” a synthesizer that converts the violin's analogue signal to MIDI.

Jargon aside, with this tool you can make your Zeta sound like anything from a trumpet to a Chinese gong or any other sound imaginable. With more features than I can list, the Synthony isn't cheap, which explains why I'm still stuck in analogue mode.

Which brings up cost: Even though electric violins have no acoustic body, there is still a vast difference between low and high-end models. Don’t be swindled into buying a cheap $150 “instrument” from anyone, no matter how nice the thing looks in the photo.

Remember that you get what you pay for and electric violins, like any new technology, have become a market for suckers. You wouldn’t buy a $150 stereo system, why’d you buy a $150 instrument and amp? Such “bargains” sound nothing like a violin, feedback terribly when amplified and never last very long due to cheap components. Just like acoustic violins, you’re better off saving up for a good violin rather than throwing good money after bad.

Heck, it’s worth getting a fine electric violin just for the looks you get from other players! I’ve always enjoyed the double and triple-takes I get when I play the Zeta anywhere. I also reserve full bragging rights when speaking to other electric violinists. Denis Letourneau, one of my violin idols in BC, Canada, has a green one-of-a-kind Thompson violin, “Green Dragon.” He’d kill to have a Zeta though, so I’ve always got something to hold over him whenever we talk shop!

As a year-end treat I the Zeta into lessons and teach my violin students about reverb, distortion and the concept of studio recording. Shocked faces, similar to the aforementioned expression of my former conductor, meet the music as concerned parents witness their children creating gruesome variations on their lesson songs.

The kids absolutely love playing on it, especially with distortion and reverb. The shyest of students are rock stars as they bang out a G major scale at full volume. That's the beauty of this instrument: even a scale or arpeggio becomes fun for students.

I usually teach students a pentatonic scale or show them how to pull off power chords in 5ths. This literally keeps them occupied for the entire lesson and they leave only grudgingly. This at the final lesson of the summer when most kids are not at all keen to be indoors or learning scales. They leave the lesson motivated to practice their butts off and prove to their parents they are dedicated enough to deserve one too.

“I've created a monster,” I say to myself, knowing these parents will be inundated with requests for in the car on the way home.

    Check out Zeta at and tell them about my endorsement of their 5-string Strados Modern violin! Maybe they'll sponsor me...

    By Rhiannon Schmitt
    **Rhiannon Schmitt (nee Nachbaur) is a professional violinist and music teacher who has enjoyed creative writing for years. She currently writes columns for two Canadian publications and has been featured in Australia's "Music Teacher Magazine." Writing allows her to teach people that the world of music is as fun as you spin it to be!
    Rhiannon's business, Fiddleheads Violin School & Shop, has won several distinguished young entrepreneur business awards for her commitment to excellence. Her shop offers beginner to professional level instruments, accessories and supplies for very reasonable prices: Visit

Friday, July 20, 2018

Beginning CLARINET: The Very Start


Like starting with any instrument, beginning clarinet is a process of learning that involves both great achievement and the occasional setback. However, if the beginning clarinetist follows a few tips relating to clarinet care and clarinet playing, the success is sure to outweigh the setbacks.

The first thing that a new clarinet player should learn is to put together their instrument properly, and how to hold it. One of the important things when putting a clarinet together is not to force any part into another, and that the side lever is up when the lower and upper parts are put together, otherwise bent keys could be the result.

This type of care should be extended to all parts of the clarinet - while it is inevitable that reeds will eventually split, they will last longer with careful care. The clarinet itself will last longer and have less need for repair if it is looked after properly, which includes cleaning after each time it is played and being put in its case properly.

One of the most difficult things for the beginning clarinetist is getting the embouchure correct. The embouchure is how the lips are shaped to hold the mouthpiece and create the correct vibration of the reed. Make sure that the bottom teeth are covered by the bottom lip and that the top teeth are touching the mouthpiece, but not clamping down too tight. It is normal for beginner clarinet players to have a lot of squeaking! As you continue to learn and practice, this annoying part of beginner clarinet playing should disappear.

    Find hundreds of articles about the clarinet at 1st-clarinet-music

    World copyright Marc Hofkens and Cosblad Publications NV. 
    You can use and publish this article on the condition that you don't change anything and you add this resource box at any time.

    Article Directory: EzineArticles

Thursday, July 19, 2018


English: North Indian hand drum
North Indian hand drum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When one visits an Indian reservation pueblo or village, you can very likely hear the beautiful melodic tones of an Indian drum. Tradition plays a strong part in Native Songs and culture. The instrument that produces the most powerful sound is the Indian drum.

The type of Indian drums varies. Each Indian tribe constructs drums to their particular desire. Drums may be created with carved images of people. Or, other Indian tribes may choose animal designs to adorn their Indian drums. Some use jewels and color in northwest Indian drums. Drums are designed by hand and are particular to each drum maker.

Indian drums are very popular today. Many people of a variety of ethnic backgrounds use Indian drums in drumming groups and as rustic home décor. It is no longer difficult to find authentic Indian drum because of the use of the internet. And, in many locations and regions of the country, Indians drummers have businesses, offering their Native hand drums and handcrafts. In the western United States, and southwest, Indian drum is common in stores as well.  A large number of Indian tribes inhabit New Mexico and Arizona.

If you do not live close to Indian reservations, locating an authentic drum is not as easy, but can be accomplished easily online. Indian drums are come in many sizes and styles from small hand drums to large ceremonial drums.

When ordering an Indian drum, you can choose between shaman drums which are one-sided hand drums like the Plains Indians use or Tarahumara Indian hoop drums which are double-sided. Most drums may be played with the hand or by using a drum beater or tom-tom like. For ceremonies and drum circles pow wow drums are most desired for their deep low tones. Good powwow drums also have a base to hold the drum during use. Unlike frame drums or handdrums, ceremonial pow wow drums are always played with a beater. Some of the nicest Northwest Indian drums and most unique drums are created with cedar for a rich red and blond color.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What You Need To Know About Drums

Bass Drum Wing Nut Grand Rapids Montessori Open House September 16, 201012
Bass Drum - Photo by stevendepolo 
What would music be without drums? Drums are responsible for providing the backbone of the song. The drummer holds the rest of the song together by providing the other musicians with a beat to follow. Even if a song doesn’t specifically include drums, more than likely they do include other percussion instruments.

History of Drums

Percussion instruments have been used since ancient times. Drums especially were popular because they could be made using easily obtainable materials. Generally speaking, drums include a hollowed out body which could be made of wood, clay, gourds, and other materials with some kind of animal skin or membrane stretched over the top. Ancient drums have been found in archaeological dig sites and can be viewed in museums.

Drums Throughout the Cultures

Different cultures have different kinds of percussion instruments. In the west, the drum set is popular. In Latin music, the drum kit includes other items such as shakers and cowbells. In Africa, the djembe and congo are popular drums. Other cultures use steel drums and other drums that are made from different materials such as gourds and animal skins.

Using Drums from other Countries

In today’s society, the media and internet have opened us up to different types of music. As a result of this, more western artists are starting to embrace other percussion instruments. For example, it isn’t uncommon for a song to include different hand drums borrowed from the African or Middle Eastern cultures.

If you are interested in using drums from other countries, your best bet is to expose yourself to the traditional music to get a feel for how the drums are traditionally played. It is fine to borrow an instrument from another tradition, but to get the most out of the experience it is worth it to learn the traditional playing styles.

Monday, July 16, 2018


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."

Friday, July 13, 2018


Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Iron Maiden was right at the beginning of heavy metal. There is no denying their influence for every metal band from the 80’s on. They were very influential on Slayer, whose early works sound very similar to Iron Maiden licks. Even Now that metal is coming back bands like Mastodon who are taking the next steps of metal that maiden help start. In their own right there are a second level icon behind bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath who are the godfathers of rock music.

My favorite album of Iron Maiden is Power Slave. It is the heaviest of all the Maiden albums. It features some of their best songs including Power Slave, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, and 2 Minutes to Midnight. I would also recommend the album Killers which was released before Bruce Dickinson was their singer. The songs Murders in the Rue Morgue and Killers exhibit more of a hard rock feel quite a bit more similar to ACDC in their early work than the later more melodic. They were known for putting out concept albums which the whole collection of their albums follows the story of their giant mascot Eddie.

If you like Iron Maiden I would recommend Slayer’s early albums like Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits particularly the title tracks. I would also recommend Mastodon’s album Leviathan. Definitely check out Iron Maiden and Slayer if you like Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden includes Steve Harris (bass), Bruce Dickinson (singer), Janick Gers (guitar), and Nicko McBrain (drums). Their albums include 1979 Soundhouse Tapes Rockhard, Iron Maiden , Killers , The Number of the Beast , Piece of Mind , Powerslave, Somewhere in Time Sony, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son , Trooper , Stranger in a Strange Land , Running Free Run to the Hills , No Prayer for the Dying , Fear of the Dark, The X Factor , Virtual XI , Brave New World and Dance of Death.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The History of the MOONLIGHT SONATA

Beethoven Piano Sonata 14 - title page 1802.jpg
The first movement of Beethoven’s opus 27 no. 2 C# minor sonata was very popular in Beethoven’s day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who remarked to Czerny, ‘They are always talking about the C# minor sonata surely I’ve written better things.’ Nearly two hundred years later, it still remains the most popular and downloaded piece of ‘classical’ music.

The title Moonlight Sonata actually didn’t come about until several years after Beethoven’s death. In 1836, German music critic, Ludwig Rellstab wrote that the sonata reminded him of the reflected moonlight off Lake Lucerne. Since then, Moonlight Sonata has remained the “official” unofficial title of the sonata.

Sonata quasi una fantasia’ is the title Beethoven gave his fourteenth sonata. Unlike the formal Sonata form of the classical period, Fantasia commonly describes a free-form classical musical piece. Marking the beginning of Beethoven’s second stylistic period, opus 27 no. 2 does not follow the traditional sonata form. Beethoven additionally uses traditional musical mourning devices called Trauermusik, in a very untraditional way. Trauermusik consists of Lament Bass, repetitive accompaniment figures, and chant. Other famous examples of chant are Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music and the Requium. Dotted monotone anacrusis permeate the first movement reminiscent of the tolling of funeral bells, recall the previous piano sonata Opus 26, Marcia sulla morte de’un eroe, which anticipates Chopin’s opus 35 Bb sonata’s famous ‘Marche Funebre’ and later the main theme of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony’s ‘Marcia Funebre’. What changes in Beethoven’s life led to these transformations in his music?

In 1800-1802 Ludwig van Beethoven experienced devastating internal turmoil in trying to come to terms with his hearing loss. To the outside world, his life seemed to be ideal, with his success as a virtuoso pianist and as a successful, sought-after composer in Vienna. He gradually began to withdraw from society and friends, however, as he felt it would be detrimental to his successful career as a musician if people found out he was going deaf. People felt he was being misanthropic, yet it was quite the opposite. Beethoven lived in a great deal of solitude and loneliness due to his impending and eventual complete deafness, which would eventually have a profound effect on his spiritual and creative growth as a composer and a musician. The years of 1800-1802 were a transformative period in Beethoven’s life and marked the beginning of his second stylistic period. As Beethoven’s outer hearing deteriorated, his inner hearing continued to grow.

Beethoven sought treatment in the village of Heilgenstadt in the late spring of 1802 until October of that year. Full of despair over the unsuccessful treatment, he considered ending his life. In a famous letter known as the Heilgenstadt Testament written to his brothers, he wrote “Thanks… to my art, I did not end my life by suicide.”

Over and over in Beethoven’s music themes of victory over tragedy abound. In the internal struggle he faced, although his music showed the greatest despair and sorrow, it always transcended into a triumphant victory. With that same inner struggle, Beethoven learned to transcend deafness and still be victorious in creating greater and greater masterpieces. During the late 1790s, Beethoven’s music began to show changes, as well as enlargement of form. After the Heilgenstadt Testament, Beethoven expressed dissatisfaction with his compositions and according to Czerny was “determined to take a new path.” [1] The changes included strong links between sonata movements, intensified drama, harmonic instability, motivic elements affecting the larger form, twelve measure structures, registral gaps, recitative and pedal effects.

This sonata could be interpreted as Beethoven beginning to come to terms with his impending eventual deafness. The mourning and loss of the Adagio Sostenuto with its modal changes, dissonances, rhythms, and chants representative of Trauermusik followed by the rage of the stormy third movement, were his way of expressing how he felt about this affliction of deafness while writing the most extraordinary music and not being able to hear it.

Beethoven would live most of his life in a great deal of loneliness and despair with most of his life devoted to the development of his art and creativity. As this sonata was written towards the beginning of his second stylistic period many masterpieces would follow the ‘Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia’.

Jamila Sahar

[1] Timothy Jones, BEETHOVEN The “Moonlight” and other Sonatas, Op 27 and Op 31, p. 15

Article Source: EzineArticles

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A First Look at the OBOE

A Musician's Fingers
Oboe - Photo by Ksayer1 
If you are just learning about the oboe, you are about to learn that there is a lot to learn!

While this article is by no means an exhaustive look at the oboe, we'll try to cover the basic stuff to give you a better idea of this beautiful instrument.

The oboe is a double reed (which means that two pieces of wood vibrate together to make the sound) instrument that is directly descended from the 16th-century shawm. While the shawm might be considered the great-grandfather of the oboe, its sound (which was LOUD and annoying) changed quite a bit before it became the modern day oboe.

Oboes are usually made of grenadilla wood, but sometimes, in an effort to produce slightly different tone colors, other woods are used. The oboe has sterling silver keys and is made up of three "joints:"
  • a lower joint
  • an upper joint 
  • and a slightly flared bell
The sound is produced by using a reed made of two blades of cane which vibrate together.

Pitched in "C," the oboe's pitch range starts at the Bb below middle C on the piano and ends roughly 2 ½ octaves above that, around a G. For the adventurer, higher notes are possible though less comfortable and less frequently called for in music written for the oboe.

The oboe has a narrow conical bore, making its timbre focused and penetrating. The French word for oboe, "hautbois." Hautbois literally translates to "high-," "strong-," "loud-," or "principal-wood," depending on its various spellings. Some people say that the oboe sounds a bit like a duck. Track down a recording of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for a great example of this.

The oboe is often played in groups of two or three in orchestras and bands and is used in many combinations for chamber music. It is primarily a melody instrument and, because of its lyrical and mournful timbre, is often used for very emotional sections of music.

Good examples include:
  • Stravinsky - Symphony in C
  • Barber - Summer Music
  • Gabriel's Oboe
One of the oboe's most important jobs is that of "tuner" in an orchestra. Listen carefully to the beginning of an orchestra concert with oboes in it and you will hear the oboe player play a tuning "A" from which the entire orchestra takes their pitch.

There are actually 4 different instruments within the oboe family, which cover the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass ranges. The oboe itself is the most soprano of its direct family. The second most common instrument in the oboe family is its tenor version, the English horn.

The English horn, or "Cor Anglais," is pitched a 5th below the oboe, in "F," and is fingered almost exactly like its smaller sibling. The range of the English horn begins at a written B below middle C and goes up to about concert "C." Like the oboe, it consists of an upper and lowers joint, but it has a bulbous bell at the lower end which makes it look quite different. English horn players also use a bocal, onto which the reed is attached.

The sound of the English horn is similar in quality to the oboe, but because it is larger and lower, its timbre is a bit more mysterious and sorrowful. The English horn is often used in the band and orchestra, though less often in chamber music. It is quite common for the 2nd oboist of an ensemble to have to "double" on English horn, having to switch back and forth from the oboe as his/her part dictates.

Famous English horn solos include:
  • Rossini - William Tell Overture
  • Dvorak - New World Symphony
The oboe's alto family member is the oboe d'amore, which means "oboe of love." This instrument looks like a small version of the English horn, with the same bulbous shaped bell and curved bocal. It sounds a minor 3rd lower than the oboe, is pitched in concert "A," and again fingered almost exactly like the oboe.

The oboe d'amore's sound is truly distinctive, being reminiscent of its soprano and tenor relatives, but more muted and sweet. It is often used in pairs and most frequently in Baroque music, especially that of J.S. Bach. Check out the beautiful solos and duets for oboes d'amore in the following Bach pieces:
  • B Minor Mass
  • Christmas Cantatas
  • Concerto for Oboe D'amore
The oboe d'amore does not often appear in ensemble pieces after the Baroque era, though one of its most famous orchestra solos was written by Ravel, in Bolero.

The oboe's bass family member is the Bass oboe, which is the most obscure of the oboe family members. The bass oboe is pitched in "C," like the oboe, but sounds an octave lower than its written pitches. It looks like a very large English horn and is played with the same fingerings, but its bocal is more drastically curved.

The popularity of the bass oboe was brief and is rarely used today. One of the few orchestral pieces which employ the bass oboe is Holst's The Planets. Its murky and atmospheric timbre is well suited to a piece about outer space.

The oboe and its relatives all use a double reed, but the reed is different for each instrument. Basically, the bigger and lower the instrument, the bigger the reed is. The oboe's reed is the only reed with an attached cork, the others being on metal tubes which slip directly onto a bocal. From its soprano to bass ranges, the oboe family covers a wide spectrum of tones colors, though remains lyrical and poignant in all its versions.

The oboe is a beautiful instrument to play although it can take quite some time to master. Even producing a sound can be quite a challenge for a beginner.

    Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.

    She is the owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters.  Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.

    Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away.  Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips!

    Article Source: EzineArticles - A First Look at the Oboe