YNGWIE

YNGWIE, not just a great Scrabble word, one of the most talented rock/metal guitarists.

Thought I would post this in honor of the guitarists upcoming tour bringing him to the House of Blues in San Diego on May 14.

This clip has everything a self-respecting guitar geek would want. A blistering lead guitarist, playing with his teeth, throwing his guitar and all the while backed by a full symphonic orchestra.

If you’ve never heard Yngwie play watch/listen to the clip. He is a very classic influenced guitarist. Actually more Baroque or Romantic period traits, but, it’s all ‘classical’ music to most folks.

Enjoy!

Key Points from My Lecture on Baroque, Classical and Romantic Music

Here are some of the key points to my recent UCSD lecture on music of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.

Dates

Baroque 1600-1750 The end of the Baroque period corresponds with arguably the greatest composer of the era, J.S. Bach’s death in 1750.

Classical 1750-1820 There is much debate regarding the transition date between Classical and Romantic periods largely focused on Beethoven and which period he belonged.

Romantic 1820-1910 The Romantic period ended early in the 20th Century as an artistic movement. However, in music it is still largely utilized in popular media most noticeably in the film scores of John Williams.(Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter)

Definitions

Baroque -Originally a derogative term to describe a mis-shapen pearl due to the music’s ornateness stemming out of the more ‘refined’ renaissance period.

Classical -Highly formulaic and stylistic. The term ‘Classical’ is often employed when discussing all ART music from Middle Ages through Modern styles.

Romantic -In reaction to classic ideals. Romantics strove to push the envelope and express nature and the human spirit.

Style/Texture

BaroquePolyphonic, Multiple simultaneous melodies creating harmonies(chords)

ClassicalHomophonic, One main melody over chords(most pop music is homophonic)

RomanticChromatic, All twelve notes of the octave became important during this period vs. the propensity to concentrate on the seven belonging to each key.

Composers

Baroque -Handel, Vivaldi, J.S. Bach

Classical -Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven

Romantic -Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, Wagner, Mahler

Society

How musicians were chiefly employed

BaroqueChurch, sacred music

ClassicalCourt, employed by the monarchy

RomanticRise of the virtuoso/self promotion, Much in the way bands today distribute fliers for their shows musicians had to pave their way and make a name for themselves.

Global

BaroqueNationalistic, There were several ‘schools’ of composition in Europe. Italian, French, German, English…

ClassicalInternational, Throughout Europe,  Western classical music could be heard with similar styles and tastes.

RomanticNationalistic, Once again styles were locally influenced. In the Romantic period composers actually incorporated local folk music into their works. This created more of an ethnic diversity than the individual stylistic schools of the Baroque.

Examples

Baroque, This is a great illustration of the multiple voices that are integral to Baroque style

Classical, The following clip displays the grace and highly stylistic nature of the era.

Romantic, Compare the grandiose individualistic nature of the following Mahler excerpt to the stylistic Mozart piece above.

Music to Relax – Ravel, Pavane Pour une Infante Defunte

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving vacation. Getting back to the work grind is going to be tough this week especially for those of you lucky enough to have had some time off for the holiday. Once again my friends I am here to help you chillax and set an aural soundtrack to get you in a groove for the week ahead.

I was first introduced to this piece when I just began ‘serious’ study of music in college. There was an arrangement for a guitar quartet that I was lucky enough to be a part of and have loved this piece ever since. There are several arrangements of the Pavane for a variety of instrumentations including solo piano and guitar. My favorite , in the video below, is a symphonic version. Ravel was a master of instrumentation  as can be heard in this piece and his other compositions such as, “Bolero.”

Ravel along with his contemporary and French countryman, Debussy, were the leaders in the music of the Impressionist movement. A period in music history that generally stretches from 1875-1925.

In my previous Music to Relax Posts, I often mention the words open and space when describing the music. I thought I would expand on that here. Both terms ‘open’ and ‘space’ are multifaceted in musical analysis. They can refer to the rhythm, harmony, melody, texture and orchestration, as well as, any musical parameters. In order of the previous parameters this could mean; longer slow notes, chords that extend over the octave with little dissonance, stately themes and a lush character. This certainly does not mean that relaxing music can’t be dissonant, fast, chromatic, etc. Or that music that doesn’t follow these ideals can’t be relaxing. They are offered as generalizations which are often employed in music widely regarded as relaxing.

Perhaps a good illustration would be in visual arts. If you see a painting that is very busy and confusingly draws your focus in multiple directions it might be considered to raise tension in a viewer. Conversely, a portrait of a pastoral landscape with flowing soft colors and a subject that catches the eye easily would be more relaxing.

Enjoy and relax!

Adele New Single, Skyfall

It is finally here!

A new Adele song. Now as much as I like her voice I think I am more happy that it can be heard on some new music, finally!

As good as her mega hit album “21′ was it has suffered from being massively over played, especially in our house…my wife is a HUGE fan! 😉

The new song is entitled, “Skyfall,” from the soon to be released(Nov. 9) James Bond movie of the same title. The music is very much in the same vein of the spy music genre we have heard before. The cool thing is to hear her graceful yet powerful voice weaving through the massive orchestration. The song features a 77 piece orchestra. Of course you can also hear some of her familiar piano riffs, as well.

I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what  she has up her musical sleeve in the future.

Enjoy!

Dodecaphonic Sudoku

Wow! Here is a serious brain teaser for music geeks.

For the uninitiated dodecaphony is a music term relating to the twelve notes we use in Western music… the basis of my blog 12 Notes & The Truth!

In the 1920’s Composer Arnold Schoenberg set out to compose music through a process that obliterated the systems we are/were used to hearing. Serialism is the name of the movement in which all twelve notes must be used before any are repeated. Creating no key centers in the composition and lack of melody and harmony as we are used to hearing.

The following puzzle is a take on dedecaphony. A Sudoku matrix set up where each note can only be used only once, horizontally, diagonally and in each of the 12 boxes of the matrix.

In essence there is no difference than converting a regular Sudoku puzzle to be 12 x 12 instead of the traditional 9 x 9. Where the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 are replaced by the 12 notes in our chromatic scale A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, Gb, G, Ab. Once completed, a composer would take any of the rows horizontal or vertical and compose using those notes.
Complete Serialism proved to be a little restrictive and many composers have used this technique as a guideline rather than a steadfast rule.

Here is the puzzle. I haven’t worked it so cant guarantee its solve-ability. Have fun if you are so inclined!

This music wasn’t written to be scary or Halloween-ish although not a bad way to transition into October with this piece.

This is real music listen with open ears and an open mind!

Arnold Schoenberg’s, “Piano Concerto op. 42 (Excerpt)”

Enjoy!

Symphonic Music and the NFL, NFL’s 2012 Season Opens Today

This a great week for sports fans as the NFL makes its 2012 debut.

It is very exciting that there is a game tonight, the first of the year, but it wont feel like football until Sunday when there will be a full ledger of games and scores to keep an eye on. Although, in San Diego we will have to wait one more day as the Chargers open the season on Monday Night Football.

For some reason over the years there has been a musical link with the NFL and symphonic music. The greatest themes all employ dramatic horns, strings and percussion to paint a picture of the weekly gridiron battles we have come to love. I am guessing NFL Films would be the originators of pairing symphonic themes with football but I would need to dig a little deeper to prove that claim. One could argue that if they were not the first they might be the best.

Perhaps the greatest gift to football fans and music lovers is the fact we are finally rid of Hank Williams Jr.’s “Are You Ready for Some Football.” If I knew all it would take was to get ol’ Bocephus to talk politics to get rid of that song I would have baited him myself!…years ago! For those of you who liked it, rest assured the brain trust at the networks have most likely found an equally horrible and annoying anthem to fill in.

Here are a couple classic sound clips to get you ready for the season! Best to your favorite team…unless they are playing my Chargers of course!

Keep an eye out for my NFL 2012 predictions is song coming very soon!