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1. All files included, or scheduled to be
included, in this library are, in our opinion, superb examples of that particular
composition in MIDI format. They have adhered to published scores, and are within
acceptable tempi, interpretation, etc. as to provide students of music with a high
quality example of the composition and hopefully encourage the student to explore the
composer and his works.
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file will be made
6. This archive is intended to provide a
resource for students of music who are seeking high quality MIDI examples of specific
works by classical composers. Many of the links, contained within, will point you to a
particular sequencer's own Web Site wherein the file resides. Many of these author's have
extended their permission to include some of their files directly on this site, but in
many cases, that particular author has additional files which we regard as
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In the event that you see a file within these
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MIDI FILES WILL ONLY SOUND AS
GOOD AS YOUR SOUNDCARD OR EXTERNAL SNYTH!
"Tweaking" files may be quite
necessary, but only in cases where there are multiple instruments involved.
Some MIDI files may NOT be GMidi standard, i.e., unless your soundcard or
synth is NOT a GMidi standard, you will have to look to the "patch" names for
the instruments in the MIDI file as they will appear in your software, This
particularly applies to Ensonique, Proteus, Yamaha and other synths that
pre-fate the GM Standard.
Even if you have a GM card or
synth, ity may be appropriate to adjust the volume levels of the channels. THE
VAST MAJORITY of the MIDI files available on this website will NOT require an
adjustment... however, should you download a file that "doesn't sound
quite right" , please follow the guidelines above, as every file on this site
has been well tested. Thanks
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "A" is for
an indication for vocal music sung without accompaniment. The literal translation means
"at chapel" and goes back to the early times in music history where instruments
(the creations of Man) were thought to be imperfect, crude and vulgar in comparison to the
instrument of God (the Human Voice), and were therefore banned from performance in church.
"A" is also for the Aeolian Harp, an ancient instrument consisting of a box with strings stretched over
two bridges. When exposed to the movement of air, it produces varying harmonic tones.
Albinoni, Tomaso Giovanni: b. Venice, 14 June 1671; d. Venice, 17 January 1751 at age 79.
Albéniz, Isaac: b.
Campródon, Gerona, Spain, 29 May 1860; d. Cambo-les-Bains, France, 18 May, 1909 at age
48. Fundamentally a composer for the piano, many of Albeniz' works have been transcribed
for the classical guitar. At age seven, Albeniz passed the entrance examination for the
piano at the Paris Conservatory.
Music Ed Quickbytes - The musical term
batutta refers to the strong beat at the
beginning of the measure (commonly referred to as the downbeat); while the instruction
a battuta means to return to strict time
after a rubato or ad libitum section of a score.
Don't laugh the next time you see someone playing a
keyboard with finger vibrato (moving the finger rapidly back and forth in a sideways
fashion). It's common for strings, but, believe it or not, the term Bebung (pronounced BAY' boong) refers to this
obscure, though valid clavichord technique! Also, with the advent of touch sensitive
keyboards, Bebung has taken on a 21st century meaning! (However, piano players take
note... vibrato all you want, but it remains purely a "stage effect" as once a
piano hammer is thrown, finger vibrato has no effect!)
Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel b. Weimar, 8 March, 1714, d. Hamburg, 15 December, 1788 at age 74.
Second surviving son of Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp may be regarded as a founder
of the modern piano playing technique as well as one of the originators of the
sonata-symphony form. He composed over 200 solo piano pieces and 52 concertos with
Bach, Johann Sebastian b.
Eisenach, 21 March, 1685; d. Leipzig, 28 July, 1750. One of the most prolific composers
known, fathered twenty children! His grave was unmarked, and was presumed lost until
rediscovered during excavations in 1894. Ironically, after his death, his music went
largely ignored, until revived by Felix B. Mendleshonn.
Bartók, Béla b. Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary (now Romania), 25 March 1881; d. New York, 26
September, 1945, at age 64. Bartok's father was an amateur pianist, who died when Bartok
was seven years old, so his mother guided his early career. When he was 11 the family
moved to Pozony, where Bartok succeeded Dohnanyi as organist in the Gymnasium Chapel.
Bartok then went on to take a teaching position at the Budapest Academy of Music from
1907-1934. He appeared as a concert pianist in Salzburg, London, and eventually the US
with great success. Bartok devoted many years of his life studying the folk music of his
native land, and utilizing its unique modes and rhythms throughout his compositions. In
1940 he returned to the US and remained there for the rest of his life. He is often
grouped with composers such as Stravinsky in a 20th century style trend called
"Primitivism", though most musicologists regard this as a misnomer, noting it as
an erroneous reaction to the developing trends in music of the early 20th century.
Beethoven, Ludwig van b. Bonn, 15 December, 1770, d. Vienna, 25 March 1827 at age 56.
Student of Mozart, Beethoven was born into a poor household; both parents were alcoholics,
and as a result, he received little general education. He subsequently studied with Haydn,
and despite his own ill health and deafness by his forties, he survives as one of the
legends in classical music, almost single-handedly forging music into the Romantic Era.
Bernstein, Leonard b. Lawrence, Massachusetts, 25 August, 1918; d. Leonard Bernstein
was a modern day musical marvel, composer, educator, performer, conductor... there was
little that "Lenny" didn't do with brilliance! He was a student of Walter
Piston, Harvard graduate in 1939, and then went on to the Curtis Institute to study
conducting, orchestration and piano. He became Koussevitsky's personal protégé at
Tanglewood and became a sensation when. on short notice, he was substitute conductor for
Bruno Walter. He was musical director of the NY Philharmonic for eleven years, and was
given the honor of Conductor Laureate for life.
Bizet, Georges b. Paris, 25 October, 1838; d. Bougival, 3 June 1875 at age 36. Georges
Bizet entered the Paris Conservatory at the young age of eleven, studying with Gounod. In
1857 he won the Grand Prix de Rome. He taught piano for a living, and at age 17 composed
his Symphony in C Major, finally achieving world acclaim in 1871. Popular rumor has it
that he died of grief for the poor reception of his best known work, the opera
"Carmen", however history proves otherwise, as "Carmen" proved a
sensation, though a controversial one. His exact cause of death was from a throat
Brahms, Johannes b. Hamburg, 7 May 1833; d. Vienna, 3 April 1897 at age 63. It was
another composer, Schumann, who recognized Johannes Brahms' talent at a young age and
brought him to the attention of the world. Brahms became popular as a composer and
conductor, and it is often said that Brahms was the logical extension of Beethoven,
bringing the symphonic form to even greater heights. Unfortunately, Brahms lived to only
compose four symphonies, and died from cancer of the liver, the same illness which killed
his father. He composed, in addition to his symphonies, many art songs and piano works,
including the popular Hungarian Rhapsodies, though the task of creating the true sound of
the Hungarian people was the work of the modern composer, Bela Bartok, whose material was
derived from actual folk music.
Quickbyte: "C" is for capotasto, or more commonly known as the
"nut" of stringed instruments. The term has come down to guitar players in its
much more familiar form, capo.
"C" is also for chalumeau, a French term used to describe the lowest register of the clarinet, and
for col legno, a term
not uncommon to orchestral string players... it means, literally, "with the
wood" and is an indication for the performer to strike the strings with the wooden
part of the bow, rather than the horsehair, to produce a percussive effect. The opening
movement "Mars" of Gustav Holst's "The Planets" is a good example of
col legno in action!
b. Zelazowa Wola, Poland, 1 March, 1810; d. Paris, 17 October, 1849
at age 39. At age eleven he entered the Warcsaw Lyceum, and at sixteen began his studies
at the newly founded Warsaw Conservatory. In 1831 he left Warsaw for Paris, where he fell
into financial troubles until teaching restored his financial situation. Chopin suffered
from ill health throughout most of his life, but his compositional excellence and teaching
skills commanded high fees. It has been said that Chopin always played the piano
delicately, and even the greatest fortissimo passages were often a mere forte at the hands
of this master. To this day, because of the bulk of his material being produced in Paris,
students often mistake Chopin to be of French origin.
b. Brooklyn, NY, 14 November, 1900; d. One of the great American
modern day composers, Copland was born of parents who showed little interest in music. In
1921 he went to Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger (as did many others of his
generation), and in 1925, back in the States, he received the Guggenheim Fellowship. He
was an extremely active composer, lecturer, pianist and conductor. His compoistions range
from the tonal "American style" of Rodeo to serialism, as in his Connotations
for Orchestra. He has written several books on music and received numerous
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "D" is for
destro, or "right" (hand). Commonly
found in the abbreviation M.D. (manu dexter), or in popular music R.H. We get the word
"ambidextrous" from this term. "D" is also for the German term,
Dreiklang, which we know much better as the
musical triad, and also for the Russian and Ukranian Dumka, a type of instrumental music that contains sudden changes in tempo and
b. St. Germain-en-Laye, France, 22 August, 1862; d. Paris, 25
March, 1918. One of the greatest of French composers, Debussy entered the Paris
Conservatory at the age of ten. In 1884, he had acquired such skill in performance and
composition that he won the Prix de Rome, which required he stay in that city until 1887,
whereupon he returned to Paris. For a time, he was short on money, and legend has it that
he taught a piano lesson the morning of his wedding to pay for the reception. Debussy was
the leading force behind the movement known as "Impressionism", a style of
writing that resembles program music, somewhat, but rather than telling a specific story,
seeks to create a specific mood or ambience through the use of varied harmonies,
timbres, rhythmic variances and imitations of the sounds of nature, all in a manner that
can best be described as an understatement... far more subtle that the German Romanticism
of the time.
Quickbte: "E" is for Einsatz, a German term which indicates the
entrance or cue of a musical part, and for another German term, erlöschend, which means dying or fading
away. Of course, most musician's favorite musical "E" stands for Encore!
Music-Ed Quick Byte: "F" is for
feedback... something very desirable for
Webmasters, but most of us guitarists can do without it unless it is controlled!
"F" is also for the Fandango, a Spanish dance in 3/4 time, often accompanied by dancers and singers.
And least we forget, "F" is also for the highly contrapuntal (and somewhat
mathematical) musical form at which J.S. Bach, among many others, excelled: the
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "G" is for the
Galliard, a lively 16th century dance with an
unusual 5-steps per measure! It's also for the gigelira, which is much more commonly known as the xylophone! And what quick-byte
on the letter G would be complete without the famous Guitar which (for those of use who play it should know), has its music written
in the G-schlüssel (or the
"G" or "Treble" Clef! The guitar, however, plays pitches exactly one
octave lower than notated, so be careful when tuning to a piano.
b. Buenos Aires, 11 April, 1916; d. Geneva, 25 June, 1983 at age
67. Ginastera started his piano studies at age seven, and at age twelve entered Williams
Conservatory. He then graduated, with highest honors, at the National Conservatory where
he became professor of composition. In 1945, with Peron's rise to power he left for the
USA, traveled widely in America and Europe and eventually returned to Argentina when
Peron was overthrown in 1955. He destroyed much of his earlier works, but received many
honors and commissions throughout his life.
Grieg, Edvard Hagerup
b. Bergen, Norway, 15 June 1843; d. Bergen, Norway, 4 September
1907 at age 64. Edvard Grieg, the nationalist composer of Norway, studied piano with his
mother, who was an accomplished concert pianist, composed his first pieces at age nine. At
fifteen he entered the Leipzig Conservatory, where he was influenced by Schumann. His most
known composition, the two suites from the incidental music to Isben's play Peer
Gynt, contain only eight of the twenty three numbers.His Piano Concerto in
A Minor stands as his most notable large scale work. Though his compositions tended to
remain in traditional two and four measure phrases, his nationalism can be heard in his
use of modes and drone basses which were common to native Norwegian peasant dances and
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "H" is not just for
Heavy Metal anymore! How about the Hammerklavier... the old fashioned name for
the piano at about the time of Beethoven? Or, maybe you're a dancing fool, and feel like a
Habanera, a Cuban form in 2/4
meter with a distinctive dotted eighth-sixteenth-eighth-eigth note rhythmic pattern
(probably the most famous example being from Bizet's "Carmen"). Or if rythmic
tricks are your bag, here's one of my favorites: Hemiola -which consists of switching the natural grouping of stress pulses from
odd to even or vice versa. (For example three groups of two changes to two groups of
three) Try it! It's very tasty!
Haydn, Franz Joseph
b. Rohrau, Austria, 31 March 1732; d. Vienna, 31 May 1809 at age
77. Haydn, the eventual teacher of Beethoven, was born into a poor family, with no
tradition of music. His early training was that of a singer in a boys choir in Vienna
until the age of 15, when his voice changed. He continued self study for many years,
acquiring intermittent jobs as Musikdirektor, but retained a permanence as Kapellmeister
in 1766 to the wealthy Esterházy family. After the death of the Prince, his son dismissed
the music establishment, and Haydn moved to Vienna, and later to England with great
success. He was a great admirer of the young Mozart, and was instrumental in the
development of the symphonic form (composing over one hundred), and directly responsible
for the formation of the string quartet as a musical form.
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "I" is for
idiophones, which, believe it or not, is the
correct term for percussion instruments, other than drums, which are struck, shaken,
plucked or rubbed! (Just for the record, so we don't leave out our drummers... drums
belong to the family of "membranophones" due to the drum head (membrane) which
is stretched over the body of the instrument! And lest we leave out one of the greatest
periods of musical composition, encompassing Ravel, Debussy and many others, we conclude
our quickbyte with the term: Impressionism.
Music-Ed Quickbyte: J is for
Jazz, which is the contribution to the music
world of the United States. Early Jazz was influenced by blues, ragtime, and Negro
Spirituals, but the style took the world by storm, and soon the Europeans (particularly
the French) began to assimilate many of its inherent stylisms, such as "swing".
"J" is also for Just Intonation, a system of tuning in which all intervals are derived from the intervals
of the perfect 5th and the pure major third. It sounds wonderful, but is no longer used
today, as modulation to other keys would not be possible.
Music-Ed Quickbyte: A musical instrument we all
can play... the Kazoo starts our
venture into the musicals K's. But let's not forget the Kontrabass, the real name for the stand-up bass! Or we can go really crazy with the
Germanic concept of Klangfarbenmelodie, a 20th century term used by composers of serial music to describe the
concept and practice of utilizing an instrument's timbre as a structural compositional
tool! Finally the word Kreuz,
better known as the musical "sharp".
Music-Ed Quickbyte: It's time to grab your
lute, that instrument that is similar to the
guitar, but with a pear shaped body, and play us a Ländler, a slow Austrian dance in 3/4 meter. And just to keep the house in order,
make sure you use a good Lietmotif... a musical concept and compositional tool brought to us by Richard
Wagner, where certain musical ideas are used to represent people, places or things
thorughout the course of a work. They are particularly prevelant in his Ring Cycle, but
the use of Lietmtifs, or motives, in general, is found in all good music, and is even used
in popular and rock music by the more "classically" oriented groups!
b. Raiding, Hungary, 22 October, 1811; d. Bayreuth, 31 July 1886 at age
74. A piano virtuoso, teacher and eventual music director in Weimar, Franz (Ferencz) Liszt
began appearing in concerts at the age on nine. When his family moved to Paris, in 1823,
his acceptance at the Paris Conservatory was rejected, because he was a foreigner. He met
and befriended many composers of his day, among them Chopin, Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz
and Paganini. He had three children, one of whom, Cosima, eventually married Richard
Wagner. He took minor orders of the Catholic church, but never became a priest. He toured
extensively, and was widely recognized for his pyrotechnics on the piano, but touring
adversely effected his health; he died of complications of pneumonia in 1886.
Music-Ed Quickbyte: While "M" stands for
Music, more importantly it stands for Musika, which to the ancient Greeks, meant ALL of the arts. The Greeks not only
advocated music as a key aspect of any citizens education, but gave us our system of
modes, as well as the basis of our scale
system leading to the modern concepts of Major and Minor
Tonality. And let's not forget that it was the Greeks who
believed in the spirits of creativity, known to us as the Muses.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
b. Salzburg, 27 January 1756; d. Vienna, 5 December 1791 at age 35.
Much has been written about this extraordinary composer whose music (and his legendary
life-story) has stood the test of time; Popularized most recently by the film Amadeus,
students should exercise caution in the dramatic treatment of his biography. Mozart,
a childhood phenomenon by the age of five, was, indeed, well traveled as a showpiece by
his father, Leopold, who profited from his son's talent. By the age of thirteen, Mozart
had had an audience with the Pope, had written an opera, and his talent was widely
celebrated. Mozart was never financially successful, for he received no lucrative
commissions to compose, and his jobs as court musician did not befit his extraordinary
talent. The one position which could have made him financially sound, (Kapellmeister in
Berlin), he refused, because he wished to remain in his beloved Vienna. What little money
he made was acquired through teaching, but he borrowed extensively from his Freemason
brothers in order to survive. In spite of his tremendous talent and the popular success of
the common people for his works, Mozart died of uremia, and in total poverty. He was
buried in an unmarked grave. While there may have been rivalry between Mozart and Salieri,
there is no substantial evidence to indicate Antonio Salieri's involvement with the death
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "N" is for
Neumes, one of the earliest examples of Man's
attempt to create a system of music notation. These crude symbols pre-date the modern concept of even the staff, and
were more like "shapes" which symbolically represented the curvature of the
melody of a plainsong. The familiar musical notation we see today, comprised of clefs,
staffs, and notes represents at
least a five century period of evolution!
Music-Ed Quickbyte: All Hail the Lofty "O". As a musical symbol itself this
round little fellow takes on several means. Above a note, it indicates a harmonic. In
fingering or in guitar chord charts, it indicates an open string. After a chord symbol or
and interval , it means "diminished". For those of us into MIDI, the
"O" stands for the Ondes Martenot, the grand-daddy of the modern synthesizer! This instrument (ca. 1920's)
was capable of playing single notes and glissandi through the use of radio tubes for tone
generation. It is somewhat reminiscient of the "thermin" (a different instrument
that used an antenna) and had its fair share of music written for it by Varese and
Messiaen, as well as many a sci-fi thriller!
Music-Ed Quickbyte: Of course, what else can
"P" stand for but our familiar Piano, whose real name is either the piano-forte or the forte-piano. The word
comes from the terms "forte" (loud) and "piano" (soft) and is a direct
indication of what was so outstanding about this instrument, and why it virtually replaced
harpsichords and clavichords in musical households. The piano's unique ability lied
in its rather complex "action", which enabled performers to strike the keys with
various degrees of pressure, thus producing tone from the quietest "piano" to
the loudest "forte". Hence... the "soft/loud".
b. Sontsavka, Ukraine, 23 April 1891; d. Moscow, 7 March 1953 at
age 61. Pupil of Gličre before entering St. Petersbourg Conservatory at age thirteen,
Sergei Prokofiev had already composed an opera at age nine. He was a student in
orchestration of Rimsky-Korsakov and graduated with the Rubinstein Prize in 1914. He
travelled extensively throughout Europe and America, often performing and conducting his
own works. He returned to Russia in the mid-30's, where his works were ill received by
Soviet authorities at the time, but before 1960 his works were officially re-instated.
Music-Ed Quickbyte: "Q" What else could
"Q" stand for except Studio 46's very own Music-Ed Quickbytes, which you find everywhere around our Web Site. It's our way of bringing
snippets of music education to you or your child in a fun, non-intrusive style... even
when being educated is the furthest thing from your mind!
QuickByte: "R" is for Raga, which is the melodic formula used in
Indian melodies (similar to a scale)... or for Ragtime, a style of early 20th century piano music in which the left hand plays a
steasy "striding" style against a syncopated melody in the right hand. In fact,
the term "Ragtime" is actually derived from the descriptive
"Ragged-Time". And while we are on the subject of musical styles, there exists
Reggae, a Jamaican popular style influenced
by American soul music.
Oneg, USSR, 1 April 1873; d. Beverly Hills, Ca. 28 March 1943, at age 69. One of Russia's
greatest Romantic composers, Rachmaninov was born into the aristocracy, but his family's
fortune was on a steady decline. He studied piano at both the Moscow and St. Petersburg
Conservatories, and by 1892 his works became recognized. He conducted at the Bolshoi from
1904-1906, during which time his music had come under the highest regard... that is, until
the Russian Revolution in 1917, when his works were suddenly dismissed as being
"bourgeois". This led to a long period of depression and ill health. He fled
Russia and eventually settled at Lake Lucerne in 1931. In 1939 the Russian government
accepted his music again, no longer considering it "decadent" and he took to
touring America, raising monies for the war relief efforts from 1942 until his death from
cancer in 1943. He is buried near New York City.
Ciboure, 7 March, 1875; d. Paris, 28 December, 1937 at age 62. Noted as one of the
greatest Impressionist composers, along with Claude Debussy, Ravel studied at the Paris
Conservatory for ten years. He was plagued with ill health, but nonetheless lead a
successful career. In 1928 he received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Oxford
University. In 1933, insomnia made him progressively more ill, an unsuccessful operation to
remove a suspected brain tumor (which was never there) caused him to linger in a state of
unconsciousness until his death a few days later.
Bologna, Italy, 9 July, 1879; d. Rome, 18 April, 1936. Resphigi began his career as a
first violinist in the St. Petersburg opera orchestra, while taking lessons from
Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1908 he was a ppointed a professorship of composition, and in 1923,
became the director at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. His compositions were more
profoundly influences by the changes in harmony introduced by Debussy and the
Impressionists, rather than by the Germanic influences of Wagner, Richard Strauss and
Mahler. Respighi compositions are notably lighter and less "bloated" than the
followers of the Wagnerian trend.
QuickByte: Scales is the operative "S" word, and what student doesn't
know the importance of them! Most scales are composed of seven pitches, with the eighth
pitch completing the octave, but other types exist, including the "gapped
scales" (Pentatonic is a good example), and the Whole tone scale (comprised of all
whole tones), thus yielding six tones to the octave, and the "Chromatic" Scale,
all half steps. The word "scale", itself, is derived from the Italian word la
scala, meaning ladder; a reference to the
note by note (rung by rung) alphabetized order of scales. And every opera buff has heard of
the famous opera house, La Scala...
when you sing there, you are "at the top of the ladder"!
b. Vienna, 31 January 1797; d. Vienna, 19 November 1828 at age 31.
Shubert learned violin from his father, a school teacher and amateur musician, and studied
the piano from his older brother. His composing was only part time, as his profession was
a school teacher, but his songs (more than 600 in total) began to attract much attention
and he gave up teaching for the art of composing. An opportunity to teach the children of
the wealthy Esterházy children led him to Hungary, but he soon grew home sick for his
beloved Vienna and returned home. He died an untimely death from typhoid fever and left
behind his famous "Unfinished" Symphony, though two additional symphonies,
composed between his sixth and seventh, also unfinished, have been recently discovered.
b. Zwickau, 6 June 1810; d. Endenich, 29 July 1856 at age 46.
Schumann's family was not musical, but as a child he was allowed to study the piano at
school, though his mother encouraged him toward a career in law which he finally took to
study at Leipzig University. His love for music, however, eventually led him to board with
his piano teacher, Wieck, in 1830, but shortly thereafter, at age 22, his right hand
became permanently crippled and he pursued the careers of composition and music critic. He
eventually married his piano teacher's daughter, Clara, a concert pianist, who encourage
his musical endeavors, but marital instability lead him to a near nervous breakdown. In
1850 he accepted a music directorship at Düsseldorf, but resigned after three years due
to his rapidly declining mental health, which led him to throw himself into the Rhine
River a year later. He was put into an asylum near Bonn, where he remained until his death
less than three years later.
b. Hämeenlinna, Finland, 8 December, 1865; d. Jäarvenpää, 20
September 1957 at age 91. In his early life, Sibelius studied the violin. He went to
Helsinki to study law, and there met Busoni, with whom he made a life-long friendship.
After studying in Berlin and Vienna, he returned to Finland, where he soon was recognized
as the Nationlist composer. In the 1920's he retired from composition and
suffered from ill health, but eventually completed his 8th Symphony in 1929, which he then
destroyed. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Finlandia (Symphonic Poem,
1900) [seq. Robert C. Goodyear]
QuickByte: Guitarists may love or hate
this, but "T" is for Tablature, which is a diagrammatic and numeric notation system for
instruments which represents the placement of fingers, through which, a composition may be
learned, without reading actual music notation. Much controversy exists surrounding
tablature, which some instructors consider a crutch or substitute for reading music. One
fact should be made clear however; Tablature was never designed to replace written
notation, however it is most definitely NOT the product of a modern convenience. In fact,
tablature predates written notation, and, in the early periods of the development
of the modern notation system, tablature was actually more exacting!
Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilych
b. Kamsko-Votkinsk, USSR, 7 May 1840; d. St. Petersburg, 6
November, 1893 at age 53. The early years of one of Russia's most beloved composers were
unsettled, and in the 1850's Tchaikovsky studied law and became an indifferent lawyer
until he entered the St, Petersburg Conservatory in 1862. Three years later he was
teaching harmony at the Moscow Conservatory and began serious composition. Failure of his
early works, along with serious guilt of his sexuality, often found the composer in deep
depressions. He tried to drown himself in 1877, after a disastrous marriage, and nearly
went insane. Upon his move to Switzerland he was financially assisted by a Mme von Meck.
He was presumed to have died from cholera, but the issue remains in debate as to the
circumstances surrounding his death.
QuickByte: "U" is for Ukulele, a small instrument, similar to the
guitar, with four strings of Hawaiian origin. In many instances, older sheet music from
the 30's and 40's have the familiar "guitar grid" symbols, but actually these
four-string symbols are the chord grids for the Ukulele, whose popularity became eclipsed
by the modern guitar. "U" is also for upbeat, more commonly known as a "pick up" note... but in a stricter
theoretical meaning, a beat which is not considered a naturally stressed pulse. These can
include the subdivision of each beat, or the weaker beats of the metric constraints of a
composition. The term may indicate, also, a generic use of the word meaning
"quick" or "faster".
QuickByte: "V" is for vibrations, preferably, of the good kind...
and for virtuoso, which is a
general term used to describe an extremely accomplished musician. The first virtuoso was
often considered to be Niccolo Paganini, who received his virtuosity by the young
age of only eleven!
Vivaldi, Antonio Lucio
b. Venice, 4 March 1676; d. Vienna, 28 July 1741 at age 64. From
the age of fifteen, Vivaldi trained for the priesthood, and was ordained in 1703. Always
pursuing his musical endeavors more than his priestly duties, he began a long association
with the Foundling Hospital, a girl's music school, in 1703, where he served as a violin,
and then concert master. Eventually, however, the hospital disowned him, and he died in
1741, buried in a pauper's grave.
Muisc-Ed QuickByte: "W" is for
waveform, which is a graphic representation
of a sound, showing amplitude and time. The three basic wave forms are sine, sawtooth, and
square/rectangular. In the early days of analof synthesis, all sound were created from
these waves plus the addition of noise (pink and white). And "W" is also for
wolf, or wolf-tone... an unpleasant vibration
caused by resonation between the body or cabinet of the instrument and the tone source.
(Like when your TV cabinet vibrates during certain bass notes). Guitarists regularly check
instruments for wolf notes before purchase!
b. Lyons, 21 February 1844; d. Paris, 12 March 1937 at age 93.
Widor became an organist at Lycée in Lyons at the early age of eleven... not
as he studied with his father, and accomplished organist and also an organ builder, as was
Widor's grandfather. In 1870, Widor took an appointment at St. Sulpice, in Paris, a
position which he held for sixty-four years! In 1890 he became professor of organ and
composition at the Paris Conservatory.
QuickByte: "X"... that's a
tough one, unless we use the obligatory xylophone. But in addition, "X" is often used in guitar chord grids to
indicated a "muted" or "dampened" string.
Additionally, the letter "X" is used as a "note head" to indicate a sound
without a specific pitch (for example, finger snaps, clapping, etc. or a hit on
a drum or unpitched percussion.
QuickByte: And now, for "Y"...
How about Yodel... we have all
heard of it, but what is it? Technically, yodeling, is an Alpine song form based on the
rapid alternation between the natural chest voice and the falsetto. And for good measure,
here's another "Y"... the Yuehchyn, which is a Chinese guitar!
QuickByte: Our last letter "Z"
stands for zither, which is an
old string instrument, flat in shape, with anywhere from twenty to fifty strings, of which
five are used to play melody, while the remaining are used for accompaniment. Two well
known examples of the zither can be found in its use in Strauss' "Tales from Vienna
Woods" and the movie theme from "The Third Man". That's it for the
Music Ed Quickbytes and MIDI Files
are updated periodically. Check back once and awhile to see what is new!