Have you ever wondered how a choir is structured? Or why a rock band uses the instruments it does? Perhaps you like folk music such as Mumford and Sons. Whatever it is, this series will hopefully help you out by looking at some major types of musical ensembles and how they work. I will be including several different types of band and ensembles, from classic to modern day. As you […]

Picture this: You walk into a music shop, looking around for your very first guitar. Looking at the acoustic-electrics hanging on the wall, you spot a variety of prices. One costs $150, and another costs $1,500, with dozens of other price points in between. Wanting to appear intelligent and knowledgeable in this area,  you speak with whoever happens to be manning the shop. You nod at all the right times, […]

Bagpipes are the kind of instruments you either like or you hate. Their distinctive sound can attract some people, and drive others off. But why do they sound that way. And what is the big bag for? Obviously it gives the instrument its name, but what’s the use? When you think of bagpipes, you probably think of what is called The Great Highland Bagpipe. This bagpipe has gained worldwide recognition […]

Sheet music is complicated. It work well for pianists, not so well for guitarists. Think about it. As a pianist, you look at a note, and can translate it into an action with a single finger. In guitar, it requires you to think about several things. You have to decide (A) Which string to pluck, (B) which fret to press on (if any), (C) how long it should be held […]

When we left piano in part one, it was starting to look quite a bit like a modern piano. It had a damper pedal, an action that allowed rapid repressing of keys, and the beginnings of the modern grand where starting to show there faces. But did the piano stop there? No, it did not. Up until the 1820s, all piano hammers had cotton or leather coverings. In 1826, Henri […]

Behold: The piano. The instrument has become a world favorite. Many many young musicians start with it. Composers use it when they compose, and it has become a favorite when accompanying vocals, both choral and otherwise. It is an incredible piece of machinery, but where did it come from, and how has it evolved? Back in the day (by which I mean the lat 1600s), two of the most commonly […]

I will start off by saying that you don’t need to know any of this. Now that I get that out of the way, I will say that this whole subject can be endlessly fascinating. If you like music and you like science, you will not be sorry you read this. The science behind sound is incredibly fascinating, the science behind music even more so. Chances are, if you have […]

Chances are you know what a piano is. But have you ever heard of a Bazantar? In this post, I will show you some of the strangest instruments currently in use around the globe. If you don’t know them, don’t feel bad. If you do know them, well, I would like you to come guest post for me some time. Please note, these are not in any particular order, I […]

In December of 2010, I had the privilege of being part of a guest choir at a orchestral concert. The concert was fabulous, but I found it curious that there were two of the members of the orchestra who never played anything. In fact, they were not even on stage. They were simply sitting in the front row, they seemed to be waiting for something. A Woden Ratchet Photo courtesy […]

Picture this: you have finally decided that you are going to learn an instrument, perhaps you have even decided which instrument you wish to learn. But you are not exactly sure how to go about it. Perhaps you know that you need to find a teacher, but your not sure what you should be looking for. Luckily for you, I’m here to help. This four step guide will set you […]