Some consider pianicas to be superior to long-established woodwind instruments. While instruments such as the flute, saxophone or clarinet tax the performer because of the need for multiple fingers to cover certain holes to generate just one sound, pianicas allow the freedom of sounding one note with merely one finger, along with the liberty of pressing other keys with other fingers, like in playing a chord.
It is the most identifiable song in English according to the 1998 Guinness World Records, but the history of "Happy Birthday to You" is surprisingly rancorous and filled with lawsuits. You might have heard it hundreds of time, but what you might not know is the copyright status of the song remained cloudy and in contention for a very long time.
Like any important body of knowledge, music needs to be organised, archived and categorised for easy reference. While subjects in an encyclopaedia are organised in alphabetical order, works of music are arranged in numerical order. However, the process of numerical ordering has undergone several changes over the years, with certain imperfections and areas of complication smoothed out.
MOD files, or module files, are essentially music files that can be transferred between computers and shared with friends. Unknown to some, the humble MOD files of days past spawned a whole movement around the world that got people interested in digital music and created a demoscene subculture.
It is shocking that one of music’s most brilliant minds was also one who penned letters with obscenities. One particular individual was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a prolific German composer, who seemed to have a thing for scatology, as evidenced in some of his letters and compositions.
Have you ever stared in amusement at how big the piano seemed in comparison to a young child who was playing it? It may be surprising for the common folks to know that the keyboard of a piano actually has a standard measurement. One may then question the absurdity of a one-size-fits-all piano when we know that many other instruments like the violin or guitar are customisable in size to fit the needs of different people.
Given Mariage d’Amour is generally assumed to be associated with a wedding, it seems somewhat puzzling that this piece was written in a minor key, often suggestive of sadness. In addition, its Chinese title, <<梦中的婚礼>>, literally translated to Wedding in the Dream, seems to hint at the non-occurance of the wedding. Perhaps there is more than meets the eye?
A baton is a short stick or anything resembling one. In the hands of a conductor however, it transforms into an instrument of meaning, its movement becoming a form of sign language that conveys musical ideas. Through this language, a conductor, and a conductor’s baton, have an important influence on the way an orchestra sounds.
Way before conductors used batons as conducting tools, staffs were used instead. The method of conducting using a staff was vastly different as compared to the usage of a baton: a conductor indicated the time of a piece by banging a large staff on the floor, while with a baton, as it is used today, it is done by drawing patterns in the air.
Many would recognise the melody of one of Beethoven’s most famous piano piece, Für Elise. Not many, however, would know the controversies behind it, that it was not published till 40 years after Beethoven’s death, that the title could be wrong all along, or that the version we are all so familiar with was not the last edited version by Beethoven.
4’33” is read “four minutes and thirty three seconds” and is sometimes known simply as 433. It is a piece that defies the conventions of classical music. When performed by a soloist, this composition sees the performer take the seat at the piano but doing absolutely nothing with it.
Since ancient times, music has been a part of human life and culture. Simple items were constructed to play a variety of sounds and they eventually developed into real musical instruments in the 14th and 15th centuries. As civilization advanced, so did the construction of musical instruments like piano.
Music lovers and young parents alike may have heard the age-old claim that allowing unborn babies listen to classical music will make them smarter. The debate about the benefits of the so-called the Mozart Effect has raged on for years. Is there any truth?
The name Leopold Godowsky is rarely mentioned when one talks about favourite composers who wrote piano works. His compositions are often only explored by pianists who are interested in the exotic repertoire of the piano literature. Does Godowsky deserve this neglect? Perhaps not. He might have been the most unique writer of piano music after Chopin, and that's not forgetting Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. So why is Godowsky's music not as well-known as that of the composers mentioned above?
The Chinese New Year (农历新年) is a very important festival that is celebrated by the Chinese populations in many Asian countries, like Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mauritius, and Philippines. During the celebrations, many popular Chinese New Year songs are sung, including "Gong Xi Gong Xi" (恭喜恭喜). The fact that it uses the minor key is the oddity, because minor key songs typically project sadness and loneliness. Why is Gong Xi Gong Xi written in the minor key then?
You might have come across the phrase "lower register" or "higher register" of a piano. For example, a piano theory book might mention that the Bass Clef is designed to help a pianist read the notes in the lower register of the piano. In his book, The Art of Piano Playing: A Scientific Approach, George Kochevitsky wrote that "a fast succession of lower tones is more difficult to perceive than one of higher tones because of the overtones. Therefore, what sounds clear in a higher register would sound muddy in a lower register". Have you guessed what is a piano register?
The metronome is a musical tool to help musicians keep in time by producing simple steady rhythmic sounds according to a tempo setting. This very important invention survives many centuries, and even now, many continue to use it. If you walk into a music shop that sells musical instruments, it is very likely that you can purchase a metronome there. Typically, it is known as the Maelzel Metronome, and this explains why the tempo notation is written as "M.M. (Maelzel’s metronome) ♩ = 60". But do you know Maelzel wasn't the true inventor of the metronome? What is the history of the metronome actually?
Try running your fingers from one end of the piano keyboard to the other, and you will find that there is a total of 88 black and white keys - 7 and 1/3 octaves. Is it just a coincidence that most pianos have 88 keys, or is there a reason why piano manufacturers have decided 88 keys is a standard? Why not 76 or 100 keys? It turns out that the answer has both historical and practical aspects.
Most pianos have 3 pedals. The development of the piano's pedals is an evolution that began from the very earliest days of the piano, and continued through the late nineteenth century. Throughout the years, the piano had as few as one pedal, and as many as six or more, before finally arriving at its current configuration of three. Starting from the left, they are the soft pedal (or una corda), the sostenuto pedal, and the sustaining pedal (or damper pedal).
Motivate yourself today by watching some piano themed Japanese anime. They are extremely inspiring, both for teachers and students! After watching them, you might find yourself putting in hours of practice just to learn the pieces played by the characters! Here is a suggested list.
Music chords are very important to any musician and composer. When a musician plays a song, he hears the music moving from one chord to another. In fact, he recognises whenever the song ends, it's always a certain quality - a "going home" kind of feeling. To him, the quality of the chords in the chord progressions affect how he interprets the music greatly. To a composer, he can use a compositional device like borrowed chords to make an otherwise predictable progression sounds fresher; or perhaps by changing the chord quality to add surprise into a chord progression, e.g. C7 instead of C major chord. How does he tell the quality of a chord?
The days of writing music on paper are about to change with the introduction of StaffPad App on the Windows Store. This music notation software completely revolutionises the way musicians input notes, musical terms, and directions; in the most intuitive way. Watch the video below to see why.