Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

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76

My teacher instructed me to think of two different approaches to practice: "Stop" -- where you are trying to learn the piece, work out the fingering (or other technical aspects) etc. You're not too concerned with keeping time, and when you make a mistake you stop, go back (maybe to the beginning of the phrase) and fix it. This mode allows you to fix in ...


67

There are composers like Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart out there today--you just haven't looked hard enough. On YouTube, I've found Shuwen Zhang, who has some Asiatic and ragtime influences in his music but otherwise composes somewhat like Chopin. He nails the classical musical forms, and he's written some of the most memorable scherzos I've ever heard. On ...


67

Consider the wise words of Ira Glass: Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing ...


63

Your experience is quite typical. Playing two hands at the same time is completely different than playing both separately. But the point of learning parts separately is NOT about making it easier to play both hands together. It's about learning all the "other" stuff (like correct hand position, articulation etc.) without having the distraction of the second ...


63

Yes, you're right, it is like playing some extra notes on the piano. Note that when your friend plays a C major chord, he probably plays 5 strings (but for other chords, e.g. the G major, it might be 6). The guitar strings will be playing the following notes: a middle C, a middle E, a middle G (the same notes as you are playing on the piano) plus a high C ...


62

If your aim is to record smooth performances without having to do too many takes, the simple answer to that is to perform pieces that are comfortably within your capabilities, rather than pieces where you're pushing the limits of what you can do. This is generally what you are seeing when you watch an impressive performer playing live - however complex the ...


57

Hopefully a personal anecdote as an answer is helpful: I was forced to take piano lessons when I was young. When I became a teenager, my parents made it my choice whether to continue and I chose to stop piano lessons. I did not find it exciting or fun, it was just pressing keys in a certain order every day and "making music" that I didn't recognize and didn'...


54

There are physical and psychoacoustics reasons behind it. A vibrating string held by its two extremities can only vibrate at certain frequencies (cycles per second, expressed in Hertz, i.e. 440 Hz = 440 cycles/second), which relates to the characteristics of the string (e.g. its weight per unit of length, its flexibility) and how it is used (e.g. the ...


53

You can divide up the octave however you want, but it turns out that doing what you suggest doesn't really make good sounding music, at least to our western ears. It all has to do with overtones and pleasant ratios of pitches. An interval sounds consonant to us when the ratio of the frequencies is mathematically simple. It causes the waveforms line up and ...


52

Jazz is an unbelievably expansive genre with over 100 years of musical tradition; a big part of this tradition is an ever-increasing list of sub-genres that fall under the larger umbrella term of "jazz." Your "(I'm guessing it is)" is encouraging; it suggests you realize it's maybe a little silly to think you can mimic such a broad tradition by "just ...


48

Another approach would be to simply state the instructions either in a blob of text preceding the music page or perhaps somewhere between the title and the music: This though would require translation should the work be published for e.g. Klingons or Lojbanists who may be familiar with classical music scoring conventions but not English. % LilyPond ...


48

Why are we making such a fuss over this? If you want the piece to start mp, write 'mp' in the first bar. If you want a particular section played mf, write 'mf' at that point. Then 'mp' again. A confirmatory '(sempre mp)' might be useful at a new section of the piece. BTW, there is no such thing as 'regular volume'. If you want mf, say so.


47

A skilled sight-reader surely can (except if the piece is really difficult). And they can do more, for example they can read the music and play it in a different key, or they can read a string quartet (that is, four independent staves with three different clefs simultaneously) and play most of the important things in it, and so on. Not every good pianist is ...


46

You are ignoring the dotted line with 8va written above the upper G-clef. This means that the notes written in this clef should be played an octave above the written notes. (This notation is called All'ottava and is sometimes used to avoid ledger lines.) When you do this there is no conflict between the notes in the red box.


45

First off, for any melody that stays within a key, you have about a 1/7 chance of any random note you guess being the next note. Second, there are popular melody patterns and techniques, and sometimes the chords being played will suggest likely places for the melody to go. Depending on the chords and the harmony, you may be instinctively understanding that ...


44

I'm assuming that you're talking about the one that looks like a blocky X.....this is a double sharp. Instead of shifting the tone up one half step, it shifts the tone up 2 half steps (i.e. 1 whole step). This image shows G double-sharp in the treble clef, and E double-flat in the bass clef. G double sharp is enharmonic with A natural, and E double-flat ...


44

The left hand is in treble clef.


43

Possibly putting the cat amongst the pigeons here. An expert (at anything, be it sport, art, science, etc.) is often not a good teacher. A good teacher knows the subject, of course, but maybe hasn't the propensity to perform as well as an expert. Often, when someone is naturally good at something, they will lack the empathy to understand why the students ...


39

For some reason, practice isn't always enough for prepare us for a performance. That's not unusual. Some things that have helped me and others I've talked to include: "Practice" performing in situations that are less high pressure. Singing karaoke at a small bar or taking an improv class are examples. Meditation and/or visualization on a regular basis can ...


38

Learning improvisation is a long trip. Most people start with one of two ways: going by ear, just play something that fits. Try until you think it's good. going by chords. Learn what tones fits the chords in the chart. Try until you think it's good. Soon you notice that it's not either one way or the other, it's a combination of both. Good improvisers are ...


38

Your notation may work for a free form melody, but that's it. How will you notate several notes played at once? How will you notate exact rhythms if you don't split up a bar into beats and subbeats and give each note an exact duration? Which octaves are those notes? I agree that standard notation (common music notation) is complicated, but there are pretty ...


38

replete's answer is correct that the original reason was to have a bigger range, as needed for some organ music. However, I don't think that's the reason those Imperial models are so sought-for over all these years – actually playing the lowest notest is scarcely musically useful. The reason why people want Bösendorfer Imperial is that they sound awesome, ...


36

A guitarist has exactly the same problem as you do. If you just strum the chord on the downbeat, or on every beat, it sounds boring. You have to play more interesting patterns. The guitarist does have a couple of advantages over a pianist in this respect. Early on, a guitarist learns to get more rhythmic interest out of a basic chord, by varying the rhythm ...


36

Yes it is really important to practise sightreading. Being able to sightread well makes it much quicker to learn new pieces and eventually possible to play pieces reasonably well without having practised them at all. Sightreading does improve simply by learning repertoire, but not that quickly. This is because you are only truly sightreading a piece the ...


35

In a key where there are already some sharps (or flats) in the key sig., as here, every time one of those notes is played, it has to be sharp (or flat). In E, or C#m, the key here, every other note is natural - E, A, and B. So if a note sounding like a C needs to be played, it can't just be written as a C, because the player would automatically sharpen it, ...


35

Wrong reps create wrong results. DO NOT play fast and wrong. Practice as slowly as you need to to avoid wrong notes. This is very important. The reason that you need to practice in the first place is that you need to create muscle memory. If you tell your muscles to do the wrong thing they will remember to do the wrong thing. Every instance of sloppy,...


35

The conventional method is to write sempre mp in the first measure. Sempre means always. The exceptional measure could be marked as più forte ("louder"), followed by sempre mp again. Another possibility is rinforzando ("reinforced") with a dashed line after it to indicate the emphasized part. Individual notes can be marked as rfz.


34

I haven't been able to listen to the files, but I think Pat's comment is very likely to be closest to the mark. From the spectrographs, it looks like you may be missing two things: Inharmonic partials - Because of the stiffness of the piano strings, the various sine waves generated are actually not exact even multiples of the fundamental. Instead, they are ...


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