Tuesday, March 6, 2018


English: montage of great classical music comp...

Montage of great classical music composers - from left to right: 
first row - Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven; 
second row - Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi; 
third row - Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák; 
forth row - Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You might be thinking as to how music can be used effectively for stress management. There are few basic principles that you should understand so as to tailor your favorite music for the purpose of stress management.

  1. You should use your favorite category of music and in case you don’t like Mozart or classical music then don’t use it. Good and quality music can be found in most genre of music
  2. You should choose music that has pleasant associations for you or music that brings you cheerful memories.
  3. If you want to try new music, then go for instrumental music tends that are more stress relieving than the music having lyrics because this doesn’t requires you t o think.
  4. You should choose music that is slow and has regular pulse or beat. This is because researchers discovered that music with the tempo of healthy resting heartbeat will synchronize your own breathing and heart beat to it thereby slowing down your racing body rhythms.
  5. Racing thoughts can often lead to anxious and stressed out feelings and for this you should use rhythms of slow music so as to slow down your body and thoughts. 

Music is even used for surgery whereby surgeons listen to their favorite music while operating the people. This is because they know the power of music and the profound effect it has on their ability to focus and concentrate on their work. Surgeons listen to Mozart, Wagner, and Handel or sometimes, rock, jazz or pop and claim that they have more energy while music is being played.

Patient is not provided with music because it is the patient who is sleeping and is not able to hear music. But the fact is that music has tremendous benefits for the patient such as he needs fewer anesthesias, less anxiety before, less pain after, faster recovery, less time in the hospital and many more. Patient can hear music with the help of lightweight headphones.

Monday, March 5, 2018

CLASSICAL PIANO MUSIC – appeal remains eternal

Piano Sonata in A Major, op. 101, Allegro: man...
Piano Sonata in A Major, op. 101, Allegro:
manuscript sketch in Beethoven's handwriting.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even though the genre of music changes with the change of ages, the appeal of classical piano music remains never-ending. This is not said by a few people only but by a great number of experts in western music also. If you are cynical still, you can make a meticulous research in the cyberspace and get acquainted with the reality. There are if truth be told, ample numbers of websites in internet dealing with classical piano music and you can have a lot of info from them. What makes classical piano music so attractive down the ages? Classical piano music has not only been instrumental in shaping the route of western classical music but has brought to the fore illustrious composers also.

One of them is certainly Beethoven; internationally celebrated German composer of instrumental music (in particular symphonic and chamber music) and what is most striking that he continued to compose even after his auditory sense was lost. Another unparalleled great composer is certainly Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a creative Austrian composer and child prodigy. He is considered a master of the classical approach in all its forms.

Are you interested to have a feeling of classical piano music? In that case, the internet can be a good friend of yours. To cut a long story short, websites are cropping up across the internet without a single interruption and people from all over the world can log in these sites and start on to learn classical piano music and its different versions.

Thanks to the mounting popularity of classical piano music (certainly a turning point once again), many websites are offering the same at reasonably priced rates or even at free. Again, a number of websites do maintain archives of classical piano music and enable the ordinary of free members even to download a number of them.

Now we must focus on the saga of learning. An assortment of websites let users initiate to teach themselves the basic chords along with notes and in this, the application of computer keyboard is enough. If you are the learner, many websites will educate you how to read classical piano music also. For that reason as soon as you get the same, the free classical piano music websites will appear useful for you. This is a good idea since paying money for a piano for a keyboard or a piano is pricey and you may have to expend a good amount of money. On the contrary, use of a computer keyboard is a good and cost-effective approach. Many people have already learnt the basics in this way and you can join their group before long given that you have the dedication, forbearance, intelligence and acumen. Remember that the combination of all these give rise to a new facet of your – competence.

This is just the beginning and on condition that there is proficiency, you can learn Beethoven’s "Fur Elise"- considered as one of the most illustrious creations in the realm of classical piano music. The majority of young piano students gain knowledge of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" during the early part of a career. You can also revel and learn "The Entertainer" of Scott Joplin, "Canon in D major" of Pachelbel and certainly "Moonlight Sonata" of Beethoven.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Little Heard Cousin of the Trumpet - CORNET

The cornet is an instrument that is a member of the brass instrument family. Its appearance is close to that of the trumpet in its design. The tubing is wrapped in a clever way that will allow the musician to easily carry and play the instrument, and the tube's diameter increases in size until the end. It is a common mistake for people to believe that the cornet has originated from the medieval cornett, but in truth, there is no relation. In fact, the cornet originated from the simple horn, just as the bugle was. The cornet really developed when the improvements on piston valves were made, which was in the early 1800s.

Today, the cornet is a fairly popular instrument that is used in concert bands and brass bands more than it is used in marching bands and military, though it can sometimes be used in these too. Referring back to the valves of the cornet, they really were the largest part in bringing in the creation of the cornet. In fact, it was in adding these valves to the horn in the early 1800s that the actual cornet was first invented. While the cornet would seem similar to the trumpet, they differed greatly for a while before the trumpet also had the valves added into its design. Today, they are so similar that the coronet and the trumpet can play the same notes and fingerings.

The cornet has not changed too much since it was first invented, and it has only been around for a couple hundred years, but it is a brass instrument that has received a decent amount of interest over the years. One can see it played in a number of different musical genres and people of different ages have given it a try. In fact, a number of young jazz musicians in the 1900s began their careers by learning how to play the cornet.

The cornet has a more mellow and warm tone that is attractive to many people who decide to learn how to play the instrument. It is also an instrument that is recommended for beginners who have never played a brass instrument before. It can be a little challenging at first for someone who is new to playing any kind of wind instrument, but it can be quite rewarding in the end. Learning the sheet music and how to manipulate the keys properly can also take some time, but not as long as it can take to learn other more complex instruments. It is also another instrument that can be offered at some schools that have them.

Overall, the instrument is not too difficult to learn and so is a great instrument to offer in grade school to younger people who would like to try learning a musical instrument. The sheet music for the cornet is also easier to acquire than more expensive sheet music for other instruments. The instrument is even donated to the schools on occasion by people who have no more use for their cornet. Anyone who wishes to try the instrument outside of school can often find used cornets in used instrument stores or pawn shops.

    Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments.   Article Directory: Article Dashboard

Friday, March 2, 2018

Portuguse Fado Music and American Jazz Saxophone - Is There a Connection? Oh Yeah

Mário Henriques: "Fado Sem Tempo" Hamburg
Photo by Glyn Lowe Photoworks.
Fado music reveals the heart and soul of Portugal

Fado is a style of music that originated in Portugal in the early 1800's. Influences possibly came from the Moors, Arabia, and Africa, all of which the Portuguese had contact with. The Moors were North African Muslims who occupied Portugal and Spain from the 700's to the 1500's. They were eventually driven out by crusaders but left great influences in food, cooking, architecture and music.

Many North Americans have never heard of fado, not surprising since it's not being played on your local commercial radio station. Those that I've met and have had a chance to hear it usually fall in love with it. Musically, it's very pleasing to the ears and follows a predictable musical pattern. I think it has similarities to the Blues in America. Not so much in the harmonic chord progression of the 1, 1V, V that the blues is based on but the way the music itself came into existence and what it means and represents to its people and country today.The lyrical content of the Fado is usually about longing, lost love, hardships, the same things a blues song is usually about. Sonically it sounds much different.

I hated this music when I was a kid! Sitting in the back seat of my parent's car, being forced to listen to it, not understanding the lyrics, and it sounded so foreign next to the pop radio stations I listened to on my own time. I avoided it when I could and basically forgot about it as I grew up.

One day, in my 20's and off and away on the saxophone I heard a recording by the Portuguese jazz saxophonist Rao Kyao playing Fado music on his sax, no singing, just beautiful melodies played on a tenor. This put it in a whole new light for me. I guess I started to hear it differently since it was a sax speaking to me rather than some old Portuguese singer singing about stuff I couldn't understand, I could understand this though... Listen to Rao Kyao

The typical instrumentation is 2 Portuguese guitars which in Portuguese is called a guitara and 2 regular acoustic nylon string guitars which the Portuguese call a viola.

The biggest star of Fado was Amalia Rodrigues who died a few years ago but was active for most of the second half of the 20th century. She was known and appreciated internationally and brought the fado of Portugal to the world. There have been Plays and films written about her...

She also brought one of the great American tenor saxophonists into the studio with her group to lay some sax down on a few tracks. Don Byas was a contemporary of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, the great saxophonists of the early jazz swing era in America around 1940. But Byas moved to Europe, living in France, Holland, and Denmark in the mid 40's and remained there for the rest of his life. Fortunately, while in Portugal for a brief moment he was called into a studio session with the great Amalia and so history was made with one of the greatest American jazz tenor saxophonists together with the greatest Portuguese fado singer.

If you've never heard fado music, do yourself a favour and check it out!

*Note: For the complete article with audio samples go to JohnnyFerreira.com

Thursday, March 1, 2018

GUITAR LESSONS - The Secret To Improving Your Playing Fast

Broke the guitar out today. She hit for the cy...
Broke the guitar out today. She hit for the cycle on music - recorder, piano, and guitar. Nice.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A core aspect of guitar practice is goal setting.

To put it bluntly – you must set goals!

Let me explain why this is so important. Hopefully, my explanation will show you just how important, and incredibly powerful, this technique is if you want to be constantly improving as a guitar player.

If you set goals you give your subconscious mind something clear to focus on.

When you write down your goal and commit to doing it, you have set something in motion. By writing it down, you’re making it much more likely to happen.

So, you must set some goals and write them down.

I know this may sound unimportant to you at the moment, especially if you have never used this technique before.

But trust me on this…Before I set goals to work on in my practice I was highly frustrated with the lack of results I was getting.

Goal setting keeps you focused and makes you get what you want from your practice.

Also, if you don’t set goals, you don’t have anything clear to measure how well you’ve progressed. This can mean that you don’t progress much at all, or you don’t notice your progress.

This can lead to lack of desire to play guitar and lack of desire is a 100% guaranteed route to failure.

That’s not what you want, is it?

So, in summary:

You must cover each of these points:

• You must set long-term and short-term goals.
• You must read & review your goals before you practice.
• You must focus on completing these goals while you’re practicing.
• When you finish practicing, review your goals and tick off the goals you have completed.
• If you miss a goal, don’t worry! Review the goal and decide if it was realistic enough. If it wasn’t realistic, change it until it is. If you still feel it is realistic, leave it there and work on it next time.
• It helps to make your goal time limited. (E.g. Within 30 days) This will help keep you focused and accountable.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

MARIA CALLAS: Supreme Opera Diva

English: Publicity photo of Maria Callas (Dece...
Publicity photo of Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977) as Violetta in La Traviata by Houston Rogers
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The 2004 Athens Olympics is over, but certain things linger on. My thoughts drifted to the ambitious opening ceremony that heralded its start. Only one among the millions of television viewers, I saw with much excitement and expectation the grand opening ceremony on yet another biggest sports show on earth. I also marveled at how the patrolling troops on land and air managed to guard the entire security operation. All for the game.

Athens played host to a beautiful and moving Opening Ceremonies in Olympic history. The spectacular and theatrical event featured a vast expanse of water representing the beautiful seas that surround Greece, massive flying artifacts, a rolling stage, among other magical visual displays. The audacious performance painted a dramatic picture of a country steeped in pride for its remarkable cultural heritage - civilization and its contribution to the arts and sciences, politics and society. And lest the world forgets, it was the ancient Greece that created the Olympic Games nearly 3,000 years ago.

Then the Olympic ceremony presented the 'Book of Life' part, where Eros swooped down to greet a pregnant woman, the final figure of the 'Clepsydra' parade. The background music clearly came from a distinct voice that I swore could only belong to one operatic diva, to me, the greatest of all: the voice of Maria Callas. By impulse, I got excited and stood up when I heard it. I said, "It can't be. It's Callas!" I was under the assumption that all performances were live. Naturally, I was right about the voice. Within a minute, the television commentator said so. Obviously, the Greeks are ever proud of the voice and the singer. Nevermind that she was born and raised in the USA. But she was born of Greek parents. Besides, a legend should be shared with the world. A legend is a child of the universe!

The American operatic soprano Maria (Kalogeropolous) Callas (1923-1977) was born in New York of Greek parents. She studied at Athens Conservatory and made her debut there in 1941. With a voice of fine range and a gift for dramatic expression, she excelled in opera. In 1947, she appeared at Verona in La Gioconda, winning immediate recognition. In 1949, she was married to Giovanni Battista Meneghini. She appeared at La Scala, Milan in 1950, at London's Covent Garden in 1952, and at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1956. Among her most famous roles was Bellini's Norma in the title role, and Amina in La Sonnambula, while her magnetic stage presence as an operatic actress yielded memorable portrayals of Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata and in the title role in Puccini's Tosca. Callas sang with great authority in all the most exacting soprano roles, excelling in the intricate bel canto style of pre-Verdian Italian opera. Other operas include Madame Butterfly, Aida and Medea, and many more.

It's more than twenty-five years since her death, and yet Maria Callas continues to ignite the imagination of a new generation of opera-goers who never experienced her on the stage. I never did. My discovery of Callas is through my collection of her records, some almost warped to let go, perhaps no different from her recordings when she was just beginning to reach an international market, or when her career was still confined to Italy. Through the CDs, I came to love Callas's exquisite voice with all my senses engaged. Not that I don't admire the likes of Kiri Te Kanawa, Ely Ameling, or Joan Sutherland, among others. I have Maria Callas's 'First Official Recordings', mono dated 1953. And as I compare this recording with a more polished production, a recent 1997 EMI recording of a lifelong favorite Bellini's Norma, I can feel the same intensity of feeling, the ever-engaging sound of the voice itself.

I can go on and on and rave about this operatic diva, this legend whose greatest role was herself. For her life was an intense opera in itself - her tempestuous outbursts as sensational as her entrances and exits, as well as her doomed relationships. From 1959 until her death, she had an intense relationship with the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. But always, she remained the ever-consummate professional in her art.

While writing this piece, I'm up to Callas Rarities. and almost always, I end my listening satisfaction with her interpretation of my all-time favorite: "Casta Diva"(Chaste Goddess) from Bellini's Norma. Her exquisite voice lulls me to divine slumber: "Casta diva ... tempra, o Diva, tempra tu de' cori ardenti, tempra ancora lo zelo audace ..." Translated in English: "Chaste goddess, ... temper thou the burning hearts, the excessive zeal of thy people."

To experience the magical voice of Maria Callas, I need only listen and take pleasure in the solace of her recordings.

    Tel Asiado is an Information Technology professional turned writer, author, and consultant. Employed by multi-national organizations in information technology, computing and consulting, she has several years of varied experience as project manager, business solution manager, process and information analyst, and as a business writer. Her writings also reflect her passions for inspirational/motivational and Christian insights and classical music. 
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Yes, that's the great Lenny Pickett next to Chester Thompson for "Squib Cakes"!
Photo  by Ethan Prater 
Lenny Pickett is best known as the tenor saxophonist of the Saturday Night Live Band, he is one of the virtuosos of altissimo saxophone. The altissimo register is a technique that almost seems like a requirement for saxophonists today. It's based on harmonics and enables you to achieve notes above the normal range of the saxophone.

For example, it is possible to finger a low Bb (the lowest note on the instrument) and by changing the embouchure and air stream to blow the full overtone series of the low Bb (middle Bb, middle F, high Bb, high D, high F, and so on.) This technique can be heard clearly in the well-known opening theme to Saturday Night Live.

Lenny passes says this about his equipment, in response to numerous inquiries:  "I play a Selmer Paris Mark VI tenor (circa 1970) with a Berg Larsen 130 over 0 (SMS) mouthpiece and a number 3 Vandoren (blue box) bass clarinet reed."

Pickett, born in New Mexico in 1954, is competent not only with saxophone but also on flute and clarinet. After dropping out of high school in Berkeley, he spent a brief period studying under Bert Wilson, but amazingly, other than that instruction is entirely self-taught on the saxophone. Not viewed as a traditional jazz player, he is best showcased in short bursts of color bringing the life of his horn to center stage in R&B and rock arrangements. He is well known for his funky style, and his ability to make the sax "scream."

Pickett played with the Tower of Power horns from 1972 to 1981 and toured the world with them. Tower of Power still tours extensively today, though without Pickett. They released multiple Top 100 albums over the course of Pickett's career with them. Tower of Power played in many styles, from soul to funk to disco, and Pickett's virtuoso playing felt at home in all of them.

Tower of Power's horns section has performed with a variety of other artists including Santana, Heart, Poison, Phish, and more. He has since performed live and recorded with Rod Stewart, Elton John, Little Feat, Peter Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra, Doc Kupka's Strokeland Superband, and many rock and jazz albums and film and television soundtracks. Pickett's management's bio describes his music as "polyphonic extravaganzas which manage to touch base with R&B, funk, swing, Latin influence, and the avant-garde; horn lines twist around one another, shifting and building in intensity."

He has worked as a saxophonist and arranger for David Bowie, the Talking heads, and Laurie Anderson. As a composer, he has been commissioned to write works mixing classical and popular ideas for a variety of ensembles including the New Century Saxophone Quartet. Due to his strange and wild self-taught style, his techniques are endlessly discussed on Internet forums, where players speculate on his fingering, whether or not he's using double or triple tonguing, often asking each other "What is Pickett doing?!??!"

He is currently a professor of jazz saxophone at New York University.

    Author: Neal Battaglia 
     Are you into sax improvisation? Learn more about Saxophone Improv at Sax Station! 

Sunday, February 25, 2018


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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About the Violin From A-Z - ANTONIO STRADIVARI

English: Photo Stradivari Português: foto stra...
Stradivari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hello this is the beginning of my series of articles that will cover everything you need to know about violin from A-Z. I will start this series with Antonio Stradivari.

Antonio Stradivari is known without any competition to be the greatest violin maker in the history of mankind. To this day the quality and sound of his violins remain unsurpassed and they are now worth millions of dollars.

His genius remains a mystery that has never been solved. Over the years many have tried to copy his violins and none have succeeded in creating anything close to matching their sound. The violins themselves have been analyzed extensively in laboratories and everything has been examined from the wood to the varnishes and glues that he used.

The front view image of the Antonio Stradivari...
The front view image of the Antonio Stradivari violin of 1703. The picture was taken at the Musikinstrumenten Museum, Berlin.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona a small town in Italy in 1644, the exact birth date is unknown. It was there where he would live his entire life and establish his fame the greatest instrument maker ever seen. He was mentored by Nicolo Amati who was also from a family of famous violin makers. While still under Amati he began showing signs of the genius that would characterize his career.

In July 1667 he would marry the first of his two wives Francesca Feraboschim a young widower. After her death in 1698, he would remarry to a woman named Antonia Maria Zambelli. Altogether he had eleven children with the two women.

During his career, he made over a thousand instruments of which only 650 remain today. As well as making violins he also made violas, cellos, and guitars. The years between 1698 and 1720 are known as his golden age it is during this time that he made his finest violins these are the pieces that today sell for millions of dollars.

Antonio Stradivari died at the age of 93 in Cremona leaving behind a legacy of music and artistry that still remains unsurpassed.

    By Eric B Hill
    Eric B. Hill is a professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How to Play Slide Guitar.

Slide Guitar - Photo: Wikimedia
Don’t you just love the distinctive sound of a slide guitar, whether it’s on a country tune or the down and dirty blues?  There has been a renewed interest in slide and bottleneck guitar playing in the last few years, and the new country music has adopted the sound big-time.

I was intimidated when I first put a slide on my little finger, it was awkward, and the sound I made was horrible. I did not have anybody to show me how to dampen the strings, what scales sounded good in standard tuning, and not a clue as to all of the “open-tunings” that are available to both fingerstyle and slide playing.

Actually playing with a slide can be very easy, and beginners can get some really cool sounds with a bit of practice.  I would recommend tuning to an open D or open G at first.   The open tuning approach gives nice major chord sounds up and down the neck, and allows for some easy fingering and ability to play songs right away.  That’s the reason for playing right?  Exercises and scales have their place but most people I know that started to play guitar, want to learn some songs.

First, start with a slide or “bottleneck” as many refer to when describing the tube that you wear on your finger.  The choices are many, the material is endless, and the type of tone they produce is just as varied. You will be the ultimate judge of the tone and sound you create. 

The two basic materials are either glass or metal, with ceramic coming in a distant third. Can’t really say I have a favorite type of slide. I have just about one of every kind you can think of, I prefer glass on electric guitar and steel or brass on acoustic guitar.

One tip that is guaranteed to help give you better TONE is going for very dense material.  Get a thick or heavy glass slide, as this will increase sustain and fatten up your sound.  My preference is hand blown leaded glass, but very hard to find in the US, as it is illegal to use leaded glass for manufacturing. I got mine from a vendor in the UK. 

The preferred finger is the pinkie on your fretting hand, but lots of players use their ring or even the middle finger. The advantage of using your little finger is that it gives you the most fretting possibilities, but some claim you give up some control.  The main thing is just try on a bunch of slides and go for what feels good to you!

Once you have found a slide just have some fun running it up and down the strings.  More than likely you can make some awful noise, the task is how you can quiet down all of that excessive noise and get some soulful sound coming from your guitar.

Let's start with an open tuning; my preference is open G tuning. 
Drop your fat or lower E string down to a D pitch.  You can use the 4th string or D to tune to. Then tune the A string down G and you can use the 3rd or G to tune to as well. The last string you have to detune is the bottom E or 1st string.  Tune it to D as well, then when you strum your guitar it plays a G major chord and sounds really sweet.

Your guitar sound now is tuned D-G-D-G-B-D as opposed to the regular tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E.
Open G tuning. It's a favorite among slide guitarists, because it gives you a wide-open major chord on any fret, and it allows an easy alternating bass because the root (the main note of the chord, G if it's a G chord, for example) is on the fifth string while the fifth (D if it's a G chord, for example) is on the sixth and the fourth.  Both slide and non-slide players also appreciate the fact that open G also enables you to play a standard blues line with relative ease!

One of the most crucial aspects of getting good clean sound is the use of damping behind the slide.  Master this technique and you will be amazed how good the sound of you slide on steel strings will be.

I suggest that you lay your fretting fingers flat on the neck just behind the slide, and use slight pressure on the strings with the slide.  Not too heavy, as you do not want to hit the fret but not so light that you get no sound either. Just experiment a little and you will find the right pressure to use.

You also want to play just over the fret and not behind as this will give you the best intonation.  This also takes some practice but with some careful listening, you will know when you are on the pitch.  Mater this technique and you will be beyond most occasional players.

I have a website devoted to slide guitar and links to many resource and reviews of video lessons on slide playing.  I think the sound of slide guitar is the most human-like of any instrument and allows the guitarist to express an amazing range of emotion and feeling on the guitar.

Author: Dennis Tryon