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Jun
22
comment How do you identify a good acoustic guitar?
@slim: Do you always carry your guitar with you? Otherwise, if you'll have to go to the room where the guitar is, having the amp there also doesn't seem so bad.
Jun
22
comment How do you identify a good acoustic guitar?
@slim: I often get the urge to play my electric, so I flip the switch on the amp, grab the guitar off the stand, and start playing. Sometimes I have to stop after a few seconds and tune it, but the same is true with an acoustic. What supposedly makes an electric "difficult" for impulse playing?
Jun
22
comment Should pedals be used when playing classical piano music?
@BobRodes: It's been a long time (20+ years) since I've played a fortepiano, but my recollection of the sound is that notes have a brighter timbre when first struck than when sustained, and that even with the dampers held up the timbre of newly-struck notes would allow them to be clearly and distinctly audible over the mellower sound of sustaining notes. Does that jibe with your observations of the sound?
Jun
21
comment Should pedals be used when playing classical piano music?
@BobRodes: On many percussive or plucked instruments, a newly-played string will have a rather non-symmetrical vibration pattern, which will tend to become more symmetrical as the note is sustained. Thus, describing one instrument as having a "longer" or "shorter" sustain won't really say much about how the volume and timbre of newly-played notes will compare with that of notes that were played awhile ago.
Jun
21
comment On the piano, how should you play staccato with the pedal?
...the key will be connected to the hammer right up until the point where the hammer touches the string). I'm not sure to what extent a player would be able to hit the key precisely enough to ensure that the hammer could coast into the string without actually being pushed the full distance, but it would at least theoretically be possible.
Jun
21
comment On the piano, how should you play staccato with the pedal?
On many pianos, it would not be implausible that pressing a key most of the way down and releasing it before the hammer strikes the key (but after imparting enough momentum to the hammer that it hits the key) would produces a different sound from pressing and holding the key, even if the hammer would strike the key with the same velocity in either case, since in the former case the only energy to be imparted to the string would come from the momentum of the hammer, while in the latter it would also be powered by the momentum of the key and even the player's hand (on many pianos...
Jun
19
comment Is “16va” proper notation?
@Dom: I've seen "15va" and "15vb" on the display of an electronic piano which can play things at pitch, or up/down one/two octaves (8va and 8vb are used for one octave).
Jun
17
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
My 1895 Smith American has knee swells; while it's not super-early as organs go, it's hardly the end of the line either; they're not as percussive as banging harder on the keys, but they respond as fast as one pushes them, and release in under 200ms, even while sustaining notes.
Jun
17
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
The knee swells on a reed organ can be used to achieve a pretty significant dynamic contrast, especially if one of them can enable all the stops and the octave coupler. Not quite as great a contrast as a piano, but pretty substantial.
Jun
17
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
BTW, I wonder to what extent parlor organs were thought of as "churchy" back before mass-produced pianos took off around 1900? Parlor organs used to be much more common than pianos, and I recall that electrically-operated reed organs were widely sold in the 1970s and probably before that (though the latter would have been much cheaper than the parlor organs sold in the 1890s).
Jun
16
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
I tend to play the Blue Danube Waltz on mine, sometimes switching into parallel minor for the fun of it. I think it works pretty well for a fair variety of music, but you have a point that the reeds don't speak as quickly as piano hammers. Still, nice to know I'm not the only guy with a reed organ.
Jun
15
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
What factors do you think caused pianos to win out so totally over reed organs? Was it mainly their response to key velocity allowing a nicer range of dynamics than the swell pedals and stops of a reed organ? Or the fact that reed organs were generally tuned to high pitch and did not have standardized features (my instrument has split point at middle C, a 13-note sub-bass, a celeste stop above the split, and two full sets of reeds in addition to the above, but I don't know of any literature designed for that particular combination).
Jun
6
comment Same note to be played with both hands?
@Patrx2: Perhaps a distinction should be made between music which is written specifically for a piano, versus music which is "condensed" into a form that may be played by a pianist or by one or more performers on other instruments. In the latter situation, an editor may sometimes notate things in a fashion that's less than ideal for the pianist, but which would benefit other performers.
Jun
5
comment Same note to be played with both hands?
@Patrx2: Not all keyboard pieces can be played effectively using two differently-voiced manuals with one hand on each, but the one-measure excerpt from the OP shows nothing that would be problematic. I would think that kind of duplication would be most common in cases where it would be useful.
May
31
comment What can I build into my guitar and use the “tone pots” buttons to adjust?
I wonder whether it would be practical to use a solid-body electric with piezo pickups and nylon strings. I like the sound of my Ovation hollow-body electric with nylon strings, but in some other ways I like solid-body guitars.
May
30
comment humbucker vs two single-coils
In a humbucker, the second set of magnets will cause most of the flux to return on the second-magnet-set side, but even without those magnets almost half would return through the second coil (about half would return on the other side of the main coil, and a little would return beyond the second coil).
May
30
comment humbucker vs two single-coils
In a humbucker, the north-pole magnets are close enough to the south pole magnets that I would expect their proximity to have a significant effect even if one only used one coil. Further, I would expect that if a single-coil pickup's magnet assembly installed in one of the coils of a humbucker, the other coil would pick up a signal about half as strong as the first, and in proper phase for humbucking operation. I don't have easily-separable pickups at my disposal, but my understanding of the physics is that flux which goes through a coil has to have a return path outside it.
May
29
comment What does the tie across other different notes mean?
What would you think of writing everything for the first three eighth-note beats of the second measure as four down-stem 16ths grouped with an eighth? The first 16th note would include an "A" tied to the third 16th note, and the third 16th note would include a "D" tied to the eighth? To my eye, from a timing perspective, the "A" is part of the 16th note phrase and would best be covered by the same beam.
May
26
comment Physics behind why a bugle can play several notes, while a whistle only plays one note
@DarrenRinger: A typical whistle behaves as a closed pipe rather than an open pipe; while an open pipe of a given length will have harmonics 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. the harmonic series of a closed pipe will be 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, etc. [commonly expressed as odd multiples of a fundamental that's an octave lower].
Apr
28
comment “slash” chords, e.g. B/F♯ - are these only for inversions, or can any note be the bass note?
Am/G would indicate that there should be a G on the bottom, and A's, C's, and maybe E's above it. Am7/G would indicate that there should be a G on the bottom and A's, C's, G's, and maybe E's above it. Once chords go beyond 7ths things get a bit messy since it's normally necessary to omit notes, but it's not always clear which notes should be omitted.