>>>>VARIOUS MUSIC HISTORY TOPICS TO ENJOY: Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music in Katy and Cinco Ranch.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private stringed instrument music lesson

String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when the performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.

Musicians play some string instruments by plucking the strings with their fingers or a plectrum—and others by hitting the strings with a light wooden hammer or by rubbing the strings with a bow. In some keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord or piano, the musician presses a key that plucks the string or strikes it with a hammer.

With bowed instruments, the player rubs the strings with a horsehair bow, causing them to vibrate. With a hurdy-gurdy, the musician operates a mechanical wheel that rubs the strings.

Bowed instruments include the string section instruments of the Classical music orchestra (violin, viola, cello and double bass) and a number of other instruments (e.g., viols and gambas used in early music from the Baroque music era and fiddles used in many types of folk music). All of the bowed string instruments can also be plucked with the fingers, a technique called "pizzicato". A wide variety of techniques are used to sound notes on the electric guitar, including plucking with the fingernails or a plectrum, strumming and even "tapping" on the fingerboard and using feedback from a loud, distorted guitar amplifier to produce a sustained sound. Some types of string instrument are mainly plucked, such as the harp and the electric bass. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, string instruments are called chordophones. Other examples include the sitar, rebab, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and bouzouki.

In most string instruments, the vibrations are transmitted to the body of the instrument, which often incorporates some sort of hollow or enclosed area. The body of the instrument also vibrates, along with the air inside it. The vibration of the body of the instrument and the enclosed hollow or chamber make the vibration of the string more audible to the performer and audience. The body of most string instruments is hollow. Some, however—such as electric guitar and other instruments that rely on electronic amplification—may have a solid wood body.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private Violin music lesson

The Violin in the Sixteenth Century

The violin family appeared in essentially its modern form in northern Italy, specifically in Brescia and Cremona, about 1550. Andrea Amati (ca. 1511–1580) of Cremona was among the first generation of makers to add a fourth string to the violin and to create the standard sizes of cello, viola, and violin in their classic modern shapes. His instruments, which show an elegance of line and more delicacy and lightness than many later examples, are exceedingly rare; eight small and large violins, three violas, and five violoncellos are all that survive. Eight of these bear the coat of arms of Charles IX of France, and so were probably completed before the French king's death in 1574. (The authenticity of these instruments has recently been challenged, possibly making authenticated instruments by Andrea Amati even more scarce.) The Museum's example by Andrea Amati is a large violin (1999.26), 354 mm (13.9 inches) long, highly decorated, with the Latin motto QVO VNICO PROPVGNACVLO STAT STABIQ(ue) RELIGIO ("By this defense alone religion shall stand") inlaid on its ribs or sides. It is one of a matched set of two large violins and a viola built for an unidentified Italian marquis.

The Amati workshop was one of the finest violin ateliers in Europe, training many apprentices who went on to careers as important instrument builders, possibly including the young Antonio Stradivari.

The sixteenth-century violin was played primarily by professionals, as opposed to the viol (1990.223), which was the bowed stringed instrument preferred by amateurs. The violin's lively attack was particularly suited to dance accompaniment. Consorts consisting of a violin, two violas, and a cello became among the most popular choice of professional instrumental groups in the sixteenth century. The violin's more brilliant tone suited playing for dance, but the more refined tone and appearance of Cremonese violins led to their acceptance by aristocratic amateurs.

Nicolò Amati (1596–1684) By 1600, Cremona was the undisputed center of violin making in Europe. During the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth, a new music aesthetic emerged in western Europe, emphasizing the soloist's ability to express emotion and to dazzle with virtuosity. The growing importance of the violin played a significant role in this change, both as a solo instrument and as a component of the nascent string orchestra.

Nicolò Amati, grandson of Andrea Amati, son and nephew of two other Amati instrument builders, is today considered the finest craftsman of this family of luthiers. This is fortunate, because he was the only member of his family and indeed the only violin maker in Cremona to survive the famine and plague that devastated that city in the years around 1630. In a very real sense, Nicolò single-handedly passed down the tradition of fine Cremonese violin making to subsequent generations. His violins (1974.229) were somewhat wider than other makers' instruments (a design we now call the "Grand Amati"), with a unique, beautifully shaped soundhole and a strong sound. During Nicolò's working life, the Amati workshop was one of the finest violin ateliers in Europe, training many apprentices who went on to careers as important instrument builders, possibly including the young Antonio Stradivari.

Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737) A century of violin making in Cremona culminated in the instruments from the workshop of Antonio Stradivari. Violins are judged by their tone, responsiveness, elegance of design, visual appeal, and precision of their craft, and the instruments of Stradivari are superlative in all categories. From his extraordinary seventy-year career as a luthier, 650 instruments survive, a testament both to his productivity and longevity, and to the high value placed on his instruments. During the 1680s, Stradivari moved away from Nicolò Amati's style, experimenting with his own soundhole shapes, softer varnish, wider purfling (the inlaid border near the edges of the violin's back and front; 1990.7), and a stronger tone. During the 1690s, he worked to perfect a "long pattern" violin, with a longer, narrower body and a darker tone than most Cremonese strings. Two of the Museum's Stradivari violins are of this type (55.86a-c; 34.86.1).

Beginning about 1700, Stradivari reverted to a shorter, wider design, his "grand pattern," and embarked on the two decades that many writers call his "golden age." The third of the Museum's Stradivari violins (34.86.2) dates from this period. After 1700, Stradivari also experimented with building smaller violoncellos (L.2005.8a-g), influenced by the instruments of the Brescian maker Giovanni Paolo Maggini (ca. 1581–ca. 1632) and later Cremonese makers; these smaller instruments aided in the rise of the cello as a virtuoso solo instrument. Stradivari also made violas and a number of stringed instruments, including viols, lutes, mandolins, guitars, and harps. At his death, Stradivari's business passed into the hands of his son, Francesco (1671–1743).

Stradivari's Posthumous Reputation and the Modernization of His Instruments While the instruments of Stradivari were certainly appreciated during his long lifetime, it was not until the late eighteenth century, when several violin virtuosi publicly favored instruments by Stradivari and Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri ("del Gesù") (1698–1744), that his work was seen as the epitome of the luthier's art.

Throughout the 250 years since, professional violinists have considered the best instruments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, by Stradivari and others, to be the most highly valued. During the same time, the demands on the violin have grown and changed. As a result, nearly all of the extant Stradivari violins have been modernized to accommodate later virtuosi's musical demands. While the body of a Baroque violin is essentially the same as a modern instrument, other traits differ. The Baroque neck is a bit shorter and thicker, and projects straight out of the body, rather than bending back. The fingerboard has gradually lengthened as the instrument's range has grown higher. The Baroque sound post (a wooden stick wedged inside between the belly and back of the violin under the treble foot of the bridge) was slimmer, and the bass bar (a piece of wood glued inside under the bass foot of the bridge) was thinner and shorter, changing the tone of the instrument. Modern violin strings are made of steel, not gut, and are strung about 50 percent tighter than Baroque strings. The Baroque bridge was lower and flatter. Violin chin rests were not used until the nineteenth century, and so shifting the left hand from position to position was audible. All three of the Museum's Stradivari violins were modernized at some point, but "The Gould" (55.86a-c) has been restored with a Baroque-style neck, fingerboard, bridge, tailpiece, bass bar, and gut strings.

Bows have changed as well. Eighteenth-century bows, many built by French makers, were differently shaped, with hair not as tightly strung as later models. The older bows had a more pronounced difference between up- and down-strokes.

**Wendy Powers Independent Scholar**

Katy, Cinco Ranch private Viola music lesson

The viola is a string instrument that is bowed or played with varying techniques. It is slightly larger than a violin and has a lower and deeper sound. Since the 18th century it has been the middle or alto voice of the violin family, between the violin (which is tuned a perfect fifth above) and the cello (which is tuned an octave below).[2]The strings from low to high are generally tuned to C3, G3, D4, and A4.

In the past, the viola varied in size and style as did its names. The Italians often used the term: "viola da braccio" meaning literally: 'of the arm'. "Brazzo" was another Italian word referring to the viola which the Germans adopted in the form: "Bratsche". The French had their own names: "Cinquiesme" was a small viola,"Haute Contre" was a large viola and "Taile" meant "Tenor". In the modern era, the French use the term "Alto", a reference to its range.

The viola had enjoyed popularity in the heyday of five-part harmony up until the eighteenth century, taking three lines of the harmony and occasionally playing the melody line. Music that is written for the viola differs from that of most other instruments in that it primarily uses the alto clef. Viola music switches to the treble clef when there are substantial sections of music written in a higher register to make the notes easier to read.

The viola often plays the "inner voices" in string quartets and symphonic writing, and it is more likely than the first violin to play accompaniment parts. The viola occasionally plays a major, soloistic role in orchestral music. Examples include Don Quixote by Richard Strauss and Harold en Italie by Hector Berlioz. In the earlier part of the 20th century, more composers began to write for the viola, encouraged by the emergence of specialized soloists such as Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. English composers Arthur Bliss, York Bowen, Benjamin Dale, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams all wrote substantial chamber and concert works. Many of these pieces were commissioned by, or written for Lionel Tertis. William Walton, Bohuslav Martinů, Toru Takemitsu, Tibor Serly, Alfred Schnittke, and Béla Bartók have written well-known viola concertos. Paul Hindemith wrote a substantial amount of music for viola, including the concerto Der Schwanendreher. The concerti by Paul Hindemith, Béla Bartók, and William Walton are the "big three" of viola repertoire.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private Cello music lesson

Birth of the Cello Crude stringed instruments started being played in Europe around the 9th century. The first distinct types to rise up were the lyre and harp, and then by the 12th century the “fiddle” or violin had become quite popular. At that time violins were either held in the arms or placed between the legs. The cello came into popular use starting in the 16th century in Italy, and basically looks like a violin’s large older brother. Conductors and composers were looking for lower tones than a regular violin could produce. What started out as the “violoncello” was soon shortened to what we call the instrument today. Composers started writing cello parts that audiences loved, and royal families also enjoyed the instrument enough to request concerts including the instrument. The cello was used in Bach’s Baroque works , and in popular quartets and sonatas. The instruments would catch on later for soloists. In time the cello would lead to the evolution of the double bass, an instrument with even lower tones than the cello.

The Form of the Cello Cellos appear to be huge violins, and indeed cellos are stringed instruments in the same family as the violin. The person who plays a cello is called a cellist, and he must sit in a chair and balance the cello on a spike between the legs and lean the instrument against his shoulder. The cellist moves a bow across the strings to produce deep, resounding tones. The best cellos are made of quality woods and are hand-carved. Cellos are also specially formed to resist cracking in the body of the instrument. Cracks must be avoided at all costs in order to preserve the integrity of the instrument’s beautiful sounds. The design of the cello has changed since its inception to make the instrument easier for people to play. The height and width of the cello increased, balancing out the weight more. Also, an end pin was added for a sturdy positioning of the instrument.

The Appeal of the Cello The cello quickly fell into favor with audiences and composers alike for the sounds the instrument could produce. Players could gain much attention and acclaim by mastering the cello and performing in front of audiences. The cello works by famous composers such as Beethoven and Bach spread the appeal of the instrument far and wide.

Cello Uses throughout the centuries Cellos have been used as part of orchestras and symphonies, and for quartets and then solo pieces as well. Now there are even cellos available in electric forms for more modern rock or pop music. Modern bands such as Rasputina use the cello to emphasize dark, gothic tones in their original music. Cellos have been used in the past by famous bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Cellos are also featured prominently in some jazz and neoclassical albums as well. Cellos can even be heard in bluegrass and folk music. Throughout the centuries the cello has evolved and proved its lasting appeal through its sustained popularity and versatility as a beautiful-sounding instrument and a vital part of any orchestra.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private guitar music lesson

The guitar is a musical instrument classified as a fretted string instrument with anywhere from four to 18 strings, usually having six.[citation needed] The sound is projected either acoustically, using a hollow wooden or plastic and wood box (for an acoustic guitar), or through electrical amplifier and a speaker (for an electric guitar). It is typically played by strumming or plucking the strings with the fingers, thumb or fingernails of the right hand or with a pick while fretting (or pressing against the frets) the strings with the fingers of the left hand. The guitar is a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with either gut, nylon or steel strings and distinguished from other chordophones by its construction and tuning. The modern guitar was preceded by the gittern, the vihuela, the four-course Renaissance guitar, and the five-course baroque guitar, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument.

There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar (nylon-string guitar), the steel-string acoustic guitar, and the archtop guitar, which is sometimes called a "jazz guitar". The tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the strings' vibration, amplified by the hollow body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber. The classical guitar is often played as a solo instrument using a comprehensive finger-picking technique where each string is plucked individually by the player's fingers, as opposed to being strummed. The term "finger-picking" can also refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues, bluegrass, and country guitar playing in the United States. The acoustic bass guitar is a low-pitched instrument that is one octave below a regular guitar.

Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker that both makes the sound of the instrument loud enough for the performers and audience to hear, and, given that it produces an electric signal when played, that can electronically manipulate and shape the tone using an equalizer (e.g., bass and treble tone controls) and a huge variety of electronic effects units, the most commonly used ones being distortion (or "overdrive") and reverb. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but a solid wood body was eventually found more suitable during the 1960s and 1970s, as it was less prone to unwanted acoustic feedback "howls". As with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars (used in jazz guitar, blues and rockabilly) and solid-body guitars, which are widely used in rock music.

The loud, amplified sound and sonic power of the electric guitar played through a guitar amp has played a key role in the development of blues and rock music, both as an accompaniment instrument (playing riffs and chords) and performing guitar solos, and in many rock subgenres, notably heavy metal music and punk rock. The electric guitar has had a major influence on popular culture. The guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide. It is recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as blues, bluegrass, country, flamenco, folk, jazz, jota, mariachi, metal, punk, reggae, rock, soul, and many forms of pop.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private Violin bass lesson

The double bass, or simply the bass (and numerous other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. It is a transposing instrument and is typically notated one octave higher than sounding to avoid excessive ledger lines below the staff. The double bass is the only modern bowed string instrument that is tuned in fourths (like a viol), rather than fifths, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2. The instrument's exact lineage is still a matter of some debate, with scholars divided on whether the bass is derived from the viol or the violin family.

The double bass is a standard member of the orchestra's string section,[1] as well as the concert band, and is featured in concertos, solo and chamber music[2] in Western classical music. The bass is used in a range of other genres, such as jazz, 1950s-style blues and rock and roll, rockabilly, psychobilly, traditional country music, bluegrass, tango and many types of folk music.

The double bass is played either with a bow (arco) or by plucking the strings (pizzicato). In orchestral repertoire and tango music, both arco and pizzicato are employed. In jazz, blues, and rockabilly, pizzicato is the norm. Classical music uses just the natural sound produced acoustically by the instrument; so does traditional bluegrass. In jazz, blues, and related genres, the bass is typically amplified with an amplifier and speaker.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private Ukulele music lesson

The ukulele from Hawai: sometimes abbreviated to uke, is a member of the lute family of instruments; it generally employs four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings. Some strings may be paired in courses, giving the instrument a total of six or eight strings.

The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian adaptation of the Portuguese machete,[4] a small guitar-like instrument, which was introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, many from Madeira and the Azores. 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 vary with size and construction. Ukuleles commonly come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private Piano music lesson

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented around the year 1700 (the exact year is uncertain), in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard,[1] which is a row of keys (small levers) that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings. The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte, the Italian term for the early 1700s versions of the instrument, which in turn derives from gravicembalo col piano e forte[2] and fortepiano. The Italian musical terms piano and forte indicate "soft" and "loud" respectively,[3] in this context referring to the variations in volume (i.e., loudness) produced in response to a pianist's touch or pressure on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hammer hitting the strings, and the louder the sound of the note produced and the stronger the attack. The first fortepianos in the 1700s had a quieter sound and smaller dynamic range.

An acoustic piano usually has a protective wooden case surrounding the soundboard and metal strings, which are strung under great tension on a heavy metal frame. Pressing one or more keys on the piano's keyboard causes a padded hammer (typically padded with firm felt) to strike the strings. The hammer rebounds from the strings, and the strings continue to vibrate at their resonant frequency.[4] These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that amplifies by more efficiently coupling the acoustic energy to the air. When the key is released, a damper stops the strings' vibration, ending the sound. Notes can be sustained, even when the keys are released by the fingers and thumbs, by the use of pedals at the base of the instrument. The sustain pedal enables pianists to play musical passages that would otherwise be impossible, such as sounding a 10-note chord in the lower register and then, while this chord is being continued with the sustain pedal, shifting both hands to the treble range to play a melody and arpeggios over the top of this sustained chord. Unlike the pipe organ and harpsichord, two major keyboard instruments widely used before the piano, the piano allows gradations of volume and tone according to how forcefully a performer presses or strikes the keys.

Most modern pianos have a row of 88 black and white keys, 52 white keys for the notes of the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) and 36 shorter black keys, which are raised above the white keys, and set further back on the keyboard. This means that the piano can play 88 different pitches (or "notes"), going from the deepest bass range to the highest treble. The black keys are for the "accidentals" (F♯/G♭, G♯/A♭, A♯/B♭, C♯/D♭, and D♯/E♭), which are needed to play in all twelve keys. More rarely, some pianos have additional keys (which require additional strings). Most notes have three strings, except for the bass that graduates from one to two. The strings are sounded when keys are pressed or struck, and silenced by dampers when the hands are lifted from the keyboard. Although an acoustic piano has strings, it is usually classified as a percussion instrument rather than as a stringed instrument, because the strings are struck rather than plucked (as with a harpsichord or spinet); in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of instrument classification, pianos are considered chordophones. There are two main types of piano: the grand piano and the upright piano. The grand piano is used for Classical solos, chamber music and art song and it is often used in jazz and pop concerts. The upright piano, which is more compact, is the most popular type, as they are a better size for use in private homes for domestic music-making and practice.

During the 1800s, influenced by the musical trends of the Romantic music era, innovations such as the cast iron frame (which allowed much greater string tensions) and aliquot stringing gave grand pianos a more powerful sound, with a longer sustain and richer tone. In the nineteenth century, a family's piano played the same role that a radio or phonograph played in the twentieth century; when a nineteenth century family wanted to hear a newly published musical piece or symphony, they could hear it by having a family member play it on the piano. During the nineteenth century, music publishers produced many musical works in arrangements for piano, so that music lovers could play and hear the popular pieces of the day in their home. The piano is widely employed in classical, jazz, traditional and popular music for solo and ensemble performances, accompaniment, and for composing, songwriting and rehearsals. Although the piano is very heavy and thus not portable and is expensive (in comparison with other widely used accompaniment instruments, such as the acoustic guitar), its musical versatility (i.e., its wide pitch range, ability to play chords with up to 10 notes, louder or softer notes and two or more independent musical lines at the same time), the large number of musicians and amateurs trained in playing it, and its wide availability in performance venues, schools and rehearsal spaces have made it one of the Western world's most familiar musical instruments. With technological advances, amplified electric pianos (1929), electronic pianos (1970s), and digital pianos (1980s) have also been developed. The electric piano became a popular instrument in the 1960s and 1970s genres of jazz fusion, funk music and rock music.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private String music lesson

A vocal coach (also known as voice coach, though this term generally applies to those working with speech and communication rather than singing) is a music teacher who instructs singers on how to improve their singing technique, take care of and develop their voice, and prepare for the performance of a song or other work. Vocal coaches may give private music lessons or group workshops or masterclasses to singers. They may also coach singers who are rehearsing on stage, or who are singing during a recording session. Vocal coaches are used in both Classical music and in popular music styles such as rock and gospel. While some vocal coaches provide a range of instruction on singing techniques, others specialize in areas such as breathing techniques or diction and pronunciation.

Katy, Cinco Ranch private instrument music lesson

A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications.

The date and origin of the first device considered a musical instrument is disputed. The oldest object that some scholars refer to as a musical instrument, a simple flute, dates back as far as 67,000 years. Some consensus dates early flutes to about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that determining a specific time of musical instrument invention is impossible due to the subjectivity of the definition and the relative instability of materials used to make them. Many early musical instruments were made from animal skins, bone, wood, and other non-durable materials.

Musical instruments developed independently in many populated regions of the world. However, contact among civilizations caused rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin. By the Middle Ages, instruments from Mesopotamia were in maritime Southeast Asia, and Europeans played instruments from North Africa. Development in the Americas occurred at a slower pace, but cultures of North, Central, and South America shared musical instruments. By 1400, musical instrument development slowed in many areas and was dominated by the Occident.

Musical instrument classification is a discipline in its own right, and many systems of classification have been used over the years. Instruments can be classified by their effective range, their material composition, their size, etc. However, the most common academic method, Hornbostel-Sachs, uses the means by which they produce sound. The academic study of musical instruments is called organology.


Practice makes perfect