Friday, November 24, 2017

GRAND PIANO - Music-Instruments of the World

Grand Piano - Music-Instruments of the World

Thursday, November 23, 2017

CORNETand TRUMPET Care For the Busy Musician

Cornet Patent Drawing from 1899
Photo  by Patents Wall Art 
As a performer, it is essential that you keep your instrument in pristine condition. Most players don't seem to be bothered about cleaning their instrument often enough. If you rely on your instrument to earn a living you may form a different opinion. It's a bit cut-throat out there and the difference between having a pure tone quality and a muffled uninteresting sound could mean the difference between getting the gig or not. Not to mention the hygiene problems that could develop.

Cornets were developed from basically a post horn, which over time was curled and developed into the form you see today. Valves were added which allowed more playable notes and dexterity of performance. It's the careful manufacturing and handwork that make it into a cornet that plays well. Take care of your instrument and it won't let you down.

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a show and your valves or slides start to stick. It can ruin a perfectly good performance.

Cleaning the cornet should only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time and the results are more than beneficial to your playing. You would be surprised at the "gunge" that appears out of the tubes after a good clean.

So let's begin. Run a warm bath - Yes a bath, and put a small amount of dishwashing soap into it. Check with your product information or your manufacturer's website to make sure before you use it. Pull all the valves and slides out of the cornet and place everything submerged under the water - Leave to soak for about 30 mins. That was easy! Note - you may have to disconnect the "triggers" on the first and third valve slides if they are fitted.

You'll need a flexible cleaning pull-through brush, a valve casing brush, and a mouthpiece brush. You'll also need silver polish and two lint-free polishing cloths, valve oil, and slide grease. (I use a petroleum jelly)

Now it's time to put the pull-through brush to work. Gently feed it into the tubes of the cornet and pull through the brush, watch out for the "Gunge". Do this a couple of times and then rise the cornet tubes out under running water until it runs clear. Do this now to all the removable slides as well.

Now using the valve brush we need to clean the valve casing. Just push the brush in and out a couple of times and all should be well. Now turning to the valves themselves. First of all you need to clean the internal surfaces of holes. You can also use the pull through for this but be careful not to scratch them. Using a Silver polish and the lint free cloth, now clean the valves outer surface, dry off and polish with a separate clean rag.

Now the Slides. Again using the silver polish clean the slides. If your cornet is of the lacquered type (brass looking) DO DOT use silver polish on the external surfaces. This attacks the coating. Finally, clean the inside surface of the valve caps both top and bottom again with a soft rag.

After all, the internals of the cornet is clean, its time now to clean the external surfaces, again remember if it is of the lacquered type just soap and water will clean it. Otherwise, on silver-plated surfaces use your metal.

Now it's time to re-assemble the cornet, oil the valves and 1st and 3rd valve slides, and grease the slides. If you have triggers on your instrument on the first and third slides it is better to use valve oil on them as they will move faster.

    Trevor Halliwell has been a band player and director for 45 years with college diplomas in trumpet performance and music education. For more information about playing the cornet or trumpet, please visit - Author Name: Trevor Halliwell - Contact Email Address: Trevor Halliwell ( is a Cornet/Trumpet performer and teacher in the North West of England. He is a Fellow of the Trinity College of Music London. 
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Short History of the HARP

Photo  by quinet 
Ask a random person off the street to describe a harp, and they are likely to describe a huge, bulky instrument. However, all harps are not equal. They range in size in type. But where, exactly, did this seemingly simple instrument come from?

The harp is an ancient instrument, having been around since as early as 2500 B.C., that continues to be a major force in the modern-day music world. This instrument has evolved in many ways in the last four millennia. The different harps have come from and evolved from Egypt, Ireland, and many other places and cultures. Harps such as the diatonic, triple-strung, single-action pedal, chromatic cross-string, and the double action pedal have been used.

The kinnor, which is an ancient instrument played by King David as told in the Old Testament, is often confused with the harp. The kinnor is actually a type of lyre. However, the first true harp can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

In Ancient Egypt, the earliest evidence of a harp dates back to as early as 2500 B.C. These harps were actually bow-shaped or at a very small angle, which forced them to have a small number of strings. Due to the lack of a column for support, these harps were unable to support very much tension. The first column appeared in Medieval Western Europe in what came to be known as the frame harp in the 8th to 10th centuries. These harps were known as the frame harps. This was also the very first harp to use a soundbox to amplify the sound from the instrument.

European harps differed from Irish harps and they were known as Renaissance harps. They had more strings attached to wooden pegs, and the pillar was thinner and less curved. These were known as diatonic harps.

The triple-strung harps appeared in the late 16th century after an invention of a double-strung harp. A triple-strung harp has three rows of strings and it was easy to play and amplify. The single-action pedal harp was designed in 1720. This harp was a combination of a diatonic harp and a single-string harp but included new features known as pedals. This harp only included five pedals, which the harps today use seven.

Other harps that were designed off of the earlier inventions were amazing improvements from the diatonic and the double-action pedal. These harps were constructed in the early 1800s.

The harp is a beautiful instrument people love to play and listen to the sounds the strings resonate. The history of the harp dates back all of the ways to 2500 B.C. and is still played today as a fine and quality instrument.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Great Composers: Gioachino Rossini /1792-1868)

Gioachino Rossini (1792 -1868)

Monday, November 20, 2017

JIMI HENDRIX - A Vibrant Artist

Jimi Hendrix NEW
Jimi Hendrix NEW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On November 27, 1942, the US saw the birth of an amazingly talented musician and artist in the persona of Jimi Hendrix. Born as Johnny Allen Hendrix, he had his name changed to James Marshall and eventually took the nickname "Jimmy" from his father, James Al Hendrix. His father recalls the small Jimmy using their broomstick as a guitar. This prompted him to give little Jimmy a ukulele. The boy's passion for playing guitar never dwindled since then.

Although he has no formal education in this field as he was not even able to write or read musical pieces, in just four years after starting his career, he was already recognized that time by his unique and moving style. With such expertise, he was able to render vibrant and creative rock music through the distortion of sounds and feedback with a combination of fuzz and other styles in a fascinating way.

During the Woodstock Music and Art Fair Festival in 1969, people who witnessed him play a renegade rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" in his own musical jive, may still smile until this moment whenever they look at the USA flag as they sing The American National Anthem.

Other than his unnerving music, he was also famous for his sense of fashion. He would always be spotted wearing medallions, scarves, and rings, and, of course, his signature hairstyle.

Even in his untimely death in 1970 -- with some details still remain a mystery -- his artistry did not die. This electric guitarist and popular 1960s icon even transcended this era as until now, his effects on the new generation is still revived every time they listen to his youthful and raving music, which has captured the kind of energy trapped in the young and will continue to hold sway for more generations to come.