Playing on the Modern Piano – Part II

Articulation C P E BACH wrote in his essay: ‘In general, the briskness of Allegros is expressed by detached notes and the tenderness of Adagios by broad slurred notes…There are many who play stickily, as if they had glue between their fingers. Their touch is lethargic; they hold notes too long. Others, in an attempt... Continue Reading →

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Playing On the Modern Piano – Part I

The rapid change of keyboard instruments in the 18th century and early 19th centuries reflect a change in musical communication which had been described by the conductor and early music specialist Nikolaus Harnoncourt (In his Baroque Music Today, 1988): ‘Articulation is the technical process in producing speech, the way in which different vowel and consonants... Continue Reading →

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The Characteristics of Music in the Mid 18th Century

Operatic Scenes As a result of 17th Century French influence, a series of changes were made in the early 18th Century in Italian Opera. From intellectual exercise into a form of popular urban entertainment. Apostolo Zeno (1668 – 1750) was an important librettist, journalist and a man of letters. His younger contemporary was Pietro Metastasio... Continue Reading →

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The Origin and Movement of Classical Style

Strom and Stress movement (Sturm and Drang 1760s- 1770s) was preceded by the literary movement in North Germany followed by musical phenomenon in Austria. Compositions composed in the 3rd quarter of the eighteenth century were in Major Keys. Minor Keys were used to express anger or sadness characteristics in performance. Haydn’s symphonies from No. 39... Continue Reading →

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Classical Articulation and Phrasing

Articulation encompasses the degree of separation between notes and the degree of emphasis the notes are given. It is denoted by dots, slurs, strokes, rest and even rhythmic values. In eighteenth century, music, the articulation lies in the heart of the performance in the performers repertoire. General practice for most eighteenth century music was that... Continue Reading →

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The Virtuous

There were all the showmen like Thalberg, Herz, Dreyschock, Gottschalk and other virtuosos who were the salonists, martinee idols, tinklers in their own ways. They were counter balanced by another group of great pianists, the real virtuous ones. The ones who dedicated themselves to be the best in music and the ideals of art.  Initially,... Continue Reading →

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Notation in Classical Era

When notes are played in neither staccato nor legato the fingers should be raised from the key a little earlier than the value f the note requires. In 1801, Muzio Clementi wrote that ‘the best general rule is to keep down the keys of the instruments, the FULL LENGTH of every note’. When Mozart wanted... Continue Reading →

The Hidden Context of the Classical Music

The function of the music was to convey the meaning of the text in a hidden, implied or apparent manner. But what about music without text such as sonatas, trios, quartets, symphonies or concertos? This was the challenge encountered by many commentators during the Classical period without being able to give a comprehensive answer. A... Continue Reading →

What is Classical Music

The word ‘classical ’music conjures for many a reference to any music that is old and not in our modern contemporary society. More likely, most will regard ‘classical’ music under a very broad period from Bach’s time including Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff or Debussy regardless of the history period of Western Art music which... Continue Reading →

Composers at the Keyboard

After Franz List , there were not many great composers. Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven as great as they were as pianists, there were also great composers. Johann Brahms was trained as a pianist in his youth, but he did not practice enough to keep his fingers loose. Critics said he lacked the finishing touch, was... Continue Reading →

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