Sunday, February 25, 2018

Why DANCE?

Dancing in Africa - Photo: Pxhere
When it comes to dancing there are many reasons that different people in different cultures spanning the globe choose to dance. This article will explore some of the many reasons that people dance around the world and perhaps provide new incentives for you to dance your way through your days as well.

Dancing for Religion

Many religions around the world and throughout history have used dance in praise of their deities, in celebration of the seasons, and simply as an outward expression of joy. Christianity has mixed emotions when it comes to dancing. Some religions feel that all manner of social dance can lead to forbidden actions or thoughts and tend to frown upon dance in general as a result while other Christian religions believe that there is a time, place, and purpose for dancing. Some have even incorporated dancing into their religious ceremonies (weddings as one example). Most will agree that dance is a matter of personal conviction within the Christian religion because of the heated debates that can arise on the topic.

The Hindu religion dance is an essential form of worshipping the various aspects of the Divine. This form of dance is often mistakenly referred to as Classical Indian Dance though, in reality, it is a form of worship. There are different dances for the different deities as every god has a different preference.

Even the religion of Islam has its own version of dancing for worship. Those who practice this form of dance for the sake of worship are often referred to as Whirling Dervishes. 

The Weapon Dance

This is a form of dance that has a long history dating back to Spartan warriors preparing for battle. This style of dance has been used throughout history and around the world by many nations and cultures as preparation, training, and raising morale for imminent battle. Though no longer widely practiced, and certainly not as a precursor to battle, the history and ceremony of the Weapon Dance are not to be forgotten and still practiced in ceremonial events today to honor the way things have been done in the past.

Native American Tribal Dances

It is also worth noting that what has become commonly referred to as war dances by Native American tribes are quite possibly the very same weapons dances that have such a long and noble history around the world. Individual tribes had their own dances that were used when preparing for battle with other tribes, preparing for a big hunt, or preparing to defend themselves against constant invasion and relocation.

War or imminent battle was not the only reason that Native American tribes danced, however. Dance held an important role in the worshipping of various gods as well as tribal ceremonies or individual expressions of prayer, grief, joy, or simply of embracing nature and become one with the world around them. Dance is essential to Native American heritage and culture. For Native American dance, the beat of the drum is an essential component. It is the drumbeat that drives the pace and the intensity of the dance. 



Competitive Dance

Around the world, there are those that dance competitively in all forms of dance. From recreational forms of dancing to spiritual forms of dancing the competitions are fierce and the competitors quite often dedicate their lives and the vast majority of their free time to honing and perfecting their particular forms of dance. In competitive dance, there are judges who judge artistic expression, technical skills, costumes, and the uniformity or execution of movements. Those who dance competitively must be committed to their craft in order to remain competitive. 

Of course, some people dance simply because they want to and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. There is really no bad reason to dance unless you are being forced to do so against your will. Otherwise, when it comes to dancing, the best reason to dance is that the music leaves you no other option but to dance.



Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to Make a FLUTE - The All Important Mathematical Formula

Shot during first ancient music festival in megève
Shot during first ancient music festival in megève
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ever wondered how to make a flute? I'm not talking about something cut from a drinking straw with scissors, or put together using a cardboard paper towel tube... I mean make a flute that's a genuine quality, professionally tuned musical instrument. Whether you use wood, PVC (flutes made from this material sound like blowing through glass - an excellent sound), or copper pipe (also sounds just as excellent) in flute making, there are a few mathematical things to keep in mind, but they all pretty much revolve around, and stem from, the one all-important mathematical formula involved in how to make flute type woodwind instruments or even those of other types. Do you know what this mathematical formula is? Well, I'll tell you...

If you want to know how to make a flute, you first need to know two numbers. The first one is the measurement of the speed of sound in inches (or centimeters, etc.) per second. In inches, that would be 13526.5, and in centimeters, that would be 34357.31 - this is how far in linear distance sound travels per second, at sea level, at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or at about 21 degrees Celsius. The second number to know in flute making is how many Hertz (frequency of vibration) that a particular given note resonates at. For a brief and simple example, let's say we use the note "A". The frequency of "A", in Hertz, is 440. Now we take the speed of sound in inches (or centimeters) per second and divide that number by the note's frequency, in this case, 440, and we will then have the measured length of the wavelength of the note "A". This would end up to be 30.74 inches, or 70.08 centimeters long.

The next step in how to make a flute is simple. With an open-ended flute, the body of the flute would actually need to be one half-wavelength long to play the fundamental note (the lowest note possible to play, with all finger holes closed) properly, in this case, "A". Due to other variable factors in flute making such as bore diameter, wall thickness and etc., the flute will actually need to be a tiny bit shorter - depending upon the thickness of the flute wall factoring in as well, this is generally about 1/3 of the bore diameter. Shorten the length little by little until the correct note is achieved. How to make flute embouchures or the blowing edge hole, is to make it half of the flute's bore diameter wide, measuring the center point of the hole to be a bore diameter's distance from the inner face of the closed end.



A very convenient part about knowing how to make a flute is in the fact that the above mathematical formula is also how you would find the positions for the finger holes' center points, according to the notes they are to play. How to make flute finger holes is to start small, slowly making them bigger as you "creep" them up the length of the flute towards the closed end until the right note is achieved. Finding the correct hole placements along the length of the flute's body is important, but anywhere around the body at that point along the length is fine for hole placements... this allows for the reach of different sized fingers and hands.

    If you'd like to learn more about how to make a flute, flutes of many types, or any homemade instruments of types such as woodwinds, percussion instruments or strings with precision, feel free visit my website on how to make your own music with homemade musical instruments you make yourself, at http://rockfreakinsolid.com - these aren't your kids' paper plate tambourines, plastic butter bowl drums or shoebox and rubber band guitars!

    Article Directory: EzineArticles


Friday, February 23, 2018

Learning to Play SAXOPHONE - About the Instrument

Bell Of A Selmer Mark Vi Alto Saxophone Within...
Bell Of A Selmer Mark Vi Alto Saxophone  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saxophone, one of the best instruments to learn (in my opinion)! You will soon come to find that playing the saxophone is not only fun, but it also teaches discipline and the sense of achievement are priceless.

Note about Equipment
Some sax players spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about equipment...
Tiger Woods would still beat you at golf if he used crappy clubs.
But maybe not if he used a baseball bat and a volleyball.

So have to make sure your saxophone, mouthpiece, reeds, etc are functioning. But DO NOT spend more time worrying about your equipment than actually playing & practicing.

The saxophone itself has a body and a neck. The mouthpiece goes around the neck and has a reed held on by a ligature. The mouthpiece, reeds, and ligature matter sometimes more than the horn itself.

Saxophone Reeds
The reed makes the sound in your saxophone through its vibration.
Saxophone reeds are made of a special cane that grows in only a few parts of the world. It is expensive and wears out in a few weeks. There are synthetic alternatives, but they don't sound as good.
Start with a softer reed (lower number). And you'll also want a softer reed if you have a mouthpiece that is more open. Beginners can start with number 2 and experiment from there.

Saxophone Mouthpiece
The basic idea of mouthpiece position on a sax is that pushing the mouthpiece farther down on the cork will make your intonation higher while pulling it out will make your intonation lower.
To quote Jimmy Haag, "You are basically playing a long tube when you play a saxophone. A saxophone is all about the speed of the air like any wind instrument. The length of the tube determines its harmonics. Since EVERYONE has a different throat, mouth, teeth, and tongue, it is a truly individual journey to find out what works for you. I meet a lot of people who are looking for a standard but in fact, there is only one way that will work for you."

So it's not as simple as pushing the mouthpiece on farther or pulling it out more.
The temperature and the environment affect intonation too- if it's hot outside the air will move faster and the sax will be sharper if its cold- it will tend to be flat.

And a saxophone in tune on one note will not necessarily be in tune on another note, if not adjustments are made by the player. With practice, you'll develop control and these things will happen subconsciously.

Ligature
The ligature holds the reed on the saxophone mouthpiece. It makes some differences. But you probably don't need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a diamond-encrusted ligature.


Saxophone
There are four 'big' brands of saxophone:
Selmer, Keilwerth, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa.
They all make professional horns.
The Selmer Mark VI is the most famous type of saxophone, they stopped making them so the Mark VI's can be very pricey these days. But many professionals swear by them. Not every Mark VI is still in great condition though.

There are some other brands that make decent horns. Be careful if they are imported and have soft metal. And try them out before you buy them.

Saxophones have features such as rolled tone holes and a high F# key. In general, many of the advancements in instrument making have been adopted by most saxophone companies.

Types of Saxophone
When you're starting off, play an alto or tenor. Alto's a bit smaller and easier for a child to carry.
Soprano is smaller than alto, but its tone is harder to control.
And baritone is larger than tenor.
The tenor saxophone is what most famous saxophone players favor although some preferred alto and there are a handful of saxophone players who mostly play soprano or bari.

Musicality!
Remember that you need to play music on your saxophone, not just have nice equipment.
A bad driver in a Ferrari is not impressive.
Sometimes problems you have with playing are actually because of the instrument, reed, etc. But more times they are not.




Thursday, February 22, 2018

ELECTRONIC DRUM KITS Signify Modernization Of Music-Making

Electronic Drum Set
Electronic Drum Set (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Drum kits have evolved significantly in recent decades from the classic bass-snare-cymbal combination into electronic devices that have essentially changed the way music is made. Electronic drum kits were first introduced in the early 1970’s as an innovative piece of equipment used to produce drum sounds electronically rather than acoustically. This occurs by hitting a trigger pad on the drum kit. The sounds are translated into digital waveforms from the electronic drum module and this, in turn, produces the desired percussion sound.

Beginning in the 1980’s, electronic drum kits began to see a wider fan base and it was becoming common to see bands incorporate them with acoustic drum sets. At the point of their first introduction in the 1970’s, and even into the early 1980’s, it was uncommon to see electronic drum kits used by themselves because they had not been perfected yet.

Bill Bruford of the band King Crimson was one of the first to introduce the electronic drum kit into his set. In fact, his usage of the drum kit almost completely abolished his need for acoustic drums because of the quality of his sound.

In the late 1980’s, electronic drum kits finally arrived at a near perfect image with a near perfect sound. Popular electronic drummer Akiro Kimbo uses the electronic drum kit in interesting and innovative ways, delighting and entertaining music fans all across the world. Music equipment companies such as Yamaha began manufacturing electronic drum pads that were mounted on acoustic drum kits to produce a synthesized sound. This new sound was able to maintain the original acoustic sound with an electronic twist that many considered to be an innovative addition to the world of music.

Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s premier drummer, is proof of the quality and success of electronic drum kits. After Allen lost his arm in a car accident, he had a special electronic drum kit made so that he was still able to play. Later on, he had a second kit made that would play back pre-recorded components of his acoustic drum kit whenever he struck a pad. Thus, while being new and original, the sound produced by Allen’s kit still maintained its classic acoustic sound.

Electronic drum kits have not witnessed universal success and usage. However, they were created to produce a ground-breaking sound above and beyond the capabilities of the classic drum kit. Although the preference of the majority of rock bands today is still the classic kit, the electronic drum kit has broken down the old-school barriers and have appealed to those wanting to add some creativity and vision to the world of music.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BACH - Guide to the Man in the White Wig

Johann Sebastian Bach would never be as appealing for his adventures in life and good looks like, say, Mozart or Beethoven. His famous portrait showing him as an old man in a white wig holding a piece of sheet music scared away many generations of young music lovers. I think that this picture doesn't do justice to this composer capable of great emotional deepness.

Mozart had an exciting death, writing his Requiem in his deathbed, adding popularity points to his character. Beethoven was kind of a romantic hero and became deaf making him even more appealing. Bach? He never left Germany and his life passed without many interesting facts standing out. Another example of a great classical composer suffering from low popularity because of his not-so-interesting lifestyle is old Haydn, the father of the symphony, who is always overshadowed by the naughty Mozart.

But I think that this injustice also gives greater merit to Bach, in that all his popularity is due to his music, and not any extramusical fact. It is better this way, you can know him much better through his music than through words.

You are fortunate in reading this article, you are going to experience the most wonderful and deep music ever composed, you'll start a journey that will last a lifetime. You'll never get tired of Bach's music, if you start here you will love it and explore it for the rest of your life.

The best way to get in touch with Bach's music, or with music by any other composer is starting with the most well-known pieces, the ones you heard in commercials, movies, video games, etc.
I'm almost sure you've heard these pieces somewhere but never knew anything about them:

  • Air on the G string: One of the most famous pieces of classical music. It is featured in innumerable movies, anime series, video games, etc. Rock band Procol Harum wrote a song inspired by this piece that became a worldwide hit and it is still heard today: "A whiter shade of Pale".
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor: the most famous piece written for organ. It is always associated with Halloween and horror movies. An orchestral version was featured in Disney's Fantasia.
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: the staple music of weddings.
  • Badinerie: a popular ringtone in cellphones. It is a flutists' showpiece.
  • Prelude in C major: This piece became famous by the musical setting by Charles Gounod of the "Ave Maria". He based this piece in the prelude.