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18

The TL;DR answer: Some instrument families (saxophones, clarinets, double reeds) have variants which change the instrument range by something other than an octave. To make it easy to switch between instruments in the same family, the parts for these instruments are transposed so the same written note has the same fingering, but produces a different actual ...


17

Here are links to YouTube videos, all three of which were posted by the same person, using the same synthesizer, all three playing Bach's Air on the G String. But each link uses a different tuning system: Equal Temperament: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6XkgNT20Eg Just Intonation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdL8aPQUOk0 Pythagorean Tuning: ...


17

Technically, there are no reasons, but practically, there are quite a few. Obviously, we've reached the point where we can construct instruments that are fully chromatic, so there is no need to change crooks and play only the overtone series. The practical reasons are many, and mostly stem from the fact that if all instruments were pitched in C, any time ...


17

The minor scale is not called the "minor scale" because it is the most minor. Names don't have to accurately reflect the definition. Modes are sometimes classified as "minor" or "major" depending on their third (a minor third usually comes with other minor degrees like the flat 7th which is common to all minor modes of the major scale). And of all the minor ...


17

What a great question! From an early historical standpoint, I can think of several cases where this has happened. I'd be interested in more answers, and especially later historical examples. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, accidentals were often not notated, with the composer relying on the performer's knowledge of musica ficta to provide the correct ...


16

Your logic fits and, as some of the commentators have stated, I've pondered about this in the past. Usually your dominant hand naturally can handle doing a lot more work, like you've stated. In playing instruments, the dominant hand also should be used for doing the "big jobs": in drumming, the dominant hand would be hitting the hi-hats. In a normal 4/4 ...


13

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!


12

A couple quick internet searches (which took me here, for example) supports my guess that the term blues refers to melancholy of the music/lyrics (caused by blue devils). A blue note then is something characteristic to that music. One could also think that blue notes are blue because they often sound "sad", being flatter than usual. The term chromatic ...


11

I have to say no. As you said, Beethoven's 9th symphony was the first choral symphony but it was not the first piece to combine chorus and orchestra. There were already pieces from the Baroque that combined them, as the same definition of cantata says: Cantata: A sung piece, or choral work with or without vocal soloists, usually with orchestral ...


11

The short answer is yes (and I have occasionally written such music myself). Musical styles never really die, they just fall out of general fashion. It should be noted that there are a couple categories of music that might be considered in an answer. First off, and perhaps least authentic, are what might be termed "fusion" styles -- mixtures of baroque (or ...


9

I suppose the answer is that any manufacturer of a keyboard instrument, be it a piano, organ, accordion, etc., is free to build whatever instrumental mechanism to produce as many pitches as they want to create, and is free to design a keyboard to play those pitches. They put it on the market, and the successful models sell well, and establish a precedent, ...


9

Note that the numbers of keys includes white and black keys, so an 88-key piano is just over 7 octaves and a 63-key keyboard is 5+ octaves (not 9). As in most music (and much of life), non-logical reasons tend to be historical.


9

Well, no. You can't really prove the theory of music. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Pythagoras probably wasn't the first human to speculate on the relationships of pleasing sounds, but he may well have been the first to appreciate the value of integer ratios in string length (or he may just be the earliest case we have records about).[*] As to ...


9

First, Gradus ad Parnassum was completed in 1725 (not 1752), so it's a bit earlier than you think, although still in the time frame when tonality was becoming common. Second, Fux was intentionally looking back to earlier styles of music, explicitly the music of Palestrina (who died 1594), and was, in a sense, taking a historical view even when it first ...


9

No, they are not considered consonant in all music cultures. The perception of consonance and dissonance can be different among cultures. The same interval can be perceived (and labeled) differently by different cultures. This is influenced by many factors (and the harmonic series is not the only one!) For example, in medieval times major thirds were ...


8

It is because Italian composers were the first to use these markings in their scores, so the formalized the practice during the 1600s if memory serves. It was adapted to music from Europe to formalize the practice in one language so all could understand and perform.


8

It actually goes back to the Medieval period when music that was not church music nor followed the church's rules was the devil's music. Madrigals were considered the devil's music because they were mostly about sex. Ending a piece on a minor chord was also forbidden which gave us the Piccardi third (raising the third of the final chord of a piece in a minor ...


8

I hope no one minds that I got curious, and did a bit of digging into this on my own. I discovered what appears to be an excellent resource answering this very question. The book is entitled Between Modes and Keys: German Theory, 1592-1802 by Joel Lester (1989). I do not have access to a copy of the book, but I've been able to see several relevant portions ...


7

The best ear training courses available are by David Lucas and can be found at www.perfectpitch.com, these are audio lectures but do require some interactivity from you and your instrument to get the most from them (as you'd expect from any music training of this sort). An excellent book which has a kindle edition is Hearing and Writing Music: Professional ...


7

The guitar originated from the lute. What's called a 'kithara,' (a type of lyra) which when pronounced sounds a bit like 'guitar' is why people and historians get mixed up between the two being related. The lute and the vihuela had their features combined in the 16th Century. The features that were combined were: The body of the vihuela The size the lute ...


7

There is an overarching reason for transposition of wind instruments, which can be corroborated by anyone who has played woodwind doubles in a pit orchestra. Regardless of the reason transposing instruments came into practice in the first place, the practice is still standard in writing circles (besides the valid observation that there alr4eady exists a ...


7

As Indrek pointed out, this gives at least partial answers to your questions. In short, the answer to who first put foot pedals on a piano is not known exactly, but the practice seems to originate in England. A piano of Americus Backers from 1772 might be the first one to use foot pedals instead of knee levers. Then you have a different question in the ...


7

Viol consorts were certainly popular in England. This is fairly obvious from the number of English and England-based composers who produced vast quantities of music for such consorts. My inclination is to believe that they were more popular in England than most other places, but I may have a distorted viewpoint of that being an English viol player myself. ...


7

All modal jazz means is that the harmony is deliberately static so that the players can stretch out against it as well as with it in a more elastic fashion. It's not really something you could even say was "invented". While "Kind of Blue", put it on the map, there are boat loads of tunes preceding that album that are modal in at least sections. "Dark Eyes" ...


6

First of all, Gipsy Kings music isn't classical :) Gipsy Kings play Flamenco guitar, major of their works is Rumba type. Spanish guitar basically is two types: Spanish classic guitar. Famous players: Andres Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream. Flamenco guitar. Famous players: Paco De Lucia, Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Nunez, Sabicas and of course many ...


6

Beethoven's own "Choral Fantasy" came before the Ninth Symphony. It's a weird (and wonderful) piece composed for a particular occasion (actually composed to fill out a concert that was already far too long). The piano starts it as a solo and plays an improvisatory cadenza that's three or four minutes long. Then the orchestra quietly starts in, builds up ...


6

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704): La Battalia Sinfonia (1673) From program notes: La Battalia was written very much in the style of the day, but even these centuries later sounds rather modern, especially because of Biber’s use of percussive effects in the string writing. The work, which is in short movements, was written in 1673 in the fading ...


6

Interestingly enough, the English Horn is commonly known by the French term 'cor anglais', but in fact originated in Germany! To make matters worse, the French Horn is a descendant of the English hunting horn. The term 'horn' has had varying meanings throughout history and genre. At the most basic level, it simply refers to the cylindrical shape of an ...


6

The Musica Universalis stretches the idea of music, in the same way that describing courtship as a "dance" stretches the idea of dance. As such, your hope to find melody in there is optimistic at best. Middle C - C4 - is 261.62 Hz; that is 261.62 vibrations per second. C-1 is 8.17 Hz, which you get by halving the frequency 5 times. It's inaudible, but it ...


6

From J.R.'s answer on the English Language and Usage Stack Exchange site it dates back at least as far as 1885 since J.R. unearthed a charming quote from Educational Plans in Music Teaching, in The Quarterly Music Review, Vol. 1, 1885 where it is attributed it to a "government schoolmistress".



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