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#2106477 - 06/22/13 10:13 PM Music terminology and questions
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Hey folks,

I need your help with the following terms and questions:

a) what is the texture of a piece ?
b) what is the form of a piece ?
c) what is a melodic phrase ?
d) how can I determine the tempo mark of a piece ? (for pieces with no tempo mark)
e) where can I source the urtext of a classic piece from in order to determine the original intentions of the composer ? E.g Fuer Elise, Ode to Joy, Minuet in G....
f) is determining the scale of a piece is the same as determining the key note ( signature )?

Not having a good grasp of the music language is frustrating.



Joseph


Edited by JosephAC (06/22/13 10:15 PM)

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#2106488 - 06/22/13 10:44 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
If you're a beginner, a, b, and c are not important--hit the right notes in the right time.

The tempo of a piece should be obvious from the context, if there is no tempo indication. If in doubt, play "moderato," medium speed, which will do for anything.

e, you can completely forget about, even if you reach an advanced level. In any case, the phrase "the original intentions of the composer" is essentially meaningless.

f, you can ignore at your level, or even at an advanced level.

Right now, concentrate on hitting the right notes in the right time, which is not something trivial in even relatively easy pieces.

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#2106491 - 06/22/13 10:51 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Gyro]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 341
Loc: San Diego, CA
Gyro! Welcome back. We missed you, man.

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#2106522 - 06/23/13 12:58 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: SoundThumb]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1060
Loc: Southern California
For many of the basics, I have mentioned the free Yale course before
http://oyc.yale.edu/music/musi-112

For those that don't have the time or desire for 24 lectures, Wikipedia and search is your friend.

For example, on texture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texture_%28music%29
Texture is often described in regard to the density, or thickness, and range, or width between lowest and highest pitches, in relative terms as well as more specifically distinguished according to the number of voices, or parts, and the relationship between these voices. For example, a thick texture contains several different "layers" of instruments. One layer could be a string section, another a brass. This would be a reasonably light texture, with not too many layers. The thickness also is affected by the amount and the richness of the instruments playing the piece. The thickness varies from light to thick. A piece's texture may be affected by the number and character of parts playing at once, the timbre of the instruments or voices playing these parts and the harmony, tempo, and rhythms used.

On forms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_form

Some brief examples:
Binary form: uses two sections (AB...); each section is often repeated (AABB...). In 18th-century western classical music, "simple binary" form was often used for dances ...

Ternary form has three parts. In Western classical music a simple ternary form has a third section that is a recapitulation of the first (ABA). Often, the first section is repeated (AABA). This approach was popular in the 18th-century operatic aria, and was called da capo (i.e. "repeat from the top") form. Later, it gave rise to the 32-bar song, with the B section then often referred to as the "middle eight". A song has more need than a dance of a self-contained form with a beginning and an end.

Rondo form has a recurring theme alternating with different (usually contrasting) sections called "episodes". It may be asymmetrical (ABACADAEA) or symmetrical (ABACABA). A recurring section, especially the main theme, is sometimes more thoroughly varied, or else one episode may be a "development" of it.


There are more. Again, the music appreciation course puts a lot of this into context, which is the best way to understand it, not in five minute Wikipedia answers.

I think that some of the advanced topics are more suitable for conservatory students that are considering a career in music, vs. hobbyist musicians. However, if a person has a keen interest go ahead. There is no right or wrong in the pursuit.
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#2106554 - 06/23/13 03:40 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Gyro? Gyro? Wait I have to clean my glasses ....

... it's still there, Gyro!!

Hey, a big welcome back old fella !

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#2106555 - 06/23/13 03:45 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3543
>e) where can I source the urtext of a classic piece from ... ? E.g Fuer Elise, Ode to Joy, Minuet in G....

Different for each piece. Really early editions are often also found on IMSLP.org. but I'm not sure if that counts as urtext

>in order to determine the original intentions of the composer?
You can't


f) is determining the scale of a piece is the same as determining the key note ( signature )?

Sometimes a piece is in a different key than its signature. I still don't understand why. For example I have a piece of Couperin that is clearly in G minor but has signature D minor (and as a result a lot of accidentals in the score).


Edited by wouter79 (06/23/13 04:16 AM)
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#2106567 - 06/23/13 04:32 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Gyro]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: Gyro
If you're a beginner, a, b, and c are not important--hit the right notes in the right time.

The tempo of a piece should be obvious from the context, if there is no tempo indication. If in doubt, play "moderato," medium speed, which will do for anything.

e, you can completely forget about, even if you reach an advanced level. In any case, the phrase "the original intentions of the composer" is essentially meaningless.

f, you can ignore at your level, or even at an advanced level.

Right now, concentrate on hitting the right notes in the right time, which is not something trivial in even relatively easy pieces.


Thanks Gyro. I am a beginner in my second year. In addition to playing the right notes with the right fingering pattern at the right dynamics, playing steadily and to rhythm even at low speed and resist the temptation to spend extra time on what to do or what I have done have been my focus in recent times.

While as I do not need to concern myself, sometime I need to start to broaden my command of the music language. In this case, I was reading a book on playing technique and I have come across these terms. I have seen them before numerous times, looked them up and never grasped them. I was hoping that another adult clarification might just provide the right illustration to help me grasp them and remember them.



Edited by JosephAC (06/23/13 04:34 AM)

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#2106571 - 06/23/13 04:37 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Sand Tiger]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
For many of the basics, I have mentioned the free Yale course before
http://oyc.yale.edu/music/musi-112

For those that don't have the time or desire for 24 lectures, Wikipedia and search is your friend.

For example, on texture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texture_%28music%29
Texture is often described in regard to the density, or thickness, and range, or width between lowest and highest pitches, in relative terms as well as more specifically distinguished according to the number of voices, or parts, and the relationship between these voices. For example, a thick texture contains several different "layers" of instruments. One layer could be a string section, another a brass. This would be a reasonably light texture, with not too many layers. The thickness also is affected by the amount and the richness of the instruments playing the piece. The thickness varies from light to thick. A piece's texture may be affected by the number and character of parts playing at once, the timbre of the instruments or voices playing these parts and the harmony, tempo, and rhythms used.

On forms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_form

Some brief examples:
Binary form: uses two sections (AB...); each section is often repeated (AABB...). In 18th-century western classical music, "simple binary" form was often used for dances ...

Ternary form has three parts. In Western classical music a simple ternary form has a third section that is a recapitulation of the first (ABA). Often, the first section is repeated (AABA). This approach was popular in the 18th-century operatic aria, and was called da capo (i.e. "repeat from the top") form. Later, it gave rise to the 32-bar song, with the B section then often referred to as the "middle eight". A song has more need than a dance of a self-contained form with a beginning and an end.

Rondo form has a recurring theme alternating with different (usually contrasting) sections called "episodes". It may be asymmetrical (ABACADAEA) or symmetrical (ABACABA). A recurring section, especially the main theme, is sometimes more thoroughly varied, or else one episode may be a "development" of it.


There are more. Again, the music appreciation course puts a lot of this into context, which is the best way to understand it, not in five minute Wikipedia answers.

I think that some of the advanced topics are more suitable for conservatory students that are considering a career in music, vs. hobbyist musicians. However, if a person has a keen interest go ahead. There is no right or wrong in the pursuit.


Thanks Sand Tiger. I read your Yale recommendation before. When I tried few months ago to watch them, I was not ready. I got bored. Now it might be the time to watch them over. A couple of months.

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#2106572 - 06/23/13 04:40 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: wouter79]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: wouter79
>e) where can I source the urtext of a classic piece from ... ? E.g Fuer Elise, Ode to Joy, Minuet in G....

Different for each piece. Really early editions are often also found on IMSLP.org. but I'm not sure if that counts as urtext

>in order to determine the original intentions of the composer?
You can't


f) is determining the scale of a piece is the same as determining the key note ( signature )?

Sometimes a piece is in a different key than its signature. I still don't understand why. For example I have a piece of Couperin that is clearly in G minor but has signature D minor (and as a result a lot of accidentals in the score).


Thanks Wouter79. It is good to know.

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#2106605 - 06/23/13 07:43 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
These are all excellent questions, which appear as though, asked by someone with a background in music theory.
Glad to see Sand Tiger was able to provide good answers for you. All I am trying to do is add a bit more.

Originally Posted By: JosephAC
a) what is the texture of a piece ?

Texture is the thickness or density and range of a piece. a couple examples will be
Monophonic--a single melodic line without an accompaniment.
Homophonic--a melody with an accompaniment.

Quote:
b) what is the form of a piece ?

Form is the overall plan or layout of a piece of music. A couple of examples will be:
Sonata form--exposition, development, recapitulation and coda.
Prelude--through composed.

Quote:
c) what is a melodic phrase ?

Phrase is a musical sentence or expression thus melodic phrase will be melodic expression or sentence.

Quote:
d) how can I determine the tempo mark of a piece ? (for pieces with no tempo mark)

I would think tempo would depend on the music whether it should go slower or faster.

Quote:
f) is determining the scale of a piece is the same as determining the key note ( signature )?

Key note is the tonic or the first scale degree.
Scale in traditional western music has tonic, the first scale degree, and 6 other scale degrees after the tonic and before the first octave.

Best
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2106608 - 06/23/13 08:03 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Hey folks,
......
e) where can I source the urtext of a classic piece from in order to determine the original intentions of the composer ? E.g Fuer Elise, Ode to Joy, Minuet in G....
.......

If you post this in Pianist Corner, there maybe a few people who will be able to answer your question better.

Best
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2106672 - 06/23/13 11:03 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1060
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
For many of the basics, I have mentioned the free Yale course before
http://oyc.yale.edu/music/musi-112

For those that don't have the time or desire for 24 lectures, Wikipedia and search is your friend.

For example, on texture:
...


Thanks Sand Tiger. I read your Yale recommendation before. When I tried few months ago to watch them, I was not ready. I got bored. Now it might be the time to watch them over. A couple of months.


Joseph, if you are bored by this stuff, instead of fascinated, I would avoid it. There is no need to slog through mud for any hobbyist. Work on what brings you joy, what fascinates you, not stuff that bores you. It is a hobby, it is supposed to be fun. I wouldn't recommend that anyone sit through the 24 Yale lectures if it bores them. A person can become a very good pianist with very little knowledge of terminology and history.

Learn it as needed, as it applies. For example if learning to play a rondo, or sonata, spend a very few minutes learning about that form and how it may fit into historical context.
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#2106690 - 06/23/13 11:33 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JosephAC

I need your help with the following terms and questions:

a) what is the texture of a piece ?
b) what is the form of a piece ?
c) what is a melodic phrase ?
d) how can I determine the tempo mark of a piece ? (for pieces with no tempo mark)
e) where can I source the urtext of a classic piece from in order to determine the original intentions of the composer?
f) is determining the scale of a piece is the same as determining the key note ( signature )

Knowing that you are a relative beginner, I was wondering where these questions were coming from. I had rather guessed that it was as you have written below:

Originally Posted By: JosephAC
While as I do not need to concern myself, sometime I need to start to broaden my command of the music language. In this case, I was reading a book on playing technique and I have come across these terms. I have seen them before numerous times, looked them up and never grasped them.


As Gyro wrote, you have to get at the fundamental things first, and do a lot of hands-on things. In regards to reading texts about music, well maybe they will give you some general broad idea (or not) but that's not how to do it. Could you have understood math, algebra, writing, by reading about them? No, you had to work on exercises and do things. It's the same here, and even more so since piano is physical. But here's to get you started:

a) what is the texture of a piece?
My music dictionary says "The general pattern of sound created by the elements of a work...." and then gives examples like "polyphony" which won't mean anything to you yet. However, you can start becoming aware of some things now. Does the piece you are practising have chords in the LH and a melody in the RH? Or do you hear two melodies weaving in and out? These are textures. There are many more.

I'll bet that there are a lot of musicians who have played music for years who never heard the word "texture".

b) what is the form of a piece?
When you get more advanced in music you may start studying "forms", erm, formally. Getting all the names is relatively unimportant except maybe for passing exams and sounding smart. But knowing about form in general is useful.

Example: There is music that goes a certain way for a number of lines say in C major (A), then it does a bit of a diddle and suddenly it's doing the same thing in G major (B), then diddles some more and does the same thing as the first time round (A). If you can catch on to this, then playing becomes a whole lot easier because if you've got the first A, then you also have the last one. This one is an ABA form. Its formal name is less important. See if you can discover patterns in the music you play. Do the same for music you listen to.

c) what is a melodic phrase?
Melodic means it's in the melody. A phrase is like a sentence, like something that hangs together. In the song "Twinkle", it would seem weird to sing "Twinkle, twinkle Lit-" and stop, or even "Twinkle, twinkle little" - "star" makes it complete. Even without the words, you don't want to stop there.

d) how can I determine the tempo mark of a piece ?
You want to determine the tempo or pace, not a number on the metronome. If it's a funeral march, how slow do people walk in a funeral? Get up, pretend you're a pall bearer, and see how you would walk? If it's a waltz, what is a comfortable waltzing speed?

e) where can I source the Urtext of a classic piece from in order to determine the original intentions of the composer?

I think you'd have to be rather advanced in music and maybe a bit of a learned scholar to be able to do that - and even then I'd have my doubts.

f) is determining the scale of a piece is the same as determining the key note (signature)?

This one IS a question for now. Ok, you (usually) get what key a piece is in through its key signature. There are two possibilities: the major or relative minor key. Example: If there is one flat then it will be in F major or its relative minor, which is 3 notes down using the notes of that key, so D minor. Your clues are that the piece will often end on the note of the key (so on F for F major) and with the I chord (so F major = FAC). The minor will tend to have a lot of accidentals on the 7th note - so for D minor, you will see lots of sharps signs in front of C to make it C#. It will tend to end on D in the melody.

In F major, you would have a major scale going from F to F, and a minor scale of some kind going from D to D. So yes, that is there, but I don't know if you can properly say that it's a way of "determining" your key.

But seriously, stay with the simple more concrete things to begin with, with an eye to expand to these other things eventually. That way, when you run into these terms, you will draw on things that you already noticed in music. It will be more meaningful.

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#2106887 - 06/23/13 06:34 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Keystring, I appreciate your patience and your response. I read it a couple of times already and it definitely implants the right seed for future development.

I like the maths analogy. Somehow, with maths, we acquired it and progressed to advanced levels with schooling and tertiary years. I am not sure how it will happen with music as I do not intend to study it formally. Actually, my main source of music education is gained through self study.

I must admit that my frustration with music stems largely from my slow progress and my lack of understanding of music terms. I have come in terms with my progress rate as I can not alter my making, my limitations and my age.
But I have not given up on learning music terms. Learning music is like learning a new language. Music is another language. Yes, I want to be able to converse daily and for that I might need 4 to 5 thousands words. But I also also read books and watch plays and for that I might need 20 thousand words.

The same for music. I derive satisfaction through a broader knowledge, not related to daily practices. I have always been a bigger picture person. Seeking to understand the bigger picture is my driver for this quest.

Once again, thank you.
Joseph


Edited by JosephAC (06/23/13 06:36 PM)

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#2107680 - 06/25/13 08:30 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
I have some more questions :


a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?

b) What is 'motifs' ?

c) What does cadence mean ? Any mark for it ?

Thanks

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#2107682 - 06/25/13 08:37 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Joseph, except for the rolled chords, these things are not learned by reading about them and getting verbal explanations. The are learned through organized study, by doing things. If I told you what "multiplication" or the "distributive property in algebra" was, would that give it to you without working on multiplying numbers and actually working with this distributive property? If I tell you that (a + c)b = ab + ac, would this be useful for you without working with it?

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#2107685 - 06/25/13 08:44 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
Originally Posted By: JosephAC

c) What does cadence mean ? Any mark for it ?


Of the things you've asked about in this thread, my feeling is that understanding cadences and learning to recognize the most common ones when you see or hear them is definitely a good thing to follow up on.

There's no marking for it. It is a description of how certain combinations of chords go together to create and then resolve a bit of "tension" in a tune's harmony. Unfortunately "tension" is another buzzword, it's hard to explain one buzzword without invoking others (which is part of keystring's point).

As a starting point, convention hymnbook arrangements on the old church songs will often have a "A-ah-men" type ending tacked on to the last verse. The way the four voices flow from one syllable to the next to form that closing fillip is an example of one very common cadence. There are a handful of cadences that pretty much cover anything you'll need to know about the topic.

An introductory theory text will introduce cadences fairly early in the harmony treatement, perhaps before getting frankly into voice leading.


Edited by Brent H (06/25/13 08:45 AM)
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#2107699 - 06/25/13 09:12 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: keystring]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2392
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Joseph, except for the rolled chords, these things are not learned by reading about them and getting verbal explanations. The are learned through organized study, by doing things. If I told you what "multiplication" or the "distributive property in algebra" was, would that give it to you without working on multiplying numbers and actually working with this distributive property? If I tell you that (a + c)b = ab + ac, would this be useful for you without working with it?


Hmm, yes and no. A definition of motif would be needed, then some examples, then a piece of music with them in where you have to identify them.

Same with cadence, but perhaps more so for the theory. We can easily define what a cadence is theoretically and you can find them without ever hearing it. But yes, until you know you are hearing a perfect cadence (or whatever) it has little value.
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#2107707 - 06/25/13 09:35 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Andy Platt]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Originally Posted By: keystring
Joseph, except for the rolled chords, these things are not learned by reading about them and getting verbal explanations. The are learned through organized study, by doing things. If I told you what "multiplication" or the "distributive property in algebra" was, would that give it to you without working on multiplying numbers and actually working with this distributive property? If I tell you that (a + c)b = ab + ac, would this be useful for you without working with it?


Hmm, yes and no. A definition of motif would be needed, then some examples, then a piece of music with them in where you have to identify them.

Same with cadence, but perhaps more so for the theory. We can easily define what a cadence is theoretically and you can find them without ever hearing it. But yes, until you know you are hearing a perfect cadence (or whatever) it has little value.


I agree with you and maybe I didn't express myself very well. I mean that understanding music won't come from reading about more and more things, or going after definitions of more and more terms. At some point you have to start working with things.

I suddenly had a flashback yesterday that quite a few years back I decided I'd study music by going after terms. I had a brand new music dictionary and decided to study two pages a day. Out of curiosity I got out the dictionary - the bookmark is still where I stopped: B, between Bockstriller and Bolero. I've long forgotten what a Bockstriller is and I will probably never use that. The Boehm system won't help me because I don't play the flute. Other terms that I studied then have meaning now, because I actually worked with them. Do I regret the dictionary stint? No, because it gave me some kind of starting point when I didn't know where to start and lots of fun things to explore.

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#2107856 - 06/25/13 02:17 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 972
I always say, the music came first, the theory came after. So you should try to learn in that order. These guys are all correct, it's easier and more beneficial to attach a theory term with the sound it's describing. Especially with music, most things are easier to demonstrate than to describe.

Reminds me of a class I took in adapting books to screenplays, defining the difference between books and movies. In a book, you can spend pages setting up and describing a scene, with each little detail. In a movie, you can give that same information in a 5 second shot.
_________________________
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BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
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#2107877 - 06/25/13 02:45 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
I'm not sure I quite agree with everyone here. A lot of the questions he's asking come up and get explained (perfectly adequately, to my understanding at least) in the relatively early chapters of a number of college-level music theory textbooks (which I collect and enjoy studying from.,, outdated editions are cheap if you get them off-season).

And for the past decade or so, it seems like most college theory texts come with CDs to illustrate and/or quiz you on what's being taught. Then if there's a musical example that's not on the CD, either one can pick it up on the piano, or if not, it can be entered into a program like MuseScore so one can hear what it sounds like.

Reading stuff over my head was pretty much the way I learned to program computers too, back in the dark ages before there were learn-to-program books everywhere. I read more specialized manuals, which started out being very opaque, but whatever knowledge was assumed that I didn't have yet, well, that taught me what other info I needed to go in search of.

Studying a music theory textbook is much more straightforward than that path to programming ever was. The key is to go slow enough to get the information into your ears as well as your brain.
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#2107889 - 06/25/13 03:13 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
tangleweeds,

I have done more than I care to recall of the kind of textbook-browsing you describe. In the end, a certain amount of it was helpful and the rest was a poor substitute for actually advancing my musical knowledge in a practical sense.

For me, personally, the amount of music theory (or vocabulary or any other "book learning") that I can benefit from in the abstract is pretty limited. Probably about as much as you'd gain from picking any one of those textbooks, reading and doing the exercises for the first few chapters.

Beyond that, without training my ear to hear what that theory is describing I'm just spinning my wheels. But my unified theory of music is if you can't hear it before you play it (or sing it) then you're just going through the mechanics and not really making music. So maybe the hearing thing is more important to me than some folks...
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#2107956 - 06/25/13 04:47 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
I got your points and generally speaking i concur with your views, except for I am not trying to learn music through reading books.

In my quest to remain motivated, inspired and broaden and deepen my understanding of the music tools of the trade ( so to speak), I do some readings.

When reading, I come across music terms that I do not understand. I could brush them away and ignore them or seek to understand them. Being a detailed person, I am opting for the latter.

Am I wasting my time reading while I am commuting ? Or when my energy level is low ? Or when I can not focused on my playing ? ... I do not believe so. Reading is not robbing my practice time. It is complementing it. It is broadening my perspective. It is exposing me to the professional's world.

I recently read ( twice):
Piano Practice and Performamce by Wherli
Improve your piano playing by Meffen
"Practising The Piano" ebooks series by Graham Fitch

And currently reading :
Sight reading skills by Maydwell
The Musician's way by Klickstein

Most likely, this is will be the end of my music book reading spell for time to come. Equipped with the newly gained awareness of what I did not know what I did not know, my energy will be channeled into my musical practice and other non musical interests.

In summary, reading is shaping my thinking and in order to understand some unfamiliar terms,I could be using this forum or buy myself a good dictionary.

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#2107990 - 06/25/13 05:31 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
@Brent

I'm sure you're a much better musician than I am, but sometimes I do like to speak up for (perhaps not very large) the segment of humanity that shares my mathematical/academic learning style.

I'm not one of those people who learns well from purely experiencing something. All of the new "learning by discovery" curriculums leave me entirely frustrated and bored. It actually works best for me to have the overarching theory of something explained to me as early on as possible.

In music, it was all just cool and attractive sounds, and I couldn't understans why some things sounded better than others until I sat down with theory books to explain to me the structure of what I was hearing. Theory helped me break down what I used to experience as "lotsa pretty sounds), so I could put names on what I was hearing, and thus evolve my understanding of the relationships to one another.

It was like the experience when you buy a certain obscure car, then suddenly start seeing the same kind everywhere you go. The theory helped me recognize stuff, and then I could hear it in the music I listened to or played

Learning theory also helped me shift from being able to memorize by only muscle memory, since I didn't understand why some notes were used instead of others. It taught me to understanding the harmonic structure of my pieces so I could play my pieces in my mind when I lie in bed with insomnia, and also to at least semi-audiate sheet music just by looking at it (given the sheet music was at my relatively low playing level).

Oops, gotta run for an appt... but I just wanted to post a reminder that all of us have different learning styles.
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#2107993 - 06/25/13 05:41 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: tangleweeds]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
I'm sure you're a much better musician than I am, but sometimes I do like to speak up for (perhaps not very large) the segment of humanity that shares my mathematical/academic learning style.


Well in fact I am almost totally a show-me-the-theory-behind-it person myself. A lifetime spent doing engineering and statistics definitely selects for those of us relish diving deep into the details. But when it comes to musicianship I'd be surprised if I were any farther along than yourself or most other ABF folks (not to mention the handful ABF'ers who are so far beyond you and me that it's almost scary).

Which is how I came, as I said, to spend more time than I'd care to recall wading through music-theory books. It's only in the last couple of years that I've began trying to drag myself toward some ability to hear and play more than a tiny fraction of the stuff I could work out on staff paper as a textbook exercise. It's early days yet and it's a struggle but I do feel I'm gaining ground.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#2108006 - 06/25/13 05:56 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.

Quote:
b) What is 'motifs' ?
Motive or motif is s short musical idea. A motive is the smallest structure or unit in a theme.

Quote:
c) What does cadence mean ? Any mark for it ?
Cadence is a harmonic or melodic part where pausing or ending is created.
A few examples of cadences are Authentic cadence, Half cadence, Plagal cadence, Deceptive cadence, and etc.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2108040 - 06/25/13 06:50 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Schubertslieder]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Schubertslieder
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.


To me arpegios are written as broken chords single notes while rolled chords are written as solid chord with rolled line next to the chord. They require very different technique to execute. Rolled chords usually should be played within the beat.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2108049 - 06/25/13 07:03 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted By: Schubertslieder
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.


To me arpegios are written as broken chords single notes while rolled chords are written as solid chord with rolled line next to the chord. They require very different technique to execute. Rolled chords usually should be played within the beat.

Blocked chord or a solid chord with a rolled line next to it is also called arpeggio. Arpeggio is also called broken chord.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2108086 - 06/25/13 08:07 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Schubertslieder]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Schubertslieder
Blocked chord or a solid chord with a rolled line next to it is also called arpeggio. Arpeggio is also called broken chord.


Now I'm confused....
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2108110 - 06/25/13 08:52 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
I believe "arpeggio" is Italian and "a la harpe" French.

I also believe broken, blocked, solid, and rolled chord are all in English.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2108134 - 06/25/13 10:04 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Schubertslieder]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: Schubertslieder
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.

Quote:
b) What is 'motifs' ?
Motive or motif is s short musical idea. A motive is the smallest structure or unit in a theme.

Quote:
c) What does cadence mean ? Any mark for it ?
Cadence is a harmonic or melodic part where pausing or ending is created.
A few examples of cadences are Authentic cadence, Half cadence, Plagal cadence, Deceptive cadence, and etc.


Thanks Schubertslieder. Cool answers that I understand.

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#2108136 - 06/25/13 10:09 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Schubertslieder]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: Schubertslieder
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted By: Schubertslieder
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.


To me arpegios are written as broken chords single notes while rolled chords are written as solid chord with rolled line next to the chord. They require very different technique to execute. Rolled chords usually should be played within the beat.

Blocked chord or a solid chord with a rolled line next to it is also called arpeggio. Arpeggio is also called broken chord.



I know what is broken chord. What is a block chord and a solid chord?

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#2108137 - 06/25/13 10:11 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Block chord and solid chord mean the same as each other: playing the notes of the chord all at the same time.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2108146 - 06/25/13 10:55 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
I would use the term blocked chord rather than solid chord.
I was helping out someone to understand and he was using the term "solid chord" so I had to use it to make it easier for him. I personally would use blocked, broken, arpeggio, a la harpe, rolled chord, and so on.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2108156 - 06/25/13 11:27 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
I just did a search on solid chord and just got the definition for "chord".
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2108192 - 06/26/13 01:25 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: Brent H]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Originally Posted By: Brent H
It's only in the last couple of years that I've began trying to drag myself toward some ability to hear and play more than a tiny fraction of the stuff I could work out on staff paper as a textbook exercise. It's early days yet and it's a struggle but I do feel I'm gaining ground.

I don't think our disagreement goes very deep at all. There is definitely a huge difference between doing theory exercises, versus recognizing and utilizing the patterns of sound they're talking about. I agree that it's vital to get past reading about theory, and get out there and and capture some music in the wild,: not just by hearing it play out in pieces I learn, but also testing it all out in the music that I (at least try to) improvise. And that takes more time and attention than the dry reading ever did.


Edited by tangleweeds (06/26/13 01:26 AM)
Edit Reason: punctuation
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#2110151 - 06/29/13 11:44 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1212
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Joseph, I'd like to recommend that you check out this audio course: Understanding the Fundamentals of Music. It covers many of the topics you ask about (tempo, key, texture, cadences) through explanations and playing musical excerpts. I think you'd like it and get a lot out of it. It's on sale now for $35.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#2110424 - 06/30/13 01:59 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Thanks Mary Bee for your recommendation. Just the price of a lesson. I will. It sounds like what I am looking for exactly at this stage of my development.

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#2113053 - 07/05/13 12:51 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Since my last posting, I have been watching Understanding the Fundemntals of Music DVDs. It was a mixed experience. On the one hand, I was keen to watch what is next. And I ended up watching all 16 sessions in less than a week.

On the other hand, it was overwhelming. Information overload. Some time, I wished I never asked my innocent questions. Other time, I find the answers to be simple and straight forward. Needless to say, I will need to watch these sessions again and again over the next year.... grasping the fundmentals of music.

On balance, it is an interesting and exciting journey... and it seems that there is far more to it than what meets the eye. My curiosity is statisfied for now and I am to spend more time on the piano, appreciating the simplicity of my method book and rudimentary instructions of my piano teacher. Viva Simplicity !

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#2113087 - 07/05/13 04:07 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
There's also a great free online music dictionary here: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/

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#2113151 - 07/05/13 09:06 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Since my last posting, I have been watching Understanding the Fundemntals of Music DVDs. It was a mixed experience. On the one hand, I was keen to watch what is next. And I ended up watching all 16 sessions in less than a week.

On the other hand, it was overwhelming. Information overload. Some time, I wished I never asked my innocent questions. Other time, I find the answers to be simple and straight forward. Needless to say, I will need to watch these sessions again and again over the next year.... grasping the fundmentals of music.

Besides watching, did you explore, yourself? Music is not like academic studies. We don't get at it by reading books or watching lectures. You have to play with these things yourself, using your own hands and ears. Are you also doing this part?

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#2113201 - 07/05/13 11:15 AM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: JosephAC]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I have the Levine "Jazz Piano Book" because my teacher wanted me to do some of the exercises therein.

When it first arrived from Amazon I started "working" my way through the first couple chapters and skimming the whole book. My initial thought was if I went at it a couple hours a day I could be through the whole book in a month or two.

Of course that's before I noticed that practically everything in the book is to be practiced until you can do it in all keys without the book in front of you. Hmmmm, that's a whole different kettle of fish!

Luckily my teacher only wanted me to do a couple of the exercises and learn them in all keys. To really do the whole book would take me a lifetime, no doubt.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#2114011 - 07/06/13 11:21 PM Re: Music terminology and questions [Re: keystring]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Since my last posting, I have been watching Understanding the Fundemntals of Music DVDs. It was a mixed experience. On the one hand, I was keen to watch what is next. And I ended up watching all 16 sessions in less than a week.

On the other hand, it was overwhelming. Information overload. Some time, I wished I never asked my innocent questions. Other time, I find the answers to be simple and straight forward. Needless to say, I will need to watch these sessions again and again over the next year.... grasping the fundmentals of music.

Besides watching, did you explore, yourself? Music is not like academic studies. We don't get at it by reading books or watching lectures. You have to play with these things yourself, using your own hands and ears. Are you also doing this part?



Excellent question.

Usually, when I read or watch something related to my learning, two things happen:
- if it is totally out my reach, I try to understand it and park it for future reference. I get to know what I do not know and available technical tools.
- if it is within my reach, I tend to incorporate it into my thinking and explore it further to see whether I can get the same results. Most of my explorations stem from this forum or beginner's books or vids.
And anything in between.

In the case of these DVD's, there was far too much information and most of it was outside of my reach. It was good to get to know. My objective from the first through twas to glean through the information.

Now,I am going through it again. Half way through the 2nd session. This time, I am listening in order to grasp it better and and gain more benefits. As the first 2 videos are about Timber, I got to learn about the various instruments and in some cases, I searched the web for additional information.

While these 2 sessions broadened my general knowledge of music and music terms, there is not much I can integrate into my daily practice at this stage. One thing , for sure, is that I am becoming more confident in expressing and verbalising my thoughts and writings about music.

I agree to the maxim that knowledge is power if and only if applied. Sometime, I am just not ready to apply. I must also admit that I reflected on the brilliance of these great composers.

In summary, learning can only take place through exploration and experimentation and integration.

Joseph


Edited by JosephAC (07/06/13 11:23 PM)

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