Saturday, November 12, 2011

Renaissance Counterpoint

What exactly is renaissance counterpoint? I will tell you! The first thing that you need to know about renaissance counterpoint is that it explains itself. That's right, it explains itself. I'm saying that because counterpoint is a music form based on the idea of a theme being repeated or answered by another voice, and in that way one voice passes over the other, with the same thematic material, as it grows and expands in length and ideas, and that's why I'm saying it explains itself. It is an esoteric form of music that keeps your interest at all voices together, at all times.
As you may have already guessed, I'm a counterpoint freak. It is true, and I will not deny it. The only thing I desire is to sit down listening to renaissance counterpoint all day and talk about it. One of the most common forms of counterpoint is the fugue. In a fugue, a voice succeeds the other in a way that all the voices have taken all the parts in a row. In the end no voice is left without having sung every last bit of the material. Yes, it is hard, but it is beautiful! Of course, the best fugues ever were written by J.S. Bach, and that's not a coincidence.
In the old days, people didn't have electricity, and that affected music in a way that you cannot imagine. First of all, people couldn't hear music without people playing it! That's why music was so alive back then. You couldn't simply walk around in renaissance counterpoint and listen to music on your iPhone! However, there was music everywhere, because people loved it. And because music was only played by musicians and not DJs or sound engineers, music was always kept at a certain level. That is why our music today is garbage, while our fathers' music was angelic!
Now would be a logical time for you to ask "What can I do about it?". Well, first of all, try to attend as many renaissance counterpoint concerts as you can, because in that way, you will show people that you are interested, that that music is not dead, and you will make the difference. On the other hand, there is music being written today that is really crafty and beautiful. Most of the times, you will find that music in movies, because that's the only way that people will understand music nowadays, through an intermediate (image) that will explain that feeling of music for them, since they are deaf. But you will find ways to keep hope, as have I, and you will keep going on with your life as everyone else. There is nothing wrong with that. You know, we can't just sit still and reminisce our old days. This is the world today...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Absolute Pitch

Just though I should share some thoughts with you about my knowledge about absolute pitch, as perfect pitch should always be the thing that should always concern you the most about ear training. My first thoughts on the matter were negative, but then I realized how much money you could earn from ear training, absolute pitch and perfect pitch, and I came to my senses.
The thing that you should pay the most attention to is really your ear. Musicality is mostly devoted to those that can access primary databases of the human emotions depository., which is where all the music is stored. I think that if someone could achieve perfect pitch in a night, he would be the one that we should all talk to, but then again, I think that this is quite impossible, mainly because nobody can achieve absolute pitch in one single night.
I am not trying to be negative, but my real opinion is to try to reach into your minds and get the music out of you. The real musician doesn't wait until perfect pitch comes and finds him, but he gets out and tries to find it himself, as any reasonable person should do. Absolute pitch is always a part of our lives, as it should be, and perfect pitch doesn't stand a chance as well. But my hopes lie in music anyway, because it brings hope and wisdom to many people that couldn't have had it any other way.
Of course, music theory should always be a part of whoever wishes to have it. As my uncle Earny says, nobody should be forced into music, but anyone who wishes it, should kindly be educated into earning an honest buck out of music. I started out in music when I was twelve, but I never accomplished anything because I went to medical university. But the future of music stands with you, the amateur musician who reads posts in internet about music and ear training and perfect pitch and has really no idea about real music education or anything about real art.
The past of music was always dark and quiet, with lots of instruments and not a lot of absolute pitch, but the present has a lot of chances for us, especially for those who have had a lot of ear training in the last years. Perfect pitch has always been there for us, and musicians have always tried to find ways to stay in touch with their noble roots. Of course, nobody can have absolutely perfect pitch, but trying is important, and it boosts your confidence too. I myself have many times tried to achieve some musical skills and failed throughout the years, but my confidence never dropped down, because I always had pretty good ear training.
Ear training online has been one of the best ways to keep in touch with our training, but musicians have tried to get in our way. My advice: try to keep your training going, and keep your confidence high for the only thing that matters: absolute pitch!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sight Reading

What exactly is sight reading? There has been a lot of talk about it in the last few weeks, but nobody seems to know what they are talking about! Let's explore it!
Sight reading is as old as music notation. It essentially indicates the capability to read music, and play it spontaneously, without rehearsal or pause. Impossible, you say? Not at all! There have been any musicians around the world who where able to sight-read anything at performing speed, just like any person who had rehearsed would play it. That becomes possible through many many hours of training and analysing music. Eventually you learn to read music just like the way you read English. Yes, it can be done, and it is extremely useful - and a very good way to attract lady musicians.
It has much practicality in many things. First of all, the well-known occasion of someone asking you to play something for them, that you hadn't ever had the time to rehearse! That is a vary common phenomenon and none of us can escape from it. But what are you going to do? Well, the best solution is to learn to sight-read!
Many of you are wondering what sight-singing is. It is the exact same thing, but with singing! Of course, they very different according to the definitely different nature of the voice and the instrument. When you want to play a certain note on an instrument, you just press the right wholes, or frets, or keys, and it comes out. but in voice, you can only do that when you have a perfect pitch, which not all of us have. So, sight singing is the expanding of your rhythmic knowledge in combination with the training of your relative pitch, so that you can sight-read on your voice. No singer can be without this ability.
Now, you are going to ask me, what does that have to do with ear training? It is obvious that you can't have the one without the other! Because ear training will help you understand to hear music, while sight reading will help you bring it to life. You can sometimes understand music without being able to play it yourself, but how are you ever going to play good music if you can't understand it? My understanding is that there are a lot of teenagers out there that are looking for a quick buck out of music. However, that is not the case! Music is a profession of low badget anyhow. Only the 0,001% of the existing musicians makes a fortune out of the music industry. You may see all those stars on the television, but firstly you are missing all those who are not showing, and secondly they are not even rich! They are just some lucky little singers who happened to snatch their fifteen minutes of fame.
But ear training, is really important for you, so try to train yourself or to find a worthy teacher, because it all finally depends on you! Good luck!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Music Lyrics

Lyrics in music represent a special kind of form, though they are used in a spectacular percentage of the released music in our community. Why does that happen? Simply because lyrics are very easily understood and related to. Any person can listen to a piece of music, provided that it is in his language, and, even if the music language is really strange to him, connect to it through its lyrics. Because words carry a very common meaning within our everyday lives, and we can well understand them. The musical world though, is very broad and wide, and lyrics set to music, represent only a little percentage of this world. Therefore, this form of music has its special needs.
First of all, you have to make sure that the music is not only going to reproduce the words, but also carry their meaning in the most active way possible. If music cannot contribute nothing special to the text, it is best left alone, prosaic. Because in art, anything not useful is best left outside the equation.
One of the most important things that you have to do is find the keywords of the text, meaning to find the most important words, the ones that you have to emphasize the most with your music, and then figure out how you are going to emphasize them, and in what way. Music is all about personality, every composer has to find a way to keep all other composers out of his grounds. So, try to find your own kind of language, and find your own ways of pointing out what's important. Non-musical elements are also acceptable, in order to attract attention to what you want, and carry the message all over the place.
And that's one other most important thing: the musical message! Often times, the message isn't even musical. That's okay. Although the message might not be musical, music might be the messenger. It is actually a very common idea, in the music world. You might, for example, write a piece that's trying to keep people away from war, and from fighting. That's a musical piece, of course, but its message has nothing to do with music. This is called an out-of-music factor, and it has been around for centuries.
In lyrics though, it is another story. Lyrics are always an unmusical factor. You may set them to music all you want, but in the end, they always carry a non-musical language. And that's the point, otherwise you wouldn't insert lyrics in your music anyways. What you have to have in mind though, is not to get too carried away with lyrics. Music has to come first! You may emphasize lyrics with your music, you should of course base the whole composition on the lyrics (because lyrics certainly preexist, you don't write lyrics on music, but music on lyrics), but the music is the one thing that should be projected the most!
So, get out there, find some lyrics, and convert them into the beautiful world of music!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Music Performing

There are many new promising artists out there capable of providing the musical community with heavenly music for many years to come. Music Performing is the last link in the chain of music professions. Let's try going through the whole circle!
I think you all guess what's the first step in music: composition! It's literally the first thing that has to be done before any kind of music can come to life. Music composition has its comings and goings too. First of all, a composer comes usually short, because, let's face it, nowadays composing music for real musical instruments is a tough job! Mainly because the mainstream music society has gone into cheap electronic productions. One of the very few kinds of music that is still being recorded and not produces through computer is rock. Anyways, a composer's job is to create a musical piece that people can connect to and understand it. It also has to be playable and adapted for the special needs and capabilities of every different instrument. A violin, for instance, can't play what a piano can play, nor a piano can play what a violin can.
Then next part of the circle is, usually a distributor. A person whose job is mostly marketing and managing. He is the one who has to find where the music is going to be played, who is going to play it, and how the scores will get into their hands. For example, for an orchestra, someone has to arrange the scores and distribute them to each and every one of the instruments. Part-making, is also a very difficult and complicated work. You have to make sure to keep in account all the factors that will help the musicians play together. It is a tough profession.
At last, we get to the part we 're interested in: music performing. That is the final level of the circle of music. After the composer's music has finally made it into the hands of the performer, he has to study it, become familiar with it, understand it, and develop the kinds of techniques required for playing that particular piece of music. That, too, is not an easy job. But the power of the performer lies in his choices. He has the power to move the crowd towards his desires. That, of course, is again the second part of the link, whose first part holds the composer. But the power of those two combined, is really big. It's a kind of social strategy. They can move the masses towards their own spiritual and practical journeys.
A singer, let's say, can always relate better with his/her audience because he is singing, which is something that we all can do, more or less. Certainly, a singer has to go through some tough education to become what he is, probably singing exercises, ear training, etc. But the choices he is presented with, at the end of all that, are surely worth it.
At the end of the day, we should all respect and admire performers, for bringing before our ears,what great composers have inspired. It is a world of hard work, but beautiful results.