Musical ornaments

Musical Ornaments – Those for and Those Against

Musical Ornaments  – Those For and Those Against. Everyone has opinions about the necessity of ornaments in music. I suppose the same could apply to the use of ornaments in fashion. At this point I venture a prediction: The use of set ornaments in music and in dress will return quite strongly. Richard Wagner commented on ornaments. He would tell musicians: “Pay attention to the small notes…The large ones will take care of themselves.”

Image result for Wikicmmopns a picture of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner stressed the importance of grace notes and ornaments.

Nature of Musical Ornaments

Why, at one time, were ornaments belittled?  Some thought they were only needed because of  weaker harpsichord sounds. The modern piano, they thought, did not need reinforcement. Among those who held this opinion were Marmoutel, Le Couppey and Méreaux. Yet, both the voice and violin had rich ornamentation. They had the same volume in the past as they have today.

Image result for Wikicommons a picture of C.P.E. Bach
C.P.E. Bach seated at the keyboard.

C.P.E. Bach wrote a definitive manual playing keyboard instruments. While in Berlin, C.P.E. wrote, Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (An Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments). “Both Haydn and Beethoven swore by it.”[9] By 1780, the book was in its third edition. It laid the foundation for the keyboard methods of Clementi and Cramer.[1]Bach presented his thoughts on the virtue of ornaments in his treatise. He believed that without ornamentation the best melody becomes empty and dull.

  1. He comments on how most composers use them profusely.
  2. On how they can connect notes.
  3. Ornaments can enliven music.
  4. They attach particular stress and importance to the notes they adorn.
  5. They make musical meaning clear: They can emphasize either sad or happy qualities.
  6. Ornaments can actually improve a mediocre composition.

 Musical Ornaments of J.S. Bach Kept Intact with my Own Arrangement of

The Boogie Man of the Opera

Robotic repeats lack tempo rubato

Robotic Repeats Lacking in Tempo Rubato

Robotic Repeats Lacking in Tempo Rubato. First of all, what is tempo rubato? Tempo rubato ([ˈtɛmpo ruˈbaːto]; “free in the presentation”, Italian for “stolen time”). It is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom. It is done by slightly speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of the music. This is totally at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor.

In this context I’ve featured a picture from the movie, Pink Panther. A Princess “Dala” receives a gift from her father.  It is the largest the largest diamond in the world. This huge pink gem has  a tiny discolored inclusion. It resembles a leaping panther. She escaped from her country with the diamond after a hostile takeover. Her country is called Lugash. 

During a costume party at Dala’s villa in Rome, Sir Charles and his nephew separately attempt to steal the diamond. Shockingly, they find it already missing from the safe. In the true Italian sense of the word, we have a series of “rubatos.” Ironically, Henry Mancini’s four-note theme from the Pink Panther, is played in strict tempo. No rubato.


Pink panther63.jpg

Robotic Repeats Avoided in Tempo Rubato

Speed and power are the gods of today. This is mostly accomplished under steady tempos. These “gods” were shunned in the past. In defining “rubato”, within the context of the beat, there is much give and take. Mozart and Chopin’s use of rubato added to their fame. Nothing was ever repeated the same way twice in this technique. On a repeat, you were expected to played it differently. Rubato is quite effective in slow, emotional music. It was used in romances, adagios and nocturnes. However, even in the 1600’s Johann Froberger recommended that a lament be played “without a steady beat.” There are other types of music lacking steady beat. My free sample below  of my own Dervish Dance illustrates another genre. Is is excerpted from That is my website.

King David’s Dance is a Dervish Style Piano Composition


Ancient number groupings

Numerical Meaning by Delving into Words

Numerical Meaning by Delving into Words. Today, numbers are adjectives. They define the quantity of a noun. Here are some simple examples: She has one cat. He has three birds. Our neighbor has two trees in the front yard. In the remote past, numbers represented both qualities and quantities. Furthermore, in China a numerical tradition of the Lo Shu survives. It is described below. Are numbers quantities or are they a lot more?  That depends on you civilization.

Numerical meaning for modern man
The modern mind prefers seeing numbers as adjectives rather than nouns.

21st century man prefers numbers as adjectives.  One side works with music and math. The other deals with words. Currently, most become quite uncomfortable in trying  to see numbers as nouns. There are exceptions. Musicians give numbers more meaning. Some examples are working with  the 8 bar phrase. The 32 bar period had its own meaning. . Another is animation by 3/4 or by 2/4 time. The prime number square  is the 3 x 3. It is the featured picture. Genesis is all about secret codes of this number square. So is the Chinese Lo Shu. Likewise, Greek mythology used this square of numbers. I must ask, who is more primitive? Someone who understands and works with all its hidden codes, or those who are ignorant of them?

1st sentence of Genesis Archives – DSO Works

Lo Shu Square (simplified Chinese洛书traditional Chinese洛書pinyinluò shū; also written 雒書; literally: Luo (River) Book/Scroll), or the Nine Halls Diagram (simplified Chinese九宫图traditional Chinese九宮圖pinyinjiǔ gōng tú), is the unique normal magic square of order three. Lo Shu is part of the legacy of the most ancient Chinese mathematical and divinatory (Yi Jing 易經) traditions, and is an important emblem in Feng Shui (風水).   Feng Shui is the art of geomancy concerned with the placement of objects in relation to the flow of qi (氣) “natural energy”.

Delving into Numerical Meaning

When placed in balanced mathematical relationships, numbers are more than adjectives. Such is the case with the featured picture.  Please read the internal link (1st sentence of Genesis) before continuing. Now let’s do the following. The sum of the numbers 1 to 9 totals 45. Next 45² = 2025. In many ancient languages, letters doubled as numbers. There was no brain split between the two sides and two disciplines.  This was called gematria. Information is available online. Also, on this website I quote the Reverend John Michell. He and Robin Heath amply cover gematria in their works.

For our last thought for numerical meaning in this blog, take 2025. Again, this is 45².

  • In Greek add the gematria of 3 gods:  Zeus = 612. Apollo = 1060. Hermes = 353. 612 + 1060 + 353 = 2025.
  • Gematria of words were often pyramided. Other  blogs deal with this topic. The four pyramided letters for “Torah” in Hebrew is 2023. Tav = 400,Tav + vav = 406. Tav + vav + reisch = 606. The full Hebrew word as tav, vav, reisch,  and hei = 611. Thus. 400 + 406 + 606 + 611 + 2 = 2025.  There  are 2 additional commandments added to the 611 by tradition.  With the + 2 we have: 2023 + 2 = 2025.  Again, this is 45².

There once was a golden age. Its guiding vision was the featured number square. This time of milk and honey can now be regained by the knowledge of how this basic number square functions..

Image result for pictures of book covers by John Michell
John Michell  and Robin Heath  quite descriptive  about the subject of gematria.
Earth Moon system by a number square

Earth Moon System and 27 x 27 Number Square

Earth Moon System and 27 x 27 Number Square. The barycenter  is the center of mass of two or more bodies that are orbiting each other. Earth and Moon have a shared barycenter. As such they are a dual planetary system.  Barycenters are an important concept astronomy and astrophysics. This is the case for the Earth–Moon system. The barycenter is located on average 2,902 mi from the Earth’s center. This is well within the planet’s radius of 3,963 miles.

Earth Moon system are are dual planetary system
Sharing a center of gravity within the Earth’s radius

phases of the Moon Archives – DSO Works

What do things have in common? That was the definition of wisdom in antiquity. Look at the internal link just above.  Above, this Moon link applies to our four types of musical triads.

Four types of musical triads parallel the phases of the Moon.

Earth Moon system and the 27 x 27 number square

Four Hundred Fortieth Post Defines Genesis   You might want to review the previous post.  My current post (441) is simply a continuation.  The common Earth based system for both is implied on the 27 x 27 number square. Here’s how:

  • Look at the core number of this number square. It is numbered three hundred and sixty-five. That defines the days of our solar year. Its core is the essence of any number square.
  • Look at the white diagonal from #352 to #378.  Each each lunation is approximately ​29 12 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds, or 29.530588 days).  It is common for the months of a lunar calendar to alternate between 29 and 30 days. There are  twelve such lunations. The Lunar year is  is therefore 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds (354.367056 days). Both 354 and 355 are included in this same diagonal.

Both the timing of the the Earth and Moon are found the the aforementioned diagonal line. The Earth is the main and central planet. The Moon has its center of gravity on the same diagonal. Likewise, Moon is part of the 365 day Earth based system.

At one time civilization was structured by number squares. It was a time of peace and prosperity. Does that describe the legend of Atlantis?  Plato describes in Critias what his grandfather was told by King Solon. Solon heard the story from the Egyptians. Atlantis was a mighty power based on an island in the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps, over time, they also lost their interaction with number squares? Many blogs on cover number square mathematics.



Operatic Broadway

Operatic Broadway – Blurring the Lines Has Precedent

Operatic Broadway – Blurring the Lines Has Precedent.  A number of modern musicals cross over into operatic territory. Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work. It  combines text (libretto) and musical score.  Opera usiually has usually in a theatrical setting.[1] Singers do two types of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style[2] . The second are arias, a more melodic style. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as actingscenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. Traditionally, it is sung all the way through. Musical theater, on the other hand has featured songs. However, most of its book is spoken. Recently there has been more and more cross over between opera and musical theater. They include Rent, Les Mis and The Phantom of the Opera. 

The Atlanta Opera Lucia di Lammermoor finale

Blurring Musical Vocal Boundaries Has a Romantic Precedent

The oratorio dates back to the 1500’s. It reached a climax under hand of Handel. The Romantic movement of the 19th century revived his ideals. Like Handel, with the Romantic composers, half were written in a Biblical or religious vein. The other half was secular or historical. There was only one difference: Handle’s historical oratorios were limited to either classical Greek or ancient. Handel examples include Hercules, Semele, “Alexander’s Feast”, or Alceste. Romantic oratorios had a broader scope. Instrumental works took on more significance. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet is somewhere between a symphony and a cantata.
  •   The Damnation of FaustOp. 24 is a work for four solo voices, full seven-part chorus, large children’s chorus and orchestra[1] by the French composer Hector Berlioz. He called it a “légende dramatique” (dramatic legend). It was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 6 December 1846. It has been seen as a symphony, oratorio or opera.

Operatic Broadway is Simply Following in this Precedent of Mixed Tradition

Octavian and Cleopatra: a 2 Act Opera in English – DSO Works

I, blogger David, have been the composer of three such works, My book-writer lyricist has been my wife Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein.  Check out the internal link above for some quite exciting live examples. Sharon plays Cleopatra.  Contact us on if you are interested in our up and coming works. We need a new sound for the new times we are entering. This translates into meaningful income.

Lesley and Ohrenstein’s “Octavian & Cleopatra” – YouTube

The youtube example below sets up our Operatic Broadway show.
Dec 12, 2007 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

“Octavian & Cleopatra” Imagine an operatic work that pours out incredible melodies, mesmerizes …

New Musical Theory Model

New Musical Theory Model Based on the Dodecahedron

New Musical Theory Model Based on the Dodecahedron. We know about the circle of fifths. A quick review: In music theory, the circle of fifths (or circle of fourths) is the relationship among the 12 tones of the chromatic scale.  It shows their corresponding key signatures.  Also found arethe associated major and minor keys. Musical tones use 7 letters of the alphabet. They are A-B-C-D-E-F-G. These letters repeat over and over to encompass the full key signature span.

Standard Musical Circle of Fifths
Circle of fifths show the relationship of major keys and their minor relationships.
 At the top of the circle, the key of C Major has no sharps or flats. Starting from the apex and proceed clockwise by ascending fifths.  The key of G has one sharp. The key of D has 2 sharps….. Proceed counterclockwise from the apex by descending fifths: The key of F has one flat. The key of B has 2 flats…… At the bottom of the circle, the sharp and flat keys overlap, showing pairs of enharmonically equivalent key signatures.

New Musical Theory Model in Featured Picture

Related image
The Dodecahedron is colored yellow. It it a 3 dimensional representation of the Circle of Fifths.

Mesolithic Times Had a Unique Standard

Click on the above internal link. It offers background on the 5 Platonic solids. The Platonic Solid we are concerned with here is the dodecahedron. In antiquity it symbolized the overall shape of the Universe. By this rational,we live in a musical Universe. As for the featured picture, note: The major keys are written in the center of each pentagon. Start in consecutive order (from C major) from its lower left point. The tone on the lower right completes the 5 tones. In the case of “C” major, it is the tone “G”. This lower right begins the next pentagon. It is completed at “D” …

  • Ascend 5 consecutive tones with each pentagon.
  • The fifth tone on the lower right of each pentagon defines the key signature name of the next pentagon. This goes for the complete cycle:  “G major, D major, A major…”
  • The 12 pentagons make the complete cycle at F major. “F” major’s lower right hand tone is “C”.  The outline of the dodecahedron is complete at this point.


Musical Quaternity with the Four Elements

Musical Quaternity is Analogous to the Four Elements

Musical Quaternity is analogous to the Four Elements.  Here are the players:

  1. The musical quaternity for this blog includes melody, harmony, rhythm and counterpoint.
  2. The four elements are alchemical.  They comprise earth, air fire and water. On the wheel of the zodiac they each occur in rotation three times. This covers the 12 zodiac signs.
  3. Analogy (from Greek ἀναλογία, analogia, “proportion”[1][2]) is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject – the analog or source, to another.  It has been argued that analogy is “the core of cognition”.[3]

Musical Quaternity with Alchemy: The Analogy


Alchemist Heating a Pot, by David Teniers the Younger (1610 – 1690), oil on canvas.
Harmony is more like the combined, unified yet undifferentiated background. Harmony is the vertical aspect or sound of musical. It represents the combination of sounds at any given moment. Those qualities parallel water. Counterpoint is the horizontal direction of various lines the harmony holds. The two are  thus interconneted. horizontal axis.
Melody is tied to rhythm. You cannot have melody without rhythm. In alchemy, fire represents maximum molecular activity. Earth is minimum activity. It is grounded. With the vertical axis, fire rise. Rhythm gives melody shape and purpose. It provides the substance of melody. They are interconnected as the vertical axis.
Baby song lyrics.

Baby Song Lyrics are Literally Everywhere

Baby Song Lyrics are Literally Everywhere. I am writing this blog to

  1. Describe how this word is now an anachronism. It is outdated.
  2. Show how this word has prevailed in popular culture.
  3. Show that this catch all word  should be replaced a more appropriate word.
  4. List a number of songs that communicate the frequent use of this overworked and tired word.
  5. Place a little humor into a blog.
Baby songs lyrics? Well, we have the music by Mancini
Henry Mancini wrote the Music to the Baby Elephant Walk  for the movie, Hatari. It actually does not have lyrics, just music.

First, We Turn to The Producers to Look at Baby Song Lyrics

Following the flop of theatre musical Funny Boy (based on William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet) (“Opening Night”), the show’s washed-up producer, Max Bialystock, hires the neurotic Leo Bloom as his accountant. While studying Max’s books, Leo notes that a flop is expected to lose money.   The IRS won’t investigate the finances of failed productions. Leo jests by selling an excess of shares and embezzling the funds, a flop could generate up to $2 million. Max asks for Leo’s help with the scheme.  Searching for the worst play written, the duo finds Springtime for Hitler, a musical written by an ex-Nazi named Franz Liebkind. Max and Leo acquire Franz’s rights to the musical, They adapt it to their own vision of the play. They do their best to make it a flop. They  use the worst lyrics. The show is in bad taste. Then they hire what could be considered a joke of a singer-actor for the lead. He constantly says or sings the word, “baby”. This word is obviously not in keeping with the playwright’s intentions.  Its use upsets Franz Liebkind to no end. He angrily states:

The Producers (2005).jpg

Franz Liebkind: Der Führer does not say, “Achtung, baby.”

Franz Liebkind: Baby! Baby!… Why does he say this “baby”? The Führer has never said “baby”. I did not write, “baby”. What is it with this, “baby”?

A Short Sample List of Baby Song Lyrics and Titles

  • (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care – Elvis Presley.
  • (You’re) Having My Baby – Paul Anka.
  • …Baby One More Time – Britney Spears.
  • Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey.
  • American Baby – Dave Matthews Band.
  • Angel Baby – Rosie & the Originals.
  • Angie Baby – Helen Reddy.
  • Anybody Seen My Baby? –

Please check on line and be amazed. Click in The Best Songs with Baby in the Title.

Finally, why do I think that Baby Song Lyrics are inappropriate for today? A baby is totally dependent.  Babies need love, attention and oversight. We live in a day and age where both women and men want to be respected and independent. A new woman’s movement is afoot. In this context, calling anyone, man or woman baby is at best, belittling. What are your thoughts on baby song lyrics?


Fission Fusion Link

Periodic Chart Harmony Favors the Octave Interval

Periodic Chart Harmony Favors the Octave Interval. In music, an octave (Latinoctavus: eighth) or perfect octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. It is defined by ANSI[2] as the unit of frequency level when the base of the logarithm is two. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the “basic miracle of music”, the use of which is “common in most musical systems”.[3]

pyramiding dots point to the 3 x 3 number square grid and the periodic chart
T-1 is the unison. T-2 is the 2:1 octave ratio. Other harmonies are for future blogs.

So where is the periodic chart harmony of the octave?

Here is a quote from blog #400. It is also about the periodic chart.

  • The system begins with hydrogen-1. The next vertical element is Lithium-3. So, 3-1 = 2. This is the first coding number on the chart.
  • Lithium is atomic number 3. Sodium is 11.  By subtraction 11 – 3 = 8. Sodium has 8 more protons than lithium.
  • Potassium has 19 protons. Sodium has 11. We see another 8 protons by subtraction. As, 19 – 11 = 8.
  • Next, Rubidium has 37 protons. Potassium has 19. We have our 1st 18 proton difference:  37 – 19 = 18.
  • Cesium is atomic number 55. Rubidium is atomic number 37. Thus, 55 -37 = 18.
  • That is followed by a 32 proton number difference. Francium is atomic number 87. Cesium is 55. Thus, 87 – 55 is a 32 number difference.
  • GaffuriusTheorica musicae (1492)

The chart finds periodic or repeating properties with atomic numbers 2, 4, 18, and 32. The first vertical row sets the pattern. Periodic chart harmony is found with these numbers. Simply write the 2 to 1 interval of the octave as follows. 2/1,   4 /2,   6/3,   8/4. The number of each fraction expresses an octave when multiplied as:

  • 2 x 1 = 2
  • 4 x 2 = 8
  • 6 x 3 = 18
  • 8 x 4 = 32.

Blogs on are attempting to place our planet in harmony with the cosmos. Pythagoras saw the basic unity of music with our world. He defined it by string lengths. If one string was 2 x as long as the other, the shorter sounded an octave higher to the longer.  An octave is (1) The most harmonious interval. It is also the most “perfect” of the perfect intervals. (2) It is also the first overtone in the series of overtones.  Why not take the musical view of our cosmos? For those who are interested, I’m offering piano lessons in Sarasota.



Unsung romantic hero was, in a way J.S. Bach. Read how.

Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way

Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way. I am a proud graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit. The school was a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit, United States.[2][3] The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools. In the 1960’s Cass Tech two major musical curriculum. Both were college prep. The school had some 30 college prep courses of study. You could even major in aeronautics. We actually had an airplane in one of the rooms that you could work on for assembly or repair.  In the music courses the  students were wise to editors. We all spoke of a professional frustration cycle. It went from soloist to conductor to editor. Editors, we half-jokingly said, wanted to get revenge on everyone else. Obviously, they couldn’t be successful at the first two professions. Not bad for high school kids!

Careless music editors were bantered about at this High School in Detroit
My High School Alma mater was Cass Technical High School in Detroit

J.S. Bach omitted placing tempo, phrasing or dynamics in his works. Over zealous editors quickly stepped in.  I quote Edward Hughes from G. Schirmer  & Co. I think he is one of the good ones. Edwin Hughes taught at the Ganapol School of Musical Art in Detroit from 1910 to 1912, the Volpe Institute of Music in New York from 1916 to 1917, and the Institute of Musical Art in New York from 1918 to 1923. He lectured at various schools. From 1920 to 1926 he was special editor of piano music for G. Schirmer, Inc. He toured widely in the USA and Europe after the close of World War I; performed duo-recitals with his wife, the pianist Jewel Bethany Hughes, and also gave master-classes. He also had opinions about careless music editors.

Careless Music Editors Over-Edit

I am currently working on the Bach Prelude and Fugue in A minor. It is transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt. Publisher is G. Schirmer Inc. Hughes humbly states about his editing: “The phrasing is to be regarded more as indicative than complete. Of himself he states “There is no desire to appear arbitrary in matters of pedaling, touch and so forth. Also bear in mind: “In the democracy of art there is no final authority on such subjects.” I think these are the words of a great man.

Finally, if anyone is interested I have  I have one or two openings for piano students in Sarasota.

Mischa and I in our Sarasota Home
My instructor, Mischa Kottler, studied with Emil von Sauer- a pupil of Franz Liszt. I acquired a Master of Music degree from Wayne State University under Mischa.