Music Blog


Introduction to Pick-ups

Date: 16/12/2013

A pickup device is a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations, usually from suitably equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar, Chapman Stick, or electric violin, and converts them to an electrical signal that is amplified, recorded, or broadcast. A magnetic pickup consists of a permanent magnet with a core of material such as alnico or ceramic, wrapped with a coil of several thousand turns of fine enameled copper wire. The pickup is most often mounted on the body of the instrument, but can be attached to the bridge, neck and/or pickguard, as on many electro-acoustic archtop jazz guitars and string basses. The permanent magnet magnetizes the steel strings above it[citation needed] and the steel strings when they vibrate become moving magnets[citation needed] thereby inducing an alternating current through the coil of wire. This signal is then carried to amplification or recording equipment via a cable. There may also be an internal preamplifier stage between the pickup and cable.

Introduction to Strings

Date: 13/12/2013

A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material that a musical instrument holds under tension so that they can vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be “decorative” (consisting only of a single material, like steel, nylon, or gut). “Wound” strings have a “core” of one material, with an overwinding of other materials. This is to make the string vibrate at the desired pitch, while maintaining a low profile and sufficient flexibility for playability.

Effects Unit

Date: 12/12/2013

Effects units are electronic devices that alter how a musical instrument or other audio source sounds. Some effects subtly “color” a sound, while others transform it dramatically. Effects are used during live performances or in the studio, typically with electric guitar, keyboard and bass. While most frequently used with electric or electronic instruments, effects can also be used with acoustic instruments, drums and vocals. Examples of common effects units include wah-wah pedals, fuzzboxes and reverb units

Guitar Harmonic

Date: 11/12/2013

Harmonics are mainly generated manually by different playing techniques. Another method is sound wave feedback of a guitar amplifier at high volume, which causes an “infinite” vibration of certain string harmonics. A third method, magnetic string drivers like the EBow, can generate string harmonics.

Introduction to Harmonica

Date: 10/12/2013

The harmonica, also French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ,is a free reed wind instrument used worldwide in nearly every musical genre, notably in blues, American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. There are many types of harmonica, including diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, octave, orchestral, and bass versions. A harmonica is played by using the mouth (lips and/or tongue) to direct air into and out of one or more holes along a mouthpiece. Behind the holes are chambers containing at least one reed. A harmonica reed is a flat elongated spring typically made of brass, stainless steel, or bronze, which is secured at one end over a slot that serves as an airway. When the free end is made to vibrate by the player’s air, it alternately blocks and unblocks the airway to produce sound.

Introduction to Ukulele

Date: 23/05/2013

The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument related to the cavaquinho, braguinha and the rajao, taken to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants. It gained great popularity elsewhere in the United States during the early 20th century, and from there spread internationally.。

The tone and volume of the instrument varies with size and construction. Ukuleles commonly come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.

Introduction to Modern Jazz(Bebop)

Date: 06/12/2013

Bebop or bop is a style of jazz characterized by fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on the combination of harmonic structure and melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians’ argot some time during the first two years of American involvement in the Second World War. This style of jazz ultimately became synonymous with modern jazz, as either category reached a certain final maturity in the 1960s.

Introduction to Saxophone

Date: 22/06/2013

The saxophone (also referred to informally as the sax) is a conical-bore woodwind musical instrument. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet.The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846. He wanted to create an instrument that would be the most powerful and vocal of the woodwinds, and the most adaptive of the brass—that would fill the vacant middle ground between the two sections. He patented the saxophone on June 24, 1846 in two groups of seven instruments each. Each series consisted of instruments of various sizes in alternating transposition. The series pitched in B♭ and E♭, designed for military bands, has proved extremely popular and most saxophones encountered today are from this series. Instruments from the so-called “orchestral” series pitched in C and F never gained a foothold, and the B♭ and E♭ instruments have now replaced the C and F instruments in classical music.

While proving very popular in military band music, the saxophone is most commonly associated with jazz and classical music. There is substantial repertoire of concert music in the classical idiom for the members of the saxophone family. Saxophone players are called saxophonists.

The Great Master of Romantic Music–Chopin

Date: 12/06/2013

Frédéric François Chopin (1 March or 22 February 1810[1] – 17 October 1849), born (and known in Poland as) Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is widely considered one of the greatest Romantic piano composers. Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola, a village in the Duchy of Warsaw. A renowned child prodigy, he grew up in Warsaw and completed his music education there; he composed many of his mature works in Warsaw before leaving Poland in 1830 at age 20, shortly before the November 1830 Uprising.

Following the Russian suppression of the Uprising, he settled in Paris as part of Poland’s Great Emigration. During the remaining 19 years of his life, Chopin gave only some 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon; he supported himself by selling his compositions and teaching piano. After some romantic dalliances with Polish women, including an abortive engagement, from 1837 to 1847 he carried on a relationship with the French writer Amandine Dupin, aka George Sand. For most of his life Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris in 1849 at age 39.

Most of Chopin’s works are for solo piano, though he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces and some songs to Polish lyrics. His piano works are often technically demanding, emphasizing nuance and expressive depth. Chopin invented the instrumental ballade and made major innovations to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude, impromptu, scherzo and prélude.

Introduction to Jazz

Date: 10/06/2013

Jazz is a music that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, arguably earlier, within the African-American communities of the Southern United States. Its roots lie in the adoption by African-Americans of European harmony and form, taking on those European elements and combining them into their existing African-based music.

Its African musical basis is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note.[1] From its early development until the present day, jazz has also incorporated elements from popular music especially, in its early days, from American popular music.

Introduction to Cajon

Date: 08/06/2013

A cajón (Spanish pronunciation: [kaˈxon], “crate,” “drawer,” or “box”) is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, played by slapping the front face (generally thin plywood) with the hands.

Today, the cajón is heard extensively in Cuban, Coastal Peruvian or Musica criolla musical styles: Tondero, Zamacueca and Peruvian Waltz, modern Flamenco and certain styles of modern Rumba.

The modern cajón is often used to accompany the acoustic guitar and is showing up on worldwide stages in contemporary music. In fact the cajón is becoming rapidly popular in styles such as blues, pop, rock, funk, world music, fusion, jazz etc. It is also often referred to as a drum kit in a box or cajón box.

Size of Ukulele

Date: 24/05/2013

Ukulele’s normal size:

  • Soprano:21″ (Length: 21 inch, Note: G-C-E-A, aka Standard)
  • Concert:23″(Length: 23 inch, c.58cm, Note: G-C-E-A)
  • Tenor:26″ (Length: 26 inch, c.66cm, Note: G-C-E-A)
  • Baritone:30″ (Length: 30 inch, c.76cm, Note: D-G-B-E)
Note: 1 inch = 2.54cm

Piano Structure and Theory

Date: 17/05/2013

Modern pianos have two basic configurations (with subcategories): the grand piano and the upright piano.

In grand pianos, the frame and strings are horizontal, with the strings extending away from the keyboard. The action lies beneath the strings, and uses gravity as its means of return to a state of rest.

Upright pianos, also called vertical pianos, are more compact because the frame and strings are vertical. The hammers move horizontally, and return to their resting position via springs, which are susceptible to degradation. Upright pianos with unusually tall frames and long strings are sometimes called upright grand pianos. Some authors classify modern pianos according to their height and to modifications of the action that are necessary to accommodate the height.

Introduction to Ancient Pianos

Date: 16/05/2013

The earliest pianos by Cristofori (ca. 1700) were lightweight objects, hardly sturdier in framing than a contemporary harpsichord, with thin strings of low tensile strength steel and brass and small, tubular-shaped hammers. During the Classical era, when pianos first became used widely by important composers, the piano was only somewhat more robust than in Cristofori’s time.

It was during the period from about 1790 to 1870 that most of the important changes were made that created the modern piano. The prototype of the modern piano, with all of these changes in place, was exhibited to general acclaim by Steinway at the Paris exhibition of 1867; by about 1900, most leading piano manufacturers had incorporated most of these changes.

Introduction to Piano

Date: 15/05/2013

The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also popular as a tool for composing and rehearsal. Although not portable and often expensive, the piano’s versatility and ubiquity have made it one of the world’s most familiar musical instruments.

The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte (PF), the Italian word for the instrument (which in turn derives from the previous terms gravicembalo col piano e forte and fortepiano). The musical terms piano and forte mean “quiet” and “loud”, respectively, and in this context refer to variations in loudness the instrument produces in response to a pianist’s touch on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hammer hitting the string(s), and the louder the note produced.

Introduction to Pop Drum Set

Date: 14/05/2013

A drum kit, drum set or trap set is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments set up to be played by a single player.

Standard modern kit

A standard modern kit (for a right-handed player), as used in popular music and taught in many music schools,contains:

  • A snare drum, mounted on a specialised stand, placed between the player’s knees and played with drum sticks (which may include rutes or brushes)
  • A bass drum, played by a pedal operated by the right foot
  • A hi-hat stand and cymbals, operated by the left foot and played with the sticks, particularly but not only the right hand stick
  • One or more tom-tom drums, played with the sticks
  • One or more cymbals, played with the sticks, particularly but not only the right hand stick

Introduction to Bass Guitar

Date: 11/05/2013

The bass guitar (also called electric bass,or simply bass; /ˈbeɪs/) is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb, by plucking, slapping, popping, tapping, thumping, or picking.

The bass guitar is similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and four, five, six, or eight strings. The four-string bass—by far the most common—is usually tuned the same as the double bass,which corresponds to pitches one octave lower than the four lowest pitched strings of a guitar (E, A, D, and G). The bass guitar is a transposing instrument, as it is notated in bass clef an octave higher than it sounds (as is the double bass) to avoid excessive ledger lines. Like the electric guitar, the bass guitar is plugged into an amplifier and speaker for live performances.

Performance Style of Guitar

Date: 10/05/2013

  • Classical guitars also known as Spanish guitars are typically strung with nylon strings, plucked with the fingers, played in a seated position and are used to play a diversity of musical styles including classical music. The classical guitar’s wide, flat neck allows the musician to play scales, arpeggios, and certain chord forms more easily and with less adjacent string interference than on other styles of guitar.
  • Acoustic guitars are several notable subcategories within the acoustic guitar group: classical and flamenco guitars; steel-string guitars, which include the flat-topped, or “folk,” guitar; twelve-string guitars; and the arched-top guitar. The acoustic guitar group also includes unamplified guitars designed to play in different registers, such as the acoustic bass guitar, which has a similar tuning to that of the electric bass guitar.
  • The flamenco guitar is similar to the classical guitar, but of lighter construction, with a cypress body and spruce top. Tuning pegs like those of a violin are traditional, although many modern flamenco guitars have machine heads. A distinguishing feature of all flamenco guitars is the tapping plates (golpeadores) glued to the table, to protect them against the taps with the fingernails that are an essential feature of the flamenco style.
  • Electric guitars can have solid, semi-hollow, or hollow bodies, and produce little sound without amplification. Electromagnetic pickups convert the vibration of the steel strings into signals, which are fed to an amplifier through a cable or radio transmitter. The sound is frequently modified by other electronic devices or the natural distortion of valves (vacuum tubes) in the amplifier. There are two main types of magnetic pickups, single- and double-coil (or humbucker), each of which can be passive or active. The electric guitar is used extensively in jazz, blues, R & B, and rock and roll.