venerdì 11 marzo 2016

Study of double jumps in music for piano

One of the difficulties that are often encountered in the piano music are the quick movements, the jumps that we must do to reach distant keys from the position where you will find the hand.

Very often the jump is double, because writing is expected to reach a distant key and then go right back to the previous position.

There are many examples. Now I'm studying a transcription for piano of Mozart's famous Serenade for strings, "Eine kleine Nachtmusik". It is a beautiful transcription made by Ludwig Stark (1831-1884), the author of the famous Method "Lebert und Stark". Here's an example:

Lezioni di pianoforte

As you see, there is a double jump (highlighted by the first blue square) between bichord 'F sharp - A' in the central octave, the 'G' under the 'middle C' and then the bichord 'G - B' in the central octave. Similarly another passage, highlighted by the second blue square.

To study well these passages necessary to fix well with the eye of the target position and then execute the move at lightning speed: as exercise is useful to make the move in sudden way and then stop in front of the key or keys to arrival.

It's 'evident that the glance is very important, as well as the speed of movement of the arm.

Here is another example taken from the same piece; as you see, teaching graphic helps to focus attention on the single pass:

Metodo per pianoforte

 With a short video I explain the mechanism:

venerdì 12 febbraio 2016

The vocal style at the piano in Chopin Nocturnes

The Nocturne is one of the most typical forms of piano music of the nineteenth century and the Romantic music. In this kind of composition the musician writes for the piano keyboard thinking ideally expressiveness that is typical of the human voice

The romantic Nocturne-form was born, with the Irish composer John Field (1782-1837), but the word was in use in the eighteenth century: But at that time it indicated the musical entertainment of the evening, he could hire the gallant tones of serenade, or those more generally worldly of the fun (the most famous example is "Eine kleine Nachtmusik", "a little night music", by Mozart).

Chopin Nocturnes
In the nineteenth century, with marvelous examples of Field and then with the Fryderyk Chopin masterpieces (1810-49), the Nocturne becomes the expression of a romantic vision of the world: the night, the darkness become the metaphorical place of desire to exceeding the limit, the soul expand to the dimensions of the dream and the irrational. 

We listen to the most famous of the Chopin Nocturnes, op. 9 n. 2 in E-flat Major. Click on the following link: Chopin, Nocturne op. 9 n. 2.

Consider the rhythm of the music: it is a time 12/8, ie a slow pulsation that inside provides a ternary subdivision. More artifices of musical writing are directed to evade and counter any idea of rhythmic rigidity or excessively regular scan: some indications urge the search for phrasing and emotionally moving rhythmically elastic.

The vocal style, as I said at the beginning, is the reference model for the construction of the melody: it is a song (given to the right hand), supported by an accompaniment (left hand), this latter as important and ample, as subordinate and functional to the maximum expansion of lyrical singing. Therefore, it is precisely the same thing that happens when a singer's voice is accompanied by an instrument (for example, the piano itself).

Amples bounds toward the high notes determine the lyricism of this song, we might imagine given to a lyric-coloratura soprano, that is characterized by clear timbre, brilliant of acute and vocal agility.

This agility is made pianistically from Chopin through ornaments and grace notes, that elude the regularity of the musical phrase and culminate in the vaporous, iridescent concluding cadence.

The piano performance requires a piano touch that knows how to satisfy the infinite nuances of sound in his right hand, while the left supports the low harmony and accompanied with a large extension chords.

A delicious physical wellbeing envelops the performer in playing this piece, which really makes us exceed the boundaries of materiality, evoking our deepest sighs.

giovedì 28 gennaio 2016

Five reasons why you should sing

Singing is good for health! Is good for our body, it is an effective natural therapy for the physical well-being and of the whole person.

I share an article written by Umnia Shahid and published in "The Express Tribune" on Oct. 9, 2014.

Are you afraid to sing at a family gathering or in the privacy of your bedroom because you feel it won’t be music to people’s ears? Don’t sweat it. Bring out the Madonna in you because singing has multiple physical, mental and spiritual benefits. The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health has undertaken extensive research to support their aim of getting the National Health Service in the United Kingdom to provide medical practitioners the option of “singing on prescription.” As compiled from, here are five reasons why you should sing.

1.Boosts cardiovascular health:
Singing is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. It decreases risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.

2. Stimulates the brain:
Singing requires memorising lyrics and following a melody as well as connecting words with emotion. Breathing while singing brings more oxygen to the brain, which results in neurons firing, enhancing mental awareness, concentration and memory.

3. Reduces stress:
When you sing, your brain releases feel-good chemicals including endorphins. This makes singing an effective mood lifter and a valuable tool in alleviating depression. Singing with a group develops a sense of community and belonging, thereby reducing anxiety. Singing is even used as therapy for people with cancer, dementia and for stroke survivors.

4. Natural healer:
Other than time, music is a great healer. Singing has similar effects on the body and mind. It ensures physical, mental, psychological and social well-being. It also improves the posture and breathing, as it increases the capacity of the respiratory system.

5. Builds confidence:
Singing helps develop skills to speak in a natural, powerful and confident voice. It can improve your ability to use your speaking voice with more clarity and confidence. Singing releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps reduce anxiety, thus helping you overcome your fear of public speaking. Oxytocin also increases feelings of trust, which strengthens confidence in not only yourself but also those around you.

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: