Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
AUG
16

Top picks for symphonies --- with Youtube links!

In the middle of the Eighteenth Century a new phenomenon arose in serious music: the ‘sonata form,’ in which a melodic theme was introduced, then developed, then recapitulated, then brought to a special conclusion, all done over a significant amount of time.  This differed from earlier ‘folk tune’ or ‘fugal’ approaches to musical structure. 

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7370 Hits
AUG
15

Three features of Beatles ballads

When in 1995 I composed ‘Sky Through the Pines’ (originally ‘Such a Gift’) I envisioned it as a sung song with guitar or as an instrumental ensemble piece with guitar, hammered dulcimer, flute, and other instruments; both versions were recorded, in 1996 and then 2002, and the latter was released on the album Sycamore Rapids.  But I never imagined playing it as a solo --- and was frustrated that I couldn’t play it again except on a CD player!

In 2000 I began developing my new stylized method of separated-hand solo hammered dulcimer playing, and at first limited it to quite simple tunes to keep it manageable.  Then the occasion came, for a couple of weddings, to arrange Beatles pop ballads in such a manner.  Many of us agree, I think, that some of the finest of the pop ballads are by those guys, and they have a sort of pure simplicity that ought to go well with my separated-hand technique!

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5800 Hits
AUG
07

A special focal point in some musical pieces

A special focal point in some musical pieces

Have you noticed that sometimes there’s a particular moment that really grabs you in a piece of music?  It may be a chord change or a certain leap in a melody or a swell in the volume at just the right time; and its effect may be more than just something that gets your attention --- it may be truly a view into the sublime!

I actually crave those times and keep on the lookout for them, because that special moment that lifts my spirits or stirs my soul or grants a glimpse of the transcendent… is unutterably significant!

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7548 Hits
MAY
13

You can compose music from special groups of notes!

You can compose music from special groups of notes!

In music the French word motif’ simply means a group of notes that you use to start a musical composition and to refer to throughout the composition for unity.  That’s all!

Maybe the most famous example of a motif is the set of theme notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:  ‘Di-di-di-dah’ (used in the Second World War as Morse Code for ‘V’ for victory) --- and if you listen to that matchless symphony you can hear Beethoven developing an entire movement --- with references throughout the rest of the whole work --- from that simple set of three notes, G-G-G-Eb (in the key of C minor).

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17196 Hits
APR
24

Animals that are fans of our music

Animals that are fans of our music

No, not all animals like our music!  I certainly remember when I was a teenager practicing flute our collie scratched and whined at the door --- then again, perhaps I was playing at her too much!

But last evening I got word from Lisa in California, yet another parrot owner insisting that our recordings were a favorite for the bird.  (This is the third instance I know of.)

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11376 Hits

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