Syncopation Basics: 1-&-2-&
Syncopation: stressing the normally unaccented beats.
Above are two examples of eighth note syncopations:
1) simple eighth notes (1 + 2 +) with the syncopation tied together.
2) same exact rhythm written in a 'simplified' manner: an eighth note followed by a quarter note and then an eighth note. (1 + 2 +). Just remember that 2 eighth notes tied together=1 quarter note.
Sounds easy right? Not necessarily. Syncopation in music and in violin playing can be difficult. It is almost like learning how to pat your head and rub your belly simultaneously & then switch it around instantly. In western music today the accented beats are typically the 1st and 3rd or the 2nd and 4th beats of 4/4 music. Listen to the radio and this is typically the type of pop music background beat you will hear, there are exceptions of course. And because of this most people are not accustomed to hearing the inner beats or intricate syncopated rhythms that can be intertwined amidst the larger beats, sometimes this can be those eighth notes above.
To practice syncopation first try clapping and saying all the small beats like in the first example, 1 + 2 +. Then work your way into saying the small beats but only clapping the larger overall syncopation, so where the +2 is underlined, you would only clap once and not twice, 1 + 2 +.
If you are just as confused as Mr. Syncopation below that is OK! & if it would help for me to make a video that more aurally and visually explains this just post in the comments below & I would be happy to do so at some point. :D
When first starting any instrument one of the hardest things for me (when learning violin and piano) was learning the notes names & associating them with certain fingers. Knowing note names is like learning a musical alphabet. You may not necessarily need to know the names of the notes and may be able to play music by ear which is wonderful! But, if you do know the note names it is a reference point that will help you connect with other musicians and instruments that may play in different keys.
For instance you probably know that C-A-T spells cat. You first needed to learn the alphabet, then how the symbols made certain sounds, and then how when in a certain order they spelled a certain word.
The same thing happens in music: D-F#-A spells a D Major chord. First you need to learn the note names, then how to associate them with fingers, and then how in that order they sound really great together and make a chord.
Below are some wonderful websites to help you in your beginning journey to learning the first position notes of the violin which is an instrument that is written in the treble clef.
P.S. The survey from my last post is coming up with some great responses! Keep it up. I will start my next blog post from your feedback soon.
9.11.15 Program & Some History
Below is the program from yesterday's Holland Symphony Orchestra concert. We performed two of Mozart's pieces and two of Beethoven's. Did you know that Mozart & Beethoven were said to have met in Vienna in 1787? That was 228 years ago! 1787 was the same year that the first piece, Overture to Don Giovanni, premiered in Vienna as part of the famous comic opera.
Although Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria and Beethoven in Bonn, Germany they both frequently traveled throughout Central Europe. All of the pieces are from the Classical Time Period (1775-1827). The Classical period of music can most be recognized for its bright contrast of color, a very clear division of parts, simplicity and its formality and hierarchy. During this time in Europe nobility became the primary audience of instrumental music and it was tightly linked to Court or Monarch culture.
Do you know what was happening in the United States of America in 1787 when Beethoven & Mozart were said to have met? We were in the midst of the Northwest Indian War, the colony of Pennsylvania was admitted as the second state following Delaware, and the U.S. Constitution was created in September of that year! On September 11, 1787 the 13 U.S. Colonies were polishing the preamble to the constitution and these words were penned and later revised to what is now the foundation upon which our country was built:
"We the people of the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare and establish the following Constitution for the Government of Ourselves and our Posterity."
"WE, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Looking back on all of this history we remember September 11th, 2001 and all of the lives that were lost and the heroes who defended justice. "One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” —President George W. Bush at the Pentagon in 2008
Music has the power to shape culture, to inspire culture, and to help us look back and remember those who have given us hope. Thank you for everyone who made it out to the concert! As I researched the history of some of this music I never imagined all that I would stumble upon. When you search you never know what you will find!
"The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future." -Theodore Roosevelt
All the best,
My masterclass experience with the Tesla Quartet from 8.6.15 was great! Our quartet performed the first movement of the Dvorak String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, "American". We had some great feedback on bringing out different lines and having a conversation through our different musical parts. At the beginning of the piece there are melodic lines and stylistic elements in each separate instrumental part that are passed around. We worked more on bringing out these lines as a team and listening to each others' interpretations of these lines.
Did you know that Dvorak had an obsession with steam locomotives: trains? It was said that he would spend hours at a railway station in Prague observing the sights and sounds there. Within the "American" Quartet some of his inspiration is evident through the recollection of the sound of these trains, Native American Music, and American Spirituals.
Before the masterclass we rehearsed in the Martha Miller Rotunda at the Hope College Campus as the new music building was in the final stages of construction.
Have a great start to the school year!
My new favorite concert of the year with the HSO is coming up! I will be performing as a second violinist next Friday, September 11, 2015 at 7:30pm in the HSO Chamber Orchestra Concert! We will be performing great works by Mozart and Beethoven with featured artists: Gabe Southard, flute and Jennifer Walvoord, violin. Call the Holland Symphony office for tickets: (616) 796-6780. Get your tickets soon because the venue seating is numbered.
Cost: $20 Adults, $5 Students through college.
Venue: First United Methodist Church
57 W 10th St, Holland, MI 49423
Hope to see you there,
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