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1d
comment Is there any evidence that JS Bach, A Vivaldi and J Handel had perfect ear pitch?
Pitch is very important to a singer. Whether the singer had absolute pitch or not, she would quickly learn which towns to avoid because of the difficulty of reaching the high notes.
Jan
25
comment Is it possible to have “Perfect Tempo”
"Solo piano piece" ... that sounds right. Compare a solo piano piece to an orchestrated version of the same piece, or an orchestral piece to a piano transcription of it, and the performance of the piano version is almost always much more flexible in tempo.
Jan
24
comment Is it possible to have “Perfect Tempo”
There are plenty of pieces meant to be played exactly at a single tempo. Every parade march, for example. Judging from historic recordings I would say most dances, jazz pieces, ragtime, boogie-woogie and rock-and-roll.
Dec
11
comment How fast should I set the metronome for agitato?
Whatever speed works best.
Nov
28
comment Is it possible to have “Perfect Tempo”
Do you have an electric alarm clock? Most likely it beeps at 60 beeps per minute. Can you think of the sound right now?
Nov
15
comment The Greg Kurstin ethereal breathy vocal effect
You mean like Julie London in 1964? That's not production or mixing. That's a vocal technique. youtube.com/watch?v=DXg6UB9Qk0o
Sep
23
comment What is the name of this musical symbol (squiggly line)?
And here's the greatest fall of all time, from a song that has plenty of them: youtu.be/9OPc7MRm4Y8?t=2m28s
Aug
26
comment Are short fingers detrimental to becoming a pianist?
Thanks to anonymous reviewer for the correction: Josef Hofmann, not the other Josef.
Aug
17
comment How are note durations named in the British system?
The OED does only give English examples, being interested in when a word crossed over from French or Latin or German into English, not when it first appeared in the original language. "Maxima" and "minim" no doubt have a long history in Latin, probably going back to the earliest mensural notation. "Crotchet" and "quaver" sound English to me.
Aug
16
comment How are note durations named in the British system?
It appears that "semi" was all there was for more than a hundred years until someone added "demi", and I don't know how many years went by before "hemi" appeared. See the citations in my long answer. If my language knowledge is correct, "semi" is Latin, "demi" is French and "hemi" is Greek. Examples: semicircle, demitasse, hemisphere.
Jun
16
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
Reed organs sound "churchy" and are associated with little old ladies and hymn-singing. They are OK for some of the maudlin songs of the late 19th century like "In The Baggage Coach Ahead" and "She's More To Be Pitied Than Censured" but those songs went out of style. Ragtime and fast dance music just don't work on a reed organ. (Mine is a 1906 Estey, about as standard as they come.)
Mar
8
comment playing softly - full grand piano
Yes, each key needs to be separately adjusted. There are leather and felt pads involved, which pack down over time, and are sensitive to changes in humidity.
Mar
2
comment Were the Goldbergs meant to be played in one go?
Rachmaninoff wasn't so lucky. He wrote the Eighteenth Variation (as featured in the movie "Groundhog Day").
Jan
17
comment How does a piano go out of tune?
Mr. Boy: Did you ever play a 12-string guitar?
Jan
17
comment What is actually involved in moving a piano?
What damage can you do moving an upright piano? The answer is simple: you can do a lot of damage to your floor!
Dec
9
comment How does your brain learn to play the piano two-handed?
There are other skills that require this sort of coordination between the hands. Juggling, for instance. Eating with a knife and fork. Cutting hair, with a comb in one hand and scissors in the other.
Oct
6
comment How did “Mary had a little lamb” become popular blues?
I don't know if this is what started it, but it's the song the teacher assigns in Chubby Checker's 1959 novelty record "The Class".
Sep
15
comment Piano performance: slippery keys due to sweat of previous players
Yes, come to think of it, you may have to deal with your own sweat from the piece you played just before intermission! Now if you need to wipe off the keys between movements, I think you'd better do it yourself. It would look just as strange to call in the stagehand in the middle of your set as to wipe the keys yourself before you started playing your first piece.
Sep
12
comment In “All we like sheep have gone astray,” are we laughing with Handel or at him?
But never a joke entry about the Bible, God, Jesus or any other sacred matter. The conservative establishment took religion extremely seriously. A joke in a secular Handel opera would not be out of place. A pun in a sacred work, like F# instead of F on the word "cross" (kreutz: sharp, cross) is fine; Bach did it all the time. But that's an erudite pun, not a silly pun.
Sep
12
comment In “All we like sheep have gone astray,” are we laughing with Handel or at him?
The problem is not that "we" is accented, which is almost certainly intentional; it's that "like" is nearly as strong. Try singing "For God loves me" to the same notes: it fits perfectly.