Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What PIANO Players Should Know About WOODWINDS

Woodwinds (clarinet, oboe, bassoon, etc.) are different from piano in that they require wind (created by the player) to create a tone (using a reed or reeds to create the vibrations needed for sound). In addition to using different techniques to make the reeds vibrate in different ways, the player also changes the tone (creates the notes) by pressing and releasing (using their fingers) keys that are attached along the length of the instrument, or by covering up, then opening, various holes on the instrument.

Photo by usarmyband
Saxophones are not considered woodwinds by some as they are made of brass. However, a saxophone is played very much in the same way as most woodwinds. Flutes and piccolos, though made of metal, are often thought of as part of the woodwind family.

As for piano, the type of wood used to make the instrument has a great effect on the quality of sound produced. Certain woods resonate better than others and thus create a better tone. In fact, many lower-priced clarinets are made of plastic and although they provide a serviceable tone, it is not the rich, "wooden" tone coveted by professionals.

Woodwinds are most often found in orchestras and smaller ensembles (although the clarinet can be found in Dixieland or jazz groups). Instruments like the English horn can be found in popular music, while the bassoon may only be found in traditional and ensemble music. There are, however, composers and musicians who explore the use of these instruments in esoteric and unconventional ways. One way to think of the woodwind family is the various instruments mimicking (representing) the human voice such as a clarinet for an alto singer, or a bassoon for a baritone singer. Many modern composer look at this group of instruments in exactly that way.

Woodwinds are tuned by adjusting their length. This is done by repositioning single components of the instrument. The musician often has to twist different sections of the instrument to make these adjustments. The longer the instrument becomes, the lower in pitch a particular note. The intonation of a woodwind is ultimately the responsibility of the player and techniques must be learned to keep the instrument in tune as it is played.

The challenge for the pianist is the fact the some woodwinds play in a different key (a Bb clarinet for example). In order for the two players to play together and communicate, both have to be aware of this and be able to transpose the two parts. For example, when the Bb clarinet plays the note Bb, that note is actually the note C on piano.

Most pianists are used to reading music in a number of different octaves and this is very important when playing with woodwinds because as a group, the cover a wide range of tones. The piano is often chosen as the accompanying instrument of a solo woodwind player or a small ensemble of woodwind instruments. One reason for this is the pianist can easily rehearse each instrument, or easily and accurately play the chords created by the ensemble.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


The beginning  career of jazz music legend Art Blakey was amazing. He took piano lessons at school. When he was in the seventh grade he played music full-time and was leading a popular band. Not too long after, he started playing drums in the style of such players as Ray Bauduc, Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. He taught himself how to play.

Le batteur américain de jazz Art Blakey en con...
Art Blakey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He played with Mary Lou Williams at Kelly's Stable in 1942. Next, with Fletcher Henderson for the next two years, and he toured with. Art then went to Boston to lead a big band, then joined Billy Eckstine's band in St. Louis. Art stayed with that band from 1944-1947.

Art was considered to be among jazz music's finest musicians such as Fats Navarro, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon. In 1947 when Eckstine's band broke up, Art started the Seventeen Messengers. He would go on to have several other groups with this same name. He then went to Africa to learn all about Islamic people for over a year. By the 1950's he performed with Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Horace Silver.

After they performed together many times, he started another group with Horace which included Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley with the name Jazz Messengers. Horace left a year later.  He was the known leader of the band. The Jazz Messengers played hard-bop jazz music. The roots of which were blues music. Hard bop is a mixture of bebop with gospel and soul music. An example of this is his album Moanin' recorded on Blue Note Records in 1958. They fought hard to keep black people interested in jazz, when the ballroom  jazz music disappeared. Many young musicians during the years have been influenced by this style. Jazz musicians such as Keith Jarrett, JoAnne Brackcen, Woody Shaw , Donald Byrd, Delfeayo, Branford  and Wynton Marsalis.

In 1971 to 1972, Art world toured with the biggest names in jazz music such as Kai Winding, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. He also performed a lot at the Newport Jazz Festival. The best performance was when he was in a battling performance with Buddy Rich, Max Roach and Elvin Jones in 1974. Art continued to tour nonstop with help from Donald Harrison and Terence Blanchard, along with younger musicians such as Benny Green.

Art never thought of his music as similar to African style, although he did use some of their techniques such as using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter pitch. His trademark, the forced closing of the hi-hat on each second and fourth beat was created in 1950-1951, which many jazz musicians copied.

A major jazz musician and innovative in his drum style, he was unique and performed with power. The way he played was loud and aggressive. The jazz critics basically ignored what he did in the 1960's. American audiences  left him behind in the 1970's when rock music took over the scene.

He always made time for young jazz musicians, listening to them, and helping them with their jazz music careers.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


now what do all those patch cables do again?
Now what do all those patch cables do again?
(Photo credit: 
There are three main synthesizer types. They are:

Analog synthesizers
Digital synthesizers

Each synthesizer is classified according to the method of sound creation. Synthesizers that use a mixture of all these three are also available in modern market. These types are called hybrid synthesizers. Modern synthesizers vary significantly in their working method, potential, dimension and outlook. In the majority of the synthesizers the output is required to be passed through the speaker, or an external amplifier and loudspeakers to convert it into sound.

Format and Types of Synthesizers Designs.

Analog Soft Synths:

When a harmonically rich waveform (Saw, Rectangle, Square, and Triangle) is generated by an oscillator, then the filters or cuts away part of the sound is outputted in a thorough fashion with filters and envelopes. This is the mechanism of Soft Synths.

FM Synths:

Frequency Modulation works in a way where instead of subtracting from a large waveform, the synthesis is started by using several Sine Waves (operators and carriers) at user selectable frequencies and then patched them in various ways to come up with tones.

Apart from these there are others like:

Wavetable and Linear Algorithmic Synths

Sample Playback Soft Synths

Hybrid Physical Modeling Soft Synths

Hybrid and Abstract Synths

Emulator is one common type. There used to be quite a variety but manufacturers have stopped making them in a lot. Purchasing old and second hand stuff is a viable option as the unused first hand products can be expensive and unpredictable. The emulation or the copy exact types offer having graphics that model the exact user interface of controls. Popular synthesizers, for example, the Minimoog and Yamaha DX 7 have emulators.

Some software synthesizers are more of sample based. Computers, generally, have fewer restrictions on its memory or RAM than dedicated hardware synthesizers. Some of these sample based synthesizers come with sample libraries, which can weight up to GBs or giga bytes. Some of these are exclusively drafted to imitate real world instruments such as pianos. Many sample libraries are available in a Windows, IBM common format like WAV or Waveform audio format files, and can be worked with almost any sampler based softsynth.

The newer and recent versions of softsynths are designed to be compatible with technology such as Virtual Studio Technology (VST), which allow other music programs to interface with the softsynth. Plug in technologies include DXi, VST, Motu Audio System (MAS), Real Time AudioSuite (RTAS), Audio Units (AU).

Common Types of Synthesizers Designs

Most of the professional software synthesizers come with a high price tag, but given the works they can put up in real time or 1.5x real time with good hardware. These prices can be termed justified. Reality(TM) Professional Music Synthesis Software, VirSyn Software Synthesizer, Reaktor, Generator are to name a few mid range Software Synthesizers. However some free to try and freeware are out there also. Adder, Crusher X Live 3.42, Drums, Digitonix Element, Ethereal, FlexiMusic Composer, FlexiMusic Generator, SequBeat, Space Station Pro are also there. There are a number of Demos or Demonstration programs available in the market. The manufacturers give the users chance to get acquainted with the programs before they try.

    Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, and synthesizers.

    Article Directory: EzineArticles

Friday, April 21, 2017

Do You Know What the Parts of a VIOLIN Are Called? Learn Them Here

English: Violin made in about 1770. Legend add...Violin made in about 1770. (1) Chinrest (2) Tailpiece (3) Bridge (4) Strings (5) Fingerboard (6) Fine-Tuner (7) Sound hole (8) Corner (9) Purfling (10) Body (11) Rib (12) End Button 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to correctly play the violin you will need to know what all the parts are. In this article I will teach you the names of the major ones from the top of the violin to the bottom (not in the order of the picture).

  1. Scroll - This is the decorative part located at the very top of the violin they are mostly hand carved.
  2. Tuning pegs - These are used to tune the violin, by adjusting them up or down you can tune your violin.
  3. The Nut - This supports the strings and keeps them away from the fret board.
  4. Fingerboard - This is the strip of wood on the neck of the violin where the strings are this is also the area where you play or finger the notes.
  5. The Strings - The violin has four strings tuned a fifth apart from thickest to thinnest they are G, D, A and E.
  6. The Bridge - This holds the strings in place it is essential as its placement affect the quality of the sound produced by the violin.
  7. F Holes - These are on either side of the bridge and allow the sound of the vibrating strings to resonate. They are called f holes because they are shaped like an f in italics. Altering the F hole can affect the sound of the violin.
  8. Tail piece - This is the part that anchors the strings to the violin.
  9. Chin Rest - This helps the violinist hold the instrument in place while playing the violinist can use their chin to hold the violin freeing up their hands.

    Eric B. Hill is an professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.

    Article Directory: EzineArticles