Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
SEP
18

Classical Music History III: The Medieval times

The Middle Ages of Europe is often said to have extended from about 500 to 1400 a.d. During that period there was a great deal of monophonic (one note at a time) chant, monophonic melody over a drone, and rhythmic monophonic dance music; then in the later centuries the stark harmonic parallel concept of organum was introduced and some limited polyphonic movement (more than one melodic part, overlapping in non-synchronized phrases).

Pope Gregory the Great introduced the pure, formulaic, clean-sounding Gregorian Chant; Hildegarde von Bingen was a highly creative mystic over several disciplines including music.

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SEP
17

Classical music history II: the Byzantine era

The Byzantine Empire produced a kind of music that is still alive today in the liturgies of Orthodox Churches of various kinds, and from that same time there are also ancient Jewish kinds of music that continue in our time. Here are links to Youtube audio of a few samples of this essentially monophonic, chant-like form of the art:

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SEP
10

Classical Music History I: Ancient Greece

For a high school (‘Rhetoric’) class at the school where I teach, I’m putting together a master list and a series of blog posts with some comments about different periods in the history of Western Classical music; I plan to have these postings span over about three months and be finished by December of this year.

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JUN
23

The making of the album Sycamore Rapids

The making of the album Sycamore Rapids

This is my personal favorite among my albums.

This is perhaps the project in which I've most featured my own special techniques on solo hammered dulcimer --- at least that's how it felt at the time and as I reconstruct the pieces in live settings (in the studio we usually do much more than just record solos) and the creative vision is worked out in great detail and with much joy!

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325 Hits
JAN
20

Play music in the moment!

When you’ve developed a performance piece, or even just something you’ve learned which you like to play on your own, it may be easy to simply draw on your memory of the way the composition goes, and bring it out and replicate it.

Or it may turn out to be a big challenge to reconstruct all the details in the way you intended originally, and you have to struggle to get it right.

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526 Hits
DEC
30

Young parents: share your music with your children!

Young parents: share your music with your children!

When I was a baby, my mom would sit at the piano in the living room and play Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff, and she would sing Romantic pieces such as ‘The Holy City,’ ‘Gesu Bambino,’ and ‘O Holy Night,’ exclaiming how wonderful these works were and how she didn’t really do them justice --- and I absorbed every nuance of these experiences.

 

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SEP
12

Four distinct ways a melody can move


Recently I’ve come to the realization that the typical melody has four simple traits that we can easily look at and figure out --- whether we’re learning a new tune or coming up with our own new composition.

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