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Category Archive: Music Instruments

The Grand Piano: the piece de resistance for Recording

Creating an album has never been easier, especially considering the availability of quality music studios. Studios like the one in limehouse area of the UK music capital, allows you the creative freedom necessary to get the message across in your music, and they provide the tools you need to do so, including drums, pianos, and guitars. The following is an overview of pianos, specifically, to help musicians weigh their options if they are considering purchasing a piano for themselves.

Grand pianos

Grand pianos are the most prized possession of many musicians. They represent luxury, talent, and a refined taste for music. There are many types of grand pianos available, from the “baby grand” as the smaller end, to a concert hall sized piano. When purchasing these for the home, there is not much difference in sound quality as far as size is concerned; whether you want a baby grand or have the room to comfortably fit a large concert hall piano, the sound quality should remain the same, and the resonance will not necessarily be diminished by the size of the room in which the piano is placed.

When grand pianos come to mind, it is likely the vision of a piano with an open cabinet, allowing the sound to resonate. This type includes horizontal strings from which a brilliant, rich tone is emitted. Upright types, on the other hand (the type of piano that is positioned up against a wall), emit a tone that is slightly less resonant as the arrangement of the strings and the positioning of the piano do not allow for the same echo that a grand piano does. For this reason, a piano recording studio equipped with a grand piano will produce the most colourful sounds.

For up-and-coming musicians who are not ready to make such a major purchase, there is no need to fret; most recording studios actually provide these pianos as well as an assortment of other instruments to get the sound you are hoping to achieve. If the grand piano is not in your budget or will not reasonably fit into your home, a smaller, affordable upright piano might be the best option to keep in your home for practice.

A professional recording studio will help you throughout the entire recording process, from pre-production to mastering the album.

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Piano Fingering

Learning to play the piano is both a challenging and exciting task. Whether it’s a career you want to choose or just a hobby, playing the piano will definitely provide you a relaxing fit, not to mention, the capability of making people feel good and entertained.

In learning to play the piano, you have to get acquainted with its layout and the keys’ corresponding various notes. While this is a fairly easy task, you might get stuck on the next level. Of course, the logical thing you would ask is: which fingers do I use to play the keys?

Surprising as it may seem for first-time piano students, there is no hard rule on which fingers are set on particular piano keys. History suggests that the old school way of playing the piano do not require the use of the thumb to pivot around the keys. However, modern piano fingering system such as that of C. P. E. Bach allows the pianist to use the thumb in such a manner.

Piano Fingering

One common practice in piano fingering is to remember that the thumb is finger number 1. The succeeding fingers are numbered in an ascending manner. Since a piano scale has eight notes, meaning do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do, you would quickly notice that your hand could only cover five of these notes. This means that some of your fingers would need to have double work. Although you might want to consider using your other hand to compensate, this would only give you a headache when you’re faced with hard to play pieces.  Always remember that both of your hands must be working on their own scales.

In traditional piano fingering system, finger number 1 (the thumb), 2 and 3 plays the first three notes. After finger number 3 plays the third note, your thumb crosses under to play the 4th note, while your pinky will play the 5th note. When playing the lower scale, your right pinky finger starts the first note backwards. Your middle finger will take over cross over at the top of your thumb to play the sixth note. These would also be the process when you use your left hand. Practice this type of fingering system and you will notice that your fingers seem to waltz or dance to your music.

However, there are those that do not want to conform to the traditional piano fingering. It is for this reason that expert pianists devise their own fingering system. You, too, could also find your own playing system. What you just need to do is sort out the general realities that your fingers face while playing the keys. One of this is to accept the fact that your middle finger and the fingers on its sides are the only ones in the best position to play the black keys. Since your thumb and shortest finger are far apart, they are in the best positions to man the white keys. Try observing the fingering system of your favorite pianist and surely you’ll find a thing or two.

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Piano Keyboard Layout

The piano has been a consistent favorite musical instrument of a lot of people. That is why it is not surprising to find individuals who want to pursue a course in learning how to play the piano. Whether you’re a budding musician or just want to have something to while away your time with, being able to play the piano is really a point to add in your repertoire of skills.

Although it might be advisable to seek a formal course on playing the piano, you can opt to learn the instrument by yourself. This gives you the chance to save time and money. Learning it from your comfort zone will also provide you the benefit of managing your own schedule.

Of course, the first thing you should do is understand the piano keyboard layout. You may have noticed that pianos have 88 keys in two colors, black and white. Before you jump on aspiring to play solo piano recital-worthy piece, you should be able to play and identify which keys to press to achieve particular notes.

Piano Keyboard Layout

There are those who skip the understanding of basic notes and proceed to learn the piano by key. Whatever you decide to opt, you first have to decipher the layout of your piano keyboard. Otherwise, either of these attempts will just be unfruitful.

Sit on your piano chair and look at your piano keyboard. To help you have an overview of the keys, let’s divide them into two: keys on your right hand have high-pitch sounds while keys on your left hand have low-pitched sounds. You would also see that the black keys follow a common pattern—they are either grouped in two’s or three’s.

Try to recall your basic music class and you would  find that do, re , mi, fa, so, la, ti  notes are equally represented by the piano keys C, D, E, F, G, A, B. You can use the patterns of the black keys to identify the notes you need to hit. For example, the white key in front of the two black keys is actually the C or do key. The F or fa key, on the other hand, is the white key that rests at the front of the three black keys grouped together.

After identifying the basic notes or keys, you would need to go on the second level of understanding. Remember the pound-like sign you see at musical staffs? That’s the sharp sign. The one that looks like a pointed small letter b is the flat sign. The sharps and flats are well-represented by the black keys.

To identify which are the sharp keys, look for the black keys consecutive to a white key. By determining which note that particular white key is beside with, you will be able to decipher its sharp note. So when the white key after the black key is on C, then that black key before it is the C#. The flats, on the other hand, are the first black note you would find on the keyboard.

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Piano Notes

As you listen to the melodic artistry of a musical masterpiece like that of Canon in D major, you start to wonder, how could anyone make use of a piano like that? It really is a lovely tune to listen to. And you start to wish that you can play it like Johann Pachelbel, or at least give justice to it whenever you play it. If you want to learn how to play the piano, or simply want to get acquainted with the notes, it’s important to start with the basics. Everybody starts at the beginning of everything they want to learn.

There are a lot to learn with regarding the piano but don’t be overwhelmed, while it is true that you need lots of time and dedication, it really is not overly complicated to master. First thing you will need is of course the willingness to learn. Secondly is the piano itself. It will be very difficult to learn the piano if you only visualize it in your mind. It is imperative that you touch and hear the key’s notes so you can familiarize yourself with them.

Piano Notes

Whether you are learning the piano with the help of an instructor, a DVD or an online course, you will be introduced to it by learning the fundamentals. When we say go up, we mean hitting the higher sounds, while going down means hitting lower notes. Now if you look at the keyboard you will notice that there are black keys and white keys. You will also notice that there are groups of black keys by twos and by threes. This is to help you get used to the keyboard. The keys on a piano are named after the first 7 letters of the alphabet, A B C D E F and G. there are usually eight C keys on the piano , but you may find less if you have an electric keyboard.

The next thing to determine is the Middle C; it is located in the middle of the keyboard so it’s pretty easy to look for. Middle C refers to the C note in between two staves of the grand staff. What is a staff? It is the set of horizontal lines and four spaces. Each represents different musical pitch. Musical symbols are placed in the staff according to their corresponding note. The piano has a broad range of notes we can play, so we put the corresponding clef on the staff to determine which part of the piano we should be playing.

The most used clef would be the treble clef, which is like the letter G (with the use of imagination), the notes that will be played are higher than the middle C (the upper half of the piano keyboard). The treble clef has a belly which indicates where the note G should be placed, which means the middle C is a line below the lowest line. Here’s a quick tip to memorize the notes on the staff. The notes on the spaces can be read as the “FACE”, F – A – C – E, while the notes on the lines create initials that make up “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” or E – G – B – D – F.

This is a great start for a beginner to study the notes of a piano. Be dedicated and familiarize yourself with it and who knows, this could be your first step in becoming a musical composer!

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Piano Rhythms

Piano notes are musical signals that tell us which keys to play and how long we have to play them.

Just like a heart which beats and keeps the blood flowing, your fingers play the notes and keep music going. However, there is one difference.

How speed the piano piece goes, in another word, the rhythm, depends on the notes.

Rhythm is extremely important in music. Music and Noise are different because the former is organized whereas the latter is simply random; one has beats while the other has none. This is why music is often said to be mathematical. (No worries, there are no functions or graphs involved.)

Music is always separated into little sections called measures. Within each measure are notes which will tell you what keys to play, and how long to play them. Also, there will be a consistent number of beats in each measure i.e. these measures all have the same number of beats. However, pieces of music differ in their number of beats i.e. a piece of music can be separated into different parts, having measures of differing number of beats as well.

So how can you know the number of beats in a measure then? One easy way is to count the number of beats in a measure, which can also be really tedious. Therefore, all sheets of music have a time signature.

A time signature is a pair of numbering on the left end of a measure.

The number on top tells you the number of beats present in the measure, and the number on the bottom tells you what note gets the beat. Before you can successfully read the time signature, you’ll need to learn about notes and the specific length of each of them; some are long, while some are very short. There are 4 basic notes: the whole note, the half note, the quarter note and the eighth note.

So, in a 4/4 time signature, a measure has four beats, and a “whole note” which also has four beats will take up the whole measure i.e. the whole measure will only have that one “whole note” in it and nothing else. Get it?

The half note has two beats. So how many half notes can there be in that same measure? TWO!

The quarter note has one beat. So how many half notes can there be in that same measure? FOUR! (I hope you are getting this.)

Lastly, an eighth note has half a beat and there will be eight eighth notes in that measure.

However, please do NOT try to gel the notes up together. Eight eighth notes do not equate to one whole note, and of course, do not sound like it as well. The above is only correct in terms of length with regards to the time signature. Eight eighth notes sound different from one whole note as there will be releases in between the eighth notes.

So, for 4/4, 4/2, 4/8 time signatures, we will have four beats in the measure. The bottom number shows you which note gets the beat. For example, in a 4/4 time signature, there are four beats in a measure and the quarter notes gets the beat. Another example, in a 4/8 time signature, there are four beats in a measure and the eighth notes gets the beat. In a 3/4 time signature, we have three beats to the measure and the quarter notes get the beat; so there are three quarter notes in each measure, or six eighth note.

In, a 2/2 time signature there are two beats to a measure and a half note gets a beat. Therefore there are two half notes in a measure, which is pretty similar to 4/4 time signature if you’ve noticed. In a 4/2 time signature, there are four beats to a measure and a half note gets a beat. So there will four half notes in a measure, which also equals to two whole notes or eight quarter notes or sixteen eighth notes in the measure.

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