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Friday, April 21, 2006

How to Practice Piano - Properly

Now we've all heard cautionary tales of one Robert Schumann, and how we shouldn't hook up mechanical devices to our fingers, or wrists, or elbows, and I mean absolutely Never - so the last thing you want to be doing is taking advice on how to Practice Piano from some Blogger Dude you've found on the net. Am I right? Of course I am, so listen closely - this non-Blogger Dude, one Mr Chang, has knocked up an online document that details all his discoveries re the art of proper practice. I read this through a couple of months back and it made me weep, all those hours and days that bore no fruit, he explains why.

All very scientific, and based on two neglected principles- Hands Separate and Parallel Sets. Thoroughly credible, no mysticism, and compare it to your own experience. Read it here.

Medieval Music

If, like me, you happen to be an old soul living in a new world, you'll perchance have feelings of resonance with the Past, and its attendant historical certainties, rather than the flux and shim-sham of go-easy MTV. Now, having twisted and abused simple English grammatical structures into long Latin convolutions, you might be wanting to hear a simple lute tune, or the soothing hum of Gregorian speech. Well, there's only silence in the blogosphere, but you can read all about the Music of Monks, and Abbeys, and Kings and Queens, at this delightfully beautiful blog.

To back travel 500 years, just click here.

Searching for MIDI

MIDI files are an archaic way of coding for sound, a legacy of the 80's, before computers had the storage space or processing power to code Real Sound. Their main use these days is for ring tones, and even there they are losing ground to Sampled Tones. But hey, I still like them, and that's why I'm writing here.

Scouring the Web, if you're after some specific MIDI file for say a Brahms sonata, or a Chopin waltz, you won't have any problems finding it, and downloading it. It's only when you want to build a collection that it becomes tedious - jumping from site to site, running headlong into download restrictions - you're going to have to pay some mulah sometime.

There's a couple of sites that aggregate huge numbers of MIDI files, and organise them into sets for easy ZIP downloads. I personally like "Kunst der Fuge" because of its humble homage, but Classical Musical Archives is the grand-daddy of these sites, and have been round since the very earliest days.

For MIDI freaks who want to indulge, click here.

Organ Player

Now, the following videos feature a certain person playing a home organ, not at all like the monstrosity pictured on the left. I've always been a little cautious, timid regards this King of Instruments, pumping out deafening 10 finger chords that get louder and louder, not at all natural I say!

This certain person featured in this post really likes their fashion, and their wigs. You have been forewarned. Try starting with any of the Bach pieces. the Kunst is represented by 2 variations, and Beethoven on an Organ?

Click here.