giovedì 12 novembre 2015

All involved, without exception, everyone does what they can do

Lessons of music
Christmas concert in 2013 that I was asked in a primary school includes the involvement of 94 children of five classes (from first to fifth) of the only section of the school.

There is no path to long-term, it is a short route with defined goal but precise: to involve all children (without exception) in a public concert of Christmas.

In the second lesson, conducted in each class, check the level of acquired skills of intonation of children. Therefore, listening to the children divided by rows of benches (and thus for groups of six to eight children at a time) and within these individual groups, listen to them also further divided into groups of two or three at a time. Obviously, feeling more exposed to the public opinion, children are more timid, but verification is equally effective. Only in some cases I can also listen to individual children (in this case, the exposure is too high and shyness prevails).
The exercise is based on the first four sounds of the tune "Silent Night", without words. It is a central tessitura and a pattern familiar to all:
Silent night

Typically, the intonation is too low (only in rare cases is increasing); it can also happen that they perform successfully, but an octave lower. Start from sound that children spontaneously emit and from there back to the sound it proposed.

Based on this simple assessment, you can divide the class into three groups: 1) group of children that show an immediate security of intonation; 2) group of children a little uncertain (or shy), considered likely to improve with practice; 3) group of children who have more difficulties, for which we would need more time to learn and practice specific, targeted.

After evaluation, it's back to sing the whole class to complete. The next lesson, we will try to guide the children in the group 1 to the singing, the other to the rhythmic section. Each group will work with specific exercises for the task that will have been addressed. Children in group 2 will eventually be re-evaluated before deciding on the final location. It being understood that there may be scenarios elastic, because, for example, the children of group 1 may also want to make the rhythmic section! But meanwhile it is an initial sorting.

Obviously, this does not mean that the rhythmic part is easier, but it definitely is a step preparatory to the use of the vocality, as well established in the music education.

venerdì 30 ottobre 2015

Do you like playing the piano and singing?

The are no age limits to learn!

The music is good for our body and helps us to express our emotions.

The music hleps us to put in communication with the world.

In this video I explain my method of learning music:

venerdì 25 settembre 2015

The art of piano accompaniment in vocal chamber music

Gerald Moore and Victoria de los Angeles
A piano student can discover a particular vocation, specializing in vocal chamber music.

British pianist Gerald Moore (1899-1987) has gone down in history as one of the most famous pianists in the genre of Lieder.

In his book "The Unashemed Accompanist" describes the value and meaning of this particular artistic activity. His conclusion is that the pianist in vocal chamber music must have all the deposit of human feelings, an inexhaustible source of poetry, fire and romanticism, that is a heart. In other words: it is necessary, but not sufficient, to have a good instrumental technique; we need to hear the poetic value of musical art.

A wonderful example is given by the Lied by Franz Schubert An die Musik (To Music), with text by Franz von Schober:

Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden,
Wo mich des Lebens wilder Kreis umstrickt,
Hast du mein Herz zu warmer Lieb entzunden,
Hast mich in eine beßre Welt entrückt!

Oft hat ein Seufzer, deiner Harf' entflossen,
Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir
Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschlossen,
Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir dafür!

You, gentle art, in how many gray hours,
when the pain of living I attacked,
with your warm love you have turned the heart,
sending into ecstasy in a better world!

Often a sigh, left your magic harp,
a sweet, holy accord received from you,
It opened the sky for a better time,
oh sweet art, I thank you for it!

The piano "sing", just like the human voice: it happens in the introduction (the song is given to the lower part of the piano, played by the left hand) and then in the final phrase of the two verses piano (at the upper part, on the right hand).
A wonderful example of this interpretative art of the Lied is given by the same Moore, for example in the famous performance of 1957 with soprano Victoria de Los Angeles.

sabato 4 aprile 2015

A motet by Salieri

Antonio Salieri
Antonio Salieri (1750 - 1825), Italian composer born in Legnago in Veneto, was Kapellmeister in the imperial court of the Habsburgs in Wien. He is also famous for being a teacher of composers such as Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt.

The motet "Confirma hoc Deus(Offertory for Pentecost) was composed in 1809. The text is taken from Psalm 67/68, vv.28-29: "Confirm, O God, what have you done for us! In your temple, overlooking Jerusalem, kings will bring gifts."

It is a choral work of simple workmanship and noble structure, which can be sung without great difficulty even by an amateur choir. Two musical themes alternate in a classical form and elegant.

I therefore propose some simple audio files for this composition, which allow the singers of each section to learn the individual part.

Study of the part of the sopranos

Study of the part of the altos

Study of the part of the tenors

Study of the part of the bass

Here's the score:

giovedì 26 marzo 2015

The musical competence

The music education, from the rhythmic experience that we can experiment in our body in motion, proceeding with its applications in vocal and instrumental eventually, leads as a result to a progressive development of musical competence.

First, the same rhythmic ability can develop from simple to more complex procedures, in which the overlap of different events can be practiced by one person, or by more people in interaction.

Vocality can develop from monody to polyphony, ie the superimposition of many voices in mutual independence.

The musical competence will develop later in the discovery of the wealth of harmonic procedures, in the variety of musical forms (in analogy with literary forms, until the discovery of the autonomy of the musical language), in the knowledge of scales and modes that do not necessarily correspond to those more familiar to the dominant cultural context. We will then arrive to grasp the historicity of musical language and to take a critical relationship with the contemporary.

It will also come to understand that some contemporary phenomena, that the market wants to impose as a "genius", are not even remotely comparable in artistic quality and skill level, with other personalities, also contemporary to us, who are other things caliber.

Certainly, music education, as every human competence, is favored if it develops from childhood. But the fact remains that the musical competence can develop in every person, and in all stages of life. Surely also count attitudes, the bent; but I would not put too much emphasis on these aspects, which can become a convenient alibi for both the teacher hurried, both for the lazy learner. What interests me more stress the potential that each person can grow, at any time of life, for their own welfare; a being that, again, involves the body, emotions, intellect and spirituality, all vital functions harmoniously stimulated by this wonderful experience.

sabato 21 marzo 2015

Study of an English hymn by Samuel Wesley

WesleySamuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876) was an English organist and composer.

Born in London, was descended from the family of the founders of the Methodist movement, the Awakening of the Anglican Church.

His hymn called Aurelia, present in the collection Selection of Psalms and Hymns, edited by C. Kemble, published in 1864, is still sung in English-speaking countries, in particular with the words Another year is dawning.

This is the text, by Frances R. Havergal (1836-1879):

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

Another famous text, which also inspired the Italian translation, is The Church's one foundation, by Samuel J. Stone (1866):
The church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth;
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
we see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping;
their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

The music is typically nineteenth century, leaning on sweetly dissonant harmonies, which accentuate the expressive character.

Here's the music (with Italian text):


And here is the audio files, recorded live at the piano: sopranos, altos, tenors, bass

If desired, you can exercise the execution with a polyphonic listening made in MIDI format.

sabato 28 febbraio 2015

Preliminary piano lesson

Here is a video that presents the lesson in a few minutes preliminary to start playing the piano: a beneficial activity for the body and for the whole person.

In the video are explained in a simple way the fundamentals of proper approach to the instrument.

It clarifies that a state of muscle relaxation is functional with the proper performance. The rhythmic pulse is the basis of our coordinated movements and everything corresponds precisely to the physiology of our natural breathing, in the two phases inhaling and exhaling.

From the very nature of our body comes the music!

sabato 14 febbraio 2015

Study of Tallis motet "If ye love me"

Thomas Tallis (1505 ca. - 1585) (ca. 1505 - 1585) was a famous English musician of the sixteenth century, organist and composer in the chapel of the Royal Court. His work also has a great ecumenical value
If ye love me
because, while remaining faithful to the Catholic faith, he worked for the liturgical service of the new Anglican Church.

The motet If ye love me is based on the text of the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verses 15 to 17:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may bide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth.

The execution of the motet is not particularly difficult for an amateur choir: prevail consecutive notes (ie the conjunct motion in the musical scale); polyphony is simple and the effect extraordinarily effective, fervent in the expression of God's Word.

Here the music, in F (a fourth above compared to the original key), which is used routinely in amateur choirs:

Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis

I propose audio files, where I exercise, in every section, every single phrase: first by rhythmic reading of the text, then with the repeated listening of each phrase. After this, propose to exercise two or three contiguous phrases and finally the entire part of each section.

Listen section of sopranos: Tallis, If ye love me, soprani

Listen section of altos: Tallis, If ye love me, contralti

Listen to the section of the tenors: Tallis, If ye love me, tenori

Listen to the bass section: Tallis, If ye love me, bassi

domenica 8 febbraio 2015

The learning of a Bach Chorale, phrase by phrase

BWV 147We can learn to sing a Bach Chorale with a simple teaching aid prepared for the purpose. It is not just for beginners, both for the high quality of the author, and for the need to use the German text (translations are not advisable). However, we choose the famous Choral "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" BWV 147, which is certainly not among the most difficult.

An audio file can be prepared by live performances at the keyboard: an electronic organ or piano. The choice of the piano is preferable because the piano produces more effectively the musical phrasing, by means of changes of dynamic and accentuations; however presents the disadvantage of not reproduce the human voice and the words of the text. 

To overcome this problem, many choirs use other methods of study: the most used is the realization of the parts in MIDI format. This technique undoubtedly presents some advantages: first, allows singers to listen to the single part, but also the part inserted inside the polyphony; furthermore, using a new technologically advanced system, you can hear even the words of the text, always made with the procedure of electronic processing.

Our perplexity, regarding the use of the MIDI, consists of the mechanicalness unmusical effect, which excludes not only the dynamic and accentuations, but even the breaths and the natural mobility of tempo. Even the execution of the text may have problems of accentuation and pronunciation. The ongoing technical development are trying to adapt the mechanical means even in the face of these problems, however, we are still far from a result that can be considered similar to that of a human performance.

I therefore propose the audio files teaching performed live. I introduce first of all the reading of the text:

Jesus bleibet meine Freude,
Meines Herzens Trost und Saft,
Jesus wehret allem Leide,
Er ist meines Lebens Kraft,
Meiner Augen Lust und Sonne,
Meiner Seele Schatz und Wonne;
Darum lass ich Jesum nicht
Aus dem Herzen und Gesicht.


Jesus remains my joy,

the comfort and life's blood of my heart,
Jesus defends me against all sorrows,
he is my life's strength,
the delight and sun of my eyes
my soul's treasure and joy;

Of my soul the joy and treasure;
therefore I shall not let Jesus go
from my heart and sight.

The musical part:
Jesus bleibet meine Freude

Here is the rhythmic reading of the text. Listen: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, lettura ritmica

In audio files dedicated to individual sections, I propose the rhythmic reading of each phrase, followed by listening to music, every phrase proposes the immediate repetition of the musical line. Listen: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, soprani

For the altos, to accustom the ear is also expected to listen to their part together with that of the sopranos, who in the live performance often deceives the singer less experienced. Listen:  Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, contralti
Listen now part of the tenors: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, tenori

And finally the bass part; also this provides the end listening along with the part of the tenors. Listen to the bass part: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, bassi