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.

Music Practice. 13-03-2021 to 20-03-2021.

Feedback:

This is indeed the year for piano. I’ve marked my calendar/schedule for many pianistic events to take place–specifically at The Conservatorium. I see it as wise, to sit in the front row… directly parallel to the view of the keyboard, and the performer’s hands on the keys… so that I may observe their technique.

In my observations, although sparse… (I began learning piano five months ago, and I began attending musical events, the very same) weight is never forced/sourced from the fingers. Physiologically speaking, that would be impossible. Fingers don’t have ‘muscles’ (Sorry, Hanon, your exercises are outdated). The mechanic of movement, that the finger joints are capable of are by way of tendons–which, of course run up the entire course of one’s arms.

Therefore, an efficient way of playing is to never play from the fingers… but rather, through conventions of gravity. Source weight from the pivot of the wrists (whilst keeping them loose) and elbows. With a drop–and of course, the fingers will be shifting positions in a subtle push forward (for standard legato) all the while. Staccato is handled differently, where the push is inverted with the tips. Of course, these aren’t the only muscles to consider. The entire body, is used for piano.

In my sitting closest to a pianist, last performance I had attended… I could hear breathing. The fellow played for an hour, just as well… with little breaks/intermissions, and of course–he did an encore performance for his adoring crowd. Beautiful hands, intelligent playing–grace. He is one of the staff members at The Conservatorium, he looks a bit like Mr. Six from Six flags (Mr. six is cool, don’t worry) and seems to scream PIANO from his very pores.

Err… literally, he was sweating. In-fact, any pianists performing repertoire which is demanding WILL sweat profusely. This fellow was playing Bach, Liszt, Schumann, and Rachmaninov for his entire performance. He’d stop between each movement, crack his hands/fingers at his sides… brace himself for the next piece… taking note that he had no music sheets in-front of him, to speak of. He is such a lord. Lord of the keys!

Sweat pianists, sweat. I’ll smile all the while.

Note: Musicianship will be added to my learning curriculum, mid-year. I will be moved up to fourth grade Musicianship, via the AMEB standard. When I advance far enough, to AMUS, I will be sitting some tests to earn some qualifications in-relation to the theoretical conventions of music. Musicianship, or Music theory. As for my progression in playing, I foresee that this will be a more gradual progression. Eventually, when reaching past seventh grade, I will sit an exam, the very same.

After doing so, I intend to attend Music School. And perhaps, eventually, I wish to bridge into higher-education, so as to contribute to research in-relation. Although, knowing me, this is apt to change.

Why do this? Simple, because I can and I must. If I do not cease this opportunity now, I will live my life in regret. The time is now, for me!

Being a musician IS a trade skill.

Music Theory:

Some recommended listening from my teacher:
Ian Munro, Jason Gilliam, Boris Berezovsky (the pianist, not the politician).

With these recommendations, I’ve still my favorite. The Rat Stroganoff.

Rachmaninoff’s compositions always contain some of the most orgasmic climaxes, EVER. That’s romanticism, for you.

My rat is named after him. Hence, Ratmaninoff. When Ratmaninoff goes to the vet, they have no idea how to spell his name. One of the vets said they searched up the pianist, and listened to him for the first time. Good! More ears need to hear Rachmaninoff. I also have a pet-name for my rat, to which I call him “Rachmans“, which makes absolutely no sense, in reference to the original Rachmaninoff.

Frederic Chopin is also my favorite, and that’s mainly because Chopin was, in my opinion, hot. I gots me a thing for pianists. I won’t deny it.

GRADE III THEORY.

Scale Intervallic Sequences:

Major: T-T-S-T-T-T-S
Harmonic Minor: T-S-T-T-S-T1/2-S
Natural Minor: T-S-T-T-S-T-T

Melodic minors will be explored during 4th and 5th grade theory (AMEB).

It helps to remember these sequences, by remembering that TONES rest mid-way.

Accidentals:
I had trouble wrapping my head around accidentals at first, my teacher clarified this for me… thankfully!

For example, if one were adding a sharp to a Bb… this would make the note a B natural as opposed to a B#, since one would raise or lower the semitone in correspondence. Initially, I had assumed, that if one were to apply an accidental sharp to a Bb, it would lead one to play a B#–but this is not correct, especially when we are speaking in context of the piano, and how the piano keys sit. The sharp, as an accidental leads one to step up one semi-tone on the keyboard, whilst the flat has the inverse effect. As for double sharps, and flats… these would be equivalent to stepping up and down two semitones–which, would be akin to a tone (there are two semitones in one tone).


Inversions:
There is total of only two inversions, for triads. Bach’s repertoire, is demonstrative of some sexy inversions. Especially in his inventions.

Minors:
I asked my teacher for further clarification on the different types of minors, there are. In total, three: natural, harmonic, and melodic.

In reading a score with the key of a minor, it is played in the context of ‘harmonic minor’–therefore if a score was in A Minor, one would play the harmonic of that minor–with the seventh raised with an accidental, and not through the key signature (the key a minor has, is sourced from its major equivalent). The natural minor wasn’t introduced in the AMEB syllabus, until recently–for theoretical purposes.

The seventh of the harmonic minor, is raised in correspondence to its diatonic scale pattern.

I’ve been learning about triad chords thus far. I composed this minimalistic piece, some-time ago which makes use of triads. The piece ends on the tonic, giving it a proper conclusion (this is an unspoken rule that can be broken).

The triad chord in this piece is a Tonic Chord. It is built from F to C.

Take note, the 2nds of the Tonic chord for F Major (G), are also added to vary the melody, that is, in separation and not on the chord itself–the primary chords used in this composition, are however triads.

I may re-purpose this piece’s basic rhythm with a Median Chord, and Dominant chord to explore the possibilities further.

F-A-C (Tonic chord of F Major) I Chord.
C-E-G (Median chord of F Major, is essentially the same as the Tonic chord in C Major.) III Chord.
G-Bb-D (Dominant chord of F Major) V Chord.

When I advance to fourth grade theory, I will compose another piece–that is, with other chords in-mind. I also intend to compose some pieces in the minors I have learnt to play, thus far–that is, with the intention of raising the leading-tone (7th) up a semi-tone manually, through accidentals.

Note: Accidentals are called accidentals due to their only occurring, occasionally in the course of a musical composition. They are distinguishable from the key signature. Before accidentals, musicians played music, in-accordance to what their ears told them sounded good. This is known as ‘Musica Ficta’.

Etymologically speaking. Accidental is sourced from Medieval Latin–from “Accidentalis” and original Latin with “Accidentem”. It refers to something occurring outside the normal course of its intended nature. Therefore, the term accidental in the context of music is indeed very fitting.

For accidentals are characterized by both non-essential attributes, and occur outside of the expected nature of its context. In this case, the key signature.

More revision:


+ Chords. Completion of ‘Chords’ in AMEB ‘Theory Of Music’.
+ Annotation of bass clef, up and down two leger lines.
+ Scale degree revision. Technical names, and qualities.

Pianistic Practice:

Scales:

All 2 8VEs. RH, and LH. Contrary, and similar motion with both, also.

C Major
A Natural Minor
A Harmonic Minor

G Major
E Natural Minor
E Harmonic Minor

F Major
D Natural Minor
D Harmonic Minor

C Chromatic Scale.
G Chromatic Scale.
(New) D Chromatic Scale.

(New) D Major.

With scales, I exercise technical skill and use of the hands. Paying close attention to playing smooth, and even legato, with smooth tone of each note–just as well, experimenting with the movement of the tips, slightly expending force forward… and exercising the wiping motions for staccatos.

Scales, again are where I source much of my refinement of technique. I make it a habit to practice scales, right before practicing anything else in piano-work.

Repertoire:

“Royal March Of The Lion.”
“Quadrille”

Refinements of rhythm, and articulations. I am re-visiting these pieces, due to months prior… my hands were still being strengthened and trained to play properly. Technique, always, is at the forefront of my practice, past repertoire.


*LH push in, not down when playing.
*RH extension, keep grounded.
*Don’t miss any stacattos!
*Play bar, by bar. Not the entire piece.
*Slow, and relaxed. Be quick to go slow. Fracture mistakes. Don’t play the entire piece, through.

“A Little Hush Song” = New Repertoire.

Pianistic Practice 06-01-2021 to 20-01-2021.

By the Finnish painter Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt . This is my wallpaper at the moment. Hyuk-hyuk~

Feedback:

Pianism will be delayed in progress partially, due to my PhD being due in early 2022 and my teaching drawing classes for the first portion of 2021. I am, at this stage… up to Grade I repertoire, and Grade III theory by AMEB conventions.

I will, however, always do music for the foreseeable future! It is now part of my life.

So far, I have been doing pianism since 29th of of October 2020. It has been four-five months, in my learning so far. Much has been learnt, and yet… I have barely scratched the surface.

My tone in playing scales is becoming more even. The wrists are observed to be nice and soft. However, the hand positioning needs more work. Being grounded is what I am working toward, with the fingers in-relation to being solid in their foundation. That is, the tips of the fingers are cemented into their position of the keys. No pivot occurs from the knuckle. That exerts unnecessary force. No tenseness, either. There is a fine-line to be drawn between being both tense, and applying the proper weight to the keyboard. Rather, the weight of the arm should be transfer the kinetic energy through the final joint (tip) of the fingers.

The hand moves, not the tips of the fingers. No force comes from the fingers, nor do they move. One knows they’re playing properly, if the playing feels comfortable and not over-strenuous. That is, from the tip of the fingers.

For pianists, especially at the professional grade… they are expected to play for long periods at time–and not just that! The repertoire they are expected to, at that level play, is very demanding. Physically.

Theory (GRADE III AMEB):

Worksheets:

The pulse is what the beat is divided into–the individual instance of the notes. An indicator of the rhythm. Grouping of notes, show clearly, how many beats are in each bar.

*Time Signature And Rhythm:

With groupings, one can beam the entire quavers/semi-quavers and so-on in the bar. However, it is not typically accepted, in composing standards. The time signature can always be deduced by the notational values of the notes within each bar—and, the groupings of the notes, if applicable.

Sometimes, on the rare occasion… pieces may not end of the tonic to signify. Instead, it can be from the tonic chord. For example, if a piece written in C Major ends in either C-E-G, it is still correct… however, if it doesn’t end on the C, it’ll sound comparatively more incomplete.

Compound: Pulses are counted.
Simple: Beats are counted.

+ More completion of the work-sheet, in-relation to Scale Degrees, and chords.

+ More practice of subdivision and rhythm. Via “Rhythm trainer”, and sourcing repertoire.

Pianistic Practice:

  • Grounded finger exercise: A flat and uniformed surface. Finger-tips stay stationary. The weight is pushed forward in a subtle manner. The tip stays grounded, and stays glued there. The finger-tips will feel well-worked, however not exerted. Do not move the tips. This will help build a foundational structure. One doesn’t play the piano, like a typist.

Form the bridge, and keep it steady. Never raise the shoulders, or wrists. One plays with a slight pushing forward movement, from the tips. It is very subtle. The structure of the hand, for a basis is being done right if no fingers collapse.

The primary knuckles are elevated higher than everything else, on the hand. Not on the wrists.

  • Intervals = Do so three minutes, three times per day.
  • Squeeze ball: Strengthen fingers/finger tips.

Extension of finger arc, outward so as to not hit my nails (my nail beds extend outward, to the tips of my fingers… thus I must adopt a flatter curve). The mechanic of applying weight to each key, from each finger is a subtle PUSH forward as opposed to HITTING/STRIKING the keys. Remember to utilize WEIGHT of the fingers. Drop them, don’t force them.

The publication of HANON, in regards to its finger exercises are criticized by contemporary school of piano as outdated. Many will find that the exercises within the publication, will lead to a more rigid style of playing… due to the player not employing the things aforementioned here. The force isn’t at all source from the hands.

Scales: (Grade Prelim to II scales)

Further refinement of playing. Grounded-finger playing. Between each note played, reset the position. Be quick to go slow. Verrrryyyy slow. “Push, and back.” One can see a tip of the wrist, back and forth–to utilize the force/weight produced from the upper-arm and so fourth.

Repertoire:

Repertoire isn’t of the utmost importance to me, at this stage in my pianistic progress. More or less, I am intending to spend a good year in solidifying technique. The emphasis with playing repertoire, is to slowly, but surely learn technique in each piece… so as to solidify technique.

Rhythm, and subdivision must also be practiced.

“Light Blue”

This piece, in-which I am learning has the first tuplet to play, in-which I am firstly introduced to. Just as well, between both hands, the rhythm is different. Learning the delicate process of playing staccato and legato per hand, is still something I am indeed working on.

Pianistic Practice 16-01-2021 to 30-01-2021.

Goals for 2021:

  • Begin studying musicianship (theory with an aural component).
  • Advance to 5th Grade Theory (AMEB).
  • Advance to 2nd Grade Repertoire (AMEB).
  • Memorizing all 24 keys (major and minors).

Objective for this week:
Practice staccatos: Brush the keys, with the tips of fingers–the flicking motion is utilized by the fore knuckle dragging toward you, the player.

Reduce tension for both hands. Equilibrate weight distributed between both. More flexibility.

Feedback:

Right hand: Skims the keys, as opposed to ‘sinking’ into them.
Left hand: Too ‘Rigid’, has lost discernible flexibility. Heavier then the right, due to it being over-strengthened.

Move your thumb over, as you play the next note–not straight away. It ruins the legato.

I must work on both hands, to ensure that the weight/heaviness of both are even and equilibrated. To resolve this, I am told to play very slowly and to sink into the bottom of the keys. Slowly, evenly to build up muscle-memory. Play slowly, and connect each note, slowly. All the while go playfully slow. The fore-knuckles of the finger, at the very tips is where the fingers curve.

I can now play past the black keys, as opposed to keeping at the edge–due to surpassing ‘beginners‘ status.

Technique is of utmost importance.


Misc. Notes:
Piano lunchtime concerts will be held again this April at The Conservatorium… and for that, I am excited. With these, I have also booked in advanced for Mahler, Eroica (Ero-ih-ca) of Beethoven, and a Jazz showcase. As well, there is also an oncoming competition for piano being spread across Australia, in a few cities–due to unforeseen circumstances, who knows if audiences could watch? I hope so. I miss watching pianists, live. ‘Deed I do.

There is also a Tchaikovsky concert coming up, sometime in April.

Music Theory:

+ Terms & definitions.
+ SATB (Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Bass): memorize.
+ Memorization of technical scale degree names.

Pianistic Practice:

Scales:


(1 8ve Single)
C Major
A Minor
A Harmonic Minor
G Major
E Minor
E Harmonic Minor
F Major
D Minor (The same fingering as C Major)
D Harmonic Minor (The same fingering as C Major)
C & G Major Chromatic scales.

(1/2 8ve Contrary Motion)
C Major
A Minor
A Harmonic Minor
G Major
E Minor
E Harmonic Minor


(1/2 8ve Similar Motion)
C Major
A Minor
A Harmonic Minor
G Major
E Minor
E Harmonic Minor

+Staccato scales.
+Gently Separate 4th and 5th fingers
(Ensure that you’re not playing two notes, at once).
+Move/shift weight whilst playing, for energy efficiency.

Repertoire:

  • Skatchka”
  • “Light Blue”: Hand position changes, and rhythm changes with triplets.
  • Czerny opus 599 & 299 (what many students practice from, at The Conservatorium).

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.


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 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.

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

Funny thing about me. I only wear pearl earrings when I’m either going out someplace, practicing my instruments, or studying music theory. I feel that, wearing the accessory will subconsciously lead me to want to do either of the two–whenever I wear them, hence why I do so.

I have now moved onto Part II of Kindergarten-level theory, after Kindergarten–I will thereon move onto a trilogy of university textbooks for more practice. My teacher had made mention, that he could easily teach me how to get to fourth-grade viola in a good two years. In-between, I study piano diligently. I love both instruments. Each has a different personality. Alexandre is more contemplative and pensive, whilst Gaspar is more passionate and sweeter.

Pianistic (Alexandre) portion (Week II):

This week, I focused on learning…
1) The C Major Chord, for the left and right hand. (C-E-G).
*Playing compositions “Brother John” and “Here’s a happy song.”

2) Introduction of the B for both the left and right hand.
(The fifth finger is shifted from the C to the B).

3) The G7 chord (the simplified version, with the omission of the fifth of the chord). As written in the book (Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course), they instruct you to play “B-F-G” as opposed to “G-B-D-F” (they can be arranged in any order). G is the root note, to the chord.

For now, I will focus on learning the basic method firstly.

They instruct you to play from the C Major chord, to the basic fifth-less. So, switching positions with the 5th finger from the C key to the B key when changing from a C Major chord to a G7 chord.

*Playing composition “Mary Ann”.

3) Playing tied notes. One of the simplest ways, to denote an extension of time is through tying notes. It is akin to the convention of, addition, within mathematics. One sight-reads the notes, by their added value–hence, playing that note for the denoted duration.

*Playing compositions “Going Home” and “Merrily We Roll Along.”

Synopsis: The introduction of the B note, and the G7 chord.

Note: I am still exercising my fingers, mainly my fifth and fourths.

Out of all genres, for piano, Jazz is my favorite. In-fact, Jazz in general is my favorite genre above all else.

If I had to choose what kind of pianist I would become. A Jazz pianist, hands-down.

Here is some inspiration. Ryo Fukui entered into the music scene fairly late. He began learning how to play the accordion at the age of 18, only then on, to start teaching himself the piano at the age of 22. There upon, he became a Jazz pianist. Although, I do at times feel disheartened that I had not started the venture of music earlier, I am grateful that at least, I get to… A lot of people, are unfortunate to never create any kind of art, for the sum of their entire lives. Instead of music, I began expressing myself through the modality of drawing since the age of 7, due to growing up just above the poverty line (music is an expensive endeavor). My being a researcher, drawing teacher, and eventual PhD graduate is what grants me the opportunity to study music at the age of 25. It lead me here. Therefore, drawing is what I have to thank for my finally having the opportunity to do music.

It is for that reason, although times may get difficult I try my very best to never miss a day of practice. As much as physical constraints can allow me to. What matters, is that I do it every day. Even when days are dismal. Every. Single. day.

Where do I hope it’ll lead? I have no perceivable destination. All I know is that I must.


Next week, I focus on slurs, 3/4 time.

He’s high off of music. Either that, or he’s a jazz pianist sucking on that reefer.
His musical sheet is Mozart Minuet No. 2, K. 2.

To be fair though, he gives some damned good advice.

More pianistic inspiration.

I like to watch this video on repeat, sometimes. Just watching how Evans would maneuver his fingers–and place them in relation to the keyboard. Just relax he says. And clearly, he is relaxed.

Although, I hope to hell he isn’t coked out…

Evans is another sad story, of sorts. All he ever wanted was a child. When listening to his oeuvre, I can feel the sadness. That longing. That’s why I love his pieces, I suppose. I know that sadness.

Viola (Gaspar) portion:

Bowing with my Gaspar.

I am instructed this week to:
+ Bow the D Major notes. D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D. The open strings of both A, and D on the viola give way to these notes from first finger to third.
+ I must continue keeping with the metronome, just as well.
+ My sound production, and quality must be worked on. I am not using enough of my bow, and I am skimming. I must add more weight to the bow, in-order to produce a good sound. My instructor also criticized that I like to add extra notes, during my playing (I do that subconsciously).

Sound quality refers to quality of sound, whilst sound production refers to how one makes noise. Sound quality is increased, via the care one takes in applying weight and speed to the bow. Intonation (finger placing) is also key.

My instructor has faith in me, that he will be able to push me through four grades viola in two years. Therein, after that, it should take another two or-so years to get up to University standard.

Who knows? By then, I may just enter the conservatoire with piano instead. It remains to be seen.

One thing is elementary. I do not stop doing this. This is my life now.

Theory and section:

There is no heavy theory this week, as I am learning of that through the piano book and have completed the first preliminary AMEB music craft book. That asides, I have spent time notating the Treble clef, Bass clef, and Alto clef from memory. I use all three clefs, between piano and viola.

My Own Compositions (Gaspar Suite):

The suite is named after my Viola (Gasparini). It is a whole collection, of compositional practice. The collection could be considered programmatic, although I will admit that the suite was created purely through emotional impulse, and experiments. It is my first venture into composition. Hence, it’ll be rough around the edges. It is with that, that I hope to improve with each piece/variation added into the suite. So far, there is a total of 18/100 in the collection. I am inspired, by emotion to create above all else. Callings of the heart, so-to-speak. That is why I am doing music. To express myself.

With that, I went off and created more compositions to add to my Gaspar suite. Here is one, called “A Visage Like The Moon.”

This is an edit of the original ‘Le Mirroir Fantastique’. I preferred the key in A, as opposed to the former. To me, it’s a lot like falling in-love for the first time… however it is not mere declaration, but one of trepidation. One does not choose to fall in-love. The Violin cellos, and Contra-basses connote ‘heart beats’ in the piece… whilst one of the accompanying violins, mimics an EEG monitor.

I do not know what true love is. However, I dream of it.

I had decided, which-ever instrument I master faster in a span of a year or two. Piano versus, viola, I will adopt that one as my main instrument and then take up a sibling instrument. I.E: Violin to viola, and another keyboard to accompany the piano. I had thought of the organ (the organ has music sheets with two bass clefs). As for what genre I would pursue. Jazz on piano, romanticism on viola. The race is on, between the two.

As for how long? As long as it takes. Time is of no issue.

VIOLA/MUSIC THEORY LESSON VI-VII. GRADE 0.

Here are some drills from last week. This is how I usually work, in-order to ‘solidify’ the theoretical concepts of music into memory. I want to understand, each and every piece before advancing. Of course! All drill sheets are cited from memory, to ensure that I have stored knowledge efficiently.

I asked my instructor “when I will be ready to compose my first piece?” And to answer this, perhaps by estimate… another 3-5 years. Although, admittedly, I had already begun sketches of a composition in-mind. My very first. A waltz, named after my viola. Writing music, was one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn the theoretical underpinnings of music. Just as well, I have many pieces, I wish to compose as ‘love-letters’ to a certain kind of absence. Therefore, once I better understand the conventions of music, I believe I will complete my first composition in a good 2 years. Although, admittedly, it will be a measly little thing.

Music theory, pedagogy, and musicology is what interests me above all else… and it is most likely, that should no distractions or interruptions befall me, I will become a researcher in that field, just as well. A music theorist. Who knows? I am twenty-five years of age, at this current post. Just as well, I am two years shy from graduating with my first PhD, in Design Research. In a good five years, I intend to obtain higher education in music by way of The Conservatoire. How do I know? I do this everyday. And I enjoy doing it. And I will continue doing it whilst the circumstances allow it!

It may be possible, that I could combine the discipline of music with my background in “Design Research” just as well… one day. Then my profiling of skill will be like that of Image-Music-Text. And yes, that’s a sneaky reference to the the French Roland Barthes.

Music is a gift… one which can touch the heart and soul. Numinous in its ability to transcend mere strictures of language. It speaks to something higher. I want music in my life, ’til I am due to expire. For no other reason, except for… it is what I love.

Admittedly, as much as I love drawing. I don’t believe I had loved drawing as much as I love music. However, I owe drawing, the world. For had it not been for drawing, I would have never been afforded the opportunity to venture into music.

These are cited directly from memory.
More Drilling.
And of course…

I am up to my seventh lesson, and by this measure I have learnt a lot… much more than I had during my seminal years in primary education. It’s unbelievable how juvenile music class was, being compulsory, as it is for Juniors. We were played re-runs of ‘The Sound Of Music’ and forced to recite the recorder (never again), by way of Solfege. Now… I learn, by way of my instructor through many pieces of literature… The primary one being the “AMEB Music Craft” series. That is, The Australian Music Examination Board. Their resources are terrific! I must say. Although I am indeed up to Kindergarten level, the concepts in this text far exceed what was taught in grade school years 1-5, from my experience. To cease me from rambling any further, I have learnt a lot… and I intend to learn a lot more.

For Lesson VI, here are my drills for the week:

THEORY

  1. Duple and Triple time metres: The difference between the two, is found in the rhythm. One which is symmetrical, is duple… whilst the latter is of course, Triple. Most pieces composed with triple, are waltzes. A common convention, especially in Classical music. Duple is often found in your marches.
  2. Pitches, Scales, and Keys: The major scale (which is set to the Diatonic Scale Pattern) has semitones between 3-4 and 7-1 (8, if no notes continue after… this my instructor’s rule). The leading tone, is called a ‘Tonic’. A Diatonic scale, can span from 7-35 in their notes. Due to my being a beginner, I begin, like we all do with the standard heptatonic scale, which has seven pitches. Just as well, Western music appears to love heptatonic scales.
  • 1st – Tonic.
  • 2nd – Supertonic.
  • 3rd – Mediant.
  • 4th – Subdominant.
  • 5th – Dominant.
  • 6th – Submediant.
  • 7th – Leading Tone.

    Our Major scales are arranged in this manner (A collection of seven pitches arranged in order):

T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST
(Also Whole step to Half step)
CA-BC-DE-FG-AB-C (C-Major Scale)
(T) Tone to (S) Semitone.
The Tonic, for the C-Major Scale is ‘C’. The Tonic to any “Diatonic collection” is denoted by the number 1, with a caret (“^”) hanging over it. Numbered from 1-7 in a standard diatonic scale (or 8), the scale degree denotes a note’s placing in a scale (a numeral with a ‘caret’ or little arrow’). The degree is written above the staves.

The scale degree refers to the position of a particular note, within a scale.

I have also, by challenge of my instructor… memorized the following major scales (I was also instructed to only use the diatonic degree pattern, as opposed to ‘cheating’ through chart): A, G, D, and C:

C MAJOR SCALE: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.
A MAJOR SCALE: A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A.
G MAJOR SCALE: G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G.
D MAJOR SCALE: D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D.

And yes, I didn’t cheat. Where is the fun in that? Just as well, admittedly, I messed up a couple of times and re-corrected myself.

What assisted me, truly, is the use of a digital piano. The piano does well to elucidate your whole-steps and half-steps. One of the ways one can identify if the degree between notes is a ‘Semitone/half-step’, is through the absence of a ‘Black Key’ between two white keys. Or, in other words… absence of a sharp/flat. This is in the case of the C-Major Scale:

C-Major Scale, ranging from C4-C5 on the digital piano. Keys high-lighted in blue, are keys with scale degrees of a semi-tone between them. In this case, your E-F(3-4) and B-C(7-8/1).

Also, truth be… I play through a scale to determine if it is correct. By ear, I identify if it sounds ‘off’. Sometimes the corresponding key needs to be hit up a half-step around the ‘Half-tone’ point of the diatonic pattern. Otherwise, the entire scale doesn’t sound as if it flows… for lack of a better word. This is more apparent in the A-Major scale.

This is what I’ll be venturing into eventually: https://www.pianoscales.org/minor-melodic.html#:~:text=Sheet%20music-,Melodic%20Minor%20Scales,played%20differently%20ascending%20and%20descending. Just as well, my instructor likes to sneak in little pieces of information between our recordings to pique my curiosity. He mentioned that there are other scale names, and by extension, degree patterns. Such as the: Ionian (Major), Dorian, Phyrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Acolian (Minor), Locrian. The two bolded, are the ones I’m familiar with. And no, I’m certainly not up to these scales yet. I begin with Major, as all beginners do.

Drilling of the Major Scales C, D, A and G from memory.
Another drilling of the aforementioned scales. I ensure that I do not look. Otherwise, I will not learn, will I?

I now know the A, C, G, and D Major scale off by heart.


Any musician who is good with your music theory. I respect you. ‘Deed I do. Theory is very important, and it’s quite sad that there isn’t an emphasis on theory as much as there is on practice. Arguably, parents may be partially to blame for that… they gather tutoring for their children, with the intention that their children ‘sound good’, rather than understand the concepts being taught to them. However, from my short experience in Academia… I argue that both go hand-in-hand to produce a capable musician. Every serious musician is a scholar practitioner. When I eventually have children of my own, I will teach them both. Why? A deeper understanding, will allow them to better appreciate the domain. Of course. “Children, doing is simply not enough… one must understand ‘how’ and ‘why’ in the doing.” Oh and also: “Children, that post-contemporary music is nonsense! Be gone with that infernal noise at once. We only listen to Bartok in this house!”

Practice

  1. Learn how to play with ‘Dynamics’ written on music sheets: Piano (Soft) and Forte (Strong).
  2. More on Dynamics. Practice ‘Diminuendo’ and ‘Crescendo’ on page 21 of Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”. I am up to the French Folk song “Au Claire De La Lune” in Pizzicato.
  3. Continue holding my viola with the left-hand technique in mind. I must continue working on my C-Shape. My Treasure (viola) has a high bridge–being a student viola ordered online. My instructor suggested, that by next year, I ought to have him work-shopped. I have bonded with my Treasure, therefore I don’t intend on being rid of him… not, for at least another five years or so. He is my love, therefore, I’ll have his bridge re-adjusted next year. For now, I’ll do with that minor error. He is not perfect. He need not be.
  4. I can now practice holding my bow. YES!

    Although I love my music theory, practice is just as important. I must develop some wonderful calluses in good time!
The First Movement is composed in ‘Duple’. It presents itself in a very symmetric manner. And No, I did not look at the music sheets. I promise. Otherwise, I won’t learn a damned thing!

Lesson VII:

I had signaled to my instructor, my reasoning for gathering his tutelage. That is, one day I should like to attend The Conservatoire. And therein, I would like to eventually become a composer and music theorist. He suggest, that in a good two to three years, I gain tutelage under a Composition teacher. He, however at this moment can do well to guide to that point.

It’s a musical journey. He’s like the wizard, guiding me to the philosopher’s stone or–some contrived nonsense.

Duple:

2/4 = The upper number tells you how many beats are in each bar. The lower number tells you each beat is worth one crotchet. A whole note would not apply, in this metre.

Therefore, if we had cut-time (2/2) it would be two beats per bar… and the lower number denotes that each beat is equivalent to a minim.


Downbeat: Is always the first beat of any bar/measure.
Upbeat: Is always the last beat of any bar/measure.

In the case of the 2/4 time signature, we have two beats per bar… therefore the downbeat and upbeat are next to one another in the case of one using two crotchets in the bar.

2/4 is an example of a simple duple metre. That is, a specific kind. There are many more simple duple metres. “Duple” refers to the beats in a bar… that is what defines the metre, as such. Duple metres are divisible two, always. Simple means, that each beat is only divisible by two. Triple can also be simple, I.E: 3/4. That which can be divided by two. Whereas, we’ve our complex metres. An example of a complex duple would be 6/8.

Also, I’ve received many blisters on my plucking hand’s fingers, through pizzicato on the viola. My teacher told me to take breaks, once in a while. And I say “NEVER!” And now, I get to use the bow.

Score: Can either refer to a music sheet the conductor is expected to read, or music composed specifically for film.

The metre does not refer to the tempo. They are separate. When reading music sheets, the tempo is often seen to be written above the bars.

Walton, set to 2/4 time.
The ending to this symphony is incredible. It has to do with Walton crying over a former lover, and then celebrating his finding a new one. A sort of “HA-HA” to the former. Heuehuheuhueh… you musicians, writing about break-ups and lovers, and that which moves you… Although! I’ll be writing about the very same.

Specifically… I will write about Frederich Chopin’s face. Every artist needs a muse. I do love my ivory ticklers~ And soon I will present to the:

Meryl Keioskie -Nocturne, Op. 2 No. 1 in D Major. Frederich Chopin’s Face.
Meryl Keioskie – Nocturne, Op. 3 No. 1 in D Major. More of Chopin’s Face.

I kidd. I kidd.

1/2 metre identified for the first movement.

For the duple time metre, we have ‘Strong-Weak’ pattern for the downbeat and upbeat.

Well, I see that’s where the Lullaby comes from.
Well there we are!

Theme And Variation (A Sort Of Form):

Due to my wish to eventually compose. My instructor had moved the lesson into theme and variation. Theme And Variation is a certain type of form:

First, we dissect Mozart’s “Ah, vous dirais-je, Maman”. This piece called “12 variations in C”. The very first, is the theme, whereas Mozart’s variations are iterations of the original. The original being a children’s song, from none other than France.

Within, there are 12 variations. We begin with the first variation, which is essentially “Twinkle-Twinkle little star.”

The original idea is still retained within the variation, that is the original idea being the theme–and the composer (in this case, Mozart) writes iterations. The underlying structure of a theme, will always permeate throughout a variation regardless. The embellishments, and flourishes the only thing different.

I can think of a contemporary music group who does many variations: Tally All. As observed within their “Miracle Musical” project.

And here is a symphony, with variation within, from Beethoven. It is very much sectional. This was a groundbreaking piece, due to it challenging many rules and conventions of the time. The duration of this symphony, being one of the points. It’s quite long, which wasn’t common during its year of premiering. Beethoven wasn’t exactly “Well-liked” during his time, sadly. Just as well… This piece was composed near the end of classical, and beginning of romanticism.

Just as well, many of his variations are not connected. Very scandalous…
One movement flows into the other, with no intermission.
And more variations. Alkan composed for octopi, as we all know. Ah, Alkan… you’re so 20th Century.

That abrupt ending!

Practice:

As for feedback, my instructor at our seventh lesson has decided that we don’t need to spend a lot of time on the viola as compared to theory. As he believes that I “Pick up on things quickly”, as well as consolidate information quite rapidly. Being autistic, ‘deed I do.

Sight-Reading is fine, as I drill it constantly. My fingers can attest to that.

My bow-hold is fine, by my tutor’s feedback. Today, he taught me how to rosin my bow. One must rosin their bow every day, before playing. Rosin allows friction on the bow. When applying rosin, it is like the act of sandpapering. Lay the bow flat, and rosin the bow to the point that it gets lighter and lighter.

The Bow: Sound Production:

Coordination of ‘Ups’ and ‘Downs’.

For Up, one begins at the frog and bows upwards. For down, one starts from the tip and bows downwards.

There are 5 lanes to the viola, that I have been told about in regard to the sections that one lays down their bow to play.

Sound production is determined by ‘weight’, and speed. Weight referring to how much ‘pressure’ is applied to the bow. One bows with the muscle of their upper-arm.

Pressure = insinuates arm weight pressure, not ‘forcing’ the bow onto the strings.

Tips: When bowing to the tip, add more weight. The tip of the bow is lighter than the base of the frog, therefore it needs more weight.

+Everything is subtle.
+ I begin in lane-two. Ensure that you adjust the speed and weight to produce a good quality sound.

My pinkie often slips, due to it not yet developing a flatness through repeated playing. This will develop in good-time.

Practice: Down bow, up bow, and middle of the bow.

If you buckle in playing, you need more speed.

Homework: Pages 22-23 marked in Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”.

“Fuck it dude, let’s go Bowing”

Homework:

And of course… the sexy Chopin. I’ll be “Kissin'” you in the minute, my sweet. Tuberculosis or not! What a muse(ician) you are. Not to get distracted by Chopin’s hotness, I must answer this question:

How many piano pieces has he written? Discuss the styles he writes in.


Copied from the excel spreadsheet we write in (I tend to ramble):

This piece was written in 1842, and is a favorite for the serious pianist engaged in classical piano, specifically. This piece demonstrates impressive pianistic skill–then again, Chopin was a virtuoso on the piano. He played with the motivation of speaking to something higher than him… the spirit of music, perhaps. To him, he wished to touch the soul and heart of man. As for this piece, Interestingly enough, the title ‘Polonaise’ refers to a Polish slow dance. One which is set to triple time. However, one would not strictly consider this a Polonaise piece as such… rather, it was influenced greatly by Polonaise suites. Chopin being the romanticist that he was, was inspired greatly by emotional intent which is what this piece was most likely intended for. One can sift through many of his quotes, and see that the man, although informed heavily by structural conventions, was motivated by something higher and numinous. I believe, in looking at his oeuvres that was what truly inspired Chopin. Only the piano truly understood him. He also was a huge admirer of musicians who had preceded him just as well. Bach, being one of them. A strange contradiction of sticking to conventions, yet also swearing by his own methods.

“Put all your soul into it, play the way you feel!” –And so said Chopin.

The piano was what brought him happiness, above all else. The school of piano was forever changed with Chopin’s influence–and although we did have Liszt, who was indeed active at just about the same time (Oh yes, Chopin despised him before they became friends). Chopin’s pieces retained a lightness, and sweetness which is elegant in its execution. It’s hard to describe, but Chopin’s pieces take on a distinction of their own. His technique, upon the piano through fingering is one which allowed him to be very adroit… and by that extension, his compositions show this complexity. Chopin’s compositions include double octaves, and swiftly repeating notes to name a few. The experienced pianist, delights in his pieces for that reason. His music is often played with the technique of rubato (A subtle rhythmic manipulation). Especially in those of his mazurkas (Polish folk dances set to triple metre). His form of rubato however, is the archaic method used by Mozart–rather than the newer convention of that time. A traditionalist, with a rebellious streak no doubt!

As a teacher, he taught his pupils the Legato (a smooth transition) and Cantabile (as if the piano were singing) style of playing. Chopin was rather finicky, with a snarky sense of humor… what a delicious. A bit of a know-it-all, but it’s like… he’s Chopin. Ahem–For him, he demanded the strict adherence to rhythm. He detested rubatos which were misplaced, or exaggerated. It’s a shame that he met his death quite early. He would have changed the school of piano, more so. ‘Deed he would have.

The man wrote and played from his heart and soul… a true rarity. A genius. For all of Chopin’s oeuvre can touch the heart and soul of man. It is personal, to its effect. Not something merely trussed-up, and packaged like romanticism in its strictest sense. All emotion, with no substance. Chopin knew, that to engage the listener one must strip music down to its core basis of communication. Fear, and desire… and of course, longing

And that, my friends… is why I have the hots for Chopin. It isn’t the way he looks–although… that’s nice too. It’s what was in that man’s soul. For he longed to touch what was beyond, the beyond.

He loved his mazurkas. Writing over 59, to the remaining (154) of his oeuvre on piano.

I love Chopin, therefore here are some of my favorites from him:
Nocturne Op. 9, No.1. (Hell yeah, THIS ONE)
Nocturne Op. 9, No.2.
Nocturne Op. 37, in G Major. Andante.
Etude Op. 25, No. 11.
Fantaisie Impromptu, Op. 66.
Nocturne Op. 9. No. 3.
Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante Op.22.

And here is some Haydn (Hi-din).

And answer this question:
“We have talked about other classical pieces. What are some similarities between this classical piece
and other classical pieces?”

I’ll write an essay on Hadyn, in good-time too. Hadyn is a complex fellow indeed.

Side note: My viola instructor has contributed in giving me a better music taste. Until next lesson!