Monthly Archives: December 2013

Art Blakey

Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.
~Art Blakey

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December 31, 2013 · 5:51 PM

One Instrument, many voices- the Saxophone

Today I was thinking about how amazing it is that you can get heaps of different sounds out of one instrument. By playing in different styles, applying different techniques and using different musicians you can get tons of different sounds. This is another reason why I love the saxophone so much, it’s so versatile!!

Here is one of my favourite classical saxophonists Marcel Mule, who sounds is really smooth, and his vibrato is amazing!

Some years later and now we Paul Desmond, a Jazz saxophonist, who while still producing smooth tones, also creates light airy sounds.

But the saxophone also some wonderful idiosyncrasies, such as slap tongue and being able to laugh. This piece sax-o-phun by Rudy Wiedoeft makes me laugh every time I hear it.

From the wonderful soaring tones of Cannonball Adderley, to the amazing dexterity of Jimmy Dorsey, the saxophone never ceases to produce amazing sounds.

 

 

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We are the Free-Matt Redman

I really like the lyrics of this song, a lot of the time Christian worship music can have really corny lyrics but I think this song is really nice and up lifting. I find it really encouraging 🙂

Remember if you like the song support the music industry and buy it!!

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Johann Sebastian Bach

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.
~Johanna Sebastian Bach

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December 29, 2013 · 4:48 PM

Saxophone Tip #1- Sticky Keys

One of the things that absolutely drives me insane is when I get sticky keys and in the middle of a piece I either sound like I didn’t bother to check the key signature or I’m randomly putting weird grace notes because the keys come up late or worse not at all. I recently found out that the method I’d been taught to clean my sticky pads, by inserting a cloth or some various form of paper and dragging out is not good for the general wear and tear of the pads. I was very surprised as this is the way I know most of my saxophone buddies use and had been taught to by teachers. I discovered this when I went to get my new saxophone serviced for the first time and the technician talked to me because I was having trouble with my g sharp key and low c sharp key. It turns out it is better to use a powder paper, like cigarette paper or a specialised powder paper for instruments and insert the paper with the powder side facing towards the pad and press the key down then repeat on different spots of the paper, no dragging. Hopefully this helps you with keeping your saxophones nice and healthy.

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Australia’s unofficial entry into Eurovision: week 2

evw2
Week 2!! We had some really cool suggestions last week so here is what we have so far:
-Instruments, you guys would like the violin, cello, (I’m not taking the orchestral bells seriously since I know who posted that) and glockenspiel. Before I put the theramin down for a yes I’ll have to do some research on how to notate it’s music and play it etc. I was also thinking if we went with violin we could totally go Australian and play it like a fiddle, bushwhackers style, what do you guys think? (The Bushwhackers were an Australian band that played bush band music, seriously look them up, they’re very cool)
-a pop song
-4/4 and a fast tempo
-while we don’t have any lyrics yet we’re so far thinking something ridiculous and fun
From this I’m thinking it should be in a major key, if you still really want a specific key let me know.

Ok so the questions for this week are:

  1. What kind of singers are we going to have and how many? (e.g. male, female, soprano, alto, tenor, bass etc.)
  2. What is our song about? So we need some lyrics, now we so far want some ridiculous and fun lyrics. As an example of something fun here is Greek’s entry into Eurovision this year. Before you freak out at the chorus I looked up the translation and am pretty sure they are satirically making fun of drink driving.

Just a reminder that if you have composed anything, like a chord progression, a small lick or a tiny melodic phrase, I’d be happy to work it in. If you’re not from Australia please feel free to join in it will still be fun. Also the song is not allowed to exceed 3 mins.

I can’t wait to hear your suggestions this week!

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Australia’s unofficial entry into Eurovision

eurovisionI really love watching Eurovision, the colourful costumes, the camaraderie between the countries competing and of course the songs! Much to my disappointment Australia is not allowed to enter as we are out of the European Broadcasting Zone, which is fair enough I guess. So I thought with the help of you guys we could create Australia’s unofficial entry into the song contest. Each week on Friday I’ll post questions on what type of song you want then slowly compose it till it’s finished. Now I must warn you I’m not the most brilliant composer in the world, this is just for fun. Also if you composed something, like a chord progression, a small lick or a tiny melodic phrase, or even lyrics send it in and I’ll try and add that if you would like. If you’re not from Australia please feel free to join in it will still be fun. Remember the song is not allowed to exceed 3 mins. Ok so the first couple of questions!

  1. Is there  a particular key you wanted the song in? (e.g. major, minor, modes, sharps or flats?)
  2. Tempo? (e.g. fast or slow)
  3. Time signature? (e.g. 4/4, 3/4 or more exotic ones? For non musical people this means how many beats are in a bar, this creates a pulse or rhythmic drive in the song and 4/4 is the most common)
  4. What would you like the song to be about? (lyrics wise, I’d definitely like some help there)
  5. Is there a particular style you would like the song to be in? (e.g. a genre, like jazz or classical or pop, if I don’t know much about that style I’ll do some research first :P)
  6. What instruments did you want? (Rules say only six performers are allowed on stage)

So I think five’s enough to start with, I hope you have fun and join in! Last thing, let’s try and finish it before the competition happens next year which is in May and is held in Denmark.

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Paul Desmond

The qualities in music I considered most important — and still do — were beauty, simplicity, originality, discrimination, and sincerity.
~Paul Desmond

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December 18, 2013 · 4:54 PM

Celebrating Composers – Day 7: Paul Desmond

Paul Desmond

Paul Desmond

Another one of my favourite saxophone players is Paul Desmond, I really love his smooth tone and the style he often plays in. Desmond is most well known for his work in the Dave Brubeck Quartet. It’s less well known that Brubeck once worked for Desmond, who replaced him from the band. Later when Brubeck has started a trio Desmond went to his house to ask for a job. Brubeck’s wife Lola had been instructed never to let the saxophonist in, she did however. In the end Brubeck did agree to hire Desmond once he had offered to babysit his children and the trio became a quartet. The two friends became very close and when Desmond died he left his saxophone to Dave Brubeck’s son Michael.
In an interview Dave Brubeck revealed the meaning behind his nickname the Stork, “Some people called him the stork — ‘Cause he would stand on one leg and leaned on the piano. But that…that was when he was playing great. What used to scare me is I’d look at him and it would just be whites in his eyes, wouldn’t be any eyeballs.”

One of his most well known compositions is Take Five, a personal favourite of mine. In piece employs the unusual time signature of 5/4 giving the piece a distinctive rhythmic feel. It is also really fun to play 😛 In his will Paul Desmond specified that all proceeds of this song be donated to the Red Cross which generates them approximately $100,00 a year.
This is also my favourite live performance of him performing the song because he clearly gets so into the solo that he forgets there are people there, at around 3:11 he finish’s and stops to adjust his mouthpiece, looking up in surprise at the audience when they clap.

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Celebrating Composers – Day 6:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

One of the bosses of Classical music is clearly Mozart. A child prodigy by the age of five Mozart was composing and performing in front of royals. I heard a story once where someone went to Mozart and asked him, “I really would like to start composing sonatas, could you give me any tips on how to do it?” “Sonatas are extremely complicated pieces of music, maybe you should try something else first.” The man was clearly confused. “But you were composing sonatas since you were five!” Mozart replied, “But I never asked anyone how to compose a sonata.” How much truth there is to that story I don’t know, but I also heard that on his manuscripts there are no mistakes or evidence of the music being changed. It was said that he could hear whole orchestras in his head and would simply write down the parts. Whatever the rumours Mozart was a genius in his field, but unfortunately died in poverty. He did however pioneer for musicians to become independent. Before this they were only employed by royal courts or churches, sometimes, for special occasions, to compose or perform. Musicians of the classical era began to break away from these traditions, people like Mozart. And his compositions are amazing!

 

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