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Category Archives: Music

Music Affect Your Body and Mind

Music helps to recover from brain injuries

Many people experienced cerebral damage have speech and movement-related problems. As an alternative and effective treatment, doctors often recommend such patients to listen to good music to stimulate the parts of the brain responsible for these two functions. When people with neurological disorders caused by a stroke or Parkinson’s disease hear a musical beat, it helps them to regain a symmetrical walk and sense of equilibrium.

Music staves off the loss of hearing

Surely, music will not cure deafness but it really can prevent the loss of hearing. There was an experiment involving 163 people where 74 were musicians.

Participants were asked to pass some listening tests. Musicians heard the sounds better than non-musicians, and this difference gets more evident with aging. This means that a 70-year-old musician hears better than a 50-year-old non-musician, even in a noisy environment.

Music heals a broken heart

No, it is not about a cast-off love, but about a heart attack. The matter is music can help people recovering from a heart seizure or cardiac surgery by reducing blood pressure, slowing down the heartbeat rate, and relieving anxiety. Listening to the quality music evokes positive emotions, improves circulation, and expands blood vessels, thus, promoting quick rehabilitation of the whole cardiovascular system.

Tricks When Learning the Piano

* Learn your music theory:

I’m sure you weren’t expecting this one. Learning theory when you just want to sit on the bench in front of the piano and start playing? Well, only by understanding some of the theory you will be able to evolve and become a better pianist. You don’t have to dig it all in, but knowing some of the theory will help you play any music you want.

* Listen to a lot of piano music:

When you are learning the piano, you have to train different things. You train your eyes to read, you train each one of your hands to play the piano, but you also need to train your ear. You need to be able to identify the notes that are being played.

What you can do, for example, is to get a piano music CD and just listening to it. You can start by trying to identify the notes. As soon as you evolve, you can try to identify chord patterns and intervals.

When you do this the first time, you might be able to identify only a couple of notes. But as time goes by, and you’re developing your hearing, you’ll start identifying more notes, the chords, and the intervals.

* Don’t try to learn the whole song at once:

Just like when you’re listening to the CD, you need to take it easy. You won’t figure it out all at once. Take time to learn the song you want to play and try to play it. You can even break it into small sections so it may become easier for you.

Again, it’s a matter of practicing.

* Learn your scales but don’t get obsessed by them:

Scales and theory go hand-in-hand. Scales will help both your fingers know the piano as well as you’ll have more dexterity. However, don’t make the scales be a huge priority. Yes, you need to practice them every day but they can serve as a warm-up before you start playing the piano. You can be sure that is perfectly normal if you get them wrong a couple of times. As you improve, your scales will improve as well.

Make sure that you start playing your scales slowly at first. With time, you’ll get faster. The important thing is to keep practicing.

There are mainly two kinds of pianists: those who play by ear and those who play by sight. But no matter of which pianist you want to be, all these tricks can and should be used.

Basics of Electric Guitar Pedals

The most famous guitar pedal is probably the wah pedal. The wah pedal, getting its name from its trademark “wah wah” sound, is a pedal commonly associated with guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine.) It is controlled like a gas pedal on a car, pushing down and up adjusts the filter that creates the “wah wah” effect. A good song to hear this on is Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” or the intro to Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child.”

The next two pedals are reverb and delay. Reverb creates an instant echo that is comparable to yelling in a cathedral or a large open building. Delay is another type of echo, however it is multiple controlled repeats. There are many types of delays, but they mainly fall into the categories of analog or digital delays. The most prominent user of delay pedals is The Edge of U2. Listen to any U2 song and there is likely the extreme use of delay and reverb to create lush soundscapes.

The final types of pedals we’ll be discussing are the overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals. Almost everybody uses one of these types of pedals, as they are the unsung heroes of guitar pedals. Overdrives are typically used to add a bit more grit and drive to an amp. Distortions are used to add a full on distortion to a clean amp. Fuzz is that in-your-face, overly distorted, buzz saw sound. The song that comes to mind for great fuzz tone for me is the song by The Black Keys “Strange Times.”

Of course, there is a lot more to know about pedals, and a lot more pedals to know about. I chose not to mention modulation pedals such as flangers, phasers, and chorus because those are much more advanced than the ones I have mentioned above. The best way to experience the magic of playing with pedals is to go to your local guitar store and try some out.

Popular Music Genres in the World

• Rock music – Perhaps the most influencing genre of music, rock, also known as rock and roll, has left a mark in almost every artist’s record. Rock music was an offshoot of the original classical melody. However, it is centered on the electric guitar. Rock itself has several sub-variations, such as classical rock, hard rock, indie rock and many more.

• Pop music – Pop music is an abbreviated version of the term ‘popular music.’ Pop music was born in the 1950s, and was more like a modified extension of rock and roll. Live performances became popular, and with time, pop music has also begun to encourage rhythm, beats, and dancing. This genre was made internationally popular by artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson.

• Electronic Dance Music – With the burst of clubs and discos, electronic dance theme, promoted everywhere as EDM, became an instant hit. Disc jockeys everywhere began to experiment with dance music, and the trend of remixing popular songs to make them suitable for club dancing, and using synthetic instruments became a hot trend.

• Country music – True to its name, this form of music traces its origin to Southern USA, way back in the 1920s. Country music includes ballads, dance tunes, and sing-song tales accompanied by stringed instruments such as guitars, harmonicas, and fiddles. With time, lighter beats have also begun to become a part of this music. The pieces backed by country music general have a calming effect.

• Jazz music – Jazz music dates back to the nineteenth century, and has an African American origin. Interestingly, it grew simultaneously in various parts of America. The common undercurrent to these various places of origin of Jazz music was their characteristic property of being performance oriented. Over the following century, Jazz melody went through several transformations, and has finally become the Jazz theme that we know and love today. It is one of the important things to remember for everyone.

Pop Classical Music Fusion

People have gotten too overly significant in their thinking about these two genres they have made-up; ‘pop’ and ‘classical.’ There are far more arguments in favor of their similarity than their differences. One need only point out that the two most similar periods of music, in terms of musical practice are Baroque and Jazz; in both musical practices, musicians read from chord charts and improvised.

A composer like Beethoven, who had the need to reinvent himself to the degree that music historians had to put his musical output into three periods, tended to foreshadow future musical periods. One of my favorite things to do in music school was to play a very late Beethoven piano sonata for a fellow music student and ask them who was the composer. They didn’t know but Count Basie came up quite a bit.

I used to horrify fellow musicians in the symphony by pointing out how similar to Gershwin certain parts of The Rite Of Spring by Igor Stravinsky were. These comments were treated as utter sacrilege but it turns out, in interviews, Stravinsky confessed to being quite fond of American Jazz and worked the ‘primitive sounds’ into his compositions.

So pop classical music fusion might simply be the ultimate opening up of a broader palette of sounds for the composer or songwriter to work with. Perhaps it was meant to work out this way. What we think of as ‘pop’ music may only be a further tweak in the tapestry we call music.

Jazz Guitar Improvising

Pat Martino was exposed to the guitar at a very early age due to the fact that his dad was a vocalist who also happened to play the guitar. He listened to recordings from his father’s record collection including albums by jazz guitar players Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, and Johnny Smith. Pat received some lessons from a cousin of his and then studied with a famous regional guitar player by the name of Dennis Sandhole.

By the time he was fifteen years old Pat was playing in concert with the rhythm and blues bands of Lloyd Price, Willis Jackson, and others. In the early 1960s Martino played in combos led by different organists including the likes of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, and Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes. He then worked as a side man with numerous other jazz groups such as those of saxophonists Sonny Stitt and John Handy.

In 1967 Pat Martino made the first of numerous recordings on the Prestige record label as leader of his own group. Within one year his extraordinary guitar technique and complex yet melodic improvisations brought excellent praise from jazz critics and fans alike. In the beginning, Martino’s playing approach was significantly affected by jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery. He then started seriously exploring Eastern music and slowly, over a duration of years, established his own distinct jazz/ rock fusion approach.

Pat Martino also experimented and played with guitar synthesizers as well as an electric 12 string guitar. In 1980 Pat suffered an aneurism on his brain. A difficult operation was responsible for saving his life but he was unable to play guitar anymore for nearly a year. It was another three years until he was able to return to playing live concerts. His current recordings reveal that Martino definitely remains a significant force in the jazz guitar world.

By 1987, Pat was tape-recording once again and it wasn’t long before he restored his earlier prominence. He took a few years off to help out with his ill parents, but from 1994 on he has resumed being a regular part of the mainstream jazz scene continuing to develop as a guitarist and an improviser. Almost 50 years after his initial debut and 30 years after he forgot everything he knew about playing music, Pat Martino is still one of the top mainstream jazz guitarists around!

Make Your Music Recording Successful at Home

A great alternative to recording a song in a studio is to do the same at home. You could hire recording equipment or probably set up one all by yourself with the basic amenities that would aid in recording a music track. Here are a few tips that could help you gain perfection to the recording at home and not spend money in professional recording studios.

• Remove noisy elements – Appliances and gadgets like fans and air-conditioners tend to create sound in the background while you record. If may not be audible to the human ear but the recorder grasps the noise. These elements make the track noisy and, therefore, disturbing the process.

• Arrange for good acoustic conditions in the room – Wooden floors, tiled walls, counter tops, etc. are known to be highly reflective and allow your recording to echo. Glass windows too become a spoilt sport and affect the recording. Covering the floor with carpets, windows with curtains, etc. can make the room warm and cosy for the voice to get captured well in the recording.

• Keep the recording microphone away from the computer – The computer screen that lets you control the recording should be maintained at a distance from the microphone that captures your recording. The computer too has a sound of its own that at times gets captured by the recorder.

• Use professional software – While you hire recording equipment, you can also hire professional recording software that allows to see the dynamics of the voice and that lets you know about the changes that you can make to your voice.

• The distance from the microphone – While you record your song, it is necessary to keep your mouth, at least, six inches away from the recording device. It lets the voice come out well without having to let the recorder capture the sound of your breath. You can always experiment with the kind of sound that is recorded by increasing or decreasing the distance. Settle for the one that sounds impeccable with the right sound and that would make the best soundtrack.

About Techno Artists & Music

Detroit Techno

Detroit Techno is a subdivision of the techno genre which generally includes some of the earliest techno productions from Detroit. Detroit techno had its largest audience in the Atlantic. Some of the most common techno music artists include Underground Resistance, Mike Banks, Blake Baxter, Kevin Saunderson, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes and Juan Atkins. Some of these artists used whatever technology they had in their reach and initiated music with epic synth sounds and engaging driving grooves. I could never list a top ten of tracks from this genre as it changes all the time, but a personal favourite label was always the Red Planet series. This label seen some fantastic releases in the mid-90s. I witnessed both Ghostdancer and Stardancer in particular causing some serious mayhem when played out in clubs.

Dub Techno

Another famous sub category of the techno genre, dub techno is quite distinctively un-show-y, doesn’t try to wow or stun and is never overreaching. I could probably put the dub techno sound alone being the reason I wanted to produce techno music. Nothing more do enjoy still to this day is generating those lush minor chords on a synth then washing them with reverb and delay. I could spend hours applying the filters and tweaking the sound to death. The fact that this style of techno is able to stun and wow the listeners, is a testament to the strength of its subtlety. Dub techno is a work of structural, architectural and musical genius in my opinion. It is unquestioning, placid and deeply soothing. My favourite dub techno artists without a doubt goes is Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, sometimes known as Basic Channel. My all-time favourite dub techno track has to be Maurizo – Domina which holds special memories from Glasgow’s famous Arches, sadly no more, where I heard it at the regular Friday night event held by Slam.

Scottish Techno

So where did I discover this music? Right on my door step. As previously mentioned through the early to mid-90s I had the pleasure of being a regular attender of Glasgow’s famous night club “The Arches”. Hosted on a Friday night for many moons by legendary Techno duo Slam. They would serve up a mixture of these varieties of techno to welcoming, knowledgeable crowd every week. They too influenced by the sounds of Detroit and dub techno, among others, introduced me to these styles and I was hooked for life. As a lifelong fan of their label, Soma Records, I followed their releases and many of the artists they have. Funk D’Void has also been another firm favourite with his ability to turn has hand to many different styles of techno, more often than not bringing more melodic and emotional elements to a track. Check his aptly named Emotional Content track and you will get the picture.

Get a Great Singer for Your Event

Learn about the Pricing

What is your budget? You need to think about that before you hire a singer for a party. They need to be able to fulfil the obligation for the amount of money you have available. It doesn’t hurt to ask them to negotiate though. They may be willing to do it for the price you offer rather than their asking price. If they can’t, then you have to look for another provider.

The amount of time you will hire them for can influence price. If you want to hire a singer for a party and no one else, you may have to reduce the amount of time they perform in order for it to fit your budget. Be flexible with your terms and options and you will find a way to make it all work out.

Listen to their Music

Take the time to really listen to their music too. Don’t hire a singer for a party based on the way they sound with one particular song. You may love that one, but how is their voice for a full range of songs? The more you hear from them the easier it is for you to decide if they will be a good fit for the event.

Reputation

Do they have a good reputation when it comes to being easy to work with? Not all performers are and you don’t need the headaches. Do your research to find out about them and how they have interacted with events in the past. This can help you to avoid serious problems at the event.

Work out the Details

Depending on the provider, you may be working with their agent and not the signer in person. Either way, communication is key to working out the details. Make sure you get a written contract that covers all the details. This includes when they will perform, for how long, and where. Do you need to provide a microphone or other items or will they bring their own?

When you hire a singer for a party it is easy to assume they will have all of their own equipment. That is often the case but you should verify that information. You may have to pay a deposit at the time of the booking. Then the balance due will be paid at the end of their performance for the event.

Ideal First Instrument

I have played the piano since I was in the third grade. Although the lessons only lasted a little over a year as my teacher moved away, I loved the keys, the challenge, and the fun of coordinating left and right hands while transferring notes on a page to movement across the keys. Although practicing has been sporadic, including dedicated weeks of hitting the keyboard every day to long droughts of nothingness, when I return to my dedicated mode, I just love the relaxation and mind-hand coordination that the piano brings.

My husband is also a great lover of music. Unfortunately, he did not take piano lessons or take any instrument classes in school and so he missed out on this adventure. Desiring to learn to play now, he considered the guitar but felt his fingers were too wide and rigid for quick fingerings over the strings. The piano appeared too complicated and so he finally settled on the harmonica. Our daughter had given him one as a gift a few birthdays ago and so we drug it out of the closet and he began to play. I do mean play because even with a novice, it is difficult to blow a harsh note unless you are really working at huffing and puffing like crazy. Nice music flows on the first blow.

Now maybe this flow is not quite the accustomed pattern of notes, but the sound is still nice. When played along with a recording of a song it can blend very well when right key is in synch. Several songs entered his repertoire, a favorite being the birthday tune, now played at all family celebrations. The grandkids love his harmonica with our little granddaughter using Grandpa’s chest as a pillow as his tunes lull her to sleep. Our grandson wants to become a harmonica player, too, however his blasts blew out the reeds and several notes no longer play on the original harmonica. Searching extensively I found a music store near my sister’s and the chief instructor guided me through everything I needed to know about buying good harmonicas plus many extra tips on the side. One included a slow warm-up on the notes with no food in the mouth a la grandson who created the breakdown of the first harmonica. With new harmonicas in main keys in hand, I exited the music store excited about my purchase and newly gained knowledge to share with my husband, plus I had two children’s harmonicas so that Grandpa’s will remain functional. In addition to giving them a start in music, we now have a trio performing at our house.