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Showing posts from September, 2010

Piano, Paper, and Pencil: How to Write Music

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Image by Cuito Cuanavale via FlickrSome quick pointers on learning how to write music:Learn basic keyboard. Piano lessons help you learn about music theory, chords, and melodies without having to wade through crazy theory books. Plus, then you will be able to write much easier.Do you want to write pop or classical? For pop, you can get away with a lead sheet (pretty much just chords, melody line, and basic rhythm). If you want to write for something a bit more advanced, then you will need to learn about music notation. There are lots of online sites that will start you out on that. (I can answer any questions, too). For jazz, classical training is helpful, but not necessary. Oh, and there are plenty of computer programs that will write the music for you (ex. Garageband, Logic, Cakewalk). You play, and it prints it right out!Get some feedback on your writing. Whether its a teacher, a peer, or just a friend in the band, you need to get some feedback when you write, especially at the beg…

Music Child Prodigy and the Savant

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Image via WikipediaI would like to distinguish between a musical prodigy, a musical savant, and a musical genius:

Musical Prodigy: Typically a young child with inordinate intelligence and musical talent (and usually with parents who recognize and push the child's abilities). Mozart was a musical prodigy and musical genius.Musical Savant: A severe mental disorder which allows for incredible musical talent in some casesMusical Genius: A person (young or old) with exceptional musical talent that may have developed as a child or taken years (or even decades) to perfect. Usually of high intelligence. The majority of serious composers that I know personally and/or professionally fall into this category. I do not consider student composers part of this group.
In the day of YouTube, it is fairly easy to find hundreds of "musical prodigies". A recent example would be the young Jackie Evancho on the reality show America's Got Talent. Videos from a few years ago showed a young gi…

God Created Great Whales by Hovhaness

Twentieth Century composer Alan Hovhaness composed a work called "And God Created Great Whales". I remember hearing this work for the first time in elementary school. The now-defunct Florida Philharmonic had an open dress rehearsal for local schools and the performance was magnificent. They had a video with whale sounds that played during the concert. I was young then, but I never forgot that performance!The composer uses the instruments of the orchestra and real whale sounds to create the sonic environment of whales at sea. If you listen to this composition, about 3:30 into the video, the sounds of actual whales are incorporated into the work. How does the timbre, pitch, and rhythms of the actual whale sounds compare to the sounds of the orchestra? What instruments does Hovhaness use to add to the sounds of the whales?

Want to write music?

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Image via Wikipedia\Hello Everyone,
So maybe you play in a band, learned some piano, or just want to write music. Well, writing music is rewarding and exciting. If you get good at it, other people will love to hear your music and might even pay you for it!
In any case, learning how to write music is not easy. Here are a few pointers on learning how to write music: Learn basic keyboard. Piano lessons help you learn about music theory, chords, and melodies without having to wade through crazy theory books. Plus, then you will be able to write much easier.Do you want to write pop or classical? For pop, you can get away with a lead sheet (pretty much just chords, melody line, and basic rhythm). If you want to write for something a bit more advanced, then you will need to learn about music notation. There are lots of online sites that will start you out on that. (I can answer any questions, too). For jazz, classical training is helpful, but not necessary. Some computer programs that will wri…

New Music Resource gets New Design

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Image via WikipediaHello Everyone,
If you haven't noticed, the New Music Resource has a new look. You can still find the same great links to free software, grants, new artists, and experimental media. Just scroll down for some of your favorite links.
I am revamping the site to make it more friendly for Music Appreciation classes. How am I changing the New Music Resource?
Adding exciting new pages like "Must-See" Music, Living Composer performances, and several pages dedicated to earlier time periods (ex. Baroque music, 20th century music).Posting more video material and more linksRedesigning the websitePosting blogs more frequentlyUpdating links This semester I am teaching three online music history courses, one local music history course, and music synthesis. At the same time, I am writing for Easy Ear Training.com, Associate Content, and designing curriculum for several companies. I am pretty busy, but I hope that upcoming changes will make this site easier to use in the…