When it comes to syncopation, expect the unexpected—syncopated rhythms disturb the flow by placing the emphasis on a typically weak beat…
The circle of fifths is a visual diagram that arranges the 12 pitches and keys so that it’s easy to begin to recognize those relationships.
Have you ever played a song or a piece with a marking in the middle stating♩=♪ or something similar? If this puzzling marking left you scratching your head, you’re not alone! After all, since our days in elementary school music class, we’ve been taught that whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and so on, all have distinct rhythmic values.
A scale is a collection of pitches that follows a set pattern of ascending or descending intervals. A major scale, for example, may start on any note, as long as the subsequent notes follow the appropriate pattern of whole steps and half steps. The same is true of minor scales—but with a different pattern of steps, of course.
Sometimes, musicians are so concerned with playing the right notes, that they put rhythmic accuracy on the backburner. Don’t let that be you! Rhythm is largely responsible for giving music its energy, and in ensemble playing, it’s essential to ensuring that everyone stays together.
Chords are the building blocks of music, and they follow well-defined “rules”—but music would be very bland without notes that break free from those rules once in a while. In fact, melodic lines rarely remain strictly within the harmony. That’s where non-chord tones come in. Non-chord tones, as you might guess from the name, are […]
While many people pursue music as a hobby outside of their working hours, David Pogue has found a way to integrate the two. His main musical endeavor is parodies á la Weird Al Yankovic, except that Pogue’s remakes all relate to computers and technology. For example, under his hand, “I Write the Songs” is transformed to “I Write the Code”
“I got a standing ovation, which is really rare at the Grand Ole Opry; I remember it like it was in slow motion,” she gushes. “I finished my song, and I saw some of the people in the front stand up, and then I saw it spread toward the back, like a ripple, until the whole room was on their feet. And my hand came up to cover my mouth, like, oh my gosh! I just couldn’t believe it.”
A few years back, while giving a presentation on homemade musical instruments at the University of Washington, Dr. Craig Woodson created a masenqo—a single stringed violin from Ethiopia—out of dental floss, a Styrofoam box, a plastic tube, and some chopsticks. “There was an Ethiopian woman in the audience, and she got up and walked out of the room,” he remembers. “I thought, oh my gosh, I’ve insulted this woman! But then she came back in and her eyes were wet with tears, and she said to me, ‘I had no idea when you started to play that very simple instrument, that it would take me home.’”