VIOLA & PIANO/MUSIC THEORY LESSON XI. GRADE 0.

31-05-2020 is when I began my first Viola lesson. (A little under three months ago)
27-08-2020 is when I began teaching myself piano. (A little under two weeks ago)

In one year, I have the intention to be able to sight read three clefs (Alto, bass and treble). In one year, I have the intention to read, and surpass all literature related to both the viola and piano. In five years time, I have the intention of being able to play both instruments to a reasonable level. By my early thirties, I have the intention to attend the Conservatoire for music education.

I have now moved onto PT II of Kindergarten of theory. By my estimation, another month or two and I will surpass this to the first grade. The Musician’s Guide To Theory & Analysis trilogy is what I will be moving onto, past the Music Craft series. In total, we have six grades. By that measure, if it took me a total of four months to surpass Kindergarten, it should take me the span of an additional six or eight months to surpass fourth grade and so-on. The intention is to understand music theory, like the back of my hand.

I have the time, and no obligations.


Patience saves time. Patience saves time. Patience saves time.

It matters not when one begins. Time will always march forward, regardless.

There are hard days. Of course. That’s par for the course in relation to real life, no? In stating that, I view practice and study as something routine. Akin to brushing one’s teeth, or the like. Do it. When I hit walls. I apply patience. There is no rush. There is no urgency. This is the rest of my life.

THEORY:

Music Craft Preliminary B: 21.1. 21.2. 21.3. 21.4. 22.1. 22.2. 22.2.b. 22.3.

+Memorize and annotate F Major scale.
“When writing scales, one never doubles a note. For instance, in the F Major scale. The ‘A’ would be sharpened, however one would not apply a sharp. Instead, the proceeding B is flattened, due to it being an enharmonic to the A (one does not double a note). One cannot mix flats and sharps in a single key.”

+ Composer excel spreadsheet: Franz Liszt, Johann Christian Bach.

Notes from last week:

*If you add an interval and inversion together, for scale degrees. It will always equal nine.
From G to C, to C to G.
You can have an unlimited amount of chords. Scale degrees 1,3 and 5th equals the Chord I due to using the 1st as the root. For example, in G Major, “G,B,D” would be considered chord I.

Semibrieve rest: It’s to be used in a whole bar of silence, regardless of time signature. You don’t play anything the entire bar.

Legato: Notes are to be conducted smoothly to one another. A slur is different. With legato, the notes are connected.

Slur: You play multiple notes on the one bow/breath (in the case of a stringed instrument). Pianos can’t slur as string instruments can, therefore, one can only play legato. Often the two terms are interchanged however, I’ve found.


Some listenings:

I adore Tchaikovsky. His music has a lot of complexity in it, yet expression also.

Viola Portion.

I’ve received feedback from viola.

These are my problem areas, which I will isolate and work on:

Now, patience. Working on these problem areas. And refining them, before moving onto anything massive. Good technique is of crucial importance.

Just as well, if I falter in one bar–I do not repeat the entire section, if others are adequate. I focus on that ONE BAR. Effectively practicing. The brain will follow, what you tell it to do. Like a dog.

Yes, yes. Build that myelin pathway.


* Hitting the other strings:
The angle at which I bow, is the issue. Each string represents a different plane. This is an issue which should alleviate with time, eventually. I had begun bowing 2-3 weeks ago.

* Bow is prone to jump, and buckle:
This is due to a lack of speed, and need to pronate my index finger, so as to apply more weight.

* Intonation:
At times my fingers don’t stretch correctly. Just as well, sometimes my notes aren’t in tune. Fingers must be pressed down (of the left), to touch the finger board.

* Musicality:
Dynamics needs work. Don’t avoid dynamics.

Practice:
Open string long bows, from frog to tip back and fourth. Focusing on registering a nice sound, and also practicing with a straight bow which is parallel to the bridge.

Practice every line, from the current page and backwards. Focusing on tone production, and intonation.

I will isolate my problem areas, and work on them, during the week. My main issue is relaxing. I must relax whilst bowing as much as possible.

Pianistic Portion:

“The man in charge of the royal treasures.”
In this case, “Treasurer of the night.”
Holder of the keys to all mysteries of nocturnal musings.
Seeker of meaning.

It has been a good two-three weeks, since I have first began teaching myself the piano. I have spent nearly 1-2 hours a day practicing, and studying the instrument. So far, in regard to tracking my progress, I am up to the 50th page of Alfred’s Basic Adult All-In-One Piano course (level one). I have taken very careful measures to ensure that I am guiding myself properly, ’til I am due to gain tutelage under an instructor… which, by my estimation will be very soon. I don’t believe learning piano, in my lonesome would do well for habit-forming.

One year of ill-informed practice is detrimental, all-in-all.


This is what I focused on learning, for this week:
Simple triple metre (3/4 dotted minim).
Dynamics: Forte, Moderate Forte, and Piano.
Chord Symbols: F, G7, and C.
Slurs & Legato.
Ties.
A for the left and right hand.
F major chord.
The G position.

Before then, I have also ordered the following books to assist me further, on my pianistic journey:
The complete book of scales, chords, Arpeggios and cadences, Alfred’s basic all-in-one piano course, Faber piano adventures, Improve your sight-reading! Piano, Level 1, Carl Czerny studies, Friederich Burgmuller studies.

I have also, within the trunk of my piano bench… a wonderful Hanon manual, on pianistic exercises that I will take to doing, after I surpass the first Alfred piano course book.

Truth be, I have ordered more literature on piano than I have, the viola… and I am much further along on the piano–than I am on the viola (even though I have been learning the viola for two months). The viola, or any string instrument, as I have noticed does present a steeper learning curve. For me, the piano, I believe, is more familiar to me due to my already possessing the ability to touch-type on the computer. Playing the piano, in comparison to playing the viola does not tire me out as much. Plus, I will admit it. I love the piano more. I had initially wanted to play the piano, before viola… but had decided to run away from the instrument, due to an odd turn of events. Therein, the instrument proceeded to stalk me–as if the world were beckoning me to play the damned thing. I would see signs out in public. Advertising plastered on media all over the house. A grand piano sitting in the Mall, calling to me. Absolutely everywhere, did the black and white mammoth stalk me. But me, being stubborn said “No. You’ll never get me to touch the piano, for as long as I live!”

Well guess what… even my viola instructor led me to piano. He said, and I paraphrase “If you want to be a good composer, you must get a piano.” It was then there, I gave in and ordered my Korg B2SP digital piano.

The first instrument I wanted to play was the bass guitar. It was in 2019, near the conclusion of that year, that I was intending to take up an instrument… I recall my PhD supervisor, an instrumentalist himself, did say something strange to me. He said: “Actually, I see you playing piano.” I now know why… He said other interesting things, such as his being able to tell musicians a part from the design students at the College he taught at, before crossing paths with me. I said, “how can you tell the musicians apart?” And he replied, “they have a certain sensitivity.”

And it is a sensitivity I love. It is a sensitivity I want for my own. I see it within their eyes.

I will not quit the viola.
No, rather, the viola will act as an accompaniment
to my primary instrument.

The piano.

Additionally, I love learning three clefs all at once. The treble and bass, with the alto. Music theory is a damned blast to learn. Honestly. Although it is early days, Music in my life has made it infinitely better. Infinitely.

I will, in the future order more literature. I came across this one:
“Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns” 

AND THESE!
“Contemporary Counterpoint: Theory & Application (Music Theory: Counterpoint)”
“The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony Bk/Online Audio Paperback “

YES! What a beautiful time we live in. We are blessed…

First, thing’s first. I need to learn at least three grades of theory before I can better understand the higher levels of theory. The circumstances allow it. I have all the time. I have no other obligations. I will.

Theory Portion:

Franz Liszt study “What is a Rhapsody?”

Known for his ability to improvise, the Rhapsody suits the virtuoso Liszt indeed. A Rhapsody, in music terms is a work of one movement that is described as free-flowing in its contrasts of moods and tonality. It is spontaneous in its inspiration, and this sense of improvisation does well to flavor its lenience. A free-form piece, which leads one to feel. The moods, within the piece are composed to contrast with one another. A demonstration of duality, or diametric opposing forces. From loud to soft. Rhapsodies could be considered very Programmatic in their inclination, due to their being inspired by poetry. However, Rhapsodies are known to be accompanying pieces in musical forms–therefore, this would exclude them from the designation of being Programmatic altogether. Your Rhapsody is, to put it simply a lot like a more articulated and refined version of improvisation from your Baroque era. Liszt was known to improvise a lot of what he played, during performance. Much-like his romantique contemporaries, he believed in playing how he felt. “Play how you feel.” –An ode to Chopin, both a friend and rival of his.

The word etymologically speaking, derives from Greek poetry–epic poetry. Just as well, further on it means “Songs stitched together”.

Liszt is regarded to be perhaps, the greatest pianist of all time. Even professional pianists, have trouble playing his pieces. If a pianist can play liszt’s pieces to a sufficient degree, that is a damned good pianist.

I want those hands. Valentina Lisitsa is a damned good pianist.

Despite Liszt’s extensive Oeuvre, I still prefer Chopin. Chopin played from the heart. And no amount of skill, or adroitness on the piano could ever compare to that. A musician, I believe should always, past skill, play from the heart. If one cannot feel, or love… then what is the point? One can easily forget what music truly is about, past the technicalities of it. Sure, the technicalities and procurement of skill can do well to lead one to sharpen their means of communicating certain emotions… but ultimately, the implication of emotion is often tied to how the instrumentalist feels. That will always permeate through their instrument. A very numinous thing, absolutely.

That is most probably why I love Jazz. The level of improvisation, and complexity within it is moving. There are hours of skill behind it, but little refinement with recordings. Often, Jazz musicians are comfortable with the first rendition. The first time. Therein, little editing leaves those little intricacies of humanity–all things flawed, all things unplanned there to be observed. What we find familiar, and relatable is what moves us ultimately… and that which is unfamiliar, could be familiar just as well. And yet, we fickle creatures are known to run from those dark enchantments. Never to entertain any possibility. Never to challenge one’s self.

I care not to dazzle anyone with procurement of skill, or technical prowess. I only care to demonstrate how I feel, and to allow others the opportunity to understand that.

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