Future music (1)

We have experienced drastic changes of music in 20 century. It is almost impossible for us to imagine how people enjoyed music, what kind of performances were appreciated before 20centuries. There are many reasons; Tonal harmony that had developed since 1600s came to the end in the early 20tn century. Various inventions and development of science and technology provided new lights on music performances. Speakers and CDs give chances of the recovery for once extinct musical instruments like recorders, lutes, viols and so on. It is getting popular that Beethoven’s Symphony is played by period instruments. One of the best places to listen to music is his or her audio room. They listen to the world highest level music by audio equipment and go to concerts to meet their friends. To players, exactness, velocity, rewards are impeccable for their debut, and the best evaluation criteria for music and recording companies are easy to measure, easy to digitalize,
I don’t like some of the changes, though, I think I got the great benefit of these changes and I am happy with living in this age.

Do you think this commercialized music world will continue to the end of this century? We knew the change of styles, baroque, classical, romantic, modern. In our century, we enjoy all of the style in many deferent ways on the same business model. Sheet music is the same, we use urtext version and edit version. Everything is in a crucible now and waiting for melt down.
Next time I want to discuss in details

Enjoy the World of Violin Duos

Violin duos are  familierr  for violinists as they have experiences to play duos with their teachers. Duos have a long history since early baroque era to now.

We can classify duos by three categories for their purpose. Classification is not easy because most of the work have no clear description on how and why they were composed.

Category 1:
Duos for education. Major composers are Kaliwoda, Mazas and Pleyer.

Category 2:
Duos for domestic use.  Haydn, Boccherini and other arranged works. I fell many of duos of Haydn, Boccherini are written for amateur players.

Category 3
Duos for concert composers’ own performance. Duos of Aubert, Lecleir, Guignon, Viotti, Belwald, Berio and Wieniawski are difficult and may be written to show their technique for audience. Duos by Reger, Bartok and Prokofieff are serious.

Continue reading Enjoy the World of Violin Duos

How to use scores (1)

This article is written for beginners who want to learn more on music.

First thing to do is to get a score of Mozart’s Serenade in G major K.525 “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”. You can get it from sheet music dealers, but it is easy to go to IMSLP site and search for “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” and download a score. When you use the score, I recommend printing out the score because turning pages is much faster than you think.


All score are written based on 5 string parts. When other instruments like winds are added, they are written above the section of string parts. Here, cellos and contrabass use same music, so 5 string parts are written in 4 parts

From the top, First Violin, Second Violin, Viola, Cello&Base are set. In Mozart time or classic era, more than 80 percent of melodies are played by the first violin.  Therefore, look at the first violin part only while you listen to the music. It is important technique not to get lost.

As you understand, you should read the next page or next stave when the first violin plays only 4 measures. Therefore, you will be busy turning your pages when music starts. If you do not get lost to the end of the first movement in any case, Congratulations!

It is not required to read each note exactly. If you can follow the music somehow, it is good enough. Repeat this lesson until you get confidence following the first violin. Then you will find yourself having time to read other parts.

When you repeat to listen to music while reading the score, you will become to be able to read the music.
Best training method to obtain this skill would be; Listening to the music with score first, and then read the score without listening to the music. Don’t hurry, but try this method.

Chabrier Habanera

I wrote this analysis and suggestions on interpretation for my friend. I enjoyed to think about how to play this small and popular piece on the stage.

Interpretation of Chabrier Habanera

This lovely piece just requires sweet sound and relaxed feelings when you play in the bar. But what if you play it in your important concert?  You will try to study this piece seriously for your interpretation. 115 measures in slow tempo is not a short piece to understand at a glance, and it would be difficult to give an impressive performance on the stage if you are not well prepared.

First, let’s look at the theme shown below.


Character and features of the Theme


Since Habanera is not based on traditional dances, so there is not much to talk about except the unique and impressive rhythm of base.  Chabrier made some features and rules in his theme. The theme is composed by two periods made by 2 phrases each, and has regular style of  A-B-A-C.

Then, have a close look at the accents in phrase A.
 it has a pattern of [ – – – X][ – – – X][ – – X -][ X – – – ].  Accent marks or ornaments or arpeggios come to the place of X.

There is no expression marks in phrase B. It means it should be played by natural quiet accents like [x – – – ][x – – – ][x – – – ][x – – – ]

In the second period, phrase A is the same as the first one, but C has poco cresc. cresc. mark < and decresc. Mark >, and it ends by ppp.

It is very important to keep the above expression unless other ones specified.

You may feel A has an advancing power, B is quiet, and C is climax. This theme appears 4 times changing their character each time. Play this theme until you get your clear image for this theme.

Then, we review the structure of the work and think about an interpretation.


There may be several ways to play this 4 measure length introduction. To emphasize the rhythm of Habanera at the first measure or, to keep the same rhythm just before the theme comes in. This really depends on your interpretation.

Theme (First time) (4-22)

The theme is presented quiet, but your interpretation on the theme shall be clearly shown with effective climax.

Theme (Second time) (23-36)
Theme is transposed by an octave upward. The object is to secure the theme. I do not recommend any ritardando between the first and the second because it may decrease the impact of next period. Here, arpeggios substitute accents.

A-flat, first beat of 36 measures, pp would be suitable, for it is after Sf>.

Passage (37-51)
In this part, the rhythm of Habanera is introduced by exaggerated rhythm with sf, f. Then, the rigid rhythm gradually relaxes and become triplets and connect to 6/8 portion which could be played freely with rubato.

It would be a good idea to keep rubato until measure 49, and return to regular rhythm from pp.

Theme (Third time) (62-68)

This portion is the climax of the work; it looks l the performance before this portion was just the preparation for this climax that is from measure 64 to 67. Then, it moves to connecting portion with lingering imaginary.


Connection Part (75-83)

Measures from 75 to 84 are spent for the connection to the 5th and final theme presentation. This part requires elaborate expression as shown below. But I think this part shall be played in tempo in principle. Many pianists do something here to express dolce, sf, <,> pp, but orchestra performance usually keep a tempo here. The phrase by g-as-as1-as1 is used 7 times here with gradual decrescendo. It may be one of the reasons


Theme (Forth time) (84-99)

This part would correspond to the recapture of sonata form. First period [A-B] is ornamented by a beautiful counter melody, and 2nd period [A-C] is tutti by full orchestra.


Coda (100-115)

I like to play D-flat with a trill clearly because it indicates the start of Coda.








Rhythm of Habanera





Asureance of Theme









Expantion of theme



Connection part









Beethoven String Quartet No.13 and Grand Fugue

First Movement

I feel some tremendous downward energy from this first movement of 13th quartet by Beethoven.
He apparently has tenacity for 4 descending notes as I will describe in detail here. It seems to be a bit different from his usual attachments to his motives. I guess that his reason is deeply related to the Grand Fugue. As you may agree, Grand Fugue is filled with the continual ascending will and expanding energy. Therefore he has to make an introduction movement which has the clear opposite subjects for contrast. Unique construction of the first movement eloquently speaks that its final movement must be Grand Fugue.

First movement is composed by Sonata form but its structure is very unique. This movement is characterized by the first 4 notes of introduction.

Fig.1 shows and introduction part. The motive b’-a’-as’-g’ that descends with increasing volume is most important motive that competes with the theme of Grand Fugue and finally yields.

Continue reading Beethoven String Quartet No.13 and Grand Fugue

First Stage Performance by AdMestro

After our periodical Concert in the last October, we were inquired for the performance at a concert for children in March 1. It is a graduation memory concert of the elementary school.
A mother told us that program would be La Follia by Corelli, Siciliano and Rigodon by Kreisler, Sonata in G minor by Eccles and 2nd and 3rd movements of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and she did not want a piano accompaniment and want a string orchestra to accompany.

We  arranged Corelli, Kreisler and Eccles for Baroque Ensemble style with strings and cembalo and decided to use AdMaestro at stage for the first time.

We had the concert at Warabi City culture hall yesterday.
For Mendelssohn, we used CD by MMO as source music, AdMaestro with Kinect, and one each pult of Vn1,Vn2,Va,Vc,Cb as a string orchestra. Speakers were hanging type and located at the top of the stage.

Some audience said “It was so natural, I wondered where the winds were located” String players who had no time to practice said “It was so easy as we are supported. Problem was when I played off key, my sound did not harmonize and that tone went directly to the audience like I was a soloist.”

For me, as a conductor, it was a bit strange as the music of winds went through over my head since speakers were fixed at the ceiling. Speakers should be located behind the string orchestra.
AdMaestro had no problem at all. I set Kinect at the left front side of me and it did not pick up noises as lighting of audience was off.

I was quite sutisfied with this  concert.



Reasons for not holding the baroque bow at the frog.

Playing the treble viol and the violin, I came to notice an interesting fact. There wouldn’t be any musical reasons not holding the (baroque) violin bow at the frog.
In the late Renaissance period, people use the same bow for violins and treble viols.  I guess violinists might use the bow which treble violists played. As you know, violist does not hold the bow at the frog; they hold the root part of the bow. So the hairs of a root part are usually a little oily and dirty by the violist hand. There was no choice for violinists to hold the frog because the violinist could not make any sound at a root part. In modern days, the viol has its professional players and the violin has the same. Therefore, it is hard to imagine such confused situation might happen. I think it could happen.
The little dirty root hairs is not clear in the below picture

.    BaroqueBow

Play Along CD and AdMaestro, the best combination.

I had played with Play- Along CD sometime and I had even sold CDs of Minus One Company in my sheet music shop before I started to develop AdMaeestro. Generally speaking, the satisfaction from Play Along CDs is much less than that of Karaoke. I think the reason is simple that the performance of classical music is based on a long tradition and soloists are not get used to follow orchestra. On the contrary, Karaoke is a new field of music and its preposition is to make singers follow CDs.  

The best way to use Play-Along CDs is to use them as a source of AdMaetro’s conducting data. As AdMaestro can change the tempo of CDs freely, so the essential problem of soloists disappears. I have already rehearsed piano concerts of Mozart, Chopin and Schumann. But it was not easy to satisfy pianists for various reasons. First, we needed good speakers with 50-100W output to balance out the volume of pianists. It is because they tend to play louder when they play concerts.

Next problem was the pianissimo of orchestra, its volume came down so low and pianists could not hear well. So, I put a set of monitor speaker besides the pianist. There were more problems.

By the sound of speakers, we can acknowledge the first violins on the left and cellos on the right, but cannot tell exactly where they are. As we experience daily, we can distinguish the voice of a certain person much better if we know where he is. The same happens during the ensemble, It is a great help for the soloist to know exactly where other players are located. I put small string orchestra, one pult each, in front of speakers. Things are greatly improved.

I am going to join a concert of elementary school girls on this March 3. One of them will play   3rd movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin concerto with a small string orchestra and AdMaestro accompanied. She is not specially trained to become a professional violinist, so her tempo is slow and volume is small. This will be the first stage experience for AdMaestro. Will keep you informed.

Enjoy Baroque Music – “415Party”

I would like to explain about a history of 415Party. I like to play early music for many years, and I have used modern instruments with satisfaction for long years. I happened to have an interest in period instruments in the spring of 2009. It started from Viols. I wanted know why viols are once disappeared from musical scene. I read some books but none of them make me really understand, so I bought 2 trebles, 1 tenor and 2 bass viols to find my answer. I asked my friends to play viols and we start enjoying viol consort in about 3 months. Playing late renaissance songs by viol is easy as they have frets if you have some music background. We use late renaissance vocal music like madrigals and chansons. And it was enjoyable for the time being.  However, we found it a little boring and also we feel something is missing. We added 2 recorders, crumhorns and a drum. Then we found we definitely need vocal. I brought in Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Soprano was opera singer but all of them are amateur singer in view of Renaissance music. We all satisfied the nice group once but we immediately acknowledged that we do not have a lute player. They asked me to play the lute. About one year past, we had a pleasant renaissance music concert with all of us having the experience less than a year. After this concert we came back to viol consort music by Dawland, Simpson, etc.
During the process to achieve the renaissance music group, I fell I found my approach to early music.

I did not invite professionals for any instruments. Reason is that musicians in those days are usually multi-players and even in Rome, Venezia or Firenze it would be impossible to have a concert with high level professionals like now. And we found a great fact that very amateur vocals and very amateur viol players help each other beautifully. For singers, it is really difficult to sing late renaissance madrigals in good tune. For viol players, beautiful voices are good compensation for their small and poor tones.

I remember that I really had tough time to practice and play the lute for 2 month. First, I thought people would not hear my lute well because the volume is small, but it was wrong. In the circumstances of renaissance ensemble, Lute is only one plucked instrument and the audience can distinguish its tone easily.

While we are enjoying consort music, one of my friends asked me to do “415Party” that is for early music of baroque era and it has got started with our basic rules inherited from our experiences of renaissance music that are respect the style of the day and enjoy the fun to be multi-player if needed. 415Party is open to everyone. It is held by 7 to 8 players for recorder, traverse, baroque oboe, baroque fagotto, violin, viola, cello, viol, cembalo from 13:00 to late evening. What about Viols? I will report you probably next time.

Strength and expression marks of String Quartets Op.20 by Haydn

I have studied Haydn’s String quartets Op.20 which are composed in1772, for the strength and expression marks. Mozart composed his 13 early quartets around 1772.

Music source is HN9208 by Henle Verlag.


I was surprised at the variety of expression marks by Haydn himself that I thought many of them, like ff, poco forte, are by editors of posterity. I feel like those detailed indications show the strong interest and fondness of Haydn for String Quartet because Haydn established a new style of string quartets by this Op.20.


Composer Title Op. Strength Marks Expression Marks 
Haydn String Quartet  f-moll 20-5 f, poco f, p, pp, fz, poco piano, crescendo, pianiss., sotto voce, cresc. piano assai, piano, staccato, ' , per figuram retardanionis, sempre sotto voce,
Haydn String Quartet A-dur 20-6 f, p, pp,  pianiss. sempre staccato, sempre sotto voce,
Haydn String Quartet C-dur 20-3 ff, f, p, fz mezzo forte, piano, pianis. piano assai, piu forte, sotto voce, 
Haydn String Quartet g-moll 20-2 ff, f, p, pp,  fz,  fortiss, sopra una corda, poco piano, piano, pianiss. con forza, perdendosi, sotto voce, 
Haydn String Quartet D-dur 20-4 ff, f, p, pp, fz  piano, pianiss., forte
Haydn String Quartet Es-dur 20-1 ff, f, p, rinf, fz mezza voce, pianiss.