Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ideas for piano block chords to enhance the melody

Double the melody in your left hand for a smoother sound

What fingers should I use on chromatic passages on the piano?

How To Finger a Chromatic Scale

Friday, March 20, 2009

What do those numbers at the start of a piece of music mean?

Numbers such as 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 6/8 and so on which appear at the beginning of a line of sheet music are called "time signatures". The top number tells how many beats are in each measure, while the bottom number tells what kind of note gets one beat (one count).

For example, in 3/4 time there are 3 beats in each measure, and a quarter note gets one count. If the time signature was 3/2, there would still be 3 beats in each measure, but a half note would get one count.

In 6/8 time there are 6 counts per measure and an 8th notes gets one count.

There can be "odd numbers" such as 3, 5, 7, 9 on top, but never on the bottom, because the bottom number describes the kind of note that gets one count, and there are no "3rd notes", "5th notes", and so on -- just half, quarter, eighth notes, etc.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

How the piano got its name

Prior to the invention of the piano there was an instrument called a harpsichord which was played by playing a keyboard but the result was plucking of the strings similar to a guitar. And prior to the harpsichord there was an instrument call the psaltry which was played by actually plucking the strings. Later the psaltry had a keyboard, and that led to the harpsichord.
When the piano was invented somewhere around 1700, it was novel in that instead of the strings being plucked they were struck by a hammer which was inside the piano.As a result music could be played both soft and loud which was not true with the harpsichord or the sultry. So it was named the "pianoforte" which in Italian means the "soft loud instrument." It was refered to this way for many years until finally the "forte" part of the name was left off and was just refered to as the "piano." Kind of strange in a way, since in Italian the word piano means soft. So to be literal, you are playing the "soft." when you play the piano, even though you play it using a variety of dynamics.
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