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30

With long open strings, the span to reach notes especially at the nut end would be too much for a lot of players if it retained the 5ths pattern of tuning. Making the tuning in fourths means that the left hand can encompass three notes in a scale and then move across to the next string in the same hand position. That said, it's not difficult to slide up a ...


15

What education did Mozart receive in order to know basic harmony rules, like consecutive fifths are bad? As pointed out, he was educated by his father. He would have received basic training in Rule of the Octave, counterpoint, etc. Instruction in Mozart's time was essentially in voice leading, not harmony: harmony training didn't really exist until ...


11

Early pianos started out with the existing range of harpsichords, having between four and five octaves, usually starting at low C. This stands to reason, because Bartolomeo Cristofori, generally credited with being the inventor of the piano, was an expert harpsichord maker. By the time of Mozart, the range had standardized to five octaves, starting with ...


10

The modulation you describe is often mockingly called the "Truck Driver Gear Change". As you say, it is quite often used, to the point of being cliche. It has it's own page on TVTropes. At one time, there was even a "Hall of Shame" website (gearchange.org) devoted to it, although this seems to have disappeared. Here's a copy of the page from 2012 via the ...


10

It does mean 'short'. In medieval mensural notation, it was a short note, either one third or half as long as a LONGA. It appears there were only two note lengths, breve and longa from 13th up to the 17th Century, reflecting the syllable sung. The longa is obviously a longer note length... Music may have been much slower then!


10

I can think of two reasons: Bass is difficult enough the way it is. If you were to play it like a cello, you would need a) much more frequent position changes, and/or b) a strong, independent and wide-reaching (much wider than on cello with its shorter scale) pinky. I think most bassists never use the pinky on its own at all (or do they?), because a bass ...


9

Rumour or hearsay, I think, abetted by C.P.E. Bach. Yes. Evidently Santamaria's Arte de tañer fantasia from the 16th century gives examples of quick scale passages using the thumb, and also warns about using the thumb on black keys except when paired with an octave. I'm getting this secondhand (Historical Harpsichord Technique: Developing La douceur du ...


9

As topo morto already commented, it doesn't really make sense to consider pop as just an evolution of classical music. It has lots of influences from folk, blues, jazz that don't really make sense from a classical-harmony perspective. To a large degree, you might also just sum pop up as “relax, focus on keeping the melody simple&catchy and then ...


7

The early history (from about 1500 to 1850) of bass tunings are very variable, with anything from 3 to 6 strings and tunings in anything from thirds to fifths. Reference. In the classical period, the virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti played a 3-string bass tuned C G D an octave below the cello, which was more or less the standard instrument that Haydn, Mozart ...


6

When the piano was invented it did not have 88 keys and did not start on A. As composers such as Beethoven starting composing music that demanded a wider range of available notes, piano makers of the day responded by building piano's with an expanded range. The precursor of the piano was the harpsichord which was not the first keyboard (the organ was ...


5

Historically these modes arose as ways of describing and categorizing music that already existed. For medieval liturgical song, or Gregorian chant, the system of modes made it easier to match antiphon chants with a psalm tone. The right psalm tone would mean that at the end of the psalm it was easy to go back and sing the antiphon again. The modes describe ...


5

My essential list of organisations to belong to as a musician in the UK includes the PRS and PPL in order to be paid royalties (like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the US) and the Musician's Union for the following: Instrument insurance as Tim mentioned £1million public liability insurance (quite important to a band with pyro...) legal and contract advice free ...


5

I can't answer specifically for Mozart and Beethoven, but Handel's operas were the great public sensation of their day; this article from the London Victoria & Albert Museum gives a little flavour of the 'opera fever' of the 1720s. 18th Century Opera


4

There's actually quite a lot of surviving information on how the Greeks tuned their scales. But as far as I know there's only one complete piece of music, the so-called "Seikilos Hymnus", a short epitaph: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seikilos_epitaph It's a very nice little song, and I've used it in concerts. About Greek instruments- aside from ...


4

Our musical notation evolved over a very long time, during which it became increasingly detailed. This meant that innovation tended to happen at the short end of the time-scale, which probably explains the "inflation" which occurred during the middle ages and early renaissance. I'm not sure there was ever a time when there were just two values. The story ...


4

As Laurence alludes to, when discussing "perfect" pitch, there is a difference between relative pitch and absolute pitch. Relative pitch -- knowing where a pitch falls within the context of a scale, and hearing the purity of intervals (rather than individual pitches) -- can be learned relatively easily, through exposure to music, and most musicians probably ...


4

Is it just a matter of chance that we note music as we do? One of the ideas put forward by A generative theory of tonal music is that "the events of a piece are related to a regular alternation of strong and weak beats at a number of hierarchical levels" - I believe the suggestion is that this is something fundamental to the human experience of music, ...


4

One point of view is given by Peter van der Merwe in a couple of interesting books. "Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music" and "Roots of the Classical: the Popular Origins of Western Music." Another interesting book is Alec Wilder's "American Popular Song" but it only covers the period up to about 1950. ...


4

Yes, many old organs were built with only some of the 12 chromatic keys in some octaves (particularly the lowest one, since the biggest pipes are the most expensive ones). The reason is that the more remote chromatic tones were rarely used in compositions of the time, and so this saved a lot of money for only a little inconvenience. The same was also done ...


3

I would guess he learned the same way that he (and almost every other child) learns to speak their native language - simply by listening to what was going on around him. His father was a professional musician so he would have heard plenty of music in the house, right from birth. It is recorded that at age three, he spent "much time" listening to his father ...


3

Vibrato was and is known as two different techniques: Rou Xian and Yaxian. The below excerpt from Samuel Wong's erhu research explains the two techniques: 揉弦 Rou Xian (Vibrato) Vibratos can be effected by: i. Using finger pressure to suppress the string, increasing and decreasing its tension. This technique is also known as 压弦 yaxian and this ...


3

A Consecutive fifth is something that comes out of the linear thinking of polyphonic music (in contrast to homophonic music - not monophonic). So when leading your voices of a composition - these carry every functionality. Harmony, melody, rhythm, accompaniment but - in a linear way. You are undermining their individuality by squeezing them into kind of a ...


3

Many of the old traditional folk songs originated before the advent of recorded music. Typically folk songs were composed for the enjoyment of friends and family and neighbors with no thought of profiting commercially, thus there was no desire or need to copyright the songs or even write them down. Many folk songs became popular and were transmitted ...


3

The reason why a Bb is used instead of a B has to do with the key aspects of the Lydian mode itself which is the #4 and how it acts. The only difference between the Ionian mode and the Lydian is the 4th which is perfect in the Ionian mode and augmented in the Lydian mode. In Fux's counterpoint whatever mode you were in, you would want your cantus firmus and ...



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