Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Outstanding Musical Performance

By now, I'm sure you've seen or at least heard about the amazing things that The Ohio State Marching Band has been doing this season.  Every week they put together a complicated halftime show that is full of brand new music, new marching drills, and fresh and exciting new movements.  I have had the pleasure of seeing several halftime shows live in The 'Shoe, but last week's show was simply beyond words.  If you haven't seen it yet, here is one version I found on YouTube:

Have you also heard how the band has saved thousands of dollars in printing costs by "going digital" and putting all their drills on iPads instead of paper? Click here to read an article about how this green initiatve came about.  Hats off to these outstanding musicians, and to their directors.  Just think, sixth graders, who knows, one day YOU might be a member of this amazing marching band!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Spooky" Classical Music

It's likely that within the first few bars of listening to J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor that you will recognize this famous piece of music.  It's a classic example of "spooky" music.  But I bet you did not know that this song is a superb example of contrapuntal music, where two or more voices or instruments share portions of the melody and weave in and out of one another. 

Check out this video, visually representing the song, and see if the visual connection allows your ears to better understand the concept of contrapuntal music. 

How does this music make you feel and think?
Bach spent the majority of his lifetime working in churches in Germany, which is why so many of his pieces of music are written for the organ.  Imagine that your job is to write all the music for the church services every single week - the number of songs that he wrote in his lifetime was massive, with many of the songs not "saved" for more than those single church services. 
Another example of contrapuntal music by Bach is demonstrated in his "Little" Fugue in G minor.  As you watch this video, see if you can answer the following questions:
  1. What colors do you see?
  2. What do you think the colors represent?
  3. What happened when the colors went up/down?
  4. Why are some lines longer than others?

Now watch a musician play the same piece on an organ in a church that Bach actually worked in.  Pay attention to the organist's feet!