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The Ostinato - What It is and How to Use It
Ostinato means "repeating pattern" and is used frequently in all types of music. For New Age piano players, it provides a great way to lay down the background of the piece while the right-hand improvises a melody!
For example, in the lesson "Winter Scene," we have a repeating pattern going on in the left-hand using 2 chords. And 2 chords are all that is needed to create a few minutes of music!
Interest is maintained by the right-hand melody. How long you could actually play this ostinato and maintain interest is a whole new topic but the secret to really keeping the improvisation going is to stay in the present and trust your intuition.
The music will naturally wind down when you start becoming bored or indifferent and/or no new material wants to come. Then the improvisation is over and the music has played itself out.
The good thing about using an ostinato to create with is that it's quite easy to develop a harmonic background over which you can improvise your melodies. The bad thing is that it tends to stagnate over time. That's when you either stop playing, or introduce new material - something that adds contrast.
If you wanted, you could introduce another ostinato pattern, or go for something completely different, but you'd probably want to let your intuition guide you in this. You shouldn't try to come up with material but instead, just improvise and see what comes up. A completely different, and much more effective approach!
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!
Five Great Practice Ideas I Learned From My Piano Students!
Sometimes the teacher learns more from the student than the student does from the teacher. Hopefully, not too often, but today I would like to share with you some great practicing ideas that have come from my piano students over the years:
The British Invasion
The Kasabian concert at the Kool Haus seemed like a concert somewhere in England (even though I haven't been there). This band out of Leicester pumped out amazing electronic, rock beats with an amazing light show. I've heard them on the radio with their hit "Club Foot" and have noticed them gaining more and more interest of us fellow Canadians.
The Dos and Donts of Getting Your Child to Love Learning an Instrument
We all know that music can be inspiring, entertaining, and exhilarating. There are few things more enjoyable than listening to good music. If you're lucky enough to be able to play a musical instrument, you know the joy that can come from strumming those strings, tapping those keys, or blowing those reeds. It's immeasurable. But, with all the amazing aspects of music, why is it such a struggle to get your child to enjoy learning how to play an instrument? Some children naturally enjoy the learning process, while others rally against it like it with all their will.
Creating Caverns - an Improvisation Exercise
In a recent post to my Yahoo group, I mentioned that I created the piece "Caverns" using one chord. I'd like to explain how I accomplished this.
How To Play The Violin
This article gives the essential basics for how to play the violin. Generally violins are quite commonly available instruments and it is reasonably easy to rent or buy a violin. Children may need smaller violins (from an eighth, quarter, half, three-quarters, seven-eighths up to full size) to accommodate smaller hands if they are going to be learning over an extended period.
These MIDI Tools Are Music To My Ears
Curious about MIDI? Want to find out what tools are out there and what they do? Here are a few pointers.
One Way to Improve Your Music Journalist Relationship
Boy, I really detest how some people do websites. Bands are some of the worst. Seems like any band that wants to look "professional" feels they must create a website using pop-ups and flash. Why? Cuz that's what the Majors do?
Review: Medications - All Your Favorite People In One Place
One of the most intriguing aspects of music is how easily it can transform one's mood. The right notes, at the right tempo, and all of a sudden, BAM! You're in a good mood. This 3 piece from Washington, DC knows exactly how to pull this off. Consisting of members of the now defunct band "Faraquet", Medications oddly enough, sounds a lot like Faraquet. It's peculiar how a band consisting of the same musicians can sound very similar. After the Faraquet breakup 2 of the founding members created Medications and while the sound is very similar, the new third wheel does add some new elements into the mix. A mere 6 months since the release of their Medications EP, they have returned with their first full length Your favorite people all in one place available now on Dischord.
The Death-Defying Warehouse Party Life: An Interview by William of Orange
About an entire local music industry that's rarely heard from, briefly navigated by a remote being that coalesces, rarely, around music scenes and their absurd atrocities; published by "The Stranger" weekly newspaper of Seattle, WA.
Why New Musicians (Rappers) Fail: Three Reasons and Solutions
Despite the title of this article, the purpose of it is actually to HELP new emcees AVOID some common traps on their journey to learning how to rap better. You can come up with a million reasons why new rappers fail?or why any artist fails for that matter, but we've boiled the list down to three specific to new emcees.
Is it Possible to Download Music Legally Anymore?
Throughout the past few years downloading music on the internethas increased in popularity. At the same time though, it hasbecome illegal through many companies to download music asmusicians and artists have been losing money on their CD sales.With many people being sued in the past couple years fordownloading music, is it really possible to download musiclegally anymore? If so, at what price will it cost you todownload music?
Thomas Jefferson and the Chinese Gong
While Richard Nixon's diplomatic visit to China may have created a minor thaw in Sino-US relations, he was not the first President to try to get in sync with the Chinese. Thomas Jefferson preceded him by close to two centuries.
Rickenbacker 4003 Electric Bass Guitar
The Rickenbacker 4003 electric bass guitar is oneof the few electric basses to have earned the accolade"classic" as a title for itself. The Rickenbacker 4000Series guitar is attributed for creating new dimensionsof bass playing capabilities. Basses by Rickenbackerare made by hand in America, using traditional methodsrefined and honed.
Legal Music Downloads
On July 28, 2004, French Internet access providers and music copyright owners signed a joint national charter aimed at cracking down on illegal downloads and expanding the amount of legal music tracks available online (AFP). This is the latest in a series of moves taken across the world to combat music piracy as production labels see more and more of their profits being lost to illegal downloads of music files.
Interested in Improving the Sound of Your Stereo? Consider Records
Introduced in 1982, the compact disc was intended to provide better sound than the 40-year-old long-play record album, popularly known as the LP. Using a laser rather than a diamond needle for playback the compact disc was smaller, more convenient to use, and less susceptible to damage than the LP. A bonus was that the format was said to offer "perfect sound forever." "Forever" isn't that long these days; improvements in digital sound have come along in the last twenty years and the music industry introduced two new formats this decade that are designed to improve upon the "perfect" sound of the compact disc. Those formats are the Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) and DVD Audio (DVD-A.) Over the years, various audio publications have criticized the sound of compact discs, describing the sound as "harsh", "brittle" or "sterile" compared to the sound of the LP. After years of research, SACD and DVD-A were introduced several years ago and introduced sound that was said to be cleaner and more natural than that of the compact disc. In addition, these formats offered multi-channel sound, and artists such as Pink Floyd offered special multi-channel versions of their albums to entice sales. It hasn't worked, and sales of both formats peaked in 2003. What is interesting, however, is that both formats still trail the LP in sales!According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the combined sales of SACD and DVD-A were less than those of the LP in 2004. The music industry is in a slump at the moment, and sales of all formats were down last year. But sales of LPs were down 13% from 2003, while combined SACD and DVD-A sales were down 33%. It would appear that the new formats are failing, even though they are said to be superior to the compact disc. The LP, on the other hand, continues to have steady sales. While the major labels are still somewhat hesitant to release new product in LP form, labels that specialize in reissuing older material, such as Classic Records, are releasing as much product as their manufacturing capacity will permit. It is worth noting that much of this reissued product comes in the form of high-quality, limited edition LP pressings that often carry premium prices of up to $50 per title. Why are records continuing to sell while the new formats fail? There are several reasons why records are outselling the new, "superior" digital disc formats: Format wars. Like VHS vs. Beta in the 1970's, the SACD and DVD-A formats are largely incompatible. While players have been introduced that will play either one, most players play either one format or the other. Worse, neither one will play on a traditional CD player. You must replace your player to play either one.Multichannel sound is difficult to use and requires purchasing new amplification equipment. SACD and DVD-A both have multichannel capabilities, but neither format's players have digital outputs. Both must be connected to amplifiers or receivers with special SACD or DVD-A analog inputs. Most of the music fans who preferred the sound of records to compact discs still prefer the sound of records to either SACD or DVD-A. Most will agree that while the new formats sound better than compact discs, the unique "digital" sound of compact discs is still there. Many listeners aren't interested in sound quality. Arguments can always be made about the sound of compact disc vs records vs SACD vs DVD-A, but millions of consumers are content to listen to music in MP3 format on portable players. MP3 format is inherently inferior in sound quality to all of the other formats, but MP3 players are selling as fast as companies can make them.The day will never come when records again become the dominant music format. The convenience of portable players for CD, SACD, and DVD-A discs and MP3 files outweighs the advantages in sound quality that records offer over those formats. Nevertheless, it appears that a small but steady market for records remains very real, and that that market exceeds that of the new "improved" SACD and DVD-A formats, which will probably soon go the way of the forgotten Elcassette, Minidisc, and 4 track tape formats of the past.
Pakistani Pop Music
Pakistan is blessed with talent and when we talk about Pakistani Music, you can never stop picking up one of the best Pakistani pop song uptill now because there are number of such hit songs nobody can judge the best one in past decades such as "Dil Dil Pakistan" , "Huwa Huwa", "Mehndi ki Raat", "Na Kaho", "Dil Haray", "Ankhain Milanay Walay", "Wakt", "Neeli Neeli Ankhain", "Jaisay Chao Jeo", "Garuj Burus", "No More", "Ankhoun ki Sagar", "Na Tu Aigi", "Addat" left the audience agape and many more. Our artists' are popular all over the world. Many new talented artists in Pakistan are still working hard to bring quality Pakistani music.
Top 7 Donts for Successful Improvisation
1. Don't try and make something happen. Trying blocks the creative flow and will result in blocks.
So You Want to be President? Learn to Play a Musical Instrument!
President Harry S. Truman, the man in the White House when the United States intervened on behalf of the millions of innocent people who were being displaced and massacred by Hitler's Nazi Germany, claimed to have practiced his piano lessons for two hours every morning during his childhood. Likewise, President Warren Harding was said to be able to play every instrument except the trombone and the clarinet. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) played the organ. Of course we all remember President Clinton and his saxophone, but did you know that President Nixon was an accomplished pianist?
Learning How To Improvise
Those of you who have been reading my articles for some time now know that I believe improvisation to be the cornerstone of musical creativity. Why? Because without the ability to just play, we become stifled and the "real" music that is within each of us withers and dies.
Does Your CD Cover $ell (Or Suck)?
Oh, I know the last part of the title (Suck) isn't a very pleasant description to apply to anyone's CD cover. But, in the interest of plain old honesty, and to face our demons head on, I wanted to (again) utilize a worst case scenario that we can only improve from.
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