Piano Blog

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September Musical Notes

Friday, September 1, 2017 by Becky Brouwer | Newsletter

Hello Musical Families!

I am excited to have you join our musical family! I have heard most of you play and you are embarking on your first week of practice with great goals and direction with your musical education. I plan to send out musical notes once a month and focus on a different time in history and composer from that period. We will start with the Baroque Period which included musicians such as Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin, George Frideric Handel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Domenico Scarlatti and Georg Philipp Telemann. All the Baroque Period composers lived during 1600-1750. 

Elaborate detail, powdered wigs, ruffles and jewels were characteristic of the Baroque period. In music they were fond of ornamentation like trills, mordents and turns. Piano music during this time period was not played on a piano. In fact they didn't even know what a piano was, it hadn't been invented. They played on an instrument called a clavichord or harpsichord. Clavichords produce a small, delicate sound. They were played mainly in salons and at dinner parties. Most musicians in great halls played on a harpsichord which were louder with a bigger sound. Notice that the harpsichord also has the color of the keys backwards! Black where there is white on a piano.

Clavichord

Harpsichord


Music in the baroque period was played in polyphonic texture. This music often has a right and left hand melody playing against each other or rather in a two or three way conversation. Baroque period music is also often written in binary form with an A and a B part of the song. Much of the music was written in as a dance of the day like a minuet, gavotte, gigue, polonaise, march, bourse and courante. Preludes were written to be played before another piece as the name implies.

Have your children listen to music by J.S. Bach this month. Also, have them listen to this great show about Bach on Classics for Kids.  Access the link here: Classics for Kids J.S. Bach

Music to listen to by J.S. Bach

Anna Magdalena Notebook - Bach put this together for his wife Anna Magdalena

Anna Magdalena Notebook on harpsichord - I prefer a piano, but this is probably how it sounded to Bach!

Concerto for 4 pianos - This is an amazing recording with 4 of the greatest pianists of our age.

The Well-Tempered Clavier - I love this recording. Although not very harpsichord like, it is very calming

There are lots of recordings of Bach. Try to listen to a few this month. At Master Class on Tuesday, September 26th at 4:00 or 5:00pm we will be talking more about the Baroque period and J.S. Bach. Be sure to sign up! There will be prizes for those who can answer questions about the Baroque period.