Saturday, January 12, 2019

Classical GUITAR

Cheyenne Guitar Society 1-4-11
Classical guitar - Photo by ljguitar 
Although the precise origins of the classical guitar are open to debate, there is plenty of evidence of the existence of similar instruments dating back as early as 5000 years ago. The idea of a hollow body with tensed strings anchored between two points is seen in many instruments, including the violin family, sitar, piano and harp; they all use the string’s vibrations to resonate the body and produce sounds. However, because the guitar is fretted, it allows pitch-perfect chords to be played over six strings, which differentiates it from the unfretted (and often bowed) violin family.

The guitar as we know it today started to take shape during the Renaissance and the Baroque period when it was used mainly as an accompaniment. Cousins of the guitar are the mandolin, balalaika, banjo and lute. There are enough similarities between these instruments to relate them all, but to give a guitar a unique definition, it would be a six-string, fretted instrument tuned between low E (a thirteenth below Middle C) and the E two octaves above. Of course – these are merely the open-string tunings. Notes approaching two octaves above this are achievable through fretting. This tuning allows the guitar’s whole range to be represented on the treble clef, albeit with three ledger lines for the lowest notes.

Playing the classical guitar

The classical guitar is played in the seated position, the curvy shape of the body helping to keep it steady by resting on the thigh. Right-handed players fret with their left hand and pluck with their right, and the highest toned strings are nearest to the ground. If a purely rhythmic sound is required, the guitar can be played using a plectrum strummed across all or some of the strings; the plectrum can also be used to pick out monophonic melodies. More expert players will use their fingers, however. This allows very complex tunes to be played, with bass notes and melodies plating simultaneously. In the hands of a true virtuoso, it can sound to the untrained ear like several musicians are playing at once. Chords can still be played with the fingers, either by simultaneously plucking multiple strings with various fingers or stroking the strings and taking advantage of the instrument’s sustain. Playing with the fingernails gives a sharp, almost rasping sound, whereas playing with the soft front of the finger gives a softer tone.

Composers of classical guitar music

The rich history of the guitar and its forebears means that many composers have written music that can be played on a modern guitar with some degree of success. J.S. Bach is perhaps the most well known, and his many pieces written for the lute and even the cello and violin have found their way onto the classical guitarist’s repertoire. Bach was predated by Dowland and Narvaez, and his contemporary Scarlatti wrote some enduring music that works well on the guitar. In more modern times, Villa-Lobos, Rodrigo and Segovia have written music specifically to be played on the guitar, and Stanley Myers’ classical guitar theme tune to The Deer Hunter proved to be hugely popular.

Friday, January 11, 2019

What Are the Top 5 Easy and Quality Collections for the ORGAN From the Romantic Period?

Photo of Jeanne Rongier’s 1885 painting “César Franck at the console of the organ at St. Clotilde Basilica, Paris, 1885”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many famous organ pieces from the Romantic period are inaccessible for organists whose technical skills are not yet fully developed. Such works usually have the advanced pedal part, thick chromatic texture requiring constant use of finger substitution which is necessary to achieve the perfect legato touch. Yet many organists are in need to identify the compositions which could easily be played after a little practice. In this article, I will provide a list of 5 collections from the Romantic period which is easy to learn and wonderful to listen to.

1) “Practical Organist” by Alexander Guilmant. A superior collection by the “Alexander the Great” of the organ which can be played either on the organ with or without the pedal division, as well as on the harmonium. Here organists will find fine short compositions suitable for liturgical organ playing, such as communions, versets, offertories, marches, postludes etc. Every piece is skillfully composed and could also be used for recitals. Perfect as a preparation for more advanced organ sonatas by Guilmant.

2) “L’Organiste” by Cesar Franck. This collection contains 7 suites of 7 pieces each intended to play on the organ or harmonium. Every suite uses different major and minor keys. Shorter works are wonderful for liturgical service playing while the larger concluding pieces at the end of each suite might sound very well during recitals as well. Perfect as preparation for longer works of the founder of the French symphonic organ school.

3) “Heures Mystiques” by Leon Boellmann. In this collection, you will find a wealth of easy and delightful short versets which you can use at various places in a liturgical setting. If you like the Suite Gothique of this French composer, these versets will serve perfectly as a preparation.

4) “Music for Organ” by Jacques Lemmens. This Belgian composer is responsible for creating the first modern highly influential organ method “Ecole d”Orgue”. He methodically presents his system of playing legato on the organ which was successfully used by the later French composers, such as Franck, Widor, Vierne, and others. Like other authors of the time, Lemmens provided many versets, pieces for offertory, communion, and other liturgical occasions.

5) “Organiste Moderne” by Louis-James-Alfred Lefebure-Wely. The music of the favorite organ demonstrator of the most significant French organ builder of the period, Aristide Cavaille-Coll is very charming. The composer employs the popular harmonic language of the time which is similar to the operatic style. For today’s audiences, his music is very delightful to hear. At the same time, these pieces are easy enough to be playable by organists who have a small amount of piano background. Pedal part is easy as well.

If you regularly practice the pieces from the above collections, you will improve your legato technique and prepare for more advanced compositions from the Romantic period.

By Vidas Pinkevicius

By the way, do you want to learn to play the King of Instruments – the pipe organ? If so, download my FREE video guide “How to Master Any Organ Composition” in which I will show you my EXACT steps, techniques, and methods that I use to practice, learn and master any piece of organ music.
Article Source: EzineArticles

Thursday, January 10, 2019

How to Play PIANO TABS - An Easy to Use Technique to Quickly Get Better at Playing Piano Tabs

Learning how to play piano tabs is great for beginner piano players who don't know how to read sheet music. These tabs will give you the ability to read music without having to look at or use a manuscript paper.

To learn how to play piano tabs you can do so by playing a song with a traditional piano tab line. One such song is the "Mary had a little lamb" song, as it has one of the most basic tab lines for the piano.

Get the tab line from this song and practice playing the song. To start playing the song you should begin on the fourth octave of the piano.

The fourth octave of the keyboard is what the number 4 represents in the beginning line of this song. The numbers are instructing what octave to play in the beginning with the lowest "c" on your keyboard.

Now the next step is to count the beats in each measure. The dash marks in the tab represent a half step. You should begin at the "c" which is at the first line. Now you must count each note and dash mark. Take the note of the horizontal lines and these lines separate each measure.

When you count the dashes and letters you will notice that the line above has four counts for every measure. Read the notes in the piano tab as the notes you'll play. Every lower case letter in a tab represents the exact note.

Every upper case letter you see in the tabs of the piano represent a sharp note. Practicing the tab line in this basic song is an easy and effective technique to learn how to play piano tabs.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

3 Stages in Learning to Play VIOLIN

Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association 2015 Summer Studio Recital
Photo by Artotem
Tackling a skill like "learning to play the violin" can seem like a daunting task. However, in reality, learning to play violin falls into just three stages. There's the beginner stage, where you're just learning finger placements, postures and playing basic music. There's the intermediate level, where you're becoming comfortable with the instrument and you're learning to play music that really shines. Finally, there's the advanced to mastery stage where you're truly bringing something unique to the world. Read on to learn how to advance through these stages as quickly as possible.

Stage #1 - The Beginner Stage

The first state is the beginner stage. The most important thing to watch out for in this stage is that you instill good habits and have fun while learning.

The two biggest mistakes people make are not having good posture, not getting the fundamentals or not caring for their instrument right from the get-go. On an emotional level, people can get discouraged if they're not learning to love the learning process in the beginning.

Having good examples is crucial for this stage. In particular, watching videos of violinists playing can really help internalize the violin posture.

Stage #2 - The Intermediate Stage

The intermediate stage is when you really start to learn how to play great music.

At the beginning of this stage, you'll still be consciously moving your fingers and having to think through your music. As you advance through this stage, notes will simply become music and the movement of your fingers will become automatic. Your violin will become an extension of you.

As you reach the end of the intermediate stage, you'll be at a level that's equivalent to getting a "masters" in playing the violin. You'll know most of what can be taught by someone else to you.

You can play beautifully, you can play songs from music sheets, you know all the fundamentals by heart and you're just a great musician.

Stage #3 - The Advanced to Mastery Level

This stage is the "Ph.D." stage. At this point, the instrument truly becomes an expression of you.

Have you ever heard someone playing at such a level that you could truly hear the emotions flow through the music? Have you heard people play the classics with their own personal twist added that really makes it come alive?

That's the final stage of learning the violin. At this point, you're not just learning how to replicate other people's music. You're learning to use the violin as an expression of yourself.

Getting through these stages can be tough without a guide. Especially the beginning stages are difficult to navigate without having good violin instruction. Having a detailed step by step guides can make a big difference. One great way to guide yourself through the process is with detailed online videos.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Background history of LIL WAYNE

Lil Wayne at the Beacon Theatre.
Lil Wayne at the Beacon Theatre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lil Wayne is originally named as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, he was born in the year 1982, at Louisiana, the USA, he is a Grammy-nominated rapper. Lil Wayne began rapping at the block parties when he was a child. His first hip-hop contact was Cash Money records. 

Lil Wayne is known for his freestyle abilities in singing, although he has a talent he wasn’t signed at first with Lil Slim, Lil Wayne uses to record freestyles and haunted cash money offices almost every day. 

In the year 1997, Lil Wayne first debut was released, the record was a great success and earned huge fans for Lil Wayne from south and Midwest. His next debut, Guerilla warfare was released in the year 1998, followed by the next release in the year 2003 which Let Em Burn. 

In the year 1999, Wayne decided to launch his own career with the new release of “Than Block is Hot”, and then it went on to some releases of three albums after that. In 2004, Lil Wayne was known to be perfected in the trade of singing and earned popularity amongst teenagers during 2004-2006.

Lil Wayne has earned a lot since he first started his debut as a singer in the rappers industry, In spite of much competition in the Industry he earned his caliber and came through in his career. 

Lil Wayne being involved in drugs was arrested a few times, but his weaknesses don’t come as a hindrance to his singing career where he has performed his best and is well known amongst the younger public.

More Information: (Wikipedia 2019)

Monday, January 7, 2019


Crush at Badger Bowl
Photo by ibm4381
When your band and you as the lead singer use electronic musical instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass or the microphone etc, conducting a sound check is necessary to balance the sound of the instruments and your voice.

Your band members will sound check their own instruments and their systems such as the monitor first and then you, the singer or the vocal section will do your own sound check last once the sound system for the musical instruments is already well balanced. Soundcheck in this sequence will enable you to hear how you sound when you are actually singing with your band.

At the sound check, make sure that your microphone is free from its stand if you want to move around or dance during your singing performance. Also, ask the sound equipment technicians for a monitor to be placed in front of you so that you can hear yourself sing. If you can get your hands on a pair of sound monitor earpiece, that will be better because this will give you more room to prance around and entertain your audience and fans.

How to sound check the singer's microphone?

Your singing voice when produced by the microphone should be louder and above the sounds produced by the band so that your voice can carry the songs well and able to portray your feel, song interpretation and emotions clearly. Sometimes, this may result in loud feedbacks (that loud piercing screeching sound produced by the microphone) so much so that your sound technician or yourself must know where the maximum volume can be before the irritating screeching feedback occurs. The sound technician should mark this threshold on his soundboard control.

During the crescendo parts of songs, move away from the microphone so that you do not trigger feedback and move back in again during the softer part of the songs. By doing this, you are not only able to control feedbacks, but you will also not irritate sensitive audience who may not enjoy loud singing. On the other hand, when the singing is soft and you are far away from your audience, they may not be able to make out what you are singing and that is why you need to move closer to the microphone when the interpretation of the song calls for you to sing softly.

It is important to watch out for consonants or lyrics beginning with 'P's and 'B's. When you are singing loudly into the microphone, these consonants may cause explosive pop sounds on the microphone. If you think 'M', you will be able to prevent 'please' and 'baby' exploding out of the speakers.

The final sound check

At the end of the sound check session, you and your band must run through a couple of songs. This is done not only because you want to hear whether the sound is good from the audience perspective but also whether all your band members can hear themselves, the band as a whole and sound from their monitors.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Harmonicas: Finding the Harp that Fits Your Needs

Harmonica Blues Harp - Photo: Pixabay
Harmonicas are wonderful musical instruments. They're versatile, they're relatively inexpensive, they fit in your pocket, and their music can evoke a wide range of feelings. Harmonicas - or harps, as they are commonly called - are used in a wide variety of musical genres, such as bluegrass, the blues, folk, rock, country, Gospel, jazz, and even Classical music. 

If you want to learn to play the harp and are planning to take instruction, you should understand the different types of harmonicas that are available. The leading makers of harmonicas include Suzuki, Hering, Hohner, and Bushman. Beyond brands, though, there are other differences you should know about.

The harmonica that most people are familiar with is the ten-hole "Blues Harp." Each of the holes has two reeds, which are tuned to play different notes. Blues harps come in virtually every key, and each harmonica can play 19 musical notes. 

Blues harps are a subcategory of diatonic harmonicas, so named because of the two reeds in each hole. Diatonic harmonics generally play only one key. Another type of diatonic harmonica is the octave harmonica, which is tuned so that each hole plays the same note, only an octave apart from one another. The tremolo harmonica also has two reeds, but one plays a slightly flat note and the other plays a slightly sharp note.  

A different category of harmonica is the chromatic harmonica. These harmonicas typically have twelve, fourteen, or sixteen holes, and four reeds per hole. They also have a sliding bar that moves the air from the mouthpiece to a specific reed plate. Chromatic harmonicas are most often used in jazz and Classical music. 

Harmonica Instruction

When you learn to play the harmonica, you'll first be taught how to breathe correctly. Because successfully playing the harmonica involves both breathing out and breathing in, it's important to breathe from your diaphragm. You'll also learn how to correctly hold the harmonica, how to move it, and how to position your lips so you'll achieve the right notes. You'll also learn harmonica tablature, or tabs, which in instruction that replaces the need for learning to read music. Harmonica tabs tell you what actions you need to take, such as blowing in the fifth and sixth holes, rather than simply showing you music notation. For example, tablature might indicate an upward arrow with a number above it, indicating that you need to blow on that numbered hole, followed by a downward area with a number on top, indicating that you need to inhale on that hole. Tabs make learning to play the harmonica much easier than learning to play other instruments. 

Choosing a Harp

Most harmonica instruction is given in the key of C, so it's probably best to buy a diatonic or Blues harp in the key of C. Most experts recommend that beginners purchase harmonicas with plastic or aluminum combs (the body of the harmonica) rather than wood. Plastic and metal are both more comfortable and more durable. However, you should be aware that, over time, you'll probably buy and try several different brands of harmonicas. Each person is unique, and each has to find the harmonica that is the best fit for his or her playing style.

IAN BROWN - The World Is Yours

Ian Brown -  Photo: Wikimedia
As it is well-known talented bands consist of talented musicians. But it is also known that talents of these particular musicians are not necessarily equally strong. The situation when a few people become famous at the expense of one person's abilities is pretty typical. But while the band lives the audience grasps its members as something whole and indivisible, not always of course but if one of them messes the things up all the rest are blamed too. However, everything takes its places after the band splits and its ex-members start making different efforts as solo artists. And it is here where true abilities of ex-superstars become apparent. As a rule, only one survives. 

So it happened to a well-known band The Stone Roses, which managed to influence a whole cohort of British brit pop and indie acts with only two albums. The Stone Roses had two bright leaders guitarist John Squire and vocalist Ian Brown. When The Stone Roses broke up in 1996 the general consensus was that it would be John Squire who should be the most successful solo act. He wrote the songs, played guitar like a god and even designed the sleeves for the albums. But as the time has shown this opinion was inaccurate. Indeed, Squire didn't quit the music and even recorded a number of albums but the result that he has achieved during post The Stone Roses era is simply not able to hold the candle to Ian Brown's achievements.

Golden Greats (Ian Brown album)
Golden Greats (Ian Brown album)
(Photo credit: 
Cult figure
In contrast to all the other members of The Stone Roses Ian Brown used his fame, brought by the band's two memorable albums, as a jumping-off place for his future solo career. His name is still standing in close connection with The Stone Roses but for the majority of the people, Ian Brown of today is a separate artistic unit. He's got four successful albums behind him, he has worked with many notable musicians, he regularly gives concerts in different points of the planet and in fact he is a real cult figure for many young indie rockers. Thus, for example, Arctic Monkeys' frontman Alex Turner has stated that Ian Brown as the band's musical hero.

In a word, Ian Brown just keeps on developing so far and the main thing is that he does it free and easy, taking his fame as true luck. His fifth album released this year is called The World Is Yours. This is a full-fledged studio record, which proves one more time that Ian Brown knows how to keep up with times. At his 44 he still sounds amazingly fresh and even modern and of course, you can always feel his perennial musical experience at that.

Professional confidence and a fresh flavor of today
Ian Brown's good point is that he never tries to copy somebody else's ideas, he's got his own and fairly recognizable style and doesn't want to change it, he simply adds new colors and observes what comes out of it. In this sense, The World Is Yours takes a position of an album with a post-classic sound. Brown always loved two things: good beat and massive keyboards, therefore any production exploring he used to make concerned mostly these very things. This time around the situation looks as follows: beat sound dense, velvet and not as synthesized as it was on some of his previous records. The sounding keeps the balance somewhere between good pop rock and modern Hip Hop production. It is fairly audible on the title track for instance.

The keyboards remain almost unchanged but only because Brown decided to use a huge amount of orchestral instruments on this record. They sound pretty appropriate and never spoil the rock spirit. It all imparts some sort of soundtrack flavor to the record, well, at least when you listen to, let's say, On Track you have a feeling that a helicopter with James Bond aboard is about to fly by your window or that Frodo Baggins is going to enter your room when you have Sister Rose playing. But as it was said earlier the orchestration never kills the rock constituent of the album.

The World Is Yours is probably the most proper rock album recorded with classical instruments, everything sounds really measured and balanced. The album as a whole has a very warm and massive sound, it is pretty hard to attach it to any concrete genre but saying it in simple terms The World Is Yours is a mature alternative rock with a notable influence of Hip Hop. Overall The World Is Yours is a very felicitous disc - it is both interesting and accessible, you can feel professional confidence and a fresh flavor of today. It is quite possible that it has some disadvantages too but you have to be Ian Brown's real hater to dig them out. If you are not one of them then you'll certainly like this album. In a word, give it a chance; it is worthy of your attention indeed.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

PLAY PIANO in a Flash – Is it Possible?

Piano, keys
Piano, keys (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is it really possible to learn to play piano in a flash? That would be impossible because according to some expert pianists, it took them years to learn their lessons and play effectively. However, there is one way to improve your learning process in a flash.

You might be wondering how, right? Well, it is really simple. You have to take note of your posture. This is very important when playing the piano. Try to observe pianists; they have great postures and they seem to play with ease at all times. Without proper posture, you will not learn the basic playing techniques and even if you do, you can’t play the instrument comfortably.

Some say that it is easier to teach children when it comes to posture but even if you’re an adult, you can still improve your posture. If you can do this, you can play comfortably and with flexibility.

1. Try to imagine yourself sitting and you’re about to play the piano. See yourself as a giraffe; feeling as if your neck and head can reach the ceiling.

2. The next thing that you have to do is to stretch your arms. Try to imagine that the arms are the wings of an angel. Stretch your arms to the sides until your elbows are horizontally pointed.

3. Now, focus your attention to your hands. Look at your fingers. Move them just like the legs of a spider. Walk each of your fingers to the piano keys.

4. You have to sit on the bench with ease and confidence. Try to think that you’re the best pianist there is and that you know all your pieces well.

5. When sitting on the bench, your elbows should be located right in front of the stomach. Stretch your arms until your fingers touch the piano keys. Never scoot forward. Sit as if you’re glued to the bench.

Did you notice anything on the five posture pointers mentioned? Which word is used many times? The word ‘imagine’ is used most of the time. This is very effective especially if you’re still a child but it can also work for adults. Try using your imagination. This way, your body and mind will connect instantly and you can play naturally.

The next time you practice on your piano, try to follow these pointers. Follow them one by one until you finally learn. These pointers are truly effective if you can follow properly. Even your piano teacher or instruction manuals will say the same thing. Here’s a question for you – have you ever seen a pianist who slouches? That would be quite funny and irritating, right?

Start by learning to have a good posture. This is one of the starting points to learn to play the piano in a flash. But all the other lessons should be taken one step at a time. You have to retain all the lessons. That is why you have to review your past lessons often to make sure that you still know them. You can’t simply forget past lessons because you will need them in the future lessons that you’re going to have.

The truth is, you can’t play piano in a flash. But with a little improvement in terms of your posture, you can go a long way. Take note of your posture now and check if you have a good one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


Trumpet with paper straight mute inserted; bel...
Trumpet with paper straight mute inserted; below are (left to right) straight, wah-wah (Harmon), and cup mutes. - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Trumpet players always like gadgets, and mutes are gadgets that we actually need. It's always interesting to experiment with the different sounds you can produce. There are so many mutes on the market, it's hard to keep them straight, no pun intended. If you are really into trumpet accessories, you can collect mutes for the rest of your life and never be finished. Every year, manufacturers come out with new brands and varieties.

When all is said and done, you will need three basic mutes...a straight mute, a cup mute, and a Harmon-style or Wah-Wah mute. The Harmon style mute is the one that is the most fun. My trumpet teacher used to tell us that if we left our mutes at home, we had left half of our horn at home. They were that important.

The first category is straight mutes. These are the basic mute used in trumpet playing the most often, and usually should be the first mute you purchase. If the music says "muted" or "con sordino", it means with a straight mute. Many parents will go and purchase the cheapest mute they can find. Metal straight mutest sound much better than others for most circumstances. Make sure you research mutes before you buy one. Whatever mute you decide to get, you want to try and match the rest of your section because they all sound different. The most popular brands used today are the Tom Crown, Leblanc Vacchiano, Jo-Ral, and Dennis Wick. I have around ten different straight mutes that all produce different sounds that I use for different circumstances.

Next, we have cup mutes and Harmon Style Mutes. These resemble a straight mute but have a cup at the end that changes the sound. The Harmon or Wah-Wah Style mute is a totally different sounding mute. I've also seen them called the Wow-Wow, and Jo-Ral calls theirs a Bubble Mute. The Harmon Brand mute is the one that started it all. In fact, regardless of the brand, they are usually called a Harmon Mute. The Harmon Brand is still a good mute, but most professional players play other brands.

A plunger is another one to keep handy if you play in a jazz band. You can purchase one made for trumpet playing, but I just use a normal sink plunger with the handle removed. A sink plunger is smaller than a regular toilet plunger and it works better for the trumpet. Save the toilet ones for the trombone players.

The last category of mutes I think a trumpet player should always have is a practice mute. With a good one, you can practice in a hotel room at 3:00am and not disturb anyone. There are numerous ones on the market today. That used to be very different. When I was in college, there were only a couple available, and only one of them was good. Practice mutes are a great thing to have, but they are not something that you should use all the time. The back-pressure is different than an open trumpet, and prolonged use could cause problems with your playing.

Monday, December 31, 2018


Portrait of Lester Young, Famous Door, New Yor...
Portrait of Lester Young, Famous Door, New York, N.Y. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Middle Man
Although throughout the history of jazz there has been a large number of incredibly talented saxophone players, it is a well-accepted fact among jazz scholars that three of the most important to the evolution of jazz saxophone were Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker, in that order.

Lester Young bridged the gap between the early jazz improvisations of Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker and the bebop revolution.  Coleman Hawkins was considered the King of the tenor saxophone players during the early Swing era with his big tone and mastery of chordal improvisation.  Lester Young arrived on the jazz scene with a totally new approach.

Mr. Cool
Lester Young rose to prominence out of Kansas City, during its musical boom years, while playing in the Count Basie big band.  His tone was very relaxed and soft sounding, and he played in a very lyrical fashion with phrasing that was unorthodox at the time.  His approach to improvisation was linear - he would play across the bar lines melodically instead of playing up and down the chords like Hawkins tended to do.

Lester Young became known as Pres which was a nickname given to him by jazz singer Billie Holiday. According to Holiday, "I always felt he was the greatest, so his name had to be the greatest.  The greatest man around then was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he was the President.  So I started calling Lester the President.  It got shortened to Prez."

Post-War Blues
Much has been written about the level of Young's playing after his unwilling one year stint in the U.S. Army.  He had a tough time with the white authority figures and was then court-martialed for possession of marijuana.  He was dishonorably discharged after spending one year in the brink.

Because this was such a disillusioning experience for Prez he became more withdrawn and sullen after his military service, and many critics believe this had a negative impact on his playing.

However, one exemplary recording from 1946 shows him in fine form.  He recorded The Lester Young Trio with Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums.  A 1950 Downbeat magazine review of four of the cuts says, "Four magnificent sides...with Lester most often at his fluent best."

The Pres Leaves Office
Lester Young continued to perform and record throughout the 1950s with guest appearances with the Count Basie Band and at the Newport Jazz Festival.  His increasing dependence on alcohol led to declining health and to his death in 1959.  50 plus years later he is still considered to be one of the giants of the jazz tenor saxophone.

    By Joel Krett
    Joel Krett currently plays tenor saxophone and harmonica with The Subway Show Band out of Morgantown, WV. and is an avid jazz fan.

    Article Source: EzineArticles

Sunday, December 30, 2018

How to Play ORGAN Chorale Fantasy "Komm Heiliger Geist", BWV 651 by BACH in 9 Steps

Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait ...
Johann Sebastian Bach 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Would you like to learn to play organ chorale fantasy "Komm Heiliger Geist, BWV 651 by Bach? If so, you will need to know the exact steps which will help you master this fantastic composition. In this article, I will share with you my recommendations on how to learn to play this piece and be ready for public performance.

Step 1 - Analyze the piece. In this step, you will have to analyze the key, the texture, compositional techniques used and tonal plan of the piece. This will help you to understand how the piece is put together.

Step 2 - Write in fingering. Writing in fingering will help you to know exactly which fingers to use.  This will definitely prevent many mistakes which would occur if you play with accidental fingerings.

Step 3 - Write in pedaling. In this step, you will need to know the rules of Baroque pedaling techniques. Early pedaling for Baroque pieces is different from the Romantic and modern pedaling techniques.

Step 4 - Ornaments. This step is very crucial if you want to play this piece in the Baroque style.

Step 5 - Articulation. Even more than the previous step, correct articulation will make your playing sound stylistically appropriate. Note that Baroque music generally is not played legato.

Step 6 - Tempo. With this step, you have to understand the correct ideal tempo for the performance of this piece and for practicing this composition. You have to also take into consideration the acoustics of the room which will determine the exact tempo for performance.

Step 7 - Registration. In this step, you will need to know which stops to use both for practicing this piece and which kind of stop combinations to use for concert performance or church service. The registration will be different on various types of organ - large or small.

Step 8 - Practice the piece. In this step, you will actually start practicing this composition. You will have to figure out the way to practice efficiently and effectively. This will allow you to learn this piece and be ready for public performance in the shortest amount of time possible.

Step 9 - Memorization. Memorizing this piece is optional and you don't need to perform this piece in public from memory. However, I strongly recommend for you to memorize it because this will help you truly perfect this fantastic composition and advance to a whole new level of mastery even if you choose to play it from the score.

Apply my tips in your practice and this will help you to master organ chorale fantasy "Komm Heiliger Geist", BWV 651 by Bach. I am sure you will have much fun perfecting the piece. This will definitely help you to advance in organ playing.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best Loved OPERAS - PUCCINI's La Boheme

Composer Giacomo Puccini in a studio photograph.
Composer Giacomo Puccini 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Puccini's opera La Boheme is one of the most popular and loved pieces. It will sell out at opera houses around the world many times over. It seems opera lovers simply can't get enough of this work. Why is it?

Perhaps the story of love at first sight and the simply stunning music are two things that make it so popular. The story is one that many people can relate to. It is about real human emotions and situations rather than fairies and emotionally out of touch characters.

Most aspiring professional opera singers have one of the many arias from La Boheme on their wish list. Most characters have one or two outstanding songs which is also why you will often hear arias as well as duets from La Boheme sung at opera galas of popular opera.

What is the story then? La Boheme is an opera in four acts based on a story of bohemian life set in the Latin Quarters in Paris in the 1840s. The world premiere was in Turin in 1896 and was conducted by a young Arturo Toscanini. Toscanini would later become one of the most well-known and highly regarded conductors of opera of all time. It was an instant hit and immediately became part of the standard opera repertoire.

English: Poster for the 1896 production for Pu...
Poster for Puccini's La bohème
Artist: Adolfo Hohenstein (1854-1928)
(Photo credit: 
The beginning of the opera sees four men in an attic space. There is Marcello (a baritone) who paints, the writer Rodolfo (a tenor), Colline (a bass) who is a philosopher, and the musician Shaunard (a baritone). They have very little or no money and in order to keep warm, they burn one of Rodolfo's failed manuscripts. The three men go out to Café Momus around the corner and Rodolfo will join them later after having finished the article he is writing. There is a knock on the door and Mimi (a soprano), a seamstress who also lives in the building, enters. She asks Rodolfo if he has any matches as her candle has blown out. This is the start of their great love story and it is where we hear two of the most famous arias ever written. First, there is Rodolfo's aria Che gelida manina (What a cold little hand) followed by Mimi's Si, mi chiamano Mimi (Yes, they call me Mimi) where they tell each other of their backgrounds and interests. This leads into one of the most well-known duets in the entire operatic repertoire, namely O soave fanciulla (Oh gentle maiden). The melodies are beautiful and the music is thick and bursting with emotion. There is something so simple and human about the love between Rodolfo and Mimi.

Act two starts with the four men and Mimi at Café Momus in the Latin Quarters. Soon, there is quite some commotion and a very elegant and sexy woman enters the scene. This is Musetta (another soprano), the former girlfriend of Marcello. She is now with an old rich man, Alcindoro (a bass) and it is quite clear she is fed up with him. When she sees Marcello she starts singing another aria which is one of the most popular ones ever written called Quando m'en vo (When I walk along) to make him jealous. In this very risque aria, she talks about how walking down the street everyone admires her and thinks she is amazing. Act two ends with a great ensemble in which Rodolfo and Mimi, and the now reunited couple of Marcello and Musetta, are singing together.

At the start of act three, Mimi is seen wandering the streets looking for Marcello whilst coughing severely. Rodolfo has left her and she is bereft. Later on, Mimi overhears Rodolfo telling Marcello that he left Mimi because he is afraid she is dying and he can't cope with it as he has no money to pay for doctors or medicine for her. He hopes she will find a rich man who can give her what he can't. Mimi's coughing reveals her presence and the two unite again for the time being. Here Mimi sings her second aria Donde lieta usci (From here she happily left), and soon after this Musetta arrives and is seen arguing passionately with Marcello. There is a very funny quartet where the two couples and singing together; the one couple reconciled and full of love, and the other one fighting and calling each other quite hateful words.

The final act sees the action back in the attic room from the start of the opera where Rodolfo and Marcello both mourn the loss of their respective lovers leaving them. Soon Musetta arrives with Mimi whom she found wandering around in the streets severely ill. Musetta and Marcello leave to sell Musetta's earrings in order to be able to afford medicine for Mimi. Here in the finale of this fantastic masterpiece of an opera, Rodolfo and Mimi recall their first meeting and their happiness together. Mimi dies in Rodolfo's arms and the opera ends with Rodolfo's crying out Mimi's name in anguish as he weeps uncontrollably. It is one of the most dramatic and heart-wrenching endings of all time. You can feel the despair and loss of Rodolfo and the sadness of all the friends who have arrived back in the attic room just as Mimi dies.

    By Margaret Cooke - Article Source: EzineArticles

Thursday, December 27, 2018

How to Hold a VIOLIN in Rest Position

English: Yury Revich violin
Yury Revich violin 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A violin is usually not played in a rest position, but it is still important to understand how it can be properly done in an ensemble or during a concert. The reason is that the orchestra is not only an auditory sensation for the audience but a visual one as well, so it's very important to coordinate positions, bowings, and fingerings so that the players look and sound as uniform as possible throughout the entire concert. When every violinist is in a rest position, the orchestra looks like a single unit rather than a bunch of characters casually sitting on stage with instruments.

Rest position simply means holding the violin at your side. You do this by bringing the violin under your arm and keeping it there while supporting the fingerboard with your forearm and hand. You want to press the violin securely against you and should be able to let go with your left hand very easily even despite the fact that it should be holding the neck of the instrument. This is simply because the weight of your arm should be strong enough to support the violin without a struggle.

The appearance of rest position should be uniform in an orchestra setting and should happen at specific intervals to maintain a consistent postural alignment between all the players. When the conductor is not on the podium, all players should be in rest position. When the conductor moves to the podium, take your instrument from rest position to attention position, which is where the violin should rest on the knee. Finally, when the conductor raises his hand to dictate the downbeat, bring the violin up to your shoulder in playing position.

While some aspects of playing the violin are elementary and easy to pick up on such as this one, there are a number of techniques that are extremely challenging and take years and years of work in order to master. For that reason, I always advise every single person interested in playing the violin to get a good teacher and start learning as much from someone who is more knowledgeable than they are on the violin. You will only learn so much from yourself if you try to teach yourself how to play, whereas with a teacher your possibilities on the instrument will be unlocked by learning all the things you don't know that you don't know about the violin.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Brief History of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685 - 1750)

Seb Bach
Photo by Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara 
Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the top classical music composers of all time – so famous today so he is commonly known as simply “Bach“. A native German, Bach was a composer, organist and violinist and produced classical religious and secular works for choirs, solo instruments and orchestras.

Fixed in time in the Baroque music movement (1600-1750) Bach was a primary driver of change within it. Bach’s lifetime was one of fame, self-doubt and amazing achievement with a legacy that lasts to this day.


Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach to Johann Ambrosius Bach and Maria Elisabeth Lammerhirt.

Bach’s mother died in 1694 with his father died shortly after leaving him an orphan aged 10 to be raised by his older brother Johann Christoph Bach himself an organist. There he learned to copy, study and perform music and receiving valuable tuition from his brother.


Bach remained in Germany for most of his life despite his contemporary and musical rival Handel moving to England to further his interests.

Bach’s first wife, Maria Barbara, died in 1720 leaving Bach to raise seven children. This apparently triggered Bach to seek the solace of work and held the coveted position of musical director for many princes and dukes at this period, leaving his children in the care of others.

In 1721, Bach married his second wife, Anna Magdelena Wilcke, and took up a position in a Leipzig school and a local church. Here he extended his already burgeoning family with a further thirteen children, with seven tragically dying before they reached adulthood.


Bach died (aged 65) on 28th July 1750 after a period of ill-health. He became blind shortly before his death after an “unsuccessful eye operation” which may have contributed to his demise. Modern historians have argued that his death was a direct consequence of a stroke caused by pneumonia.

The Family Bach

Bach’s left behind a family that was also musically gifted, with his second wife being a talented musician and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, becoming an accomplished organist. Many of Anna Magdelena’s notebooks survive today and contain many of the works composed by Bach’s family.

His Most Famous Works

Bach’s produced hundreds of pieces throughout his lifetime, many of which are still played today. Amongst the most famous are the Magnificat, the Partitas, the Mass in B Minor, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the St. Matthew Passion, the St. John Passion, the Goldberg Variations, the Musical Offering, the English and French Suites, The Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg concertos, the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the Cello Suites. He also wrote over 200 cantatas (that we know of today) and approximately the same number of organ pieces such as the Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.

Bach’s Musical Legacy

Bach’s classical music legacy is hard to measure in real terms, although there are a total of 1292 titles available to buy from the Chappell of Bond Street online catalogue ( at the last count including many such as “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” that have been edited and arranged since his death and are now played regularly in churches, schools and independent choirs across the world.

Bach’s status as a master classical music composer was only really cemented in the 19th century when a revival of his music triggered the editing and arranging of many of his pieces which remain in that form to this day.

It has been said that it was, in fact, Bach that was the trigger for the move from the Baroque era into the “classical era”, leaving his mark on classical music with fans that transcend time and nationality with music that still to this day has the power to strike awe and passion in the youngest and oldest of minds.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The History and Characteristics of the JAZZ COMBO

Studio Rivbea, NYC July, 1976
Studio Rivbea, NYC July 1976 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jazz is an American art form whose roots date back to the mid-19th-century slave songs and chants. The early 20th century saw the art form blossom as instrumental music in the southern United States, mainly along the Mississippi River and specifically New Orleans, Louisiana.

Early instrumental jazz combos of New Orleans varied in instrumentation.  More often than not, these early jazz groups generally consisted of trumpet, clarinet, trombone, tuba and drums.  This instrumentation became what is known as the "Dixieland" combo, making its way up the Mississippi River to Chicago where the music became popularized by jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong.

Dixieland combos can be thought of as groups that play "polyphonic" improvisational music.  Each instrument is independent of every other instrument, with each player creating separate musical improvisations based on known melodies, or "tunes" of the day.

The players of these early jazz combos each had a separate role within the group.  The trumpet player was depended upon to state the melody of the song, while the clarinet would improvise complex lines above him.  The trombonist's role was to improvise or "fill in" the middle register with lines and notes that were essential to the chord changes of the song itself.  The tuba player (or bass player) generally laid down root notes (and 5ths) of each chord on beats 1 and 3 of each measure.  The tuba served as the harmonic anchor for the group. Lastly, it was the drummer's role to keep everyone together by keeping a steady beat throughout the entirety of the song.

As jazz music developed throughout the 1940s and 1950s, jazz combo instrumentation began to become more standardized.  The jazz "quintet" and "sextet" became very popular during this time.  The quintet consisted of trumpet and alto (or tenor) sax as the main melodic instruments while the rhythm section (piano, bass and drums) took care of rhythm and harmony.

The sextet added a trombone to form what essentially was a three-horn front line, with rhythm section accompaniment.  The extra melodic instrument of the sextet made it possible for the horns to add more harmonic depth to the sound of the group.  Each instrument had a role not only as a melodic voice but also as an integral component of the harmonic structure as well.

Modern jazz combos consist of a variety of instrumentation - 4, 5 horn combos are commonplace.  As the group grows in size, however, the name "combo" is replaced by "band" or "little big band".

The jazz combo has provided a musical and creative outlet for countless musicians over the last 100 years.  The jazz combo continues to provide jazz musicians the opportunity to work together to make music not only as a group but also to develop their own voice as individual jazz improvisers.  It is, and probably always will be, the perfect vehicle for learning the art of jazz improvisation.