VIOLA/MUSIC THEORY LESSON IV-V. GRADE 0.

In returning after a brief hiatus, I realize that I’m very much behind. I had decided to, upon my return, double-down on theory past practice. No issues there, after-all that is what enthuses me, most of all. I am still gathering tutelage under my tutor, and have increased my lessons to 2 Hrs and 30 minutes per week, with revision. He is a good boah.

For the theoretical lesson, I learnt of more piano theory:

PIANO (Forte):

There has been a long debate regarding piano, and its classification. That is, whether the instrument itself is a string instrument or a percussion instrument. This has much to do with the instrument’s anatomy. By way of hammers, some may consider it percussion. By way of its strings, some may consider it to be aligned with the strings family (for its predecessor, the harpsichord operates mostly by this manner). However, by way of the piano’s ‘keyboard’ it is, by theoretical definition, considered to belong to the ‘keyboard family’ just as the organ and harpsichord does.

The way that an instrument is categorized, has much to do with what, within its structure produces sound–that is, what vibrates. Within the piano, we’ve strings… and yet, what is producing the sound? The hammers. Therefore, The piano is considered a hybrid.

On a piano, you’ve a keyboard with a total of 88 keyboard keys. Therefore, this suggests that the instrument is capable of seven octaves (and three lower notes: B, B flat and A). Here, are all of the C’s ranging from C1-C8 highlighted in green. One can find the ‘C’s by finding two black keys. Always the left of them, will be the C.

NOTE: Although, some sources have stated that the range starts from 0, therefore some may argue that we have C0-C7. My tuner however, registered the lowest C on this piano as C1.

NOTE: the 88 keys are a convention, which refer to your modern piano.

The piano is a popular choice among those wishing to endeavor into music, although, it is one of the more difficult instruments to properly master. Past any instrument, many are drawn to its possessing 7 octaves… making it quite versatile. Although, one must have strong hands and long fingers which taper, to be at a true advantage. Many people aren’t aware that the piano requires a lot of endurance and strength to play–especially for hours at a time. Many musicians, at University level, irregardless of their chosen instrument, possess some core of piano skills. Much of my theoretical textbook, contains a lot of instruction which alludes to the piano specifically. With this in mind, I see it as necessary to learn of the instrument’s function concurrently with my viola (Treasure). So of course, I will learn the piano after some years have been spent on the viola.


My instructor said that the reason why the piano is a popular choice, is due to it being like an orchestra in of itself. As for this piece, he said that any pianist who can play this Rhapsody is what you’d consider experienced.

The piano in regard to its inner-strings, are made of different materials in accordance to how the material would register the vibration… similar to how a viola’s strings are, just as well, with the C string being made of steel. For the anatomy of the piano, we’ve dampeners which are in direct association to the sustaining of sound (the ceasing of resonance/reverb). The pedals of the piano, lift the dampeners up–should one place their foot on them. However, when the dampeners are down… they still allow the strings to oscillate… thence, eliciting a resonance of the string struck. The whole point of placing down the pedal, is to accompany yourself. The pianist, especially those most skilled, are like that of a conductor. Each of the 88 Keys, refers to an instrumentalist within an orchestra.

C-Major Scale:

For Theory, I first learn of the easiest scale: ‘C-Major’. I will most probably compose my first piece of music, with the C-Major scale upon piano eventually… although, as a violist, I will be practicing D-Major firstly ( D, E, F♯, G, A, B, and C♯). Again, I do a lot of piano-theoryhowever I love piano and it is absolutely necessary for music theory (https://www.pianoscales.org/major.html).

The C-Major scale family ascends from one registration of C (I.E: C4) to another (I.E: C5). Therefore, by way example:

*C4
D4
*E4
F4
*G4
A4
B4
C5

Within the seven-note scale family, we have ‘chords’. These are derived from choosing three different notes from a scale, to get a triad. However, depending on the scale… we establish a ‘root’ and start from there. Beginning from the C, with intervals built on skips we, get C-E-G.

The C is the root; The E from the C is called major third or ‘M3’; The G from C is known as perfect fifth or ‘P5’. This broaches into the territory of intervals.

Chords can be played in unison, or separately. Most contemporary music of today, is built on chords for simplicity. Interestingly enough, Bach, the master of improvisation took to using scales a lot.

Together, we have: C-E-G. Which is known as the “C-Major Triad”.
Triads are built with skips, between the staves.

Enharmonics

“In modern musical notation and tuning, an enharmonic equivalent is a note, interval, or key signature that is equivalent to some other note, interval, or key signature but “spelled”, or named differently.(Wikipedia) For an ease of understanding for myself, enharmonics are akin to a ‘contextual synonym’ of sorts. Every note has multiple designations. I.E: B can be called ‘C♭’ or ‘A♯♯’.

Therein, we’ve the black notes on the piano. They are known as SHARPS and FLATS. The corresponding note, is raised or lowered by one semitone (or a half-step). For example, the C4 note and its corresponding black key is known as C♯4. If one wishes to ‘flatten’ the note, one continues onto D4… which, through enharmonics is known as the D♭4.

The Enharmonic of C♯ is D♭.
The Enharmonic of F♯ is G♭.
The Enharmonic of A♯ is B♭.
The Enharmonic of B♯ is C♭.
The Enharmonic of E♯ is F♭.
The Enharmonic of D♯ is E♭.
To flatten a note, one steps up on the staff pitches. C to D, for instance.

The sharps are notes in-of-themselves. Flattening will lower the semitone by 0.5, just as sharpening a note will raise the semitone by 0.5 (half a step = half a note) just as well.

+An Octave is divided into 12 semitones. Therefore, a Semitone is equal to 1/12th of an Octave or Tone. Just as well, I will be covering that later. That is, not all of the pitch family has sharps or flats… believe me I’d love to find out! But I am Kindergarten level. Patience!

HARPSICHORD

For harpsichords, organs, and pianos the layout of the keyboard is the same… that is, the placing of the ranges and the pitches.

A baroque piece, from Bach “The Musical Offering”. He was challenged by a King, to use all 12 notes. This was actually, written for the piano-forte in-mind, as opposed to the harpsichord. Bach is a genius.
His music demonstrates an exquisite complexity, despite the absence of structure which classical presented. Then again, Bach was the king of improvising. And you say… one plays this with two hands?! More like, this was composed for a damned octopus!

As for the strings, the registration of sound is different to the piano. Instead, the strings are not being hit with hammers like the piano… the strings are instead plucked. The harpsichordist also, plays differently to the pianist. Often, the left hand establishes the beat–as per baroque pieces, which were often composed for harpsichord in-mind. Just as well, the harpsichordist’s fingers play flatter and their hands bounce. It has much to do with the anatomy of the instrument. The instrumentalist adepts to their instrument. A clavichordist would play more similarly to the pianist, due to the mechanization of hammers striking strings.

Just as well, the piano differs from the harpsichord in that it has the ability to be both Piano-Forte. Soft, and loud, as opposed to the harpsichord being mid-ranged in its decibels.

The Harpsichord is often used in an ensemble-setting, as opposed to the piano, which is arguably more well-developed. The piano is therefore capable of being an independent recital instrument, in comparison.

ORGAN

Ahh, the several rows of keyboard. That’s the organ, for you.
The purpose of the conductor, is to guide the orchestra. The conductor leads. Only one conductor is set to lead.

The organ, like the harpsichord is often used to accompany, in ensembles. A lot of organs, just as well have an additional keyboard at the organist’s feet. The sound, for the organ is created with air vibrating through pipes and reeds (the reeds within the pipe). The organ can sound much-like an orchestra, for that reason, and is capable of playing past perhaps… 2000 notes. That is, pipe organs. The different materials, and reeds within the pipes produce different timbres (Tahm-Bur).

An entire symphony. The organist starts them off. At the height of romanticism, Mahler had written this. The difference between a symphony, and a concerto is that there is a lack of solos in a symphony.
Gustav Mahler, looking damned delicious… as all romanticists do. Give me. He’s Prince-nez.
Note: Despite Mahler’s hottness, Chopin will always be my NO.1 “ciltf” (composers I would–uhh… marry). My dream man~

Take note, that this is merely just scratching the surface of keyboard instruments. I am aware of the: piano-forte, the clavichord, spinet, virginals, celesta, pianola, accordion, grand piano, electric keyboard…

What categorizes these instruments, as such, has all to do with the keyboard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_instrument).

“The viola is what you’d consider a chordophone, by the way.”

Harmonic Series:

Some future reference, I may be interested in learning further; How music functions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_series_(music)

Identifying Time Signatures:

For time signatures, there is always an implicit hierarchy of how strong or weak a beat is within each bar. For ease, to identify the metre in a bar… one listens to the bass.

Triple: 1-2-3 (Strong-Weak-Medium beats in a bar) For your Waltzes.
Duple: 1-2 (Strong-Weak beats in a bar) For your marches.
Common: 1-2-3-4. (Strong-Weak-Medium-Weak. For classical only.)

The Downbeat (the first beat of the bar), is always the strong beat.

As for subdivision, the triple can sound like a duple however… for example a Duple metre which is “One And A Two And A…” has ‘And A’ as the subdivision. Three parts, to the phrase… however, the measure/bars will elucidate the metre… Just as well, as the underlying pulse. Subdivision, can be notated through dotted notes and slurs.

A symphony composed with a triple time metre. I identified this through the brass instrument.
The first Viola Concerto I will ever learn.

For a time-line of the keyboard instruments’ inventions (that is, the most relevant to this classes’ content):

1. Pipe organ: 300 BC (Pre-Medieval)
2. Harpsichord: 1300s (Medieval)
3. Clavichord: 1400s (Renaissance)
4. 55-key Piano: 1698-1700s (Baroque)
5. 88-key Piano: 1880s (Romanticist)

The piano was not invented during the romanticism era. Instead, it was created during the late Baroque period (1600-1750). This incarnation of the piano, however, had 54 keys compared to the 88.

*However, The piano we know today with its 88 keys, was invented in the romantic period (1800s). Steinway and sons, the manufacturer, created the hybrid in the late 1880s. Ten years shy away from the romanticism era ending… therefore, a good many compositions are composed by the 54 key model.

The Pipe organ precedes all, as one can see.

Jeans, Susi (1951), “The Pedal Clavichord and Other Practice Instruments of Organists”, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, 77th Sess., 1950–1951, Oxford University Press, 77: 1–15, doi:10.1093/jrma/77.1.1JSTOR 766144 

Randel “Hydraulis”, 385.  

New Grove, online edition, article “Harpsichord”  


Referenced from.

MY DRILLING EXERCISES:

MUSIC LESSONS FROM #4 TO #5:

******THEORY:


1) Treble/alto staves, intervals, C-major triad, C-major chord, steps-skips-leaps:
*             Practice dictating TREBLE STAVES and ALTO STAVES.
*             Practice dictating the three-note chord of C-E-G.

C: Root note in triad.
E: Major Third.
G: Perfect Fifth.

A three-note chord is made of skips. Within the chord, it can be considered as such if the notes are played separately or together. The gist of chords is that they are notes separated by skips, which can be played together or separately. Intervals are the distance between music. We spoke of the Major 3rd and Perfect 5th intervals, last class. Therefore, the M3 and P5 are intervals. However, just as well: steps, skips, and leaps are intervals just as well. Again, the babushka nature of music theory, will begin to reveal itself through the correct termination. I’m still at preschool level (Concurrently, my instructor is teaching me: Practical application, music theory, aural skills, and music history. He is good boah).

However: steps, skips, and leaps are merely an introductory idea to speak of intervals, and wouldn’t be viable in identifying triads.

Just as well, a scale is only a scale if the notes are IN SUCCESSION to one another. Soon enough, I’ll learn of this when my instructor introduces me to the D Major Scale upon the viola.

*             Complete homework in Prelim “Music Craft”
Lessons: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.5, 5.6,5.7, 5.8, 5.10, 5.11.


2) Note values—time increments:

*             Write a Semibreve, Minim, Crotchet, Quaver, Semi-quaver.
When writing the stem, for placing the note value on a stave… the stem will always mirror the stave lines’s pitch the note-head is sitting on. I.E: the head sits on F4, the stem reaches F5.

******PRACTICE:

1) Posture, left-hand technique, thumb placing on fingerboard for pizzicato.
*             Practice posture, left-hand technique, and thumb placing on fingerboard for pizzicato.
Wrist should be in alignment with both the Ulna, and Radius—hence, being straight. Thumb and forefinger should form a C sharp. Thumb should be loose.
*             Practice first finger, second finger, and third finger on the open D-string. To play…
“E4, F#4, and G4”
*             Practice pages… 15-19 in Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”

*             Practicing Rhythm, identification of meters through beat in music.
By way of subdivision: I.E: “One-and-two-and-one…”Subdivision is where one breaks down the beats into even smaller increments of time. The ‘One’ and the ‘Two’ for this method of identifying the metre, are the beats, whilst the ‘And’ is the subdivision. One does without subdivision, if the tempo in a metre is quicker. Metrically speaking, the rhythm inside of a bar is equal in its representation. My Rhythm is unstable, at most times. I must practice staying consistent. It is a pattern which does not change, lest we’re into the territory of asymmetric metres. And we most definitely, aren’t yet.

*             Practicing Rhythm, identification of meters through beats present in music.
*             Practice bow-hold with a pencil. The purpose of pronating the index finger, is to create more friction on the contact… so as to produce a bigger sound from the vibration of the string.

That’s it Boah. Lumbago, boah~

Alrighty then. Back to research papers, drawing some more of my PhD and… music-music-music! And If there’s one thing I’m determined to do, it’s surpass Kindergarten level before the end of this year!

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