Three Four Time Signature Called for by the Oquaga Spirit. There is a hidden place where life is still beautiful. Water is crystal clear. It is drinkable with minimal filtration. A spirit hovers on the lake and surrounding area. I was most fortunate. The spirit took a liking to me. It accompanied me on walks through the woods and over the mountains. As I say in one of my poems, called The Oquaga Spirit: “So much she needed an ear, she ignored my tranquility.” Who is this spirit? I sensed it was a female from the Lennie Lenape American Indians. At one time their domain was also around the lake. Women ruled the roost. What characterized this spirit?
First and foremost: It loves music. At 4:30 P.M. a showboat went around the lake. The guests sang with gusto as it circled its perimeters.
The spirit loves ballroom dancing. As a matter of fact, it inspired our ballroom dancing CD, Dancing Near You. We had ballroom dance instructors from all over the country offering their thoughts. I wrote down the music. My wife Sharon was the arranger.
It loves wisdom and knowledge. Many of the blogs on DSOworks.com were communicated to me by this Indian spirit.
The Indian spirit was a great advocate the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It did not like contrary people.
What the Oquaga Spirit Said About Three Four Time Signature
The spirit dictated my poetry book, The Oquaga Spirit Speaks, in triple time signature. The poem I quote is Nature Loves to Waltz. Its concluding quatrain is:
Man likes duple meters
His triple meters wane.
Return ye to the waltzes of Vienna
And the vibrant boleros of Spain.
So what is my poetic plan? Simply, to tour the world reciting the wisdom of the Oquaga Spirit. Also, I have a few openings for piano lessons in Sarasota. Here is a free poetry sample on youtube. May the spirit be with you!
Triple Meter Has All But Disappeared. I refer to music beats per measure. Waltzes are in triple meter. You count 1-2-3 over and over. They are scarce. They are also memorable. For example we have Piano Man and You Light Up My Life. Two more are Take it to the Limit and Morning Has Broken. I would venture to conservatively guess that perhaps 1 in 5,000 popular selections that get air time today are written in triple meter. According to Wikipedia, it is a musical meter characterized by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 (simple) or 9 (compound) in the upper figure of the time signature.
Compound triple drum pattern: divides each of three beats into three Play (help·info)
Triple meter is much less common in traditions such as rock & roll and jazz. The most common time in rock, blues, country, funk, and pop is duple and quadruple.
Duple and quadruple meter are sharp and angular. A conductor uses angular strokes of his baton in 2/4 and 4/4. For example, 2/4 is conducted with an angular up and down motion for one and two. Triple meter, on the other had can be conducted with circles or curves. A circle is completed with each set of 1-2-3 beats. Let’s apply meter to yang and yin. Duple and quadruple meters are yang. Triple meters are yin. What does this mean for society? Yang is male. With 4/4 or 2/4 meter, the male mostly dominates. While in 3/4 the yin or female becomes more dominant. We are about to see a massive return dominant 3/4 meter. It will be the age of the glorification for the ladies.
Our Drinking Song From the Princess and the Peasant Uses Triple Meter with a Quadruple Meter Introduction
As men and women come together to waltz, yin and yang become balanced. In so many dances, since the Strauss father and son composers, contact is scarce. However, trends are cyclic. The waltz will return in a big way. I am currently playing piano at the Crab and Fin in Sarasota. Deliberately, I pump a lot of 3/4 time out of the piano. Then, from Christmas to Easter I will be at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Fl. Of course, I plan to play 3/4 time. This includes many Strauss waltzes. Watch for more posts of my original music in 3/4 time on youtube. The Princess and the Peasant is about to make a big splash. Also, off- season, I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.
Music Prolongs Life of Rubinoff and His Violin. I used the featured picture of the Gypsy Kings because they convey the joyfulness of older musicians in general. With music, all enjoy perpetual youth. My featured older musician is David Rubinoff. Dave Rubinoff (September 3, 1897, Grodno, Russian Empire, now Belarus – October 6, 1986), was a popular concert violinist who was also known for his Stradivarius violin. He purchased it in 1929 for $100,000. Now it is priceless.
I worked with Dave over a 15 year period. This was in the capacity of arranging and piano accompanying. This blog story has an air of mysticism. It doesn’t seem possible. It raises a question: Can music bring someone back from the edge of death’s door? First, I must explain the pocket watch Dave Rubinoff is holding in the above picture. I am standing next to him. Will Rogers and he were best of friends. Will gave him the pocket watch. Will had a poetry excerpt by Robert H. Smith engraved on back. It is called The Clock of Life. Dave read the poem at every concert to an appreciative audience.
The Clock of Life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
The present only is our own,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
For the Clock may then be still.”
Music Prolongs Life of Rubinoff for our Pittsburgh Concert
Darlene Rubinoff, documented her husbands life in the book, Dance of the Russian Peasant. He dictated the book in general to her. She gave it the finishing touches. I now quote: “I was 88 years old. Don Baretti book me on a concert. It was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. I had just been released from the hospital after suffering from pneumonia.” Darlene told me (David Ohrenstein) “I’m afraid you’ll have to do this concert by yourself.”
The rest of the story goes: I had flown in to Columbus, Ohio so we could practice the concert. Rubinoff stated: “”I summoned all my strength, got out of bed, dressed and was standing, violin in hand when Dave and Darlene arrived from the airport.” Here’s he’s enthusiasm: He said to me- We”ll start with Fiddler on the Roof not waiting for him (me) to remove his jacket. He smiled shook my hand, and we began to practice.”
” Darlene made me sit down for the rest of our practice. I was just out of the hospital three days, suffering from pneumonia. I was still spitting blood.”
How did the concert at Pittsburgh Wintergarden Plaza end? Literally, the audience went wild with applause. Rubinoff lived. We gave many more concerts together. Yes, music prolongs life! Learn to play. By the way, I have room for 1 or 2 piano students in Sarasota.
Special Arranging was Not Beethoven’s Cup of Tea! Beethoven loved receiving inspiration. He would stroll in the woods for this purpose. He also created his music of grand sentiment. For example: Symphony No.5 deals with the struggle and the joy of victory. “The Pastoral symphony” represents the expression of the love he held for for nature. However, he refused to make special arrangements for specific instruments once the work was composed. Of course, his editors took up the slack. His publishers hired arrangers through their own publishing houses. The end result was Beethoven sold more copies and made more money. This happens when you increase your potential buyers.
What Exactly is Special Arranging?
I will define arranging by a joke. It circulated in the entertainer’s old haven- the Catskill Mountains. Below is a picture of Oquaga Lake, It is perched high in the Catskills. I was the house pianist at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House for some 17 years. As such, I accompanied many Catskill comedians and professionals. Harry Carlyle often told this story:
“A man walks by a pet shop in the summer. Its windows are open. He hears a canary singing. The man walks in and says to the pet shop owner: “I love the song of this canary. How much does she cost?” The pet shop owner says, “”five dollars”. “That’s all, the man answers, I’ll take her!”. The pet shop owner says,”Wait a minute.” Do you see that ugly, scraggly, looking bird over there? The man answers, “yes”. “The owner says, “When you buy her, you have to buy him. And, he’s $100.00 dollars”. The man looks up in a state of puzzlement: “Why should I buy that ugly, scraggly bird over there for $100.00 when I can have this beautiful songbird for $5.00?” The pet shop own answers: “He’s the arranger!.”
Incidentally, in between jobs I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.
Richard Addinsell With Rubinoff and His Violin. I worked for over 15 years with violin maestro, David Rubinoff. Dave was a man with passion plus. This was not only for music, but for life. Dave was born into extreme poverty in Kiev, Russia. The year was 1897. Violin was his ticket to success. How did his success transpire? Victor Herbert was on sabbatical in Warsaw, Poland. He heard David play a student recital at the Warsaw Conservatory. Paderewski was the headmaster.
Here’s the tie in with the Richard Addinsell: Warsaw was close to Rubinoff’s heart. Dave loved the sentiment and music of the Warsaw Concerto. The music was composed a British film: Dangerous Moonlight. The subject is the Polish struggle against the 1939 invasion by Nazis. One of Dave’s most memorable moments is in the featured picture. He consulted with the Addinsell for his violin/piano arrangement. I will be playing piano from the same Rubinoff score this winter. Management just rebuilt their vintage Steinway grand at the Gasparilla Inn. The finest parts were ordered from Germany. It is situated in the dining room. Hear me play it. I am booked at the Inn by the Jay Goodley Group in Sarasota. My contract is 6 nights weekly from Christmas to Easter.
Herbert Places Rubinoff on the Path to Success that also Led Him to Meet with Richard Addinsell
Victor Herbert declared, “Son, you belong to America.” He brought young David and his entire family to the United States. David apprenticed with Victor Herbert in Pittsburgh. Herbert was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic. Rubinoff apprenticed his musical art with his benefactor. Dave told me countless stories about Herbert’s Sunday musical get togethers. Dave, for a while actually resided with Victor Herbert. He was able to socialize with John Phillip Sousa, the great tenor-Carouso, Andrew Carnegie…Sousa told Rubinoff to take good music to the public schools. Years later, Dave and I (Dave Ohrenstein) did this throughout the Sarasota area.
By the way, Rubinoff told me about how Victor Herbert composed while standing by his lectern. I guess conductors are used to standing. Keep checking DSOworks.com for new posts. By the way, a have 1 or 2 openings for piano students in Sarasota.
High Stepping on the Steinway Piano at World Class Gasparilla Inn. I feel like I have a special connection with Steinway grand pianos. My primary teacher on piano was Mischa Kottler. He kept two Steinway grands in his studio. For my lessons, I played on one. He accompanied and demonstrated on the other. What kind of teacher was Mischa? I quote Greg Philliganes in Keyboard Magazine.
High Stepping with Mischa Kottler
From work with Stevie Wonder while still in his teens, to tours and recordings with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, and Toto, Phillinganes’ massive discography reads like a “Who’s Who” of pop music, encompassing four decades.
From Greg Philliganes’ interview in Keyboard Magazine
“Sensing that I needed discipline more than anything else, my Mom managed to hook me up with a wonderful teacher named Mischa Kottler. He was a no-nonsense Russian Jewish guy who could crack a pane of glass with one finger. He was a complete badass, and he cooled my attitude out immediately. I studied with him well into my teens.
What kinds of things were you studying with him?
I was studying technique and classical repertoire. He taught me a certain way of playing that I still use to this day: a sense of evenness where your wrists aren’t loose or moving up and down. It’s a totally linear way of playing, where there’s even movement in both hands so your wrists stay perfectly still. Mischa would take two fingers and weigh them down on my wrists to keep them from moving. He instilled a sense of dexterity and definition in my playing. If I’m known for my speed and precision, it’s probably due to Mischa more than anything else.
I also have Mischa to thank for instilling in me speed and precision. He also instilled in me the desired to look for the “truth” in music. What is the music really about? How do you convey it? Again, thanks to Mischa, I have year round employment. . Until Dec 18, I will be at the Crab and Fin in Sarasota. See events on DSOworks.com. Then, Gasparilla from Dec. 19- April 1 2018 for six nights weekly. I play on a newly rebuilt Steinway Grand. The parts were special ordered from Germany. In between, my wonderful agent Fitz Otis at Jay Goodley Entertainment Group books me any other time I am available. My advice to students: Work hard. Be serious. And yes, I have a couple of openings for piano lessons in Sarasota.
Musical Transcriptions Were One of Bach’s Priorities. However, he often transcribed his own works. Most think of transcription by people other than the original composer. For example, Franz Liszt transcribed some of Bach’s organ works for the piano. In fact, Liszt wrote transcriptions for piano of a wide variety of music. Indeed, about half of his composing work (approximately 400 out of 800 items) are arrangements of music by other composers.
During the period 1730-1733 Bach wrote seven concertos for harpsichord and strings. Most were musical transcriptions from his own violin concertos. Bach had a passion for transcriptions. He seemed to be never satisfied with any definitive version of his musical output. I quote Wanda Landowski in her book, On Music: “His versatile and restless spirit refused to be limited to the use of any one particular instrument or even to instruments in general.”
Reason for Musical Transcriptions
What other reason can there be for writing a composition for different instruments? Perhaps business. It allows you to sell more copies.Instead of selling to only violinists, you can , also sell music to other instrumentalists. Also transcriptions makes a person popular with the public. If they enjoy a particular work, they can also hear it played by a piano player. Liszt became rich enough to help many composers of his time. Yes he was a great pianist. However, I feel his transcriptions propelled him to the top and gave him the reputation of being the greatest.
For years I worked as a transcriber for Rubinoff and His Violin. He too made a fortune. He called me his best arranger in his lifetime of performing. Enjoy our concert at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. We gave it in 1984. Witness the audience going wild over a violinist at age 87. I am playing the piano. Also, see for yourself what a difference arrangements can make. Also I have one or two openings for piano lessons in Sarasota.
Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984
Scorpio Musicians Perform with Profound Emotions. This blog is an excerpt from my upcoming book: Music Under the Zodiac. I also composed a ballet and modern dance opus number on the 12 zodiac signs. It also has an introduction and finale. The title Dance of the Zodiac. The work is haunting me to be staged again. Al Smith, a comedian who once toured the Catskills said, “It’s like a collector’s item- It sits around collecting dust.” Any suggestions or contacts out there?
Scorpio Musicians as We Approach the Astrological Month of Scorpio 10/23-11/21
Wheel of the zodiac: This 6th century mosaic pavement in a synagogue incorporates Greek-Byzantine elements, Beit Alpha, Israel.
For this blog we will consider Scorpio as a listener and a performer.
Scorpio listen with an ear that is tuned to the mystical. For most, music must touch the mind and body. For Scorpio it is about touching the soul. This listener favors complex chords and rhythms. They enjoy “tempo rubato”. Even “dervish” accelerando rhythms are on the listening list. In the classical realm, music from the Baroque era is favored. Counterpoint is enjoyable: Life is complex. Anything with intense mood is enjoyable. Baroque dance suites are on the list. Each dance keeps its own character throughout.
Scorpio musicians enjoy varied percussion instruments. These include timpani, triangle, marimba, xylophone or celesta. They favor the cello among stringed instruments. Cellos express depth of feeling in the “baritone” area. Scorpio has natural charisma. That makes people of this sign great conductors or section leaders. Scorpio will instruments not commonly played. These could include the lute or hurdy gurdy. Enjoy an excerpt from my blog about this rare instrument!
Hurdy Gurdy Suddenly Came into Vogue. Why am I writing this blog? To prove that no how popular something is, changing style can make it obsolete. For example, once upon a time no one ever doubted the popularity and supremacy of the lute. The first lutes were brought to Spain by the Moors. Others may have been brought to Europe from Arabic lands. The lute is one of the ancestors of the classical guitar. Sunddenly, among the French royalty and other European courts, the lute was totally shunned. The hurdy gurdy took its place. Styles change! Go ahead Scorpio. Follow the lead of French royalty! Oh yes, I have one or two openings for giving piano lessons in Sarasota.
Hurdy Gurdy Suddenly Came into Vogue. Why am I writing this blog? To prove that no how popular something is, changing style can make it obsolete. For example, once upon a time no one ever doubted the popularity and supremacy of the lute. The first lutes were brought to Spain by the Moors. Others may have been brought to Europe from Arabic lands. The lute is one of the ancestors of the classical guitar.During the Baroque music era, the lute was used as one of the instruments which played the basso continuoaccompaniment parts. It is also an accompanying instrument in vocal works. The lute player either improvises (“realizes”) a chordal accompaniment based on the figured bass part, or plays a written-out accompaniment (both music notation and tabulature(“tab”) are used for lute). As a small instrument, the lute produces a relatively quiet sound
How the Hurdy Gurdy Came to Replace the Lute
The book Le Parnasse Français is from 1736. Its author is Titon du Tillet. He writes that he had met a great lute amateur, M. Falco. The lute player assured Tion du Tillet that there are only 3 or 4 accomplished old time lute players left in Paris. Now I quote du Tillet: “M. Falco invited me to go up to his apartment. After having seated me in an antique armchair, he played 5 or 6 pieces on the lute. He looked at me all the while with tender expression. From time to time he shedding tears on his lute. I could not help mingling a few tears with his. And thus we parted.”
Wanda Landowska on Music writes: By the end of the 17th century, the best lutes were sought after. However, they were transformed into the theorboes. Somewhat later, the hurdy gurdy totally replaced the lute in popularity. Shockingly, at onetime the hurdy gurdy was mainly used by beggars and village peddlers. As it happens, Marchionesses from the court of Louis XV called the few remaining lutes “gothic and despicable instruments.” The hurdy gurdy became the aristocratic rage.
Conclusion: Don’t bank on anything being popular for too long. Check out my blogs. Musical style will soon change. By the way. Stay in style. Using this knowledge, I am having my busiest season ever. To this end I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.
Music Transforms Especially in Difficult Times. This blog is about a great man that I worked with: David Rubinoff. To the public he was known as Rubinoff and his Violin. Rubinoff had the Midas Touch on the violin. The most famous King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. The Maestro made as much as $500,000.00 a year in the 1930’s. That is a lot of money, even now. He played concerts. Also he conducted the orchestra at the Paramount Theater in New York and for Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. David autographed his picture for my wife Sharon, and myself.
This letter, written during the height of the Vietnam war, is quoted here. The Dance of the Russian Peasant was written about him by his wife, Darlene. She interviewed and recorded Rubinoff’s words for this book. Darlene was a true friend. I think this letter amply illustrates the keywords: Music Transforms.
A Testimony to How Music Transforms
Dear Maestro Rubinoff: “Mother told me you were a Prophet of Music. You were blessed directly by God to carry out a special purpose. She said you were commissioned to bring down divine harmony to earth and give it to the common man…No more would music be for royalty and the very rich. Thus, the wonderful music you took into the battlefield after your allotted threescore and ten years. Knowing you has made me a better wife, a better mother and better citizen of the world. I cannot willingly drop below the height to which your heavenly music has taken me.”
Now you too can enjoy the Heavenly Music of Rubinoff. I, David Ohrenstein, am the pianist on this Oquaga Lake concert. Enjoy his stories. They date all the way back to the year 1911. Victor Herbert brought him to America. He lived with Herbert and met Caruso, John Phillip Sousa… At the time he was age 86.