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25

Why the past tense? How do classical (or rather, orchestral) composers write music? How does any composer write music for instruments they don't themselves play? Although a composer doesn't necessarily need to be able to play an instrument to a high standard, they do need to understand the mechanics of the instrument, its limitations and capabilities. This ...


23

I'd say 2. is likely the closest, but it may just be as simple as personal taste. You're just not that used to hearing it and as you say, there's no emotion associated with it. I doubt I'd be capable of appreciating the subtle nuances and emotions in Indian Raga and I can't imagine such a melody stirring any great emotion in me. We have sounds and ...


21

The term "voice leading" comes from choral music, but it applies to chord progressions in all sorts of arrangements for all sorts of instruments. A chord progression has two dimensions: horizontal and vertical. Let's say you are playing four-note chords in sequence. You can think of the progression as a series of block chords (vertical), but you can also ...


20

But there are rhythms, harmonies and melodies in nature. When you walk, you establish a nice solid beat. Two beats to the bar, at its most basic level - but by adjusting your gait or the way you count, you can think of it as four beats, or three, or as many as you like. Skipping brings in different rhythms. The musical intervals that make up melodies are ...


18

Questions like this cause endless debate among scholars. The basic fact is that sheet music from the Baroque era tends to have a great deal less detail and specificity about interpretive matters than sheet music written in later eras. Bowing directions for strings are never given; the only dynamic markings used are often just "p" and "f", and there are no ...


16

Many classical composers frequently used this method that you stated. Bach wrote over 1120 pieces. Naming 1120 pieces, each with a unique name can be hard. Some were named for where they were performed e.g. the Brandenburg Concertos. It was also common for a composer to number his pieces of the same format. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is also known as Serenade ...


16

Just to expand on Pat's answer, there is a figured bass symbols for all type of inversion including root position. The picture above shows the complete figured bass symbol and how it will be denoted in analysis. As you can see root position triads and 7th chords have their own complete figured bass symbols, but reduce drastically because how common they ...


16

Le quattro stagioni is the original title of this work, which translates to 'The four seasons'. This title was indeed chosen by Vivaldi himself, who deliberately composed the pieces to reflect the mood of each season. The wikipedia article sums the titles up pretty nicely!


13

I don't consider the "classical music" criteria to be a determining factor. A piano is a piano is a piano, and though digital pianos generally do have some feature overlap with things like electronic keyboards and synthesizers and midi controllers, the reason for buying a digital piano should only be because an acoustic piano is impractical for whatever ...


13

Some audience members will be familiar with the piece. It is also possible to pick up visual body language cues from the performers (if they are continuing to ignore the audience after finishing a movement, that's a good sign that there is more to come). But more than all of this, is the fact that the performance programs (handed out by ushers or available ...


12

There may be a small amount of "performance practice fad" about that, but for the most part it does serve a purpose. Breath is used in many styles of music as a cue. If you think about wind instrument players, for example, every phrase is preceded by a breath, and experienced players will take that breath in rhythm. As a rhythmic gesture, it can be used to ...


11

When asked about how "masterworks" are created, Nadia Boulanger, a French composition pedagogue during the 20th century, had this to say: "I can tell whether a piece is well-made or not, and I believe that there are conditions without which masterpieces cannot be achieved, but I also believe that what defines a masterpiece cannot be pinned down. I ...


11

This is a positive thing. Studies have shown the positive effect music has on unborn babies, see: Whitwell, Giselle E. "The importance of prenatal sound and music." Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health 13 (1999): 255-262. http://intraspec.ca/music.pdf


11

The double leading-tone cadence is certainly not the "single defining characteristic" of Ars Nova. As to the chronology, Philippe de Vitry (born before Machaut, and one of the "inventors" of Ars Nova, to whom the eponymous treatise "ars nova" is ascribed) used double leading-tones in his isorhythmic motets. See, for example, the end of Tuba sacrae/In ...


11

very simple answer... E-Bow I've had one for 30 years, there's nothing quite like it, but it is a technique in & of itself. You can do the standard 'never-ending note' by simply holding it over a string & sliding/hammering up & down the fretboard, but with a little practise you can make it sound like violin/cello spiccato by banging the string ...


11

I'm not entirely certain of whether this is providing information that the OP doesn't already have. Apologies if this is a repeat of known knowledge. In the early evolution of the horn as an orchestral instrument, it had no keys, so the player could only play notes in the harmonic series of the instruments, plus-or-minus hand-stopping (which changes the ...


11

Baroque music was all about expressiveness, and the rhythm was not necessarily meant to be held as strictly as the Renaissance tactus. Wheat Williams has mentioned historically informed performance, and as he says, these things are debated academically. But there is some good indication that Baroque composers did think of slowing down at the end of pieces. ...


10

One point I would make in addition to slim's excellent answer is that theory is more to explain composition, not dictate it. In other words, talented composers write the music they do because they are translating what they 'hear' internally, not because the rules of music theory tell them that this is 'right'. Although understanding theory is certainly a ...


10

The basic idea of the style is that it's in 3/4 time (or other triple meter), with accents on beats TWO and THREE. The accents are what makes it feel unbalanced. You are probably used to waltz style, where the accents are on ONE and THREE. As such, it may be easy to mistake beat 3 of a mazurka for beat 1 of a waltz, since those accents are in the same place ...


10

Since you don't mention any specific pieces, this may not be relevant to you, but it does apply in many situations. If you want to progress from studies like Czerny and Hanon, which are mostly about finger-technique, to things like the Chopin or Debussy Etudes (and most of the 19th-21st century piano repertoire), you have to leave behind the mindset that ...


9

Wheat gave a very good explanation of voice leading and I thought I'd just add a bit about counterpoint. Up until relatively recently (1600s/1700s) the concept of a chord wasn't around - composers may have thrown a C-E-G out there but they didn't refer to it as a 'C Major' chord. However there were certain rules prescribed that told what was legal or ...


9

You're paying the money, you should, within reason, be asking your teacher to provide pieces that you will enjoy. Give teacher a list of 10 tunes that you feel are within your capabilities, maybe get the dots for them, and present them to teacher, who should be able to find something you can be taught by them.Often, half of any lesson I may give will be ...


9

"Fundamental differences" is something that is open to interpretation. Jazz, a great-great-great-great step-grandchild of classical music certainly shares some of the rich musical heritage of European and African traditions which gives it "hybrid vigor." Nevertheless, classical music improvisation delves into many areas that jazz only hints at. Here's ...


9

I actually studied music composition and computer science myself. Great combo! It sounds like what you are really looking for is a formal music composition program, so, first of all, I would say that if this is something that really interests you, and you have the time and the means, you should look into trying to study music through your school, either by ...


9

The top of an acoustic guitar (steel-string or classical) is also referred to as the table. This is the flat piece of wood making up the front of the guitar's body when in playing position (which is a bit confusing!) It is the flat piece of wood which has the sound-hole in it, and which has the bridge stuck to it. This part of the guitar is also called the ...


9

Wheat Williams covered the basics of historically-informed-performance quite well. I want to add that unmeasured preludes (not uncommon in Baroque music) indicate that Baroque composers did have a concept of give-and-take in regards to tempo. (You can look at examples of preludes here or here to see what the music looked like.) So, while the purists may ...


9

Moto Perpetuo or Perpetuum mobile. Per the Wikipedia: literally meaning "perpetual motion", has two distinct meanings: pieces of music, or parts of pieces, characterised by a continuous steady stream of notes, usually at a rapid tempo, or whole pieces, or large parts of pieces, which are to be played repeatedly, often an indefinite number of times.


8

For one thing, J. S. Bach's music for solo keyboard represents only a small fraction of his work as a composer. Bach was primarily a composer of choral and vocal music, and music for chamber orchestra. I would suggest listening to recordings of his choral and vocal music (notably, his cantatas and masses) and his orchestral music to gain a broader ...


8

For some reason, Bach is better appreciated by learned musicians. Talking to any well-trained musician who plays a lot of Bach, you will realize that it is fully possible to make an emotional connection with the music. In fact, I would argue that Bach alone has written the very most inspirational music, ever. Here's why: Bach was a genius. As user Widor ...


8

They are figured bass numbers, as used under bass lines in (primarily) the Baroque era to indicate harmonic content to be improvised by continuo players such as the harpsichordist. The numbers refer to the diatonic intervals above the bass. Look at your 6/4 example above. The two distinct notes above the bass note are a sixth and a 4th above, hence 6/4. This ...



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