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.


VIOLA/MUSIC THEORY LESSON VIII. GRADE 0.

Concurrently with my other duties of research and my PhD, I have still afforded time to the endeavor of music. And I will continue doing so, regardless.

In regard to tracking progress, I have now achieved the ability to practice for one consecutive hour upon the viola. When I had first began, a good month ago, I could not stand for more than five minutes. Now, I can stand for an hour… and no longer, do my fingers bleed from pizzicato (yes, for the month, I would play ’til they bled).

Just as well, I have begun to develop many calluses on my right hand from practicing pizzicato daily. On all the flats of my fingers in fact–well, except for the pinkie… although, that one is next. I have also taken to assisting the process of hardening these calluses, with the application of rubbing alcohol to them every so often. Also, it is very important not to pick at calluses… nor should one ever pluck when their hands are wet. NEVER! It has been roughly, over a month and I have learnt much.

I have now earned the right to begin bowing, at last!

Admittedly, at this moment my technique is clumsy, and unpleasant to the ear. However, I give myself reassurance in my position as a novice–In good time, I will develop a wonderful quality of sound. Just as well, in my hour of playing, I see that two indentations have begun to form on my skin. One, just above my collar bone… the other just under my jaw. My instructor had dubbed these a ‘viola hickey’. He has one himself, which leads me to believe that he and his viola are very-well acquainted. Violists and violinists alike tend to develop these, after 8-Hrs of daily practice–yes, the professional ones. Such marks do well to demonstrate their diligence!

I too, would one day, love to sport a hickey. To wear thine hickey like that of a medal!

More on the progress of music. Even though I had done my best to avoid pianos. They haunt me. They taunt me. I see them everywhere. “Play me Meryl, play me.” I had made mention to my instructor, that my reason for seeking his tutelage had much to do with my wish of eventually studying musicology, and composition. I should like to compose good pieces, eventually. His advice was that I purchase a digital piano should I wish to be a good composer“. His advice was that the good composer would be expected to be multifaceted in their skill. Just as well, the piano is perfect for composition… with all of its 88 keys, flats & sharps being lined up. One can play, write, and recite from the instrument with ease. Therefore, it is indeed rudimentary. To learn the language of music, not only as how it is written, but how it sounds… just as well, in practice.

So now, I not only learn the viola. I also learn the piano at a basic level.

I could not escape the piano, no-matter how I tried… Even in seeking to learn the viola, I find myself again, staring at its 88-keys. I will yield, dear piano. I will yield…

But this is excellent, no? Therein, I can write sonatas. For viola, with the piano being an accompaniment. One day soon enough! I have taken to ordering a piano, and have arranged my living spaces to properly accommodate it. To be specific a “Korg B2SP Black – 88 Key Digital Piano with Stand and Triple Pedal”. Yes… give me all of the pedals. Yes… give me keys which simulate the acoustic piano. ALL YES! Good bye, digital piano.

I have named my piano “Alexandre”. All of my instruments are named, and those of which I haven’t yet started learning… will also, be named. All have male names, for they are all my lovers. My viola’s name is “Treasure/Gaspar” due to viola being the instrument, I wish to master.

This sonata, was the very first I ever listened to. And this sonata is the very reason, why I had chosen to learn the viola past the violin at first. Although, admittedly, I will also play the violin in the years to come.

My teacher hates this composer.

Much soliloquy was expressed… Now, onto the meat of study and practice!


This week of both practice and theory.

Theory:

My instructor has said that I will not learn how to tune my viola, ’til I have learnt all notes on the viola. So far, I only know of seven:
A4, G3, G4, C3, D4, E4, and F#4.

I will be, firstly, learning how to play the D-Major scale family on the viola… hence, at this current writing, I am missing a C# on the ‘D’.

All in good time. All in good time.

My instructor revised my drilled notes, and was happy with my progress.

One page, out of three I did that week for drilling the C, G, A, and D major scale collections within my heart. Just as well, I remember the diatonic scale degree off by-heart. Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half.


Homework for L.VIII:

  • Preliminary Music Craft Exercises, p.9. Questions 1.b.2:

    Arpeggio and chords.
    Both Arpeggios and chords are found within scale families, however their function in how they sound when the instrumentalist plays them are very different. Arpeggios are played in succession, whilst chords are played simultaneously. Hence, through notation they are written as such.

Intervals, and scale degrees are also another facet of scale families. To build a simple C-major chord, one builds through the intervals of the root note (c), to the major third (e) and finally a perfect fifth (g). If one wishes to build a four-note chord, one can go through the method of doubling. One doubles the tonic’s pitch family, by stepping it up an octave, I.E: C4 to C5.

The interval for C5, would be known as a perfect octave (P8). It would be, as written from using the middle-C as the root note:

C4-E4-G4-C5.



The leading tone is always the note before the tonic. In the C-major scale, for instance, both Cs are scale degree 1 (The high C, being 1 or 8). Therefore, the ‘B’, would be the leading tone.


Practice:

I must continue bowing, at this current writing, my coordination is quite terrible. I will, however capitalize on mine strength of compartmentalization, and separate tasks into micro-tasks. My right hand isn’t moving in-time as of yet, for it hasn’t been trained in comparison to the left. I will now spend time ensuring that my bow is moving at the right speed, with the right weight. Firstly on open strings, then I will…

* Say the note names out-loud in beat of the metronome.
* Then say the finger numbers.
* Then bow.

I now move onto playing minims. Playing with minims in-mind, one holds the minim for two beats in accordance to common-time. By advice of my instructor “Remember to be a reflective learner. If you make a mistake, stop and tell yourself. Then start again and ensure that you improve on it.”

There is one major criticism to my technique, as perfunctory as it is. I am not making use of the entire bow. I must use the entire bow. That is the idea of bowing. Just as well, I bow at an angle as all beginners do. My teacher however did quell my anxieties, in that he too bowed in an angular fashion when he first began playing viola. It took him a good year, to finally straighten his bow.

Bowing:
The lane concept is used, only to refer to the placement of the bow on the viola, for ease of semantics. Later down the line, as I advance in playing, placing of the bow will be referred to through the spatial relation of the fingerboard and bridge.

For homework, I dedicate one hour daily to playing all pieces 1-23 with bowing as opposed to pizzicato. I must use the entire bow. Then I will practice lines 29, and 30. First slowly, then quickly.

Composition practice, and composers research:

My teacher also conjured up this fantastic method of keeping track of an excel spreadsheet. Within, we list composers and works, and he gives me questions to answer–so that I may build an appreciation, and web of understanding for composers, from movement to movement. This will help me greatly, in my intention of composing seriously in the future. This week, I focus on that nutter Louis-Hector Berlioz. Man was a genius. This man constantly needed to be in-love in-order to write. If one looks through his history. He pursued love affairs with just about anyone until his death. One wife dies, he gets another. And I will also be looking at another Frenchman, by the name of Claude Debussy (Ah, yes, I know you). I will be exploring what impressionistic music is; Who are some impressionistic composers; and how can one define an impressionistic piece of music? And mostly… What are its defining characteristics?

(From last week’s Chopin post. Rubato means, to be ‘robbed of time’. Therefore, Chopin’s method of rubato does not adhere to the tempo exactly… however, his musical compositions still retain a beat. I think that’s obvious. Chopin was a finicky hottie.)

Then, I have also been instructed to study what the genre ‘Programmatic music’ is. Namely, that of Prokofiev’s romeo and Juliet suite no 1. Also, just as well, I think my teacher knows implicitly that I love scores within film… I was given the advice to expand outside of orchestral forms, and genres in regard to composition. As a composer, I will need to write music from many forms. And just as well, I will need to learn how to write for vocals eventually. However, I will save that for the future.

Therefore, this little foray into programmatic music is warranted. The more I can expose my ears to, the better.

Prokofiev’s my jam. His ballet compositions are to die for…


I have also, throughout the week, been instructed to write variations of compositions, for homework just as well. Below, you will find my very first sketches. That is, to the proceeding ones I will be making in the years to come. This is my life now.


Composition Sketches:

I am still at kindergarten level, I did just begin this journey over a month ago… I now begin composing sketches, on Musecore. My teacher however suggests, that when I do become more experienced, I ought to purchase Sibelius for my eventual composition work. ‘Deed I will.

Here are my first attempts into writing music. Admittedly, I am influenced by Nobuo Uematsu, of Final Fantasy fame. His compositions, were some of the first I heard during my seminal years. I believe, his work is what truly set my tastes. Especially Final Fantasy VIII. These pieces are therefore, composed from my mind, as per his influence.

Just as well. These are my very first compositions, so go easy on me…

The first composition I ever wrote. Composed in the ‘C Major’ key. It is called “Maybe”, set to a Lento/Largo tempo. This is a soloist piece, intended for piano. It’s written with the grand staff in-mind, and it is set to a simple duple meter. The treble staves have a bunch of tremolos, to spice things up. We have many chords peppered throughout, just as well.

I also did an arrangement , which is really just a variation of “Chiyoko’s theme” from Susumu Hirasawa. The theme–or the central notes are still retained.

A variation done, from Chiyoko’s theme from Hirasawa. There are no music sheets online, for which I could reference… therefore I did this one by ear. I am a huge admirer, and fan of Hirasawa’s… therefore, I may be doing more variations on his work, yet.

And here is another composition I wrote. It’s quite rough around the edges. It is called “Mirror’s Edge.” in the C Major key. Most triumphant!

Set to C Major, for ‘C Major’ is for your triumphant pieces. This is a bit of a celebration. I wanted to give the violas more attention, this time around. And the timpanis! YES THE TIMPANIS!

The score for “Gaspar” Suite. No. 1 Op. 1 First variation. This isn’t the original score for the theme, which only has three violas.

Then… a sketch of a piece I’ve composed for viola, mainly. I dub this sketch, “Gaspar” Suite no. 1. Op 1. Set to simple triple time, it’s a bit of a waltz. The composition is named after my viola.

The theme was composed for three violas.

By instruction of my teacher, I am encouraged to create more variations. I will, eventually, with the “Gaspar” suite. This will, additionally do me well, to practice all of the theory which is being taught.

Gaspar theme 1.

The theme of the “Gaspar” suite. Set in ‘E flat Major‘, is the key often used as a declaration of love, perhaps to god themselves? To me, it sounds rather like a conversation, where one ponders. As if in a study, or a library. The whimsical barrage of books lining the shelves. Each containing a world of their own. A sense of urgency, is always present to explore those capsules of time. But patience, says the musty smell… that of which, could only be best described as aged paper and fading ink.

Gaspar Suite. Variation 1.

Variation 1. of the theme of the “Gaspar” suite. Other instruments, are included this time around. This variation is set to an Andante tempo. The ‘C Minor’ is the key often used, for a lamentation of unhappy love. Its aesthetic implication, is much different to the original theme. A sadness, is in this piece… however, a listless melancholy which leads one to thrash as opposed to softly lament. The ending sounds as if one is weeping out aloud.

Gaspar Suite. Variation 2.

Variation 2. This variation is set to largo. As for the key, we have an A Major for this variation. Funny thing about this key–it is actually my favorite. This variation, is inspired from Uematsu’s “Roses and Wine” from Final-fantasy VIII. Definitely, more chaotic in comparison with my loud beginnings. It’s a cacophony really. I will fix that, with future variations.

Sidenote: My instructor was wondering how I wrote the theme in six flats… I honestly don’t know how I did it…

I will take to uploading more “Gaspar” variations, soon enough. I intend to write a good one-hundred variations to the original theme. They will all be experiments, akin to some rather juvenile sketches found in a sketch book. These are my sketches, in-which I’ve made during my musical journey.


Music is a language, and I speak the language in a broken manner indeed. Patience, as my instructor says… I always do wish to learn rather quickly.

Back to PhD drawing, for the rest of the week. ‘Til next Sunday.

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!

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

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

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

PIANO (Forte):

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

C-Major Scale:

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

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

*C4
D4
*E4
F4
*G4
A4
B4
C5

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

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

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

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

Enharmonics

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

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

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

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

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

HARPSICHORD

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

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

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

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

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

ORGAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harmonic Series:

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

Identifying Time Signatures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pipe organ precedes all, as one can see.

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

Randel “Hydraulis”, 385.  

New Grove, online edition, article “Harpsichord”  


Referenced from.

MY DRILLING EXERCISES:

MUSIC LESSONS FROM #4 TO #5:

******THEORY:


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

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

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

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

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

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


2) Note values—time increments:

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

******PRACTICE:

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

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

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

That’s it Boah. Lumbago, boah~

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

VIOLA/MUSIC THEORY LESSON III. GRADE 0.

Within this lesson, I learnt of…

  1. The C-major scale family, leger lines, bar lines.
  2. Music history, and composers (one must appreciate music, to be serious about it).
  3. Triple and duple metres.
  4. The left-hand technique upon the viola.
  5. Restraint of the D string by use of the left hand’s one finger, two finger, and three fingers to produce the pitches: E4, F#4, G4.
  6. Bow hold with pronation of the index finger.

First, “Music Theory”:

With all of this, I was also introduced to a small amount of piano theory. My instructor tuned my Treasure, first of all… by referencing the ‘A4 note’, on the virtual piano. This note is the basal note, for the equal-tempered scale of the piano… set to 440 HZ. The A4 registering to 440 HZ. Using that as reference, he then tuned the corresponding pegs (the remaining three) on the viola–that is, bearing in mind that both instruments register differently. The piano intrigues me, just as much as the viola does. After I had spent a good many years advancing through grade-school theory, I will eventually move onto piano. First and foremost, I want to understand the theoretical underpinnings of music. I dearly love it.

I am curious, just as well… when it comes to the frequencies of each respective note. There is a chart on the site provided below, which shows all of the respective pitches and their corresponding frequencies. This is all set to 440 HZ. The piano is set to 440 HZ.

https://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

The piano has 88 keys, and is capable of 7 octaves in comparison to the 4 of the viola. On the piano, each key is tuned equally and set to the frequency of 440 HZ. The pitches of the piano are slightly sharper, than that of the viola–however, we use this online piano as a way of reference before I get one of my own (I intend to purchase one with traditional hammers–no digital). With this in-mind, the piano has all of its pitches lined up quite nicely… and with that, I learnt of the C Major Scale:

C4 to C5.
In-between: C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, A4, B4, C5 (Bare in mind, that this is from the treble staves).

C4: 261.63 HZ (Lower HZ registers a lower pitch)
D4: 293.66 HZ
E4: 329.63 HZ
F4: 349.63 HZ
G4: 392.00 HZ
A4: 440.00 HZ (There’s a reason why I love the A4 note.)
B4: 493.33 HZ
C5: 554.37 HZ (Higher HZ registers a higher pitch)
(The Keys on the online piano also follow suit, with I-O-P-Z-X-C-V-B. )

Now, the higher the number… the higher the oscillation per second (HZ refers to the rate at which a sound ‘cycles’)–that is, how high that respective sound vibrates. This registers, through our senses (auditory) as a higher pitch. These frequencies refer to the piano, which is equal-tempered in its scale.

The C-Major Scale is also connected to Solfege (I won’t be delving too much into this, by advice of my teacher) of DO-RE-ME-FA-SOL-LA-DI-DO. The procession, repeating itself from 1-7. Just as well, in the way that each number assigned to each of the treble’s staves… corresponds to the HZ (frequency) which determines whether the pitch is lower or higher. C4, is considered as the middle-C… whilst your C-5 is raised a step higher. When notating the C-major scale, one must place a leger line underneath the default treble staves. This gives way to the addition of both C, and D outside of the default range. All leger notes are temporal. I have notated this, repeatedly to understand the conventions just as well! And have began experimenting with the three different bar-lines, which act as a convention of ‘organizing’ music written into nice boxes. Double bar lines, end a section if they are not found to be at the end of a set of bars (if it’s at the end, it’s the end).

This is a study example of me ‘Drilling’. I take to writing on six sets of staves. With practice, just as well. All done daily.

With this, my Viola instructor also had me create an excel spreadsheet document. Upon this document, we are collaboratively contributing composers and musical suggestions having to do with viola. Through this, I have discovered and learnt of many great composers as well as musical movements: The Romantic period, being my favorite, next to Classical. With each movement, one can begin to form how each had informed the compositions. Romanticism, for instance is very sweet and concerned with emotion–however, it was an era that was informed by the structural conventions of Classical… therefore, the catharsis which presented was still ‘controlled’. This is in comparison to the chaotic conventions of Baroque. My fascination with Romanticism is attributed to Frederic Chopin’s works, which I was familiar with before I began my musical journey. Also, don’t judge me… but I have the hots for Chopin. He was a very handsome looking man, okay! With nice hands, beautiful eyes, and a mind to follow suit, too. My dream man.

Many great composers I had not heard of, had been discovered such as: Carl Phillipp Stamitz, Franz Anton Hoffmeister, Henri Vieuxtemps, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Béla Bartók… each contributing beautiful concertos, and sonatas composed for the viola in-mind.

All I love. It is hard to choose a favorite, although… Vaughan-Williams is delightful. His pieces are quintessentially British (in that his music informed a lot of contemporary composers from the UK).

Past theory, I am also tasked with practice… just as well:

  1. Clapping to triple, and duple metres. I instead take to playing the metres written, via the digital piano found online. It helps me understand the notational values of both the crotchet, and the minim–the minim equating to two beats. On the viola, one would draw out the note defined by the minim for two beats.
  2. Left-hand technique of holding Treasure: 1) Straight wrist, 2) C shape formed with thumb and index finger, and 3) Loose thumb upon the finger board. One takes to using three fingers for restraint: The index finger, the middle finger, and the ring finger. In doing-so, I must build up the muscle of that arm in an incremental fashion–that is, firstly practicing it by five minutes, then to ten–extending the duration of practice with skill acquisition.
  3. Using the left-hand technique, one then restrains certain sections of the ‘D’ string to play these particular notes: E, F#, G. All registrations of (4) in regard to frequencies. Whilst doing this, I compare the digital piano’s pitches to the viola’s pitches with my ear to ensure that I am playing them correctly. The “X-S-P” corresponding to “E-F#-G”. My instructor marked the neck of my viola, so that I may memorize these placings. With practicing these notes, I also take to practicing compositions from Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”, pages 15-17. All the while, keeping in time with a metronome set to 60 BPM.
  4. And finally, practicing my bow-hold again.

Gathering tutelage under a teacher, is the best thing I ever did! This is the third lesson, and I have learnt more than I ever have… in an entire year of messing about. Hah! He is a good teacher, however. My mind can be somewhat chaotic, and tangential. I, by nature, jump from point A to Z without having considered the remaining 25 letters in-between. He is quick to snap me back in-line. That is what a good teacher does.

And yes, from this third lesson and my journey thus far. I love music, and I want it to be part of my life ’til the end. I see myself spending many years learning, and this is what I have always wanted! Therefore, I look forward to doing this for the rest of my life.

There will be a one-week delay with any updates to my musical progress, which I am very sad of… I enjoy studying this. I truly do. I must get eye surgery. I’ll continue when I can.

Notes from last week:

+ I must take to cutting my nails to its beds, each week. It would appear that my nails grow back, very quickly. Instrumentalists play with the flats of their fingers.

+ My instructor stated that my hand-and-eye coordination had improved, from the last time he had seen me. This is welcome news.

+ It was observed, that my hands had tensed up a bit in handling my Treasure. Switching between the confining act of drawing, and typing does this. It’d be best that I relax, whilst handling him… those experienced in viola, are seen to be quite composed, albeit pensive. In-fact, all experienced instrumentalists appear this way. And I like that.

+ My posture, however is good. I will admit, there is pain involved: The calluses being developed, both the shoulder and arm muscles agonizing and… the pain incurred to one’s back which is used to slumping for years and years (I draw for a living). However, I care not for the pain. I will take it! It is worth it. What is a little pain in this moment? This is to set the theme of my life, for the next twenty years (and more, of course).

Some More Viola Concerto.

I found these, perhaps by accident. I am certain, that I had only just scratched the surface. There is certainly more to discover eventually!

What a world music is… it will leave me occupied, for hours. Good.

The piano in this… is absolutely beautiful. It isn’t a mere accompaniment.
A majority of Brahms pieces, are written for piano in mind.
All of them slurs! All them ties!

On another note. I have been working on my first research paper… that is, concurrently with my other obligations. The paper itself, is focused on evaluating the use of virtual reality application, for early education (across all domains, music included). That is, merging said technology into pedagogical methods for the classroom context. We live in an era wherein, one can argue, that the way we experience the world is altered through our technological dependence… yes, our consciousnesses have bound to these implements, as a result. It’s an implicit thing, however… a good many of us don’t notice that we are “technocrats.” Am I a Luddite? Hah, goodness no! Not in the sense that I should abhor my smart phone, or smart watch to name a few… However, I do not partake in television (I lost interest in it, years ago), nor do I care about… what constitutes as ‘contemporary culture’. My reflection of technology has much to do, with the underlying ideologies which are implicitly affixed to the contraptions. People are not all too aware, that the printed word… is a technology in-of-itself, just as well. Anyhow, I have wandered off again. Allow me to guide myself back–this research paper is thankfully near completion… and due to that, I can finally get back to working on my PhD; To draw again. I hope, that should any more potential papers result as a consequence… that I would be given the opportunity, to focus on examining the effects it may have on Humanities Pedagogy. Yes, Music and Art, specifically!

Mini-Essay “One Must Appreciate Music”.

I was given an additional piece of homework of sorts. To choose between two composers, and their various viola concertos. Either, Bartok or Stamitz.

I chose the German Composer Carl Stamitz. Bartok is a bit too frenzied, for my tastes…

Specifically, “Rondo” or “Rondeau” from “Viola Concerto D Major, Op. 1”. As for the date of when this piece of was written. It is dated to be around 1774. It was published in both Frankfurt and Paris around this time.

Interesting thing about the word, “Rondeau”. It is a form of writing poetry, hailing from the French Renaissance. Middle French to be specific, and the word itself dates back to 1520–it is etymologically linked to the Old French word “Rondel”, which means “Short Poem”. As for “Rondo”, it is from Italian–and rather than referring to the French term of poetry… it refers to a musical composition with one sole theme, which is principle throughout a piece. Such a theme must be repeated, at least once. However, take note that both of these terms are correct. The French definition predates that of the Italian, which is dated to be 1797. The French term, being created, amid the Renaissance.

Music does gather a lot of its language from both Italian and French conventions. Clef is french for key, and terms for tempos are purely in Italian to name a few.

In-fact, a good many instruments gather their appellations from the Italian language. Piano, is Italian for soft.


(https://www.naxos.com/mainsite/blurbs_reviews.asp?item_code=8.572162&catNum=572162&filetype=About%20this%20Recording&language=English#:~:text=Stamitz’s%20Viola%20Concerto%20No.,as%20a%20violist%20and%20composer.)

Now, my tutor also instructed me further. I must also provide a subjective commentary of the piece, I had cited… that is, what did I like most about it?

Although there is a lot of complexity within the composition, there is an underlying current of repetition. The appellation itself of “Rondo” speaks of a theme being repeated, at least once. The Old French term “little round”, which is the progenitor of the Italian “Rondo” also refers to something which is cyclic in nature–yes, like that of a circle. Therefore, rondo repeats itself… However, that is not to, again, disparage its complexity. The piece is very complex, with the underlying current-or pulse, being one that is easy to identify.

The composition also alludes to Old French poetry, in that the initial couplet of the song is repeated once again. Therefore, if one wished… one could replay this piece over-and-over in a seamless fashion. There is no end, there is no beginning. It is!

What’s more, I have to present what is written as a viva voce of sorts… on this coming Sunday. Easy enough, Mr. Viola man. He did state, that one must have an appreciation toward music in-order to be serious about it. Therefore, isn’t it natural that I take an interest in viola concertos? Of course!

My tutor also wished for me to mention any viola players which I rather like. That is, in regard to the way, in-which they play. A Youtube search yielded some interesting results:

The way that this man plays. This was perhaps one of the first videos I had ever seen, of anyone playing the instrument. It’s as if, with each bow… he is feeling the pitch of each note. However, to the level of aesthetical implication. That is, how each pitch effects one emotionally. I surmise this, through how he flows with his instrument. They are one. He moves, in reaction to each pitch and the little rests in-between. The subtle nuances are like poetry, expressed through instrument. Just as well, he’s tremendously focused. Albiet, quite nervous. He’s afraid of messing up–and he does, at one stage of the video. However, the manner in-which his left hand maneuvers over the strings is very gentle… yet firm. There is a lot of emotional nuance here.

The man has amassed thousands of hours of practice. I can tell.
And I also adore Pierre Lenert’s manner of playing. He looks as if he’s enjoying himself–thoroughly. He has this calm smile upon his face, a majority of the time he’s playing. He closes his eyes and looks up to the ceiling, quite a number of times. Having memorized Paganini’s Caprice 24 for viola–he focuses only on the strings when opening his eyes… all other processes, natural to him. This man is exceedingly skilled at the viola. He has definitely amassed over 10,000 hours.

His posture, is excellent! His legs, one shoulder width a-part. His hand on the bow, is not strained with its grip. There is little resistance there as one can see. I believe, it has to do with allowing one as much mobility as possible. This is… just… fascinating.

His left hand… it’s as if… his fingers walk over the damned strings! This man breathes the instrument. Not only can he bow, he can also pluck one of the most fantastic pizzicato that’d put many guitar players to shame.

Out of the two, I believe Lenert has the best performance. This has much to do with confidence, and Lenert exudes it.

I adore both, however. The first, for how he looks as if he’s making love to the instrument… and the second, for how damned skill he is!

Viola/Music Theory Lesson II. Grade 0.

Me and my very first Viola. Funnily enough, it chose me.

I am twenty-five years, at the age of writing this post. I am undertaking music for the first time as subject. Always had I wanted to learn music, since a young age. Despite my parents being very loving people, who still to this day, are very supportive of me… they did not possess the means to adequately fund me through music education. For that reason, I believe I turned to a more cheaper mode of expression: drawing. Although, I embark on a musical journey for the first time, drawing is still a domain I owe a lot to. If it were not for drawing, I would not have been granted the financial means, through my Academic career, to finally study music. Therefore, there is no regret in feeling as if time was robbed from me. No, everything is meant to happen as it has and ever will. I am only thankful that I now, can… and it is I, who chose. Although, there a lot of rules and conventions within the field of music. I see that there is a lot of love, just as well. And love is a rare thing indeed.

I am practically at Kindergarten level.

29-05-2020: First Lesson. Baby Steps.

The first lesson is not found to proceed this post, as such… therefore, consider this post as a ‘I’ and ‘II’. From my first lesson, my tutor instructed that I:

I am learning the viola. It was an instrument which chose me.

  1. Practice proper posture, and positioning of standing with my viola 30 minutes a day.
  2. Practice P.13 of Steven Chin’s “My First Pieces”. The compositions are a pizzicato, and should be played as such. All-the-while doing so, pay no mind to the time signature. Memorize the string placement of your instrument, as well as how to hold it
  3. Practice memorizing the Treble (g) and Alto (c) clef in writing. Not just the signatures themselves–but also, the pitches within. Place them correctly on the staves.
  4. Purchase the following, to complement the equipment I already own: A good-quality music stand, Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”, and AMEB booklet A (I also purchased ‘A1’ for further learning).

    Anything done with theory in-mind, my instructor says, should always be hand-written first.
    So yes, memorizing both clefs in a workbook by hand.

He stated that the violist supports the instrument by way of both their jaw/chin and clavicle/shoulder. One does not hold the instrument with their hands. That is a juvenile mistake. He said that there’s a reason for this. I will be sure to find out soon enough.

My posture is quite bad here due to undeveloped muscles. From beginning, I can barely pass ten minutes of standing. That is where practice, discipline, and diligence come in.

An instrument is quite the personal thing. I’ve named mine to form an attachment… of sorts. His name is ‘Treasure’ and he isn’t bad for a $300.00 student viola. When I do eventually upgrade, as those venturing in music tend to do… I believe I’ll keep him regardless. He is, after-all, my very first. I never want to forget where I came from. It leads to where I will be.

My Instructor is very firm, and strict in his teachings. He reminds me of deliberate practice instructors. Although his teaching method can be quite sharp in the beginning, I do believe that his methods of teaching are indeed efficient. They are sure to yield results at an accelerated pace. He is quick to discourage anything wrong, whilst commending that which is correct. It is akin to building good habits, early. What’s more, I find that most BAs in Music have several foundational courses focused on specifically teaching music. It appears, that anyone who pursues higher education in music… is also training to be a teacher, just as well.

As for my instructor. He said that one simply cannot begin:
1) Bowing, 2) Focusing on theory, and that which hasn’t been taught yet.

All with good reason too. Music, and the very convention of it is a very complicated and expensive venture. And yes, I am prepared to spend many years and hours of my life learning it.

I questioned his method of teaching, as this was a new domain to me… the conventions of drawing is far more liberal, I suppose, and that is what I am most familiar with in having learned it and taught it. Music theory is what I wish to learn past its very application. Yet, there presents a caveat within my wishes to learn the principles within…that is, music theory is a label that shouldn’t be mishandled. Music theory is an umbrella term which houses a huge sum of theories. That is why it is called ‘Music theory’. It is the theory OF music, and my-oh-my, theory can span over centuries. Theory, in-of-itself is epistemology tacitly recorded through many modalities (whether that be written or aural to name a few). Notation, is one of the theories among (but not all) others, such as: harmony, counterpoint, form, imitative procedures, music pedagogy, sound synthesis.

So what do I wish to learn?:
Notation: musical staves, keys/time signatures, tempo, beat, rhythm.

Scales (Major) and the intervals within.

Harmonization by triad and 7th chords.

Haromonic function: tonic, subdominant and dominant function.

Scales (minor) and the intervals within.

Scale modes.

Extended Chords, and Melody.

Reharmonization.

Arranging/Orchestration.

Ear training.

And of course, modern conventions.

(Take note, that I don’t know what any of those terms mean… however, I do feel my eyes light up with an, “oooh, yes–I want to learn that one!” echoing in my mind.)

Why do I endeavor into music? What do I hope to achieve? Although I am very much satisfied with my Academic career, I do believe that now calls for a new journey to embark upon, concurrently with the one I am due to begin in two years (tenure at my institution). I love, above all else, knowledge. And not just retaining knowledge for myself, but also disseminating knowledge. Teaching. ‘Deed I do. Therefore, music is perfect. I should like to one day teach it. No matter how long it should take for me to get there. I will teach it, one day.

What a complex, and rich field it is. It is a journey! And Yes, the time is now. What’s more, perhaps one day, I should also like to write a research paper on music pedagogy. And not only write it… but understand it too. One day.

”’Til then, I want to learn as much as I possibly can before I expire.

Don’t wish me luck. Just know that I will do it.

06-06-2020: Second Lesson. To Be Precise .

My Instructor was happy with my progress from the first lesson, and stated that I learn quickly. I’d attribute my pace, to my application of practice. I take to practicing what he outlines for me, each day for one hour, at the most… with of course, Sundays, being completely reserved for more hours.

For the second lesson:

  1. Continue practicing proper posture, and standing with my viola 30 minutes a day through the drills laid-out for homework.
  2. Learn how to identify steps, skips, and leaps within compositions, on the manuscript paper. Annotate your own. However, take to firstly, practicing the treble clef and its pitches. We’ll come to the alto clef, and bass clef, much later.
    + A step, is one step lower or higher for a pitch. That is, how it sits on the stave. From line to space, and space to line. Whereas, a skip adheres to line to line and space to space. A leap is larger than one interval, in regard to the note’s placing.
  3. Continue practicing P.13 of Steven Chin’s “My First Pieces” for one page, now. The compositions are a pizzicato, and should be played as such. Memorize the string placement of your instrument, as well as how to hold it.
  4. Practice P.14, section 7. of Chin’s “My First Pieces“. Keep time, whilst doing so, just as well. The ‘Open Strings’ for this pizzicato composition are not annotated. This will do good to solidify in my mind, memory of where each open-string is. Thirty minutes of this one.
  5. Practice P.14, section 7. of the above mentioned. However, utilize the metronome at 60 BPM. One should follow the ticks, not the spaces in-between. Before doing so, count the 1-4 for the first bar/measure. This method of counting differs from time signature to respective note value. In the case of Chin’s composition, we have four quaver notes which equates to one whole note for common time. Another thirty minutes of this one.
  6. Practice the bow-hold with a pencil. Not on the bow. Firstly, ten minutes… then increase the increment with comfort. A Bunnyhold without the restraint.
  7. Then, he’s assigned me with yet another homework task which I’ll take to doing in a proceeding post eventually. As he stated “One must have an appreciation for music…” to be serious about it.

My Instructor mentioned that the Alto clef was created specifically for the purpose of violists. Whereas, your piano doesn’t at all need to use the alto clef… for it extends to both tones within both the Treble and Bass clef, the viola needed that mid-range clef (C).

Feedback from last week:

  • He said my posture over-all is good. However, I keep locking my knees. I must relax them, instead. With practice, I’ll eventually relax and learn how to properly ground myself. He also said “Try your best to stand up straighter”.
  • “Cut your nails” my instructor said. And I asked “Do all violists cut their nails?” And he said “All instrumentalists cut their nails”.
  • Your music stand should always be at eye-level.
  • Do everything in pencil.
  • Focus on only what is being taught. Advanced-level theory, will come much later.

My Instructor suggested that piano is a requisite skill, due to it being capable of eight octaves to the viola’s four. Funnily enough, my supervisor for my PhD, Mike said this when I was intending to study music mid last-year “I see you playing piano”. I intended to play bass guitar, before I intended to go into piano–however, I opted out for the viola, due to my believing that it suits my personality more. I see myself playing the viola. The viola seems like a Meryl thing, to me. However, I don’t oppose the piano at all… it is a very sexy instrument, and very masculine in its milieu. My choice is grounded on my seeing that the instrument would suit those more extroverted (pianists are often expected to lead in an arrangement). Therefore, I will eventually learn piano–however, much-later, when I understand basic music theory. Also, I wish for a piano that has hammers over the digital variant; And my living spaces as they are, don’t hold any sufficient room to house such a grand instrument. Anyhow, I will one day get up to that stage, as well, for I do believe that the piano is a perquisite for the classicist intending to venture into higher education. Would I ever abandon my treasure? Of course not. Viola squad, for life! And I love my treasure.


(https://www.onlinepianist.com/virtual-piano)

Much better posture. My hands are not supporting the instrument. The space between my jaw and neck are, with the shoulder rest. I still have work to do, on relaxing my knees from locking. I will take to doing that this week.



Next week, my instructor said that we would be learning ‘Pitch Names’. I have also extended our lessons further, to 1 HR and 30 minutes. As mentioned, I am serious toward this endeavor. And I intend to learn as much as I possibly can!