Music Practice. 05-04-2021 to 10-04-2021

Feedback:

I have decided to take the plunge and upgrade to a beautiful acoustic piano. A second-hand Yamaha UX upright, which I will be practicing until… I predict, AMUS. I have named him “Alistair”. Some may call me weird, strange… and definitely I am those things. I see my piano as a breathing, organic instrument. He is made of wood, after-all and although he has most likely passed through many hands, he is as much as mine as he was the others. I will love him, and he will love me.

Alistair sits in the background.

Alistair is polished, and dusted frequently. I treat him with care, for soon enough he will be someone else’s. Alistair, like most pianos pass through many hands. Just like a lover would…

As I play his keys, I wonder who graced them before I ever did… what became of them? Are they still pianists? Have I crossed paths with them? Has a terrible fate befallen any of them? Who are they… I’m strange like that, yes.

As for my previous keyboard, Alexander, he has been given to my Nephew who has taken an interest to music. Hopefully Alexander, serves him well.

I have also purchased a Theremin, and will name her accordingly.

I have, attempted to… through the weeks… sluice in 3 hours a day, of practice on the piano.

By way of feedback, my teacher is happy with my progress/ She mentions that my technique is excellent. For next week, I must focus on learning repertoire.

Scales:

*NEW:
D Major. (LH/RH)
B Natural Minor. (LH/RH)
B Harmonic Minor. (LH/RH)

Bb Major. (LH/RH)
G Natural Minor. (LH/RH)
G Harmonic Minor. (LH/RH)
D Chromatic scale. (LH/RH)

Note: Currently I know up to 2 flats, and sharps for key signatures. The sevenths being raised for each minor, does not count. By the end of the year, I hope to surpass this to at least 4 flats and sharps.

Theory:
More to do on SATB chords and such…

Repertoire:

“In The Hall Of The Mountain King” by Grieg.

Piano Practice & Music Theory 31-10-2020.

Feedback:

My finger independence is developing well, however again, I must learn how to relax. A lot of tension is present, and must be rectified. My teacher and I had gotten into a conversation about overworking ourselves. She stresses that at this stage, I ought not to do that. Doing so, would be musical suicide. Especially since I wish to do this, by her words “forever”.

She mentions that I must allow myself to stop, if I hit any sensation of pain. If my tendons are hurting, my body is cautioning for me stop. Now!

With chords, at this stage. I am encouraged to allow my fingers to be fixed on the chords, in playing them. That is, solid and stable playing on the keys for chords. My teacher utilizes the weight from her elbow, as if she is hammering the notes. Less effort to play is encouraged. Less energy, especially when one is going to play for up to an hour, live, in-front of an audience. In general, the pianist attempts to keep their fingers as close to the keys as possible.

It has to do with tactility, and increasing accuracy of hitting the right notes.

I am very used to over-working myself, and if pain hits. I work through it. This mind-set was ingrained into me, through conditioning. We are all taught that any issue can be solved with “WORK HARDER.” She mentions that it is a musician thing, particularly pianists, who do overwork themselves and are rather perfectionistic.


Why do I write so much about pianists? Because one day, I will be glad to call myself one. I cannot yet, for I do not believe I am afforded such a right at this current moment. However, one day, I will be able to call myself “Meryl Keioskie, the pianist”. I have the name for it, I suppose. The ‘Keioskie’ being Polish in origin (Hayo, Chopin). However, first thing is first: Practice.

The interesting thing about musicians is that, although music may be their life… outside of that main interest, they’ve other things that captivate them just as well. Whether that be writing, chess, or anything else from the arts. Mr. Kissin (I’ll be kissin’ you in a minute) for instance, a great pianist, is somewhat of a chess master and loves mathematics, as well as writing. My teacher mentions that Kissin does this, to alleviate his mind–after-all, focusing on just one thing can drive people crazy. Pianists have interesting minds too, as I’ve found. Very over-active minds, that are susceptible to more maladies of mental illness, unfortunately. I see that parallel in myself, in them, too. That is one of the main things, why I had decided to take up music in complement to my Academic career.

Stephen Hough, another pianist has mentioned that he takes long holidays away from his piano. Not to see the instrument for long periods of time, to only come back to it, refreshed. It is a marriage in-of-itself, music. One cannot be attached at the hip to a wife or husband, what a dreadful union that would be. And yet, when we see couples cavorting around… dripping all over one another, and struck by lust, we know that such a display doesn’t guarantee ‘forever’. Do they know? I don’t rightly know.

Back to piano: She stresses that recharging is just as important as practicing.

Pianists often play by themselves, and for many years, just as well. String musicians, I’ve observed are often communal and more sociable. They ought to be, as the ample string section in an orchestra is in need of their presence. In an orchestra, all sections outnumber the pianist. And yet, can easily outnumber the instrumentalist in a music college. How? The piano is versatile instrument, not just secluded to mere orchestral processions. The pianist spends a lot of time alone, therefore many of them appear to be quite introverted. In my meeting pianists, I do notice a commonality between each… although subtle. Eccentric in their nature, even those that hide it. Should one ignite their passions, which has much to do with the school of music–they are quick to prattle on and on about their enthusiasm toward music. And of course, I can listen for hours had they not be so busy. That begs the question however, to whom do I place the title of ‘pianist’ on? Those educated in the field of music, of course. But then again, there are no definites in a labels. One could be educated in any field, but still perform poorly. I have experienced such phenomena, first-handedly in my teaching drawing students. I believe one can be truly called a pianist, if they possess an extensive experience in performing, and educating themselves in the art of music. Yes, the title itself is a career in of itself. Although, as my teacher had mentioned… music doesn’t promise wealth. Not unless you are a prodigy with a handful of scholarships under your belt, and that is rare (I had mentioned a fellow, in a previous post who fits that description). The musician creates, because they must. It is the path of the artist. It is not for the prestige attached to it. I could not give a rat’s ass for that. To be a pianist, one must have dedicated an ample sum of their life’s hours to the pursuit. There is no ‘farting’ around, as I call it. To be a pianist, one either is all in… or they aren’t. Let the wistful school yard chums, who strum their guitars in attempting to woo girls with sounds, do the farting around. The ones who messily play chords they had learned from a ten minute Youtube video. Music isn’t merely for courtship sake, the true musician as I’ve observed is a damned nerd! Ask them of scale degrees, and diminished chords and they’ll prattle on about it for hours. Ask them of idle celebrity gossip, or trivial matters and their eyes will glaze over. One must take it seriously.

Although, I do take note of the difference between their surface personas. Some can be foppish, some can be egotistical, some can be very deeply secure. Yet, each have this l’ émanation. They each have something similar that I will one day come to understand. At this point, I am certain that I myself have that just as well. Whatever it is.

At best I can describe it as such: That eccentricity. Yes, you are all a bunch of wonderful weirdos.

It is still, early days in my introducing myself to the musical climate. Six months prior, had you of asked me of anything I had written since then… I wouldn’t a clue. So much has been learnt, and yet, so much still is yet to be learnt.

Again. I want to do this for the rest of my life.

My teacher said, that at my age (26) it is very much possible that I can still be a soloist and even then… reach “the heights.” She speaks of someone she knew, who was 17 when he first began learning piano. And he was in the biggest piano competition in the world: The Tchaikovsky competition. He had only been learning for six years. Another instance is that Tchaikovsky himself had a late start in music himself, at the age of 22 to 23 in-fact. Similarly, Ryo Fukui began at the age of 23 in piano. Six years later, he began as a jazz pianist touring world wide. It is never too late. Although there is a lot of elitism presented in music, one cannot deny the opportunity and resources we are all granted. The elitism is produced through culture’s history, and of course, a plethora of young prodigies. Although they can mechanically present a complicated piece to a technically proficient degree, they still lack that finesse of emotion which is produced through a life-time of experience. Similarly, a great poet or writer cannot make another weep, unless he himself has been through a similar pain. Music, is an extension of communicating that which is beyond the beyond. Perhaps to an ethereal degree. By my teacher’s words, It is very possible for me to solo, eventually. And one day, I hope to look back on these little scrawlings in five to six years and see what I have become. By then, I will be 30-31 years of age.

The soul of the artist. When I seek to watch you each perform, that is what I am there to see, ultimately. Nevermind the pretty notes. What is it, you want others to understand that you yourself cannot ever hope to communicate through the binds of constructivist language systems?

Main Objective For Myself:

First thing’s first relax. Pain equals stop. In one day of playing through pain, you undo years and years or months and months of work. It is possible, that practicing can over-write muscle memory in a bad way. Just as well, injuries can become permanent.

It doesn’t matter if you have difficulty with something.

Work how you can do it, not why you can’t.

Theory Practice:

Rhythm:

Rhythm practice with a metronome:
Crotchets firstly with one hand. Counting 1-2-3-4.
Then, add the second hand in unison.

Then Subdivide with 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, with a metronome. My teacher recommends that I practice by abruptly changing the speed of the metronome, to simulate that of an environment where I am playing with others.

An odd thing I have decided to do is sync a metronome app at 4/4 time, with 80 BPM through headphones. Then, I sync my beats to my footsteps in the format of crotchets.

Then, after feeling ‘comfortable’ I set it to 40 BPM and walk at the same pace… taking note that I am walking in quavers as opposed to crotchets. Two steps taken, with every second resembling the ‘and’ in subdivision.

With practice there should never be any pain.

A bit on chords:
The fifth in any chord, isn’t of any importance and can be omitted. For example, in a G7 chord, the ‘D’ is often omitted. So long as the tonic is preserved, with the 3rd (tells you whether the chord is a minor or major), and the seventh which names the chord.

Chords will become more complicated with time. The 13th is the highest chord, one is capable of getting up to. 13ths are usually Jazz chords, and such chords are often spread across the band playing. For example, the bass player may take the root of the chord being played with the pianist filling in the gaps of the chord.

An example of triplets:

Here is a composition I wrote, as an experiment for use of triplets. Also, whilst being very minimalistic, Ala de Phillip Glass (20th Century):

Titled “Minimalist in F Major”, also known as “Pain Equals Stop”. A soloist piece. The formation of the same arpeggiated chords F-A-C is repeated throughout, despite the variation in rhythm.

Simple triple (3/4) in meter. At the 1:00 Mark, one can hear quaver triplets contrast against regular triplets. The triplets being reserved mostly for Bass. There is also an experiment with 8va and 8vb in the first section of bars. Especially with the simple arpeggiated chord being played. The piece is played in a slur-like manner. No staccatos. Tempo changes are observed, so a merciful use of semi-quavers can end the piece. With notes, I attempted to add many consonant combinations as opposed to dissonant harmonies.

I’ve found that rhythm is very important in giving music that discernibility. Notes appear to be secondary in hierarchy. Many pianists, I’ve observed so far in my watching their performances, even those considered ‘prodigies’ have played the wrong notes, in their playing–however, they exhibit exceptional ear training from years and years of conditioning, in that they retain the rhythm of the piece at all costs. The moment one’s rhythm crumbles, it is implicitly noticeable. One can feel it.

Pianistic Practice:

I need to practice more: Rhythm.

What defines each grade level, is rhythm. At this point in time, playing wrong notes do not matter. It is the rhythm. Therefore, the intention is to keep on time and to keep the rhythm as your number one priority to learn.

For technique, my tenseness of hands and playing through pain was discouraged.

*For slurs, one relies on wrist movements as well.
*For staccatos, one doesn’t hold the key. They tap the key, to ‘summon’ the sound out of it.

PRACTICE SLOW.

Scales:
Practice relaxation, keeping in-time to a metronome. Altering rhythm from crotches to quavers via a metronome.

Repertoire:
“From The Top”; “Quadrille”.; “Lullaby”. Perfect the articulations, and rhythm.


So, why do I learn piano again? It is not for validation. Although one could argue, “why make your journey public?” Why not? And then again, no one will read it anyway. How do I feel toward that? Quite liberated. Had you of seen me five years prior, I assumed I couldn’t say anything without people paying me attention. I was deathly afraid of attention, I value of hermetic state, very much so. The truth is, however, everyone is far too invested in their own phenomena to care for anyone else’s journey–unless, they are observing it through their own lens of reality, in correspondence to their very own journey. A subconscious process.

I write, ultimately to hold myself accountable and a means of release. I have kept many journals over the years, in processing phenomena and life’s intricacies around me. Only to dispose of such writings, after I had seemingly moved onto the next ‘phase’ of my life. Slowly, I am coming to the realization that there isn’t anything outside of ‘now’. The abstraction of the ‘future’ and the ‘past’ is born, merely from the mind, when truthfully as per our prisons of flesh… always, will we be rooted to the ‘present’.

Who do I write to then? Myself, of course.

We are all in consequence to time. We are all afraid of the present, due to it revealing unto ourselves the harsh reality that it is truthfully… all that there is in-relation to our earthly mortality. That moments, as fleeting as they are… are limited in our incarnations.

I contend there is much more. Al di la, as I call it. Beyond the beyond. Some call it ‘god’, I call it original source consciousness. Everyone is a consequence of it. Thus, what have we to fear except our minds.

Therefore, as a wise transcendentalist once said “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Which, in mentioning that quote, despite it being plastered over kitsch and cheap merchandise in a gift shops across the world–it still holds weight.

Ultimately, I pursue learning for the thrill of it. Because it is fascinating. Not to be measured up against anyone else, or be seen as superior. I care not for accolades, I care not for awards, I care not for validation by others. I will admit, my foibles. Initially the game of reality and its petty game of comparison interested me. My cleaving away from this mentality, has much to do with my rejection of assigning myself to any collective consciousness. Always, will I be on the fringes. Always will I be an outsider, looking in. Yet, all at once… I am part of what is unfolding in-front of me. To think for myself, is what I desire to do, above all else.

Rather would I suffer loneliness, and rejection than to ever bind myself to any indoctrination. I am here to learn.

One’s motivation ought not to stem from validation, but from the love of learning itself. To know. To experience, and to be captivated… knowing that such captivation cannot possibly last forever.

At the helm of the moment. To surrender to all that which exists. Now.

PIANO/MUSIC THEORY GRADE 1. 12-09-2020.

My teacher had mentioned, that it should take me a good five years to get up to University level for both piano-work and music theory. It’ll be no trouble.

HELL YEAAAAAHHH! GIVE ME PIANO ALL DAY OF THE WEEK!

Music Theory Portion:

This week, for Music Theory. My teacher introduced me to the Renaissance period.

*For that, some listening from the likes of these composers was suggested:
Thomas Tallis.
Willam Byrd.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Guillaume Dufay.
Carlo Gesualdo.
Orlando Delassus.

Hell yeah. Main-stream contemporary music is shit!

Some music forms/styles from this era are:
* Chanson.
* Motet.
* Madrigal.
* Mass.
* Early Operas.
* Sacred Choir music.

We’ve also these instruments, to name a few:
* Viol.
* Lyre.
* Harpsichord.
* Tambourine.
* Shawm.
* Voice.
* Organ.

Some notes, worth to mention after this era had ended:

* Use of church modes became less common.
* Integration of polyphony, as opposed to monody.

Polyphony refers to multiple voices. Monody refers to a single vocal.
* Counterpoint: When two or more musical lines (or voices) are observed in a composition.

* Variety in range, rhythm, harmony, notation, and instruments.

* Music as a vehicle for personal expression (as opposed to its being used, exclusively for religious convention.) Romanticism is when this convention came to full bloom.

And, should I ever need royalty free music sheets, IMSLP has me covered:
https://imslp.org/wiki/Main_Page

Baroque means “Bizzare”. Heuheuheuheuhe.
* The anacrusis is an incomplete bar, it isn’t an actual bar. It isn’t Bar #1.

Transposition: Minor goes to minor, and major goes to major due to the different quality of sound. Just as well… one must have a thorough knowledge of each key before transposition. I’ve done transposition with my Gaspar Suite, here’s an example… although, however, other elements within the composition was changed as opposed to just the key:

Chapter 1 of Theory:

Whole Tones And Semitones On The Keyboard:
*Half steps (semitones) are located between any two adjacent keys on the piano, no matter the colour. Semitones can move up or down.

*A semitone can also lie between two white keys: Notes E-F and B-C.

*A whole tone constitutes of two semitones.

*Clefs indicate where the half steps are located on the staff.

*Accidentals alter a given note, moving it up or down a semitone. Natural accidentals render a note to be neither flat nor sharp, hence a white key would be a note with a natural accidental.

Enharmonic Equivalents:
Different notated pitches can be en-harmonically equivalent. When looking at the keyboard, of a piano… the black keys, being placed upon two white keys can be named two different ways:
Sharp for the right, and sharp to the left. Despite each note, if played in separation… sounding exactly the same on the piano. This is known as enharmonic equivalence.

*More of a complexity arises for the B-C key, and E-F key. Should the ‘C’ key be flattened in notation, one would more play the adjacent ‘B’, due to lowering that C by a semitone. The B, therefore can also be known as C flat. C, in relation to the B key… can also be known as B sharp.

For the E-F, it would be the same as the B-C keys. E flat, and E sharp.

In notation, if one flattens the C… you play ‘B’–thence, in the context of how the note is read, the ‘B’ on the keyboard is known as a C flat. This allow applies to the other keys, pictured here.

Then, we complicate things further with Double Flats and Double Sharps:
Double flats, are equivalent to a wholetone.

Here, we see a semitone (black key) between the two white keys. C becomes known as D bb, due one moving down two semitones on the keyboard. The same is applicable for a sharp being applied.

This is merely the basic form of enharmonic equivalents. There are far more examples out there, which I’ve yet to touch upon.





Pianistic Portion:

For 1″30 Hour to 3 Hour sessions.

RELAX. RELAX. RELAX.

Don’t worry about messing up, that’s part of the learning-curve.

My left hand is still comparably weak and uncoordinated to the right. It requires more attention, and practice. I have improved in some areas, however, I need to practice relaxing more.

If something is painful, stop and figure out a different way. You don’t want tendinitis. YOU DON’T WANT TENDINITIS.

+ Meditate first. Trust your hands. Whatever comes out, comes out. No-one will care.

1> Strengthening left hand with stress ball exercises. Gently is the key here. Do not overdo things.
2> Continue finger-independence exercises for both hands. Focus on the left.
3> C Major, A natural minor and A harmonic scales practice.
4> Practicing more of Alouette and Kumbayah.
5> Practice keeping quavers even.
6> Practice subdivision to the metronome. When you have mastered the exact time, then you can do Rubato.

The most important thing, is to relax.

Always allow your weight (gravity) to play the note, with a strong curve. The first knuckle is very important.

* The pianist is expected to sit in the middle, and they lean from their core when they’re required to reach the extremities of the piano.

* Look at the last chord, or note to a scale. That is how you will know if it is either a minor or major.

* When I play with my thumb, particularly on the left hand. Sometimes I draw my hand at the edge of the keyboard. It’s a terrible practice that will lead to tendinitis. So rectify it now!

Feedback:
Alouette requires even, and steady quavers between all sections.

Let’s master the technique first! Of dexterity and control.
Work on the left hand, it won’t work on itself.
And always play in a relaxed state. No tension.


Slow down! Anyone can play fast, but it takes control to slow down and be accurate/relax.

I will know that I’m past the stage of a beginner, playing-wise after a year or two. Preliminary Grade 1 pieces, would be considered intermediate.

It’s a matter of quality for practice, not quantity. Sometimes it will feel as if you’re not progressing, in acquisition of skill… this is normal, just keep pushing through. There will be learning curves which crop up, here and there often. Slow down, reflect and focus on problems incrementally. Pianists tend to have more knowledge in melody, and harmony due to their learning two clef at once–also our Organist buddies, too. Pianists are often, through stereotype seen to be loners or introverted compared to other instrumentalists.


Pianist, “Melchiorblade7″:

From 2017 to 2020.
13-09-2020.

Thank-you Melchiorblade7, of whom, I found in the comment section one one of Quantum Of Conscience‘s videos on Youtube.

Any pianists I come across who appear approachable, and willing to speak of their experience of skill acquisition… I like to question. Pianists are my favorite. When Kobe-2020 pisses off, I will go out and attend piano recitals, and if I may… question the hell out of the pianists. Get ready for me, you social shut-ins! I questioned this fellow, who has (and continues to) uploaded his pianistic progression through the years. He had said that he practiced consistently on the piano for five years, although he possessed that preliminary basis of practice years prior… he had not began practicing seriously, until that five year period. The intervals of his practice deliberate, steady, and focused for the second year.

Two years out of five. He practiced for 4 hours a day, for 5/6 days a week for the first two years.
The remaining three years, with that acquisition of skill as a basis… practice was then decreased to smaller intervals… from 1-2 hours a day for 5/6 days a week. For this year, he mentioned that he increased his practice to 3 hours, for six days per week.

Technical exercises of: Scales and arpeggios, he encourages greatly. “Etudes” are musical studies which an instrumentalist practices to focus on a particular technique.

Funnily enough, his routine and his applying an organized and structured practice regime, mirrors how I do tend to do things. So, I hope to be near, or over his level in five years. He advises to take a break in-between sessions of practicing, especially if you are feeling tired or unfocused. Practicing, whilst in either of these states does terribly, for one tends to learn bad habits in forcing their way through the endeavor. He recommends to do scale work. Start slow, and focus on it deliberately. Increase the speed, gradually. Do not play fast. Arpeggios are wonderful exercises. His advice mirroring my piano teacher’s as well.

He recommends an etude from the sexy Frederich Chopin: “Chopin’s Etude No. 1 Op. 10”, and scale exercises of any kind. I have acquired the repertoire associated, and will take to practicing this when I’ve advanced a couple of grade levels in pianism (the Chopin). My teacher had also mentioned that Chopin’s repertoire is more suited to the advanced intermediate player, or beginner student. Just as well, she mentioned that when I reach that level, I ought to begin with Chopin’s Op. 25, with both No. 1 and 2.

Some Of My Favorites From The Chopin:
“Nocturne in E-flat major Op. 9 No. 2”.
“Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 “Heroic Polonaise”
“Polonaise in C sharp minor Op. 26 No. 1”
“Waltz in F minor Op. 70 No. 2”
“Grande Valse Brillante Op. 18”

These are essentially… the late intermediate level for me in a couple of years. HELL YEAH.

For the supple wrist, and independent finger dexterity!

Such amazing playing, BRAVO! Such double chins!


I’m already doing all of this. HELL YEAH!

Whatever it is I admire in each of you. Whatever it is I see in each of you. One day, I will have it for myself. It doesn’t matter if it takes five years. Ten years. Twenty years. I will get there.

On another note, I found this… and damn, I love it.


PIANO/MUSIC THEORY GRADE 1.

“It will take five years to get good. Are you ready?”
Hell yeah! PIANO ME UP!

My former viola/theory teacher has been relieved of his position due to his inconsistency in teaching. Although, I do not deny that he led me to much of the basis of what I now know… I am certain I would have learnt much more, from another teacher who had better suited me.

I have somewhere I must go, at the end of it all. I will not let anything get in my way. I am willing to pay whatever cost is necessary, for a good teacher. Money, time, resources… it matters not. All I ask for, is respect, understanding, and patience. That is my decision justified.

The Composers spreadsheet will still be worked on. As will the Musescore composition. Theory, however is my main priority, as is Piano work.

“I only listen to Classical”. Heuheuheuheuhe.
Say what you will, but Vivaldi had a rockin’ bod.

Theory Portion:


Chapter I: Pitch And Class.
* Letter names.
* The piano keyboard.
* Enharmonic equivalents.
* Double flats and sharps.
* Clefs.
* Naming registers.
* Ledger lines.
* Style periods.

+Utilizing the digital contents for the Trilogy Set.

By the end of this chapter I should know:
1> How a staff and clef work together for identifying pitches.
2> How the pitches and pitch classes differ.
3> What the function of a C-clef, accidental, and ledger line are.
4> How the piano’s white and black keys assist an individual to determine whole and half steps.
5> Which white-key pairs of note form half-steps with no addition of accidentals.
6> At least two different guidelines for notating ledger lines, note heads, and stems.
7> How octave numbers are assigned. What the octave number for middle C is.
8> Identifying a melody from the anthology set which includes ledge lines. Therein, identifying all of its pitches and octave numbers.

Within the publication, there are a total of 40 chapters. This publication will teach me, all I am required to know as a pianist (at the basic University level). It is required that I know, at least a fourth grade level of theory before ever thinking of stepping foot inside of a University. I believe I am capable of learning up to this level. Even surpassing it. I’ve the time, and the resources. So, I will. I begin at Chapter I, and my studying of its content. And should the process of finding another tutor be prolonged, I foresee that my learning from each chapter will be drawn-out over extensive periods of time, as opposed to rushing through concepts. I will understand everything to sufficient level, and I will welcome mistakes as part of the process… it matters not, for I’ve somewhere to go.

Pianistic Portion:

Heuheuheuheuheuheuhe.

2 Hour practice, daily ’til the next lesson for next Saturday. We will be learning a bit of dynamics next week. Here is my set of drilling:

1> Finger independence exercises.
2> Perfect the C-Major scale.
3> Subdivision and dotted crotchet notes

This week my teacher was quite happy with how I had progressed, therefore, we moved onto new repertoire for this week.


*Finger Independence Exercises:

Specifically, for the left hand. Moving each finger individually, whilst maintaining the curved position. I take to doing this drill for ten minutes, in each hand as a warm-up. The ring finger for both hands need especial attention, due to the three last fingers (5, 4 and 3 on right) being bound by a tendon.

At the moment, I have taken to focusing on the ring finger with this exercise: I lay all five fingers on a surface, in playing position. Then, I lift up and down each, playing especial attention to the fourth finger in an isolated and relaxed way. Going slowly to ensure that it is being learnt the dexterity, the second and third demonstrate. My goal is to eventually work up to the point of lifting the ring finger up to a height, similar to the others.

Relaxation whilst engaging in these exercises is of the utmost importance. Pianism is both mental and physical in its pursuit. If one does not force anything, and allows for the natural flow of playing to just be… more progress in practicing is achieved–and with little effort.

Skip to 7:00, god damn… he feels the music. And he looks like he’s… uhhh–Nevermind.

*Perfecting the C-Major scale:

Slow even practice, for a smooth legato.

*Subdivision, and counting for the dotted crotchet:

+ Focus on matching the rhythm to the pitches.
+ Dynamics are of lesser importance (at this stage)
+ Relax-Relax-Relax-Relax.

Courtesy Of The “Alfred’s All-In-One Course for Adults on Piano“. My teacher mentioned that it’s a better publication to the Faber “Adult Piano All-In-One piano course“, due to the more challenging repertoire. She however commended the Dictionary section in the back, which I’ve stuck on here for my reference and other passerby’s.

From the Alfred’s series. This book was originally my Nephews, who quit piano. I told my teacher and she said it was a ‘Hand-me-up’. Hahahaha, ba-dum-tsss.

Dotted Minim: 3 beats.
Dotted Crotchet: 1 and a half beats. (Half of the crotchet’s value is added to the note).

Dictionary section from Adult Piano Adventures 1, by the Faber couple. All credit goes to them.

Legato, as my teacher mentioned is when one makes a smooth progression from one key to the other holding it… as it were. Slur and legato, on a piano are interchangeable–however, on a viola, the playing style is very different. She also mentioned, that within compositions and phrases of music, patterns appear to repeat themselves. Rag-time also has more of an apparent usage of syncopation. I will come to learn syncopation, eventually.

******She also introduced some compositional forms and styles to me. By the name of:
Through-composing (A relatively continuous, non-sectional, non-repetitive piece), and Ternary-Form (Consisting of an opening scene of A, and the following section B–only to then repeat itself).

Through-composing is often used to Lieder (German art songs). An example she provided was ‘Erlkonig’ by Schubert. Each character within the piece has their own thematic material (child and father). The music itself, has no standard form–like Ternary as one hears.

Ternary, in that case would be, if one were to provide an example… “Alouette”. A three-part form, where the first and third section are either alike or the same. Rondeau pieces also tend to follow this pattern. Fugues, by my teacher’s definition could also be considered ‘through-composed’–however, this is debatable from theorist to theorist.


*Practicing the repertoire of:

Alouette, Kum-ba-Yah, and Lavender’s Blue.

Additional notes for the week:
My Metronome, as said by my piano teacher is slightly out of sync… poor thing may have been dropped. I have purchased a new one. One of a much higher quality, made in Germany. A good pianist, needs a good metronome.

*My teacher also mentioned that a chord can only be defined as such, if it is three or more notes/tones played together in succession or separately. An arpeggiated chord, played as a melody would be a broken chord… your standard chord is played as a harmony is your block chord.

I love piano… I love it. It’s all I talk about, and it drives my family nuts. The pianists, the hands, the keys… the intervals… the harmony… the articulations… all of it. It is all I had ever longed for. All I will gladly carry with me, for the life long journey which it prognosticates.

Sure, I am very much happy with my Academic career (at the moment) and the release that drawing may afford me from time to time… but piano feels like the missing piece, so-to-speak that I have been searching for my entire life. I assumed it was true love that I had longed for all of my life–but the piano. Playing, albeit I am still very much a beginner, just seems to dissipate that longing. Hours I can spend with him (Alexandre). Hours. My teacher mentioned something amazing today, that there are piano oeuvre which exists for one hand or no hands… compositions which are written for the physically handicapped. For instance: Maurice Ravel, of French impressionism wrote “Piano Concerto For The Left Hand” for an Austrian pianist, who lost his arm during WWI.

Poor fella.

She also said, that not all pianists are ambidextrous and that this is a myth. This was in reference to a question I had asked, in relation to whether or not truly experienced pianists were equally balanced in each hand for means of control and strength. She said, by her experience, and through observation of her colleagues “Yes.” This then led into my question of ambidexterity. Further on that tangent, she said that the skill of piano is very different to other demands of the hands. A specific skill.

For inspiration. Ryo began at 22, teaching himself the piano… only to therein release his first album six years later.

I mentioned him some posts back. But Ryo, shows me that it is possible for someone like me to keep on keeping on.

Love it, and it shall love you. What else is there?

PIANO/MUSIC THEORY. 3 MONTHS. GRADE 1.

Meryl Keioskie


It’s been a little over three months, now. I have now graduated to Grade 1 of Music Theory.

31-05-2020 is when I began my first Viola lesson (roughly three months ago).
27-07-2020 is when I began teaching myself piano (A month ago).

Viola has now been dropped, in favor for my dedicating myself to piano full-time.
This week, I receive my first lesson in piano.

In this lesson, I am far more impassioned than anticipated.


Theory Portion:

1> Composing portion:
My theory Instructor and I have been working on variating a theme, for a composition practice–call it practice or whatever. His tutelage has been exposing me to some excellent forms of composition: Diminution, augmentation, retrograde, doubling, and so-fourth. It’s been composed for piano in-mind, which I find quite apposite. He is my main instrument now.

The piece we’ve been working on together. I call it “An Oddity”–although, I will most probably add it to my Gaspar suite later, when I do some more work on the harmony. There’s more work to be done on it, yet… however. My teacher is very stringent on ending on the tonic.

Bach’s compositions in-particular, are just magnificent to observe and study. The man was an absolute genius.

With my being taught composition, in-between , I reworked the Arpeggio & Scale Berceause from my Gaspar Suite. To make it more ‘sweeter’, and ‘tender’:

I am still working on that suite, of course… I intend to get it up to 100 variations and pieces before I compile it together.

Then, there is also this variation to the above. I call it “Ambien Dreams”:

2> Theory:
My instructor has told me that he is confident in my completing the rest of the Music Craft Preliminary book. I have done so, and we are now moving onward to the musical text book. HELL YEAH! And now… I am finally out of Kindergarten.

I went ahead and ordered this trilogy: “The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, 3e.” To study from, in guidance of my teacher. He is a such a damned nerd. I swear. And oh yes, I respect him. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired him.

I feel like Billy Madison.

Me, all day of the week.

Tempo Markings:
Tempo markings present themselves in a range. I.E:
Andante is set to a range 56-88 BPM.

Tempos are best identified through the context of the piece. Ranges often overlap–therefore, for one to identify the tempo marking, one listens to the piece.

3> Composers Spreadsheet: Charles-Valentin Alkan.

I am instructed to answer this question, in-relation to Alkan’s piece, “Alkan – Etude op.39 no.12 – Le Festin D’Esope”.

Write brief notes on each variation. Discuss what has been altered in each variation. Always compare the variation to the original theme.

A: 1) The first variation, we’ve set to the key in G Major. The meter, duple. 2/4. Eight bars. The theme with the dynamic ‘Piano’. Often Alkan is seen to deviate away from the key, just as well. His quavers and semi-quavers having staccato rendered upon them. The tempo, Allegretto Senza Licenza Quantunque. Which means “Rather fast, without any license.” The piece is instructed to not be played in rubato. 2) Second: Both bass and treble are still marked with staccato. He introduces both tenuto and tied notes within this variation. Thence, it produced strange ‘flighty’ effect in its playing. Also, the thirty-second sextuplet flourishes are marked forte (He augmented his damned notes). 3) In this variation, he diminishes his notes. Still, he keeps to staccatto. Harmonic tension is apparent in this one, and pauses in melody with the staccato, and emphasis on bass are apparent. Also. There’s trills! 4) Staccatto still continues, especially in the bass. The four bars to the piece have within, third and sixth notes. The tension is resolved, at the end frm the first variations. 5) Octaves marching. Triplets of sixteenth octaves for both hands provide momentum while the harmony is switched between E minor and F minor. There is an impressive ascending scale in octaves throughout the two keys. 6) Continues with the theme of the march. This time, Alkan switches the key to C Major. The movement, comparably more quiet than the others before it with its marked ‘piano’. This is broken later, with the return of ‘forte’. 7) A quiet trill for the bass. In range 2. Tension is created, and syncopation occurs often. The important bar, being marked by Alkan “Pochissimo crescendo”. 8) In tonic major (I had to look this up). Also written by Alkan as ‘Maggiore’. Sweet and sustained in comparison to the former. 9) Sprightly bounces for upper registers are heard. He lifts up the range slightly. Each chord is preceded by wonderful ornamental embellishments (acciaccatura). These embellishments are not pivotal to the melody, but serve to decorate. 10) With Ostinato. the preceding variation is embelished further with ‘onstinato’ (a repetitive motif) set to a higher range. He marks it ‘Scampanatino”. 11) Still Ostinato, however now converted to thirds. Marked ‘Molto Legato’. The melody once again, is relegated to bass since variation 7. 11) Chords are supported by modculations and references from Romanticism and impressionism are accutely heard. Bass is written with very wide broken chord and arpeggios. 12) Still keeping to his conventions. He inserts a tiny acciaccatura (embelishment) within. 12) Forte and ‘trombata’ are marked on the sheet. Staccatto still retained, with a constant overlapping of bass and treble. 13) The left hand is seen to switch between sixteenth notes, and loud expansive chords of both D Minor and C Minor are played before ending in E Major. 14) Bass remains in staccato and still retains wide artpeggios. However, the key is set to C Major. 15) Octaves, Alkan! JESUS CHRIST. The treble and bass are seen to overlap constantly. And some chords are lowered by a semitone. 16) Thick chords… and loud as hell. Fortississimo (fff). 17) An explicit reference to animals are made. 18) Returns to minor key. Both hands are on bass. Pedal is marked throughout. 19) Tremelo is included. Melody is established in the first bars. Again, many chromatic scales. 20) And so, we end… with a trionfalmente fortissimo. Very loud. He wanted to end on a bang, so to speak. A crescendo leads to the final eight-bar.

I’m quite certain that I numbered these wrong… if so, ah well. In all honesty, that was a very complex piece to read. Far past my level. Ah, Europe. That is where art is.

Pianistic Portion (Alexandre):

Four weeks in. Now, I learn from a professional. She had begun playing piano at the age of five, and is now a Masters student at the Conservatoire. Watching her play on the piano, she… is natural. Her fingers like pistons, and I am in absolute awe. This was the first time I ever saw someone play, right in-front of my eyes… and I am awe-struck. Amazing… just amazing! Her hands fluid, and she, relaxed when she plays. For her, I see the piano in her soul. She is bound to it. I see that in all pianists. I love pianists. ‘Deed I do. They all have something within, which illuminates them… especially in their eyes. I want that same light in my eyes. That’s why I’m drawn to the piano.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE LONGED FOR. I don’t care or mind how long it will take, so long as I get to even do 1/16th of what they can do… damn, that’s all I ever wanted. Yes please. For the next twenty years. HELL YEAH. I found it. Finally.

To have what they have. One day, I will.

Half an hour of practice a day, is a good start for me.

Alfred Series Practice:

1) E for the right and left hand.
2) Inverted C Major triad.
3) Middle C position.
4) Dynamics: Crescendo & Diminuendo.
5) Fermata: One holds a Fermata approximately twice the value of the note… however as a general rule, one can hold it (within reason) for as long as they like.
6) Eight notes/quavers.
7) Hanon hand exercises.
8) Dotted crotchets.

Lesson I. Piano. Basics.

Pro-tips:

*Avoid slouching.
*Avoid being tense.
*Avoid over-practice.
*Use my Czerny and Hanon judiciously. With good judgement.
* It is thoroughly important to know not just practice, but also theory as well as aural skills. If you practice incorrectly, you WILL injure yourself.

I can sight read, albeit slowly, however… I have not yet, learnt the ability to proper express these denotations on the piano.

1) Acquisition of correct hand positioning and changes, as well as fingering. C Major scale, right and left. Utilizing the relaxed dipping motion of the wrists to play. Also, with scale-playing, one brings their thumb under to move. Keep your wrist supple. Use your fingers in a relaxed fashion. And “Happy Birthday” from the Alfred’s book.

Relaxed mode first. The piano is your frieeeeennnnnd~

2) Hand position extension. For example, when one is moving from C to B with the first finger.

*Notes from the lesson:

First step, is to consciously think of my technique. Posture, fingers, hands.

+ My stool is a good distance away, and height just as well. The arm must be parallel to the floor, roughly.

+ My fingers must be curved. Due to the edges of my nail beds sticking out, I cannot play on the flats of my fingers. Therefore my fingers cannot curve completely, and I must play slightly flatter. The first knuckle however, must always be arched. The pianist plays from their feet, funnily enough. Especially when you are playing virtuosic repertoire. Ensure that your fingers don’t collapse. Practice holding a tennis ball to maintain the position. One can also rest their hand on their knee. The shape of my hand, will be more of a depressed angle. Like an arc as opposed to a ball.

+ For the middle C position, I can choose to switch between thumbs being place on the key. I choose one thumb to sit there.

+ I’m too tense when it comes to playing, I need to relax whilst playing. Relaxing my shoulders. My feet become numb, due to my being tense. One must be mindful of their relaxedness. The trick is not to try and control anything. Just allow it to be relaxed. I will meditate.

+ My finger tips must be stationary on the key. Having my wrist drip and rise with each key played. Practicing this motion between each finger. When you dip, you must come back. Keep the fingers slightly flat, however, do not collapse them. The playing motion, is a lot like a wave. The wrist is driving things. When dipping the wrist, do not over-extend it dipping… if it feels tense, then you are not doing it correctly. Never should you feel tense, or feel pain in playing.

+ Both hands must be equally as strong as one another. So practice with both.

INFO: Accoustic pianos are real beauts. One can register a different sound of playing, by how far inward your fingers are, on the keys… different effects.


Playing with collapsed fingers will damage your tendons. The pianist must pay attention to all of their muscles. Which muscles are you using, one must ask themselves in playing firstly. The pianist uses all muscles… all muscles. And they must pay attention to how they breathe. Piano is serious business. As a beginner however, I will begin with the fingers. The fingers are connected to the musculature and tendons of the neck and arms upwards. One must have a supple wrist that’s flexible, like glue-tack.

First step, is to consciously think of my technique. Posture, fingers, hands.

Fourth finger is the weakest.

For me, learning proper form and hand technique is of utmost importance before anything else on the piano. If I don’t develop the proper habits necessary to play the piano, there is no way in hell I will be able to increase speed for the jazz I intend to play.

I have also set aside a workbook for my teacher to write what I ought to practice, that is, to better keep track of my learning process toward the piano.

So far, I am familiar with:
C Position: C Major chord, G7 chord, F chord.
G position. G Major chord, D7 chord, C Major chord.
Middle C Position.

And so, begins me watching hours and hours of pianists play:

My Piano teacher’s teacher. Damn that technique is MINT. She’s like… Yoda’s Yoda.
AND MORE. Dammit, this is fucking amazing. HOLY HANDS. She has fingers like a centipede’s legs. THE MOVEMENTS!
And this delicious specimen. HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! such hands! Such focus. Such passion. SUCH EMOTION. For your standard infatuation, you’ll find women preferring the run of the mill celebrity. Or that guy… who plays Thor (I forget his name).

As for me, I always find exceedingly skilled pianists sexy. Famous or not. Who gives a shit? I have always loved me a delicious pianist. If he can tickle the ivories… Especially with bigger hands. AND MUSIC THEORY. HE MUST KNOW MUSIC THEORY. YES. PLEASE.
I WILL marry one. Then I can watch him play, all day of the week. I envision myself saying: “Dear, don’t mind me. I will sit here and forever be amazed at your virtuosity. Yes-yes, never-mind me. Your piano comes first. That is your true love. Please never stop playing. That is all I ask. “

You marry a music man. You marry their music.

On another note… I need to see some professional pianists perform live. NOW! I will ask either of my teachers, soon enough… where I may watch some perform. I will most probably be the only one in the audience, with a gargantuan grin on my face. Nodding to myself. My mouth agape in excitement. GOD DAMMIT WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE! This brings me tremendous joy.

Written on their faces. Such hours… such solitude… SUCH MUSIC.

——

*Viola Portion (Gasparini):

This is the last lesson I will receive for viola. I am retiring the viola and moving onto piano full-time. Do I regret learning the viola? Not at all. It led me to piano, as a matter of fact. Through my viola instructor, I was put into contact with my new piano teacher who is already playing virtuosic repertoire. Just as well, I understand music theory at a grade I level. Although I had initially attempted to run away from the instrument, it caught up to me… and by god. I am glad that it did. I may re-visit the viola again in the future. Who knows? In the future I will purchase an acoustic piano. And I will name him Gasparini. That, I promise. I do feel guilty Gasparini, I do. Forgive me. You will be reincarnated, into a magnificent Steinway and sons. One day.

As a final ode to my Gasparini, I will leave these notes… just in-case I may decide to return to him, one day.

Tuning:
*Large pegs: Larger tuning. Never go above the note, for you will put unnecessary tension on the string. The ends of the pegs are tapered–therefore, when tuning, you push in the pegs taking that into account.

*Finetuners: Just for finer adjustments, to tune the HZ of the string to finger calibrations. Often, when tuning… one string being tuned will knock others out of balance, from the tension created in the peg box.

1) Left hand pizzicato (fourth finger). Flick the pinkie, and use the whole hand.
2) Harmonics (fourth finger): doubling the hertz, also known as the oscillations. I.E: With lightly applying your fourth finger to halfway of the string, one doubles the frequency of the string’s base note. I.E: 440 HZ of the A (A4) string to 880 (A5) HZ.
“When the instrument rings, it is telling you. That’s the correct note.”
3) A on the D string (fourth finger).
4) Playing at 120 BPM.

——

I love each of my instruments. I name each for them… for they are to be respected.

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

And so the learning continues, in-between my other duties.

*Theory Portion.

A new interval:
Minor Third.
There are 1.5 tones between the notes, within the interval minor third. Therefore, there are 3 semitones between notes. This is comparable to the Major Third. With 2 tones between the notes. Therein, there are 3 tones between the notes. A Major Third, is one semitones less in comparison.

This is demonstrated, very clearly on the piano .

I am now familiar with 5/12 of the standard intervals:
Major third, major fourth, perfect fifth, perfect octave and minor third.


Homework:

* Music Craft Preliminary Lessons 24.1 and 24.2.

* Annotation, and revision of F Major scale with chords.

* Annotation, and revision of treble, alto, and bass clef.

* Composer spreadsheet: Giachino Rossini, and an extended question to Johann Christian Bach (Violin Partita).

* Musescore composition sheet: Variation 2 (augmented rhythm), and 3 (C Major and 4/4 metre).
+ For advice. Keep with one idea. If one is doubling all of the notes in a variation–one must follow through, and keep that consistency. Therefore. Double all of the notes. The audience expects one to stick to that convention. We are fine tuned to seek out patterns.

For an augmented rhythm, one relies on the notational value. Augmented rhythms are increased, in their note value. This is in comparison to diminution… which does the inverse. Harmony will be added underneath these variations, later.

* Practice conducting to a 4/4 meter to better acquaint self with rhythm:

Practice to Resphigi.
4/4 conducting pattern.


Speaking of conductors. God damn, that’s a hot conductor.

Damned sexy.
That’s my type of man.
Hands down. Give me.

Looking like Shostakovich’s son. I would lick his face, gladly.

Oh come on! I would ask for permission FIRST. And like…
we’d get to know one another–and-and. Okay, I’m daydreaming too much. Moving on…

*Pianistic Portion.

This week, my instructor has agreed to give me a brief introduction into piano work. That is, technique, to ensure that I am not wading into misinformed territory. He however urges, that I gather tutelage under a more experienced instructor. As a refresher however… by his instruction: the pianist plays with their fingers, but the strength is sourced from their wrist. The wrist should not be tensed in any manner–nor should the arms be led to move. Take tension off of the fingers, so that you can play fast notes. Flexing one’s fingers leads to flexing the forearm, which is the incorrect way to play. All weight should be applied to the keys. Head straight. One moves from the core. The knees are just slightly under the keyboard. Ensure, that, if you’re moving forward. Tilt from the core. When you’re looking at the keyboard–look down with your face. This will create magnificent double chins. It is said, that the more double chins a pianist has… the faster their hands can move (Note: not really. I’m joking.).

Pianists and their double-chins. Heueheuheuheue~ SOOOOHHH CUTTTTEEEE~~~~

My instructor has given me contact of a colleague of his, who is pursuing a Masters degree in piano. They are Yoda, and I’m a damned Jedi. I will be gathering her tutelage, next week on Saturday. I look forward to it.

Here is the layout for my learning this week:
1) G position.
2) Sharps.
3) G Major and D 7 chords.
4) Inverted C chord (from the G position).
5) Using the damper foot pedal.
I am now up to page 70 of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course, Level One.

*I now spend one hour to two hours practicing on piano. Viola is now pursued, at 30 minutes, each day.

*In the first lesson, for my piano teacher, next week we will explore:
Posture details, basic notes, sight-reading, scales for technique and some repertoire.
As well, as the discussion of short and long term goals. I have also issued her, a workbook that she will write in, from week-to-week.

Ultimately, once I have acquired all of the basic and intermediate skills of piano, then we will delve into exploring more complex and detailed repertoire–as well as concepts. A solid basis in pianistic knowledge, and technique will be built firstly… before anything else. Speaking with my family, and my supervisor. I had asked him during the last meeting we had together, “Why did you say I would suit piano?” He said, and I paraphrase “Because you have long, beautiful fingers.” My Father says the same, of my fingers. I’ve also heard mentions of the years, of my having piano fingers from people. As for my sister, she mentioned that piano would suit me better, past viola. I asked her, “why?” She said it was an elegant instrument, and that I was elegant. HEUHEUHEUHEUHE~

Plus, if you were to ask me… for my personal opinion, I am more suited to the piano due to my double chins. I have four of them, to be exact.

THEREFORE, I MUST BE PIANIST. PIANISTIC JOURNEY, AWAITS! MY DOUBLE CHINS DEMAND IT.

*Viola Portion.

Revise what was learnt last week, and pages .31 to .33 in Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”.


Three months into this musical journey, here is an update to my progress.

Piano (Alexandre) has been adopted as my primary instrument, and will have more time invested into practice as well as lessons. I will take to practicing piano for many hours a day, in comparison the the viola. Viola (Gaspar), has been relegated now, to an accompaniment instrument. I choose to still learn the instrument, due to it allowing me the ability to appreciate the world of strings.

Between these two instruments, music theory is still being learned with diligence.

+ I now possess the ability to sight read from the treble, alto, and bass clefs… albeit slowly, I had not possessed the ability to do anything of the such, three months prior.


Music is truly a beautiful thing. Everyone should have music in their life. For me, although it has been a short time. My life has been made infinitely better with music in it. I want to do this for the rest of my life.

I found this… and my god. How heartbreaking this is… No doubt. This is programmatic.
Libet’s Delay is the phenomena of registering touch, as a sensory experience–that is, through a conscious perception of it.
Oh… God… Consciousness. Ah~ anemoia.

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

This week, for theory I will be focusing on…

  1. Writing a 1000 word essay discussing the evolution of orchestra and musical convention–from Mozart’s time period to Beethoven’s. I must support all findings with evidence from peer-reviewed sources. And I must complete this before 31-07-2020. The referencing format will be APA 6th. My viola instructor doesn’t mess around, no sirree.
  2. Meters, and the hierarchy of beats (strong-medium-weak…)
    I learnt that the classical convention of the common time (4/4) meter is strong-weak-medium-weak.
  3. More annotation of… alto clef and treble clef staves. Then, annotation of C Major and G Major (the F# in the G Major at a F5 range) scale families –with chords, both simultaneous and arpeggiated.
  4. Note value: Dotted note.
    By rule, a dotted note is a note which has half of its equivalent added to it… thus extending the length of how long it is played for. I.E: A dotted minim would play for three beats, past two.
  5. Doing an exploration, and examination of pieces selected from the following composers: Resphigi and Tchaikovsky.
  6. Piano practice, and application of music theory to the instrument.
  7. Viola practice for 30 minutes-1 hour.

What I had learnt from my previous lesson, so I can better remember:

+ One finds a tonic, in a piece depending on how the scale is being played. That is to the corresponding note. The tonic either steps up or down.

+A dotted minim, equals three beats due to half of the note value (minim= two) being added to it.

+When writing a dotted note, one never writes the dot on the stave/line. Always, will it sit inside the spaces.

+Accidentals, if not in key, only last for the duration of that bar–that is, if another accidental doesn’t follow within that bar, to return it to its key signature state.

+C Major does have a key signature. And, that is “No flats, or sharps”.

+Sharps raise a note half a step; Flats lower a note half a step; naturals returns the note to its pure form–neither flat or sharp.

+When one is writing a sharp, or a flat in writing (not manuscript on paper) the accidental is super-scripted. I.E: F#.

+A chord is either arpeggiated, or simultaneously played at once. Never can they be mixed together.

So that I may learn music more seriously, I always notate on paper via traditional means (pencil) past digital conventions. The same goes for drawing, and how I learnt. One must always go through traditional means. Always.

+Melodic and Harmonic intervals.

+Modulation theory. hehehehe~

+An intervallic pattern refers to the pattern of intervals that make a mode. I.E: Your ionian intervallic pattern is WWHWWWH.

On a similar note. My instructor decided that we won’t be continuing with the “AMEB music craft” series for the rest of our journey together–instead, he had made mention that we will move onto a theoretical textbook, at university level. One, which is quite expanse… and will get me to where I need to go for learning music theory. We will, however continue with the”AMEB music craft” series, ’til Kindergarten level is surpassed (pre-lim).

Also, he had made mention that in my intention of becoming a composer… being multi-instrumental is suggested. Seeing as I have no other preoccupations aside from my Academic career, for the foreseeable future, I welcome it! My instructor’s colleagues, who are composers, are said to be multi-instrumentalists themselves… like swiss-army knives they are. Oh, composers~

So far, I am learning: The piano and viola.

THEORY:

A word on accidentals:

A key signature refers to a collection, in accordance to a particular scale–for example, your G Major scale, has one sharp placed upon the F stave (F5 for treble stave). It determines the ‘Key’ the piece is set in, and as a result the set of notes to be used in a ‘normal setting’. NOTE: All F’s are, by default, in accordance to the key signature of G Major, F#s.

Accidentals, are also applicable by term to… flats, sharps, and naturals. These instances can deviate away from the original key signature, should the composer wish (See Modulation Theory).

These are all accidentals:
A sharp raises the pitch of a note up, a half-step.
A flat lowers the pitch of a note down, a half-step.
A natural renders the note to a state, which is neither flat or sharp.

A key signature is what utilizes the accidentals.

In reference to your G Major scale, let’s say one applies a natural accidental to a note placed on the F stave at the range of 5, on your treble staves. This would render the note an F, as opposed to an F#. What’s more, should one deviate away from an F# by G Major’s key signature… to, let’s say a flat… then, if one wishes to return the corresponding note to its key signature note, one must add a sharp again.

However, by the next bar… in accordance to the key signature. The note will ALWAYS return to its key signature state.

Accidentals, are always written to the left of the note…

A Brief Essay:

Here is a brief essay (not surpassing 1000 words) I wrote one night, to fulfill the request of my teacher:

A brief foray into the evolution of orchestra and music conventions between the era of Mozart and Beethoven.

Classical conventions are a result of the proceeding eras before. Earliest aesthetical influences, which had inspired the movement are found appositely within Plato’s writings—for an artiste to create, the artiste must be inspired, by that which he had experienced (Kuisma 2003). Such an argument would imply, that all manner of experience—whether that be physical qualia, or that which is eidetic in its nature, would qualify. The platonic model of theory therein informs the convention of Bach’s adage, which implied that music must reflect the glory of a higher power, past artiste or the modality itself. However, it was by that artistic enterprise, a rational foundation of informing music had not yet been employed. Thereon, the classical era challenged the notion of the ‘unconscious artiste’, who had once created through the premise, that inspiration flowed through them in proxy to a higher power. It was therefore, argued, that it was not the artiste who had brought music to the world, but god themselves (Marissen 2016).

A comparison between two composers: Mozart and Beethoven/Hadyn, would do well to position a comparison of how the convention of music, had evolved.    

Between classical, and romantic pieces the difference is marked firstly in textural quality (Bent 1995). The transparency, where some lines of music are heard above others are markedly exemplified in the classical era, as opposed to the romanticist era (Kerman et al. 2001). During the early 19th century, ranges possible for the instrumentalist, through innovation of a variety instruments was also observed—especially in the woodwind and brass section. Music, could therefore, be better helmed more demonstratively in expressing power and range… and by extension, aesthetical implication. To further discuss the disparities, the classical era consisted of, in comparison to the romanticist era, shorter movements. This is attributed to composers, who were still at the time, devising methods of how they could extend their pieces. Beethoven’s Eroica, for instance, lasts for a duration of fifty minutes—twice the length of Hadyn or Mozart’s symphonies. His Heroic era piece had demonstrated that extension of a movement was possible (Bruce et al. 1974; Esther et al. 1986). Furthermore, Beethoven influenced the proceeding early-romanticism era in his appending piccolos and trombones into his pieces—a convention, which was not yet introduced (Will 2002 ,179). Prior to Beethoven’s era (before Beethoven’s #5), trombones in symphonic orchestras were at a lack. Within the periods of both baroque and classical, vibrato was rarely used—except as an embellishment for certain pieces. The 19th century, presented a prevalence of the technique, that far exceeded its former use. To the extent that continuous vibrato is a commonly observed device, used within romantic pieces. This thereby accounts for a larger populace within the string section, of romantic pieces, than any music period proceeding it (Bent 1996).


Aesthetics is not about beauty, per se. The study of aesthetics, through its philosophical underpinnings alludes to that of which, moves one through the senses. Ugliness could be aesthetically moving. Aesthetics does not account for style itself, exclusively. Aesthetics, again, accounts for natural qualia of emotion (the metaphysical) and that which is experienced through the somatosensory system.

By the early 19th century, the departure from the classical era to early romanticism is observed. The resurgence of aesthetic idealism, as expressed through the modality, was expressed. By that extension, the transcendental qualities of esoteric implications were yet again employed, however to a more informed degree. Just as well, the harmonic qualities of the romantic period, sought to be more imaginative and evocative in its demonstration of chromaticism—notes, which had prevailed outside of the key, were observed (Bent 1996). By that vein of discussion, music was in the process of being developed still, past the convention of classical. Technical proficiency by virtuosic composers and performers such as Paganini and Liszt, transformed the repertoire of musicians’ technique during the remainder of romanticism. However, as observed, romanticism, acted as a precursor to the degradation of tonality observed in the early 20th century. An example of this notion is best demonstrated through the composer Schoenberg. Wherein, within his compositions tonal hierarchy was non-existent (Dahlhaus 1987, 162).

Reference List:

Cavett-Dunsby, Esther.Theory and Practice – Journal of the Music Theory Society of New York State; Fredonia, N.Y. Vol. 11,  (1986).McKinney, William Bruce. Gustav Mahler’s Score of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony, a Document of Orchestral Performance Practice in the Nineteenth-Century (Ph.D., Univ. of Cincinnati, 1974).
Marissen, M. (2016). Bach & God: Oxford University Press.
Kuisma, O. (2003). Art Or Experience: A Study on Plotinus’ Aesthetics: Societas Scientiarum Fennica.
Kerman, JosephTyson, Alan; Burnham, Scott G. (2001). “Ludwig van Beethoven”. Oxford Music Online.
Bent, I. (1996). Music Theory in the Age of Romanticism: Cambridge University Press.
Will, R. (2002). The Characteristic Symphony in the Age of Haydn and Beethoven: Cambridge University Press.
Dahlhaus, C., Puffett, D., & Clayton, A. (1987). Schoenberg and the New Music: Essays by Carl Dahlhaus: Cambridge University Press.

Pianistic “Alexandre” Portion:

In learning piano, if there is one thing I am interested in… it is developing both finger strength and finger independence. One plays the piano by way of the finer tendons, in their fingers. The larger muscles of the arms, and wrists should not be used by the pianist. I have ordered a Hanon piano technique book, with 60-exercises. I have the intention of ‘training’ my hands and fingers concurrently in learning the basics. I suppose, it’s a lot like going to the gym everyday. There is no difference, to me. It’s all about strengthening the hands and developing good habits from the beginning.

With preliminary exercises, that last 10-minutes for each hands, I thereon practice for about an hour (or two, I’m sorry… viola) daily. I practice from heavy guidance of “Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano course: Adult All-In-One Course” Although Americanized in its presentation, it is a fantastic book! I will be sure to re-correct disparities of language, further down the track.

As for exercising my hands. My pinkie needs the most attention, along with my ring-finger. They do not listen! Therefore, I will exercise them with these in-mind:

  1. Hermit Crab.
  2. Digging the sand.

    https://www.teachpianotoday.com/2016/09/28/3-video-tips-for-solving-your-piano-students-stiff-pinky-finger-problem/

Finger Independence for the last two are very meager. I will also, during idle moments drum my hands’s digits on flat surfaces… and always, I will appreciate my hands.

His fingers are AMAZING. He should be a musician, with hands like those.

Oh… wait. He is a musician.


Use it or lose it.

One plays with curved fingers firstly, to ensure that one allows the full use of their finger’s joints–that is, when they are first starting out. Many a pianistic virtuoso, I’ve observed, played with the flats of their fingers–however, their intention was to register a more mellower/richer sound. Compositions, by, for example Mozart would make better use of the curved approach just as well.

In my being an absolute and total beginner, I will use curved/domed fingers and nothing else for me! Uhhh… muuuuuchhhhh later~


For the first week of piano, now I know how to play “Jingle Bells” in 4/4 time, with the left hand accompanying in 4th and 5th Harmonic intervals. Yay, preschool level!

Before then, I learnt Melodic 2nds and 3rds. In playing Au Claire De Le Lune and Tisket, a Tisket.

Harmonic 4ths and 5ths, are essentially leaps.
Harmonic 2nds, are a step.
Harmonic 3rds, are a skip.

The piano is a wonderful instrument, you’ve the keys (notes/tones) lined up perfectly to one another. It works as a tremendous accompaniment in understanding music theory.

Viola “Gaspar” Portion:

I find it difficult in keeping track with the metronome whilst bowing. I have not yet perfected the ability to apply less weight on the bow, without compensating speed. Therefore, when I bow Gaspar, his sound drowns out the mechanical metronome I have ticking in the background.

So, as a way to cope, what I do is wear noise canceling headphones and play the metronome ticks through that. I cannot filter noises, like neurotypical people can (I am diagnosed with Asperger’s). My somatosensory processing, in regard to my auditory sense appears to merge all channels of noise in my immediate environment. Although, paradoxically, my hearing is very keen despite that.

Therefore, I believe this will have to suffice in-order to build kinaesthetic memory. I should remember how to keep in common-time, eventually.

Alexandre is comparatively different, I’ve found… although one sustains certain notes, they wish the instrument to ‘hold’ (in an acoustic piano, dampeners are lifted to allow the string to continue vibrating)... the piano’s manner of playing, is similar to the striking pizzicato method of plucking on the viola (sans sustain of the pizzicato).

Bowing is different. Each note is sustained, and the violist switches the direction of their bow–from left to right. The string must vibrate, by way of bow in-order to register a sound. Slurring is a different technique, where the notes on the viola are played seamlessly. Although, comparable to pizzicato, and piano… standard bowing, as I’ve observed still has a minute (tiny) silence/break in switching the direction of the bow from note to note in sight-reading.


Instrumentalists have some resilience, and discipline… I must say!

My being new to bowing has made my arm’s muscles quite tired. I practice for 30 minutes to an hour, at most. I can play the piano for one-two hours, in comparison. I’d attribute this, to my prerequisite skill of touch-typing typing since my early-teens… My fingers don’t seem bothered. Yet.

(I name all of my instruments. They are all males, for they are all the loves of my life.)

Compositions:

Before then, I explored the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky through this piece: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathetique”. I answered a question, posed by my teacher in relation to the articulation of movements, and how it differs from Mozart and Haydn’s era. 

Despite the homophobia which was rampant around that time, Tchaikovsky dared to dedicate the entire piece to the man he loved.

A Passionate Symphony. The very last symphony he ever wrote. And yes, in none other than the key of B Minor. This entire piece was written, more or less as a release of catharsis for the composer. It was during this time in 19th century Russia, homosexuality was seen as taboo. Tchaikovsky himself, being a homosexual, wrote about the pain of this secret in letters (much can be sourced from his brother, the other Tchaikovsky). As for the piece. Tchaikovsky felt ashamed, and somewhat ‘tainted’ by his lifelong secret. One of which he wished to escape, through failed marriages and the like. Eventually, the composer came to terms with his sexuality. Thus, the result of this symphony. Each movement details a different era within his life, in relation to these chapters of his life. I, focused on the desire he had felt in his youth–one taboo; II focused on his early adulthood, wherein he began to compose; III demonstrated the stagnation which middle age, through decay of the mind and body had introduced (regret also permeates throughout this movement); and finally IV, depicts the terror of death which looms. It is rather heartbreaking, the title of the symphony should give evidence of this–sure enough, “pathetique”. What’s more, the piece was dedicated to the greatest love of his life, his nephew, Vladimir Davydov. An unrequited love (oh~ you composers). The entire piece presents this obsession, from movement to movement. Tchaikovsky was infatuated with the boy, who was also homosexual–however, their relationship never did became sexual in nature.

All-in-all, it was this infatuation which had fueled Tchaikovsky to create, no-doubt.

It is speculated, that Tchaikovsky committed suicide after this piece. However, to this day still, no one knows how the composer truly died. Perhaps of a broken heart? To answer the question. “No”, it does not follow the ordering convention set by either Mozart and Haydn’s era. It was written in 1893, long after both of the aforementioned composer’s respective eras. What’s more, this was written when romanticism was coming to a close–giving way to the 20th century era. The IV. Finale: Adagio Lementoso begins very abruptly, just as well. There was a lot of COMPOUND MELODIES in his movements, for strings specifically. The illusion of time, being ‘unfolded’–for lack of a better word is heard in the much of finale. It as if isolated sound is expanded upon itself.

There’s is also topic of Tchaikovsky’s “Cross-motive” within his composed pieces. An ode, being ‘star-crossed’ and in-love with his nephew. This makes me want to cry.

Oh composers, you all suffer greatly to create such beauty. There was Chopin, who was virtually bed-ridden all of his life–there was Bach, who had nearly all of his children and wife die–Debussy didn’t fare well either.

What a life it is, to be a man of music, eh?

Not related… although related (it’s music). My Dad told me to listen to this. Little treasure from Japan.

Hehehe, it’s so cute~

Onto the things I wrote this week:

Here is a Sonata I composed, from this week. For piano and viola. At times, the pace between the two is unmatched. In the first set of bars, the pianist waits for the violist to match their pace. The violist eventually exceeds the pianist, who then waits for the pianist.

This was composed, as most of my pieces are, to form a conversation between instruments. It sounds as if the piano is saying “Ver-y good” through syllable, at the end. He commends her for keeping pace.


They end as they begin. The pianist closing the piece.

4/4 meter. F Major Key. Working Title: “Props To The Pianist”.

And here is a sketch of a composition, my mind conjured up. It is a variation of “Props To The Pianist.” I will resolve this one, in good-time. 2/4 time with 60 BPM mimics your clock, just as well the ‘phone rings’ allude to one being a workaholic. The symmetry, within the piece is akin to a life structured to the finest point. The piano, plays a pleasant voice answering the call. The beat of the timpani all the while… says “Follow the rat race.”

It’s a montage. Rise early. Arrange life. Coffee-coffee-coffee. Rinse, and then… repeat. Why bother? Because they can. Nothing will stop them.

These all belong to my Viola’s collection of pieces: The “Gaspar Suite”. Which now has 17/100 pieces composed.

2/4. A Major. Working Title: “It’s a Busy Life”. I’ve been listening to too much Susumu Hirasawa…

And then, here’s this one.

In reviewing his writing, one dares to ask, “Why do you use so many ellipses?” To which, he replies “I haven’t the slightest clue, to be honest. Wait… I use ellipses?”

3/4. D Major. Working Title: “Why do you use so many ellipses?”. Funny thing about that. It’s because he’s always thinking.

To me, composing is similar to drawing… with my creation of each piece, I am drawing sketches so as to build-up practice.

There is no objective in-mind with this suite. When it is complete, it should form a story. It’s an experimental venture, from my mind. With each composition, I use it as an example to measure my retaining of musical knowledge, and by extension, my ability to form a programmatic catalog. One must be capable of demonstrating different emotions, and scenes in composing, I have been told.


The more I find about music. The more I realize that
I know absolutely nothing.

Good, I hope I know nothing for a long time.

More next week. I must keep myself accountable.


Drawing: Frédéric Chopin II.

Another sketch/drawing I did of Frédéric Chopin. With some Art Nouveau influence added in there.

A redux to the former.

I could not resist.

Some people look as if they were born to grace the keys of the piano.

With strong hands, and long fingers which taper. It was the spirit of music, he loved most.