If you have watched a piano concert or recital, you would have noticed that pianists on stage all sit with their right sides facing the audience. Why are the pianos placed in this position, at a right angle to the audience? Have you ever wondered who set this precedent? Who was the first performer to do this?
Vexations was found with the inscription: “In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities”. The first time the piece was performed in a marathon performance was on September 9, 1963, produced by John Cage and Lewis Lloyd. Cage underestimated the concert’s duration, which went on for as long as 18 hours.
Joseph Haydn, a famous composer, was age 77 when he died because he was suffering from an illness for a long time. It happened in Vienna on May 31, 1809. After his burial, his head was severed and stolen. Two men who were interested in phrenology, bribed the gravedigger to steal his head. Pretty eerie, isn’t it?
When Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1 premiered in 1897, critics utterly condemned it. A critic and composer César Cui compared the piece with a depiction of the Ten Plagues of Egypt and brutally suggested that it would be well-received by the "inmates" of a music conservatory in Hell. Rachmaninoff fell into a depression that lasted for four years, suffered from writer’s block, and composed almost nothing.
Russia did not accept the fact that Tchaikovsky was gay and has been shunning that declaration. However, there were some letters which Tchaikovsky explained his likes and sexual attraction towards other men. They were hidden from the world. One of the letters read Tchaikovsky's adoration for a servant, “My God, what an angelic creature and how I long to be his slave, his plaything, his property!”
Amusia is a musical disorder which inhibits a person to process pitch, and affects musical memory and recognition. Amusia can be present at birth or sometime at a later part in life. It can also happen from brain damage. When you acquire amusia at birth, it is known as tone deafness, or Congenital Amusia. This type of amusia affects about 4% of the population. Acquired Amusia from brain damage, however, is more common.
You know the feeling when you always keep moving up? Just like the Penrose stairs which is an impossible reality, something that fools the human eye. A similar thing can happen with tones, giving you what you call an auditory illusion. The Shepard Tone is a tone that seemingly goes up or down endlessly – At least that’s what it appears to be doing!
The earworm is a catchy piece of music that rings through a person’s mind long after he or she has heard it. This piece of music seems to be lodged in the person’s mind and replays itself. Studies has shown that women are affected more, and it also tends to last longer for women. How do you de-worm yourself?
A leitmotif is an extension of the motif, and allow the composer to bring the story to another level, such as to create suspense or to bring out emotions within the listener. In doing so, the leitmotif effectively binds the listener to the series of sounds, thereby raising the level of engagement.
All of us who are acquainted with the piano know that the keyboard consists of a series of white and black keys. The naturals, which make up most of the keyboard, are white, while the sharps and flats, which make up the rest of the keys, are black. However, what is not commonly known is that centuries ago, the colours on the piano were reversed (black naturals, and white sharps).
Simply put, the motif is a musical fragment from which longer notes are put together. Regardless of how they appear in the music score, motifs are an integral part of the composition. Although it makes up only a very small part of the overall composition it appears in, it is symbolic of the entire piece.
The movements of world-renowned dancer Kaiji Moriyama's dancing on stage were translated into musical notes on a Yamaha Disklavier player piano, accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Scharoun Ensemble, demonstrating how artificial intelligence has made its foray into the world of music, in a whole new creative manner.
In the first part of this article, we looked at some of the most popular music from the Role-Playing game genre. This time round, we shall be covering two other game genres - namely Action and Strategy - which features music that has won Grammy Awards, including Best Classical Crossover album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s). To have the very first piece of music from a video game to be lauded with such a lofty distinction, the implication is truly profound. So, where will video game music take us next?
Since Beethoven’s time, the face of music changed forever. Beethoven made it possible for one to break the traditions of music. And by casting away the dogmatic conventional approaches of music from the past, great composers after Beethoven (many of whom modeled their own compositions after Beethoven) carried on his legacy of musical innovation. Other composers too inspired others to push the boundaries of music and the cycle of inspiration goes on and on till present times. And true enough, the cycle will still continue; the music of today: Pop, Rap etc. will irrevocably inspire a new music movement.
One instrumental development in Beethoven’s reign was the development of piano music and hence, the development of his piano sonatas. It is in my opinion that it is in these 32 that we see a beautiful series, each sonata carrying a crucial role in the evolution of music. And if we ever compare the 1st and 32nd sonata he wrote, it would seem that 2 different people have composed them.
As Christmas approaches once again, it is time to reflect upon the meaning of the season. There is no better way to do this than to immerse oneself in Christmas carols. These carols, typically performed by church choirs, have captivated people’s attention for ages. Although listeners are mesmerised by these beautiful pieces, it is also interesting to learn about their origins. Here are some of the popular Christmas carols that have accompanied us since we started celebrating Christmas.
Video game music transited through several phases. Chiptunes were predominant in the 80s, while the 90s brought digitally synthesized music, MIDI, and pre-recorded music that could be streamed during gameplay. Today, video game music has matured like fine wine; you can now have beautiful soundtracks presented with a full orchestra and even couple that with Dolby Stereo playback. This first part shall explore some of the music from the role-playing game genre.
Music is a powerful and non-invasive medium, making it suitable to engage with patients on the mental, physical and emotional levels. In the healthcare industry, music has been recognised as a form of therapy for patients suffering from various health issues and major hospitals are taking the lead in introducing music therapy to its patients.
Researchers have established a link between playing sounds to the positive treatment of and relief from stress and ailments like Parkinson’s Disease and hormonal problems. People who have had problems speaking have also been healed with the help of music. In today’s modern, fast-paced world, where stress takes its daily, unrelenting toll on us, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and explore sound’s healing effects.
Just as people ask if driverless cars will replace the joy of driving and if sending email kills the warm personal touch of writing a traditional letter, people too, are asking if it is really possible for computers to make music. Music, after all, has been an essential part of human existence for as long as civilisations have existed. Now then, to what extent can humans accept music that is artificially-created as part of their lives?
All of us listen to music. The healing effects on the music creator go far beyond that on the passive listener. For those who can pick up a musical instrument, do so today and you will reap the far-sounding benefits of the music you play. For others who are hesitant to pick up a musical instrument, the piano is a kind and gentle friend.
Lego markets a set of game kits known as Lego Mindstorm that consists of their well-loved bricks, sensors and motors, as well as built-in computers. The idea is to allow creative players to build robots customised to their desires and limited only by their imagination. One player created a robotic metronome that moves like a real metronome and that has a wheel for a tempo adjuster!
According to the "Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians", we discover there are two types of piano duets: "four hands" and the "piano duo". These are the two main ways by which two players can perform together. When both use the same piano, we term the duet "four hands". When each performs on a separate piano, they form a "piano duo".