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Everything posted by Hands

  1. Hands

    Performer Quirks

    I think I'm fairly still when I play classical. But playing jazz, I move more. When playing solos, it helps to audiate, and nothing helps audiation like singing. I sort of mouth things a bit sometimes when I solo. I figure it worked for Keith Jarret and Glenn Gould, so it oughta work for me.
  2. Hands

    Modal Jazz

    I was working through some tunes from the Real Book today, trying out some solo licks. Eventually I came to "So What", and found that the solo section was 16 bars of D-7, eight of Eb-7, then eight of D-7 again. I found it a bit harder to keep my solo interesting without changes. I wound up taking the chords from the head and just planing them up and down the keyboard. Anyway, I'm interested in learning about modal jazz, especially in relation to soloing. As far as I can tell, it consists of sticking with a chord for a long time and getting increasingly far out in scale choice. Like using Ab lydian over D-7. Any thoughts?
  3. Hands

    Throat Singing

    I don't think it's that hard. You just have to be willing to sound like you've got half a macaroon stuck in your throat for a while. Just like picking up any other instrument or foreign technique. Apart from the analogy.
  4. Hands

    Throat Singing

    Well, I learned a rough sort of kargyraa in a day. After I figured out how to make the sound at all, I went out in the woods and made all sorts of loud, awful bleating-ruminant beast noises. The initial learning involved a lot of coughing and throat-clearing sounds. It made my throat hurt at first, but now I can do it fairly easily. A few things that might help: 1) The exercises on the sites I provided above. 2) Eating spicy food or chewing ginger root and garlic clove. I don't use the garlic because I don't want to smell like a roomful of Italian mobsters. But the ginger helps a lot. 3) Make sure you support the sound, and relax the throat. That's quite important, as you might hurt yourself. Once you get the basic sound, some tension at the base of the tongue helps the sound, but don't worry about that for now. 4) Try different tones. If you sing too low, it's physically impossible to get kargyraa. Your ventricular folds just can't vibrate at those low frequencies (at least not in a kargyraa fashion). If you sing too high, you'll probably be too tense, the sound you'll get will be more like a bad khoomei than kargyraa. Overall, just be willing to sound like a demonic cow with indigestion. That'll help. :D
  5. Hands

    Throat Singing

    Yeah, there's a bunch of styles. Kargyraa (KAR-gear-RAH) is the low Buddhist chant-sounding one. Then there's khoomei (khoo- MEI; where the 'kh' is like a subtler Jewish 'ch' in the throat), which sounds kind of like that "creaking door" noise kids make, but louder, with overtone control. (I personally think it's the sound a Buddhist monk would make if he was having a hard time taking a crap...at least when I try it. :P) Then there's sygyt (sig-GOOT where the 'oo' is like in 'book'), which is basically a type of khoomei that has really piercing, easily audible overtones. The performer uses his tongue and lips to create an extra resonating chamber and can select overtones by changing both the position of the tongue and the vowel shape of the lips. There's also chylandyk (chill-LAND-dick.....:laugh:), which is basically sygyt over the kargyraa fundamental. I find this all fascinating. I'm thinking I might whip out the kargyraa in choir tomorrow and scare some of the freshman in to crying fits. Not like that's hard or anything.
  6. Hands

    Throat Singing

    I hadn't heard of David Hykes, surprisingly. I've got one of his pieces on right now, and as far as I can tell on a first listen, he's using the Western style. That one interests me less than the Tuvan, Tibetan and Mongolian styles, if only because it's just normal singing with overtones. It lacks the alien newness of sygyt or kargyraa. Great stuff though! True. It's also painful if done correctly for too long at a stretch. There have been cases of burst blood vessels, apparently. Interesting. I think it might be usable in the context of a choral piece for a "What the crap was that?!" moment. Imagine writing a pleasant sort of inoffensive intro, then switching into dissonant chords in the low kargyraa register with no warning! But there aren't that many people learning it, I assume. Also, like I mentioned, I'm hoping I can find a way to use this technique for choir. I know there are Russian basses (and even one or two Christian barbershop-type basses) who can sing down to the lower 1 octave, and arguably into the 0 octave. They're obviously using some kind of throat singing or vocal fry (which is related). If I manage to make it happen, perhaps I'll put up a video of myself. That oughta get me a choral gig..... :P
  7. Hands

    Throat Singing

    So, yeah. I learned to do what is doing today. As infinitesimally small as the chances may be, I'm wondering if any people here have heard of these techniques, applied them in composition, or learned to perform them themselves. I'm especially curious about how these techniques might be applied to supply a lower register for vocal singing, down to about A1 or lower.If anyone is curious about throat singing of any kind, try these links. 1 - 2 I managed to learn the kargyraa style from these sources in less than a day! Though I have no control of overtones at the moment...
  8. Sight-singing and audiation are closely related. To sight-sing well, you have to "hear" the pitch in your head before you sing it. This is audiation. And that's all it is. Hearing something in your head. It is irrefutable that sight-singing and ear-training improve one's ability to audiate. That is, unless one already is capable of audiating at a high level. Also, it is NOT something like perfect pitch, which is impossible or very difficult to learn. It's a learned thing. If you wish to know more about audiation, look up Edwin E. Gordon, the guy who defined the word. I think that would be more fruitful than fabricating your own rather grandiose definition.
  9. Well, music can become a richer individual experience when one projects one's own emotions and hang-ups and crap onto it. But pretending music must be written that way is not only laughable, but a distraction. I think the greater flaw is to be over-emotional or to obdurate one's ego on one's audience. Right now I am listening to a piece for harmonica and boomboxes. It consists of three chords increasingly overlapped and "live-dubbed". It's nothing but a process. But I like it. It's a neat, lean, uncomplicated process. Not something that the composer shot his emotion-goo all over.
  10. That is an excellent book. I read it a few years ago, just after high school. I owe a lot to Kenny Werner for writing it. I have trouble getting started sometimes, too, and the suggestion that we all try to write bad music, however shocking or counterintuitive, is tremendously freeing. When you approach your instrument in that frame of mind, you just let the music come to you, rather than trying to force it out like a harsh turd. :P Those who aren't willing to write bad music are not likely to write much good music, either. That's the way I see it, anyway. Too much ego fuckin' things up.
  11. I visit a few other sites that automatically indicate to the user the last post he read. The site senses where the user stopped scrolling, marks the first unread post, and snaps the user directly to it if he comes back to the thread. This is very handy, I've found. It would be nice for backreading long old threads or for people who take rather longish breaks now and then (like I have done). I don't know if those other sites use the same language as this one, or if such a function would be possible here, but I think it's worth suggesting. Perhaps on an optional basis.
  12. Inspiration is an empty word. At the very least, a misleading one. People seem to expect to "get inspired", then start writing: gently caress. That. The reason people find things like walking inspiring musically is because they start writing music subconsciously, to the rhythm of their footsteps. Walking also busies the body, provides stimuli, and generally increases the oxygenation and "goodness" in the body/mind. The point is: One must start working, then "inspiration" will come to one. As John Lennon put it: "Let your muse find you working". Seems to have worked for Bach, Beethoven, that lot.
  13. Y'all should try bachdigital.de, instead of .org. I got there, but there are only a few samples and such. EDIT: My German is slacking. I couldn't follow the German speech very well. I got the gist, but not much more than that.
  14. That's an understatement. It resulted in a freedom of everything. Cage and others proved that. Tonality is not dead, it just smells funny.
  15. Satie tried something like that with his wallpaper music. I seem to recall people were being too respectful or too interested in the music, and he had to try to provoke them to act normally. Not what he was going for, I think. Question: If musicians stopped wearing tailcoats and all that, who would get to wear them? 'Cause I might have to switch to that profession so I can wear a sweet tailcoat without looking like too much of an idiot/psycho. I like tailcoats, especially for pianists so they can fling the tails out from beneath their buttocks as they sit down with an affected flourish. Depending on the pianist, that move is either hilariously reminiscent of Horowitz/Bugs Bunny, or surprisingly contributive to the concentration/hypnotism of the audience. The only aspect of the ritual I can't stand is the automatic curtain call. There was a time when audiences applauded for stuff they liked, and didn't for stuff they didn't like. Now, any idiot can come on stage, produce sounds reminiscent of an elephant loving a goat for five hours, and be sure of at least one curtain call from the remaining fellow who stayed out of some masochistic urge. If I find I have attended a performance I didn't find musical and beautiful, I quit clapping when I feel is appropriate. I have been known to boycott standing ovations, too. This used to be a show of extreme gratitude and enthusiasm on the part of the audience, people seem to do it now because they want an excuse to get up and massage their tingling asses back into sensibility. It is a sad state of affairs.
  16. Holy crap, my piano teacher's apparently good friends with Angela Hewitt! I've listened to several of her WTC interpretations, and I've found them very intellectual, but satisfying. Anyway, my theory teacher went to Chicago last semester to attend a recital of the complete Art of Fugue. He took the score with him, and I'm sure he also knew it very well. He is a very proper guy, and I don't think he'd do anything he didn't think was good concert etiquette.
  17. The Grieg Piano Sonata, 1st Movement (though I haven't started); some twentieth century stuff (Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, Shostakovich, etc.); more stuff. Oh, yeah. I'm supposed to be learning the Beethoven F# Major sonata. But I haven't started that, either.....oh well.
  18. I think the idea that women's brains are disposed to steer them away from composition and that it is a more attractive vocation to men than to women absurd. Composition is a blank slate, not a hobby like model airplanes or NASCAR. It's true men and women have different neurological dispositions, but to me it seems obvious that this would affect the way they compose, not whether they do. And in my experience, it does. The women composers I have known have tended to write music more focused on textures and expression of emotion. I have never known a woman composer who has written something as grandiose and, well masculine as some of the things I have written. Obviously, this is another generalization. But the old quote of Voltaire might apply here: "The composition of a tragedy requires testicles". Perhaps women in general are too good at dealing with their emotions, at forgiving their transgressors. Most of the great artists of the past have been deeply conflicted or injured. I can see, or sense, how this must work. A deep pain has a way of opening one up to the emotional intensity of everything around him. Van Gogh, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. Is that the reason some women are known to write technically proficient yet uninspiring works? Maybe. I dunno. P.S. I've never been a woman, so my ideas are necessarily one-sided. I do enjoy the company of them, though. As often as possible. :P Seriously, though. P.P.S. Yes, I am a sexist bastard. Kind of. Just a little.
  19. Hands

    Vintage pianos

    I figure if I wanna spend a bunch of money on vintage sounds, I'll just buy the real thing for like 10 times as much. Better investment, I'd say. Unless you're talking about Hammond B3 sounds. Those are ridiculously expensive... I've got a Hammond, though. It's nice.
  20. There's always the Zappa method. Who can forget titles like "Peaches en regalia" or "Duodenum"? Titles like this activate the 'wtf?' factor. I'd be more inclined to listen to them than to 'Sonata No. 55,000 in d#m'. I have followed this method in titling my own pieces. I've written "Millet+2" and "Yummy Pizzicato", to name a couple. The second is sort of midway between Zappa and normal, as far as its nomenclature. In case you don't know who Frank Zappa is, enrich you musical knowledge by watching . A good taste of his music, and his sense of Dadaist humor.
  21. I think the flat-finger bidness is perfectly fine. I find it actually gives me more control in certain styles. Chopin and Debussy, especially. This applies only to arpeggios or rapid passages. I think this technique should only be used for pianissimo or piano passages, though. It's true you can't really transfer the weight of your body into your hands when using it.
  22. I wouldn't want to play timpani for an hour straight. I much prefer pit percussion, actually. My suggestion would be to change the instrumentation of the pulse, at least a few times throughout the piece. If you've got strings, there you go. Put it in the contrabass. Pizzicato, maybe. If 'twere me, I'd not open and close every movement but the last with the same thing. To each his own, though.
  23. But of course I use key signatures. It reduces the number of accidentals I have to write, since I tend to stay within a key or keys. Sometimes I switch them back and forth within a few bars, just because I don't want to write accidentals.
  24. Hmmm....sounds like an endless endeavor.:toothygrin: Working on Grieg's Lyric Pieces, Op. 12 and a Scarlatti sonata. Also, a bit of Khachaturian, but don't tell my piano professor about that. I realized not long after deciding on my summer pieces that I had a perpetual boner for everything Poulenc ever wrote, so perhaps I'll play a bit of his stuff soon.
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