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Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

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Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:18 am

Well here are some nothing else to do I might as well read about musical blurrbs

Personally I like tales and little interesting info so I found these valueable...

Everyone else can decide for themselves... Have fun!


Last edited by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:20 am

What You Need to Know About History of Piano

The idea of designing a piano is from an older instrument called the harp which was designed before the birth of Christ. This instrument "Harp" exist in ancient Greece. At some point, an enterprising young go-getter named Fred conceived of a peculiar notion. Fred decided to change the concept of piano by plucking the strings with mechanical device and not by plucking the strings with fingers. This idea of a harp operated by keys is the first primitive keyboard.

In the fourteenth century, the idea of designing a keyboard was envisioned and sketched. Coincidentally, it is the last time the Cubs won the World Series. An interesting story of instrument design, innovation and invention proceeded over the next five centuries. The modern piano was invented in the early 1700s before the precursor and there were three instruments which were used to play the keyboard music.

Harpsichord: If you are the fan of Baroque music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century Bach, you have heard about the contemporaries which are nothing but the sound of a harpsichord.

Clavichords: These instruments were very soft and no matter how hard you slammed down the keys. It could not make them any louder than this.

Organs: No matter whether it is large or small organs. In churches they accompany liturgical music and it have been around for centuries.

Cristofori: It is credited with inventing and building the first piano. Pianoforte is Cristofori's new instrument. Italian's combines the words for soft (piano) and loud or strong (forte).

In the European tradition, piano-building has been continued by makers such as Steinway, Bosendorfer and Baldwin. Some companies have been affected by industrial-age factory methods and automated procedures but still maintain an ethic that hand-crafting of important parts is essential. The strong points tend to be consistency and play ability, these pianos are developed by Japan which has got into the act with high quality pianos built largely by machines. Yamaha and Kawai are some of the companies which have established reputations for their excellent instruments.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:21 am

Changing Keys - What is Transposition, and How Can I Do It?

Transposition is changing the key of a piece of music, or changing the notes without changing their relationship. This is often done to make the piece of music easier to play or sing. It's a common practice in bands that don't perform their own material; the singer may wish to cover a song with vocals that are far out of his or her range. Transposition can correct that problem by shifting the key into a range that is comfortable for him or her.

Transposition is also used with instruments. Some instruments (called transposing instruments) are not tuned to the same note; for instance, a Bb clarinet is tuned to a B flat and an alto clarinet to an E flat. Transposition of the sheet music for these instruments ensures that they won't sound discordant when playing with the rest of the orchestra or band.

Transposition may be a simple concept, but it's often tricky to achieve. The easiest sort of transposition -and technically it is not transposition at all, since it remains in the same key - is done by octave - simply moving the piece of music up or down eight steps. This sort of transposition may work for a male singer wishing to sing a female's part, but it does little for transposing instruments or other areas of vocal work. In these cases, it's best to use transposition by either scale degree or harmonic interval.

Transposition by scale degree uses the scale degrees of a piece of music to determine the relationship between the notes. Each note in a piece is assigned a scale degree (tonic, dominant, subdominant, mediant, submediant, etc.) and the same scale degrees are used for the new key. This type of transposition once understood is relatively simple, as the relationship between the notes will always remain the same, regardless of the key.

Transposition by harmonic interval uses intervals as a guide for the transposition. By finding the interval between the dominant notes in the two keys, one can deduce the interval between the all the notes. If the difference between the notes is a major third, then transposition of all the notes will be done by a major third. This type of transposition is also potentially simple but calls for an added carefulness when dealing with accidentals that aren't expressed in the key signature.

The very best way to transpose is to learn to think in more than one key. Most beginners start learning in the key of C, so after awhile they can think in that key -- they know where the notes in that key are, and their fingers can get to them easily. Since every key a person can play in is mathematically the same as every other key, by learning to play in a 2nd key one can learn to think in that key, just as they did in the key of C.

Keys are like languages: if you don't know Spanish, you certainly can't think in Spanish, and when you learn to speak it, you will have to rack your brain for the right word for quite awhile before you begin to think in Spanish. Its the same in music -- there are only 12 major keys in which you can play (in contract to languages, where there are hundreds) -- so if you can eventually learn to think in all those 12 major keys, there is no key left that you couldn't transpose in to.

Practically speaking, however, most people don't need to know all 12 keys -- just the keys in which most songs are written: C, F, G, D, A, Bb, and Eb. If you can learn the other six too, that's fabulous, but you can certainly get by with just those 6 keys, or perhaps even less -- and least C, F, and G -- the "big 3" when it comes to keys.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:23 am

The Mysterious Tritone Chord Progression

I certainly like this one
lol!

Just what is it about the tritone chord progression that makes it so mysterious? Perhaps it has to do with its dissonant, clashing sound. It may have something to do with its dubious history. Whatever it is, the tritone chord progression in music made a comeback in music after several centuries of bad publicity.

'Tritone" is defined as a musical interval that spans three whole tones. A tritone chord may also be called an augmented fourth or diminished fifth chord. The tritone sounds like a clash, or as a dissonant chord. For this reason, the tritone chord was often avoided during Medieval times through to the end of the Romantic era.

For hundreds of years musical styles were, in large part, dictated by the church. During Medieval times, the tritone was viewed as too dissonant for use in common liturgical services. In fact, the tritone chord progression came to represent the devil. Perhaps as early as the 18th century it was commonly known as "diabolus in musica" (the devil in music).

A great deal of superstition came to be associated with the tritone. Many church fathers adhered to the belief that it may even serve to invoke the power of the devil. Because of this superstition, the use of the tritone was banned by the church for liturgical use. Because of this negative association, even secular music produced during these centuries avoided it.

There is speculation that this chord may have been associated with the Devil for another reason. The tritone, as already mentioned, consists of three whole tones.

Three whole tones equal six semitones. This may have led the church fathers to associate the tritone with the Biblical "mark of the beast," or number of the devil: 666.

As with any widely held superstition, the tritone had a bad public image to overcome. Eventually some musicians cautiously experimented with the tritone, particularly during the Baroque and Classical music era. Finally, it seemed as though its stigma had been somewhat overcome during the Romantic period. Notable classical musicians like Vivaldi, Beethoven and Debussy inserted the tritone into various works.

When the equal temperament system of tuning came into general practice in Western music, the tritone began to make a comeback in contemporary songs. Still, it had remnants of its former reputation. The tritone began to appear in modern rock and roll, jazz and blues songs. Those with prudish natures denounced it, probably still subscribing to the old-fashioned church-propagated superstition. Despite some opposition, the tritone took hold. Today it's used regularly and without inhibition.

Many musicians are still aware of its diabolical history. In fact, the tritone is sometimes still used in contemporary media to signify, represent or "invoke" the devil. One example of this is the 1986 movie Crossroads. In it, the main character, in a showdown of guitar prowess, ends a guitar solo with a tritone chord because of its association with the devil. However, its relation to ancient superstitions has been largely forgotten by the general public. Today, the tritone is used artistically, just another color in the musical palette.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:31 am

Grand Piano - Choosing an Acoustic Piano

Lets dream that we can afford to buy one, what should we consider...?


Purchasing an acoustic piano is a big investment, so you need to research it well before buying. There are several factors, like size and expense, to consider so that you choose the best instrument for your needs. You also have a couple of different instruments to choose from - verticals of different sizes, baby grand and the grand piano. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself as you look over your options:

* What is the instrument going to be used for?
You may be purchasing an instrument for taking lessons either for you or your children. You don't have to go out and buy the most expensive one for this, but you also don't want to skimp on quality. If it is for lessons, you want a decent instrument that is in good working order and tuned.

A vertical is sufficient for this purpose. The grand piano is a popular investment piece because of its appreciation values. Others simply like the look it gives to a room. So, is it for lessons, an investment or as an elegant piece of furniture?

* What are your abilities?
Whether you are just starting out or you are a concert pianist, you need a good instrument. However, if you are a professional or have aspirations to be, investing in a quality grand piano makes sense. Though you can produce similar quality sounds with a vertical, the grand gives you better control of tone and faster repetition.

* How much space can you dedicate to the instrument?
An upright takes up much less space than a baby or a grand piano so if you have limited space, one of the vertical instruments will be better. There are four sizes - the spinet, console, studio and full-size. They are about 2 feet deep and 5 feet wide with the height ranging from 3 to 5 feet tall. The grand piano ranges from 4.5 feet to 9 feet long. So, while all you really need for a vertical is free wall space, you need an open space for the grand.

* How much can you afford to pay?
Financing an acoustic piano is no small thing. Verticals start out at about $2500 and go up from there. A grand piano will start at about $10,000 for a baby and can go as high as $100,000 for higher quality instruments. If you choose to purchase a refurbished piece, make sure it comes from a reputable dealer.

This option can save you money and you still get a fine instrument. You don't want to break the bank on something that your kids are not going to stick with, so it might be a good idea to let them start lessons to see how things go. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a big piece of furniture that is nothing more than a catch-all for dust.

There are so many sizes, styles and price ranges to choose from, you should have no problem choosing an acoustic piece that suits your needs perfectly. If you consider the purpose, your abilities, available space and affordability, you can decide between a vertical and a grand piano for your playing needs.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:32 am

Synthesis Methods of the Electronic Keyboard

Electronic keyboard synthesizers have come a long way since their inception. Few people know that the first electronic synthesizer was invented in the late 1800s. This model was, of course, only a very rough precursor to the musical synthesizers of today. Modern synthesizers are capable of producing a variety of sounds by generating and combining signals of different frequencies. This process is called synthesis, and it can be divided into five distinct types: wavetable, physical modeling, digital, fingerboard and software (digital).

Wavetable synthesis uses an existing sound to create a digital recording, which is known as a sample. This recording can be replayed at a range of pitches. While other synthesis methods use oscillator circuits to produce repetitive electronic signals, wavetable synthesis uses sample playback. If an artist wants to change the musical tone of a passage, the speed of the playback is quickened or slowed accordingly. For instance, in order to alter the frequency of a sound one octave higher, it is played at double speed. Wavetable synthesis is used in certain digital music synthesizers to implement real-time additive synthesis and direct digital synthesis with minimum hardware.

Physical modeling synthesis uses a set of equations and algorithms to simulate the desired physical source of a sound. In order to generate a specific sound, an initial set of parameters is run through the physical simulation. Physical modeling is based on the concepts of acoustics and synthesis. The development of the Karplus-Strong algorithm and the increase in digital signal processor (DSP) power in the late 1980s allowed for the commercial implementations of modern synthesizer physical modeling.

Digital synthesis involves using a digital oscillator to generate a digital sample that corresponds to a sound pressure at a given sampling frequency. In most basic instances, the digital oscillator is modulated by a counter. For each generated sample, the counter is advanced by an amount determined by the frequency of the oscillator. The values are recorded by the oscillator's counter, mixed, processed and sent to a digital-to-analog converter. The resulting analog signal is then sent to an analog amplifier, which converts the signal to sound.

Fingerboard synthesis utilizes a ribbon controller, which is a user interface used to control the parameters of analog synthesizers. A ribbon controller is similar to the touchpad of a laptop computer in that it registers and translates the motion and position of the user's fingers. However, most ribbon controllers only register linear motion. Although it could hypothetically be used to alter and control any sound parameter, a ribbon controller is most commonly associated with pitch control or pitch bending.

Digital synthesis is possible on most modern, high-speed personal computers through a variety of available software. DSP algorithms are commonplace, and they allow for the creation of fairly accurate simulations of physical acoustic sources or electronic sound generators. Some commercial programs offer quite lavish and complex models of classic synthesizers. Other programs permit the user complete control of all aspects of digital music synthesis, although such programs can be expensive and difficult to use.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:35 am

Types of Musical Synthesizers - The Keyboard's Family Tree

Musical synthesizers, or keyboards, as they are more commonly called, are one of the musical instruments most often owned by individuals or families in the United States. Comparatively compact, affordable, and easy to play, keyboards have, to some extent, followed in the footsteps of the Napoleonic Era's ubiquitous pianoforte. It is an instrument that almost everyone has had access to at one point or another, and it is as easily recognized today as the violin might have been in Mozart's day. But it is important to remember that not all keyboards are alike. Not only are different models and brands capable of different musical feats, but there is a very basic divide that allocates musical synthesizers neatly into two categories, these being analog and digital.

Analog synthesizers generate sound electronically via an analog computer, which is a computer that operates using numbers represented by directly measurable quantities. Unless you are a computer engineer (and you may well be, considering the times), this instruments use of an analog computer may not mean much. The fact is that analog synthesizers are rarely used today, at least by the general public. If a family or an individual purchases an electronic keyboard, it is far more likely that they will buy a digital synthesizer.

Digital synthesizers use digital signal processing to produce sound. Again, unless you understand electronics, this may be out of your milieu. However, the upshot is that digital synthesizers, at least those available today, boast onboard accessibility with switchable front panel controls. This means that the individual playing the instrument can peruse its functions, which are, let's face it, the reason most people purchase a keyboard in the first place.

It should be noted that there has been a recent resurgence in the popularity of analog synthesizers due to the arrival of the retro analog synthesizer. The increasing demand led to the innovation of the analog modeling synthesizer, which emulates the sounds of a traditional analog model using digital signal processing components. The instrument is, essentially, a digital synthesizer, but it undeniably owes its existence to peoples' fondness for the original analog instrument.

One attribute shared by almost all modern keyboards is the ability to integrate and synchronize with other electronic instruments. This is due to the invention and thorough adoption of musical instrumental digital interface, or MIDI. In essence, MIDI is a standardized protocol that enables electronic musical instruments, computers and other equipment to communicate, control, and synchronize with each other. The invention of MIDI made it easier to use keyboards with other electronic instruments and greatly contributed to the synthesizer's popularity.

A footnote to the types of keyboards available is that today, computers can actually be used as synthesizers thanks to the invention of software synthesizers. These software synthesizers can actually outdo the quality and performance of many hardware synthesizers, which is why they are growing in popularity. In order to make use of such software, it is only necessary to provide a MIDI-enabled keyboard that can be connected to a PC.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:44 am

LOOK What I found Smile

How Can the Best Online Piano Course Make it Fun and Easy to Learn?


How can learning how to play the piano be fun and easy? How can learning to play any type of musical instrument be fun and easy? Learning to play the piano at the very least can be a vary daunting task. But it doesn't have to be that way. So many people start out to learn the piano in all kinds of different ways. They start out with the best of intentions only to just give up in exasperation after a couple of weeks into it.

Why?

Because they didn't think it was going to be as hard as it really was. given traditional methods of learning how to play piano, I can understand and share their frustration. But there is an alternative that I will promote to you that there is a solution connected with the best online piano course that you will ever find online.

No one likes that feeling that they couldn't finish or plain quit an endeavor that they really wanted to learn. Of course talking about playing the piano hits us in the passion area where we really wanted to learn how to play but the foundational methods just wasn't there. You didn't have guidance and you didn't have a system to follow that would insure that you would be playing in half the time as traditional teaching methods.

Learning with this course will allow you to start playing with the greats such as Beethoven, Chopin, and so on. Taking on the best online piano course will allow you to become working proficient in playing the sounds that these masters of long ago produced.

How neat would that be? Would you take a chance in finding out more about this process?

Don't think that these lessons are just for you. If you wanted your children to learn how to play piano then this course will allow them to learn at an accelerated level.

Giving your children the opportunity to learn to play the piano is one of the best gifts that you can give to them. Such as making a living takes up most of your time these days it doesn't have to stop you from learning how to play the piano.

This online course allows you to go at your own pace and at your own comfort level. No pressure here just finish one lesson before the next since they all build upon each other.

So it must cost a pretty penny for this course. Nope, it's totally reasonable but you'll never find out unless you take that next step in learning about the course.

You really can't say now that the reason you can't play the piano is because that you're too busy, now can you?

Playing the piano may have been a dream to you for a while. But here's an opportunity for you to realize your dreams or your childrens dreams of learning how to play a piano from an online course. This course is different from the rest because it's fun and easy and affordable. Go visit http://www.howtoplayapiano.org and see what I mean.

THAT WAS PRETTY NEAT!!!! Dont you think? cheers
That is when your dreams come true. flower
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maggiekedves
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:01 am

Sheet Music Then & Now

Most modern musicians take sheet music for granted. Sheet music abounds in printed form and can even be downloaded from the Internet. It's a far cry from the days of oral tradition. Centuries ago, there were few ways to pass on music other than to "hum a few bars" until the listener caught on.

The available manuscripts had to be painstakingly marked out by a transcriptionist and were limited in number. In fact, while many songs were known on a wide scale, they were likely spread about by travelling minstrels and troubadours. They were certainly not available in printed form at the local music shop.

Prior to the invention of the printing press in the mid 15th century, very few private citizens owned or had access to sheet music. The ones in existence were owned by a few wealthy noblemen. Because the only way to publish written music was to copy it by hand, it's little wonder that sheet music was scarce.

The process took long hours and careful copying skills, plus access to the right materials. Before the printing press, the only songs available in written score were sacred songs. Most of these were chants used in liturgical services. Virtually no secular music scores existed prior to the 15th century.

The invention of the printing press in 1439 changed the history of sheet music. This is in spite of the fact that the earliest methods of reproducing musical scores were almost as painstaking as copying music by hand. Italian printer Ottaviano Petrucci may be considered the "father of sheet music."

He developed the first method for reproducing sheet music. He was also granted an exclusive patent for his work, giving him an early monopoly on the business for several years. His method involved three stages. The paper was pressed three times. First, the staff was printed. On the second impression, the words were added. The final impression laid down the notes.

The downside to the process was that it was time-consuming and expensive. This made it relatively impractical for the average citizen to own sheet music. However, technology evolved over the years. Eventually, better and more efficient methods of printing were developed.

Most of the earliest music that was published was sacred music. In fact, the printing, distribution and publication of music were largely controlled by the church for several centuries. Eventually this changed, and soon music companies found themselves in the thriving business of music publishing. The retail distribution of sheet music took off in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This was in spite of the fact that there was no means for promoting particular songs or artists, like radio or television.

The popularity of sheet music prompted many governments around the world to examine the issue of copyright and pass their own laws in that regard. With copyright becoming a worldwide issue, the Berne Convention of 1886 established a universal principle regarding copyright. Today, approximately 76 countries around the world adhere to this standard.

Of course, technology continues to evolve. Radio, television and the Internet have posed new challenges to the ability of governments to enforce copyright laws. Sheet music can now be downloaded straight from the Internet, often illegally. Notwithstanding this, the annual sale of sheet music ranges in the tens of thousands today. Music-publishing software has brought the printing of music full circle from the days when stolid monks sat writing music with a quill by candlelight.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:04 am

Dave Brubeck - The Master of Improvisation and Unusual Rhythms

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck is one of the stalwarts of jazz piano. His music is characterized by unusual time signatures and can be either extreme - totally dynamic or or completely relaxed. His most famous piece - Take Five - is so popular it has taken on almost cult status, and rightfully so.

David Warren Brubeck (aka Dave Brubeck)was born on the 6th of December, 1920. His thing for music came from his mother - an aspiring concert pianist who was formally taught. She used to take piano classes to supplement her income. Despite having such organized music at home, Dave Brubeck took to his own way of learning and playing the piano opting to create his own melodies. He purposely avoided a situation where he had to read music and play using his bad eyesight as an excuse.

When in college, it was discovered that he could not read written music. This caused for the professor in charge to take action and expel him but his other professors stood by the fact that despite his inability to read music, he had a good abilities when it came to counterpointing and harmony. Taking his case as an exception, it was decided that he be allowed to graduate from the institute promising to never teach piano.

Armed with a degree from the University Of The Pacific, he was drafted to join the army in 1942. During his service in the army, he met his future partner in music, saxaphonist Paul Desmond. While serving in the US Defence Forces, he played in a band which brought both fame and dislike to his musical stylings.

After almost four years serving in the Army, he went back to college and got himself enrolled in Mills College in Oakland, California. There he studied with the French composer Darius Milhaud who recognized his unusual talent for improvisation and uncommon rhythms.

Immediately after finishing his course in Mills College, he was signed to Fantasy Records in Berkeley California. He started singing with an octet and a trio which eventually became a quartet when Army pal Paul Desmond joined the group which originally included Cal Tjader and Ron Crotty.

Taking after his inclination to play music that was more unusual than not at the time, they recorded some music which didn't have enough mass appeal to be a success which hence gave them very few gigs. After failing to draw in crowds, Dave Brubeck spent many years playing nothing but the opposite of what he had intended to when he started out playing jazz standards with the other members of the trio except Paul Desmond.

In 1951 after an almost fatal swimming accident, Dave formed his next group The Dave Brubeck Quartet - this time with Desmond in it. They were the house band for awhile at the Black hawk nightclub in San Francisco. The new quartet was very successful. They started touring college campuses and made a series of recordings including Jazz At Oberlin, Jazz Goes To College and Jazz Goes To Junior College.

The fame and success got Dave Brubeck space on the cover of Time Magazine - the only jazz musician to have the honor since Louis Armstrong. Sometime around the mid 1950's one half of the group - two members Bob Bates and Joe Dodge - quit the group. They were replaced by Eugene Wright and Joe Morello. Eugene Wright's presence in the band put the band on a black list for some venues since he he was a African American. Many concerts were called off because club owners were averse to having an African-American play in their premises.

Upon realizing that there were plans to not film Wright during a particular television show on which they were performing ,Dave canceled the appearance, winning praise from other musicians and many jazz critics. 1959 saw the release of Time Out which had the one quality of Dave Brubeck that he is known by today - unusual time signatures. Despite them not being in common time but instead in 5/4 time, the album was a hit and the album was soon certified platinum. When Dave plays Take Five at concerts, the audience almost always goes wild with applause.

Dave's next act was a musical that he and his wife Iola wrote - a jazz musical based on the experiences that they had during an international tour on behalf of the US State Department. It had all the big names of the time - Louis Armstrong, Hendricks & Ross, Lambert and Carmen McRae. Later albums of the quartet include Time Further Out: Miro Reflections (1961), Countdown: Time in Outer Space,Time Changes and Time In. All these albums had iconic album covers by contemporary artists. They held a concert titled At Carnegie Hall in 1963 which was described as Dave Brubeck's greatest concert, but 40 years later he is still playing great concert after great concert.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:14 am

Three of the Greatest Pop Pianists of Modern Times

It seems as though pop music sometimes gets a bad rap. A glimpse at three of modern pop's most famous pianists may dispel the myth that pop is an inferior genre. Their skill and level of musical expertise rivals that of pianists of other genres.

Sir Elton John: Born in England in 1947, his illustrious career has spanned three decades. John's talent for playing the piano became apparent before the boy even entered school. He was often overheard picking out difficult classical pieces on the piano by ear as young as four years old. In fact, he was considered a prodigy. John entered the Royal Academy of Music on a scholarship award at the age of 11 and outshone most of the other students.

His professional career began like that of many musicians. John spent several years playing in pubs. Eventually a chance opportunity led him to partner with Bernie Taupin. Taupin and John write songs together to this day. Songwriting eventually led to the release of his first album in 1970. Shortly thereafter he became known as "the father of piano rock," a title that still befits him today.

Billy Joel: Though he is often associated with his first big hit, "The Piano Man," Joel almost didn't learn to play. It was with great reluctance and upon his mother's insistence that he began piano lessons. He excelled in proficiency, despite taunts from classmates about his preference for music over sports. Joel even took up boxing in high school to quell those taunts. Though he won many boxing championships, he gave up boxing after a nose injury and focused on his musical pursuits.

Joel began playing professionally at age 14. He played with various bands from 1964 until he recorded and released his first solo album in 1971. Though that first album didn't gain much acclaim, but his second did. "The Piano Man" single was an instant success. The album "The Piano Man," which was released in 1973, went gold. To date, over 4 million copies of this recording have been sold.

Joel went on to make several more albums in his career. His works include an album of original classical piano pieces.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Much of the credit for advancing the role of rock music in society must be given to this artist. In fact, Lewis is considered a pioneer in the industry. He began playing the piano in childhood and had a clear gifting for music. Fascinated by "negro music," he began to develop his own style based on it. It was a mix of gospel, which he had grown up with, and country, R&B and boogie woogie. What emerged was the earliest form of rock and roll.

Lewis was often publicly condemned for playing in a style that had not been heard before. Even his own family denounced his work. This criticism seemed to only fuel his artistic nature even more. His fame spread, and even Elvis Presley took notice. He is quoted as saying "If I could play the piano like that, I'd quit singing."

Lewis' life, like that of many artists, was fraught with personal problems and scandals. His marriage to his 13-year-old cousin in 1953 (while still married to his first wife) nearly plummeted his career into obscurity. Soon after, his fame became limited to being the butt of jokes and public ridicule. Health problems, alcoholism, drug addiction and family tragedies nearly did him in. But after a movie about his life was released in 1989, his career made a comeback. This included another hit album in 2007, his first since 1973, and his induction into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame the same year.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:16 am

Four of the Greatest Modern Classical Pianists of All Times

Every serious piano student eventually learns to play some of the most well-known classical pieces during his or her studies. Nary a pianist didn't learn Palchabel's Canon in D or Beethoven's Fur Elise. Even non-musicians recognize names like Bach and Mozart.

But what about modern classical pianists who have also made notable contributions to cultural history? Here are four the most well-known modern classical pianists and their contributions:

* Glen Gould: The eccentric Canadian-born classical pianist spent more of his prolific career in the recording studio than on stage. Gould covered many of the original classical greats, such as Bach and Beethoven. Gould may be best remembered though for his recordings of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Gould was widely acclaimed for his unusual technique and eclectic renditions of famous classical works. Though he spent many years on the road, touring several countries, he gave up concert performances in 1964 at the age of 32. Though he could have spent decades longer on the road, he preferred to live out the remainder of his career in the studio.

Gould's career was cut short by an untimely stroke at the age of 50, which ultimately took his life. Still, his recordings live on today and have been released and re-released numerous times.

* Arthur Rubinstein: He has been referred to as one of the greatest piano virtuosi of the 20th century. Born in Poland in 1887, Rubinstein's family recognized a depth of unique talent in him, despite the fact he didn't speak until age three. A childhood filled with unusual behavior and outbursts fuel speculation that Rubinstein may have suffered from a learning disorder or autism.

Eventually, Rubinstein's temperament gave way to the talent for playing the piano that he eventually became known for. Rubinstein made his concert debut in New York in 1906 and toured until 1976. He reluctantly retired from public performance at the age of 89 when his hearing and eyesight began to fail. Though he passed away in 1982, Rubinstein is still highly acclaimed among modern musicians.

* Sergei Rachmaninoff: This Russian classical pianist was also a composer and conductor. Perhaps it was his unusual 12-inch hand span that helped him become a legend for his technical proficiency. Rachmaninoff not only commanded the stage, but at a height of 6 feet, 6 inches, commanded a room as well. Though he began piano study casually under the tutelage of his own mother, his extraordinary talent quickly emerged.

Rachmaninoff was mediocre in academics, even failing many of his subjects for lack of motivation. However, his piano instructor, who recognized his potential, insisted on a strict and disciplined practice regimen. If not for him, Rachmaninoff may have given up on his musical studies as well. A later meeting with Peter Tchaikovsky also served as inspiration for him to continue his musical career.

He managed to overcome several setbacks in his career, including scathing public reviews and a long period of writer's block. After several years of performance and changes in location, Rachmaninoff moved to the United States in 1918. He continued performing until February of 1943, just a month before his death from cancer.

* Myra Hess: This British pianist stands out in a genre typically dominated by men, especially during her years of public performance. Even as a young child Hess exhibited extraordinary talent. She was admitted to the Guildhall School of Music just two years after beginning lessons at age five. She gave her first public performance at the tender age of 17 in 1907, when she toured throughout Europe for several years. Eventually Hess debuted in the United States, where she realized almost instant acclaim. In an effort to boost morale during World War II, Hess organized a series of free public concerts in London. Her efforts during a time that saw the closure of concert halls and art galleries due to the war was deeply appreciated and received by the public. Hess herself performed at many of these lunch hour concerts. It may have been these efforts that endeared her to the public and stirred lasting interest in her music and career.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:21 am

Piano Playing Secrets Of The Pros

That is a wooow list!!

It's no secret that professional piano players use techniques that amateur piano players don't. So what else is new? Professional golfers use techniques that amateur golfers don't use (at least not very well), and pro ball players use techniques that sandlot and weekend athletes don't use -- or again, not very well.

So it's not surprising that professional piano players have some tricks up their sleeves that the rest of us mortals don't have. But that doesn't mean we can't try to emulate the great pianists. We may not pull it off as well as them, but we sure can have a lot of fun trying, and who knows? Maybe a few of us can actually learn these techniques well enough to win some admiration from our friends, join a group, play for our own enjoyment, or whatever.

Here is a list of just a few of the technique the pros use when they play piano. There are more, of course, but this is a pretty good estimate of the most important skills:

Pro Secret 1: Straddles. Leaving one of more notes out of a chord to create an open feeling.

Pro Secret 2: 2/1 & 3/1 Breakups. Breaking a chord up by playing part of the chord & then the rest of the chord.

Pro Secret 3: Waterfall Chords. Broken chords cascading down from the top of the keyboard similar to a waterfall.

Pro Secret 4: Tremolo-Fired Runs. Rapid-fire runs made of chords, but starting with a tremolo.

Pro Secret 5: Half-Step Slides. Approaching the next chord from 1/2 step above or below.

Pro Secret 6: Suspensions. Using the 4th as a "hangover" instead of the 3rd.

Pro Secret 7: Chord Substitutions. Harmonizing songs using different chords than the traditional ones.

Pro Secret 8: Voicing in 4ths. Stacking chords in intervals of 4ths instead of 3rds.

Pro Secret 9: Turn-Arounds. A chord progression that turns you around, like a cul-de-sac.

Pro Secret 10: Introductions. Creating a front door for the song.

Pro Secret 11: Endings. Creating a back door for the song.

Pro Secret 12: Transposing. Playing a song in a key different than it was written in.

Pro Secret 13: Modulating. Getting from key to key smoothly.

Pro Secret 14: Altering a Melody to Create a New Melody. Using neighboring tones to craft a new tune.

Pro Secret 15: Inversions. Instead of always playing chords in root position, using a variety of "upside down" chords.

Pro Secret 16: Creating Original Chord Progressions. Linking chords together creatively.

Pro Secret 17: Echoes - Rhythmic, Melodic, Harmonic. The easiest way to begin the arranging process.

Pro Secret 18: Touch. The difference between a sledge hammer and a pillow.

Pro Secret 19: II7 to V7 Progression. One of the most common chord progressions.

Pro Secret 20: Latin-American Rhythms. Using various rhythm patterns such as Samba, Bossa Nova, Cha Cha, etc.

Pro Secret 21: Locked Hands Style. Playing the melody in both hands with a chord under the right hand melody.

Pro Secret 22: Jazz Styles. Lush, offset beats, comping, color tones, etc.

Pro Secret 23: Two-Handed Arps. The Flowing River Of Sound. Using broken chords in both hands at the same time.

Pro Secret 24: Parallelisms. Parts moving the same direction (such as 10ths, octaves, etc.)

Pro Secret 25: Ragtime Techniques. Barrel-house and early jazz styles.

Pro Secret 26: Polytonality & Superimposition. Playing in two keys at the same time, and playing two different chords at the same time.

Pro Secret 27: Delay-Catch-Up Technique. Falling behind the beat, then catching up.

Pro Secret 28: Slash Chords. Chords over a left-hand counter melody.

Pro Secret 29: Counter-Melodies. Creating a sub-tune that is complimentary to the main tune.

Pro Secret 30: Western Sounds. Wagon-wheel bass styles, etc.

Pro Secret 31: Gospel Sounds. "Get on that church" and "shouting" styles.

Pro Secret 32: 12 Bar Blues. The basis for thousands of songs in all styles.

Pro Secret 33: Passing Tones. Tones that "pass through" the current chord.

Pro Secret 34: Question-Answer Techniques. Repeating a previous musical phrase but in a new way.

Pro Secret 35: Far-Out Harmonies. Extended chords, altered chords.

Pro Secret 36: Syncopation. Playing between the beats.

There are other techniques the pros use, and new techniques are always being invented. But for a list of worthy goals for an aspiring piano player, this list will keep us busy for a long time.

Well... Andrew maybe you find ideas for your lessons from this list Wink
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by maggiekedves on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:26 am

Piano Books: The Top Piano Books To Help You Become a Better Piano Player

Many times it is a question which book to buy and what kind of book would we need anyway... so here is a list maybe that helps to see better

There are umpteen zillion piano books available in music stores and online at such places as Amazon. And piano books are usually necessary if your goal is to become a better pianist.

But how does a person know which piano books are necessary and which books are redundant, to say nothing of good or bad. There are books on music theory, scales, chords, books about composers, books about music in general, and of course piano lesson books by Schaum, Williams, Alfred d'Auberge, Bastien, John Thompson, Glover, etc., etc.

The best way is to divide the study of piano playing into it's components:

General lesson piano books:

While there are many, for the adult beginner I would select the series by Bastien titled "The Adult Beginner" It is excellent for adults, and includes quite a bit of music theory along with the piano lessons.

General books about music:

Far and away the most inspiring book about music in general is "The Joy of Music" by Leonard Bernstein. If you want to wrap your brain around music, this is the book for you. (Bernstein, in case you don't know, was both a great conductor and a great composer, having written "West Side Story" and many others.)

Another great selection would be "What To Listen For In Music" by Aaron Copeland. (He was also a great composer.)

Technique books:

The best book I have found for developing finger dexterity and piano technique is a book that has been around for a hundred years or so, but is still the standard. It is "The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises - Complete: Piano Technique" by C. L. Hanon

Music theory books:

There are many, most of which are complex and difficult to understand, but a good choice for a beginner would be "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Music Theory" by Michael Miller.

Books on piano chords:

In this category I'm going to have to cast all modesty aside and select my own book titled "Piano Chords & Chord Progressions: The Secret Backdoor To Exciting Piano Playing". It's thorough, cheap, and very easy to read and understand.

Song books:

In addition to books that teach all aspects of piano playing, you'll need several good songbooks so you can practice the things you are learning. The piano books you select are largely a matter of taste: if you love rock, you'll want to buy books of rock songs. If you love jazz, or gospel, or pop, or whatever, you'll want to get the song books appropriate to your likes and tastes.

But in addition to regular piano song books, be sure to also get a "fake book". A fake book is a book which contains the melody, the words, and the chord symbols for songs. Usually a fake book has a thousand or more songs in it, so it is a huge bargain.

When I was a teenager fake books were illegal, but they were sold under the counter to musicians all the time. I paid $50. for my first fake book (which I still have, incidentally) which contained only 200 songs. Fifty bucks back then is similar to the national debt now. But it was something working musicians had to have.

Now fake books contain thousands of songs and sell for much less -- often just $25. or so. So be sure to pick one up -- preferably several, as they come in all flavors -- jazz, folk, western, gospel, pop, and just about any other musical classification that you could think of.

All of these books can be obtained at your local music store or from online stores such as Amazon.

Then there is another totally different class of piano books that are part of an audio-visual course. Usually these books are supplementary to the DVD or CD (or both) which comprises the course. This type of piano books are new in the history of the world, because obviously DVDs and CDs haven't existed all that long. This type of course puts it all together, so in addition to reading a book, you can hear the instruction and see it being demonstrated on your own TV or computer screen.
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by wamaral on Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:25 am

Wow, that's amazing information!
Looks like someone has been doing some pretty heavy research Laughing
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Re: Piano related Blurrbs - Tales in the musical world

Post by wamaral on Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:41 am

maggiekedves wrote:The Mysterious Tritone Chord Progression

...

For hundreds of years musical styles were, in large part, dictated by the church. During Medieval times, the tritone was viewed as too dissonant for use in common liturgical services. In fact, the tritone chord progression came to represent the devil. Perhaps as early as the 18th century it was commonly known as "diabolus in musica" (the devil in music).
Well, I was told once but I cannot verify this, so I don't know if it's true or not.
Anyway, the story I heard is that in the old times, the Tritone was not allowed to be present in any music, so the authorities (the clergy I guess) checked out every piece before it could be played in public, and if they found the tritone, they would mark the sheet music with the symbol of a Trident (not the gum, this one) which, of course, was Satan's weapon in mythology.
Well, they probably would kill the composer too (burn?)... So, watch out when you're playing fifths on the black keys, be sure not to slip your finger lol!
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