Music notation programs on the computer have been around for a long time. Finale and Sibelius are two standards in the music industry. As times (and technology) have changed there are some new players in the field and one seems pretty exciting.
Enter Noteflight. Noteflight® is an online music writing application that lets you create, view, print and hear music notation without having to even download a program. It works in your web browser and it's easy enough for younger budding composers. Work on a score from any computer on the Internet or share with other users or your teacher. Like many "webware" sites, it offers a free version or a premium account which adds additional features. I highly recommend adults and child students try out at least the free version and start making your own music.
Get this - "The greatest scientists are artists as well," said Albert Einstein. He was not only one of the greatest physicists that ever lived, he was also an amateur pianist and violinist. A recent article in Psychology Today reveals that Einstein's insights did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration.
In a conversation with the great music education pioneer, Shinichi Suzuki, Einstein also stated, "The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception." It's no wonder the Greeks considered Mathematics and Music two essential areas of study for all young students. Anyone not knowing there are important connections between the two has not been paying attention. Perhaps losing Music education in our public schools has a negative "Math and Science" fallout.
Check out this informative article.
Singing a song and need some quick accompaniment? Want to spice up your piano playing and have great fun at the same time? I just purchased Chordpulse software and I'm having a blast with it. It can give you the tools to build your own arrangements of songs with a jazz or blues combo, acoustic guitar group, or rock band to play with you.
It doesn't do anything really fancy (less than "Band in a Box" or "Garage Band") but I'm having much fun just creating the arrangements. It's easy to use and has over 100 musical styles to employ at the click of a mouse. Plus, it's slick and just looks great. Chordpulse software could be used by music teachers, church music directors, worship musicians, and others who want/need something more but cannot afford their own band or orchestra. Try a 14-day free trial and have some fun.
A new, scientific study is out that investigates changes in the brain when creating original music (improvising) on a piano keyboard vs. playing an existing song by note. Charles Limb, a brain scientist at Johns Hopkins looked at the whole brain, and found more than 40 areas that were active during improvisation. And yes, the subjects actually played an electronic keyboard while in an MRI machine.
They found that the prefrontal cortex area of the brain changes greatly when improvising as compared to playing memorized music. And the part of the brain that "turns off" is the part that's linked to inhibition. He said, "So during creative playing, you get this combination of self-expression with the absence of conscious self-monitoring. We think that's how jazz musicians are able to improvise."
One of his jazz pianist subjects expressed that when you're censoring yourself, playing the notes feels physically different. "It's as if your brain is fighting with your central nervous system and trying to control your movements. But when you're in the zone, it just feels easy. It feels just like breathing or talking. It feels so natural it almost seems not profound."
In the second part of the study, somehow Limb (a pianist himself) managed to play a duet with the subject in the MRI. As they were trading musical phrases back and forth (a popular technique in improvisational jazz, called "Trading Fours"), other areas of the brain began to be activated - areas known to be responsible for understanding language and in speaking. It seems to provide a strong link between neurobiology of music and language.
Now, none of this is probably news to music educators but it's always good to have science back you up.
Many piano students have studied the well known classical piece, Für Elise (for Elise). It was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven around 1810 when he was firmly established as one of the greatest composers in history. It is named "Für Elise" because a Beethoven researcher named Ludwig Nohl claimed to have seen this dedication on the original autograph which has been missing for many years.
The piece was not published until 1865 well after Beethoven's death and no records or letters from people at the time make mention of an "Elise" in the composer's life. Beethoven was in love with a woman named Therese Malfatti around the time he created the work. Some researchers think that Nohl misread the composer's poor handwriting and it actually read "Für Therese". Others say that's unlikely. Unfortunately, we may never know for sure to whom this beautiful piece was dedicated.
Hear an interesting arrangement of Fur Elise for piano and orchestra.
Terry Smith teaches piano and voice privately in the Phoenix, AZ area and online anywhere using an innovative approach called "PLAY NOW!"