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.