contrapuntal universe

Contrapuntal Universe Combines Melody with Conterpoint

Contrapuntal Universe is a Paradox. First, what is musical counterpoint? In musiccounterpoint is the relationship between voices that are harmonically interdependent (polyphony).  Yet they are  independent in rhythm and contour.[1] It has been most commonly identified in the European classical tradition.  Counterpoint was strongly developing during the Renaissance. It became common practice period  in the Baroque. The term originates from the Latin punctus contra punctum. That means “point against point”.

Melodic Universe V. Contrapuntal Universe

Counterpoint focuses on melodic interaction—only secondarily on the harmonies produced by that interaction.  John Rahn contrasts melody with counterpoint quite adeptly. He states:

It is hard to write a beautiful song. It is harder to write several individually beautiful songs that, when sung together, sound more beautiful as a polyphonic whole. The internal structures that create each must contribute to the the polyphony. Vice versa, the combination in turn must comment on the the individual voices. In this way the contrapuntal universe combines the singular with the plural. The way that is accomplished in detail is … ‘counterpoint’.[3]

contrapuntal universe
This is the 1st volume of the Bible of counterpoint.

 

Patra Workshop
Three female musicians. Used by permission from the Egyptian art gallery: “From Cairo with Love”and artist, Kadir.

Patra Workshop to debut New York this September

Patra Workshop to debut in New York. Patra is the shorter name for Cleopatra. Queen of Egypt, she was one of the most famous women in history. Her full name was Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator (69 BC – 12 August 30 BC). She was the last of the Pharaohs set up in Egypt by Alexander the Great. By descent, she was a Macedonian Princess. It will appear off book in  the workshop. Our singers will literally be top notch.  My wife, Sharon is the librettist and a co-composer of Patra.  I, husband David, am also a composer. Before going to NY, it will have a staged concert presentation. This will be in Sarasota Fl at the newly built Sarasota West Coast Black Theater.  Our casts in both NY and Fla are busy rehearsing.  Here’s the gist:

Cleopatra had stopped the onslaught of two invading Roman generals through love. She thus neutralized the worst effects of their invasions by marrying the generals. Patra had children with each.  The generals were, first,  Julius Caesar; and then, Marc Antony. Was there any possibility of love with the 3rd invading general, Octavian? That is the subject of our new opera comique.

`How does this tie together melody and counterpoint?  By the beautiful vocal lines. Also, the piano provides additional counterpoint. Don’t miss our New York workshop on September 7, 2019.  See our website, Patraopera.com. for details.

 

contrapuntal universe

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today. For an explanation, let’s look back to the Baroque era. Its years were approximately 1600 – 1750. Very few composer/keyboardists  in the Baroque era were said to have mastered even two types of  keyboards!  Most often, if they  played the organ, they were deficient in the harpsichord. In reverse, if they could play the harpsichord, they were deficient in organ. This is the point of this blog: If two types of keyboards were confusing, even for geniuses; today we literally have hundreds of types. This of course takes into consideration the electronic wizardry which seems to multiply daily.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (22 November 1710 – 1 July 1784), the second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach.  He was a German composer and performer. He possessed two mind sets for keyboard instruments: One for the organ. One for the harpsichord. Historian and contemporary of J.S. Bach, Johann Forkel, wrote: Their style (harpsichord and organ)  and manner of playing differ as much as their respective destinations. That which at the harpsichord produces excellent effect, does not express anything at the organ and vice versa.”

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach sketch.png
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was a master of both harpsichord and organ. He, and his father, were two  of the few.

Keyboard Consideration of Organ V. Harpsichord

Further on Forkel states  how he only knew of two musicians  equally adept at both: J.S. Bach and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedmann Bach.  He states: “Both were elegant virtuosos at the harpsichord. Once seated at the organ, it is impossible to perceive the slightest trace of the the harpsichordist.” Forkel states the following of Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: “I had the pleasure of hearing Wilhelm Friedmann at the harpsichord. All was delicate, elegant and pleasing. When I heard him at the organ, I was truly seized with religious respect.  ”

Words of Keyboard Consideration from My Own Teacher- Mischa Kottler

Mischa studied in Paris and Vienna in the 1920’s. He worked with Alfred Cortôt in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna. He told me right from the beginning, do not play the organ if you study piano. Seeing what Forkel just had to say about two different keyboard instruments, I think he was absolutely correct! Please share with friends that might be interested.

Tenth Year Entertaining on the Steinway at the Gasparilla Inn

I owe my longevity as a pianist to Mischa. This will be my 10th year at the Gasparilla Inn. Check the internal link above. December 20, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – April 20, 2019 @ 9:00 pm
Tenth Year Entertaining
Famed Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande

Mischa Kottler plays Rachmaninoff, Prelude in g# minor – YouTube


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHQ8mCk26Pg
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Mischa Kottler Plays Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G# minor 

Here is an internal musical link:

Pianistic Robots are Created by Competitions

 

What exactly is Fibonacci Inversion?

Fibonacci Inversion is Like Musical Inversion of Intervals

Fibonacci Inversion is Like Musical Inversion of Intervals. . Inversion means to reverse the order, be it  of numbers or the two tones of a musical interval.  We also have melodic inversion. An example will be given by J.S. Bach. A unison inverts to an octave as 1 + 8 = 9. The second inverts to the seventh as 2 + 7 = 9. The third inverts to a sixth as  3 + 6 = 9. The fourth inverts to a fifth as 4 + 5 = 9. Inverting music is further discussed in my internal link.immediately below.

Music and Math Share the Rule of 9’s

Also, inversion also means turning the melodic intervals up-side-down.

Fibonacci inversion has a parallel in music
An example of melodic inversion from the fugue in D minor from J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1.[1] Though they start on different pitches (A and E), the second highlighted melody is the upside-down version of the first highlighted melody. That is, when the first goes up, the second goes down the same number of diatonic steps (with some chromatic alteration); and when the first goes down, the second goes up the same number of steps.

Fibonacci Inversion is Also Like Inverted Triads

Image result for Wiki Commons illustration of C major triad and inversions
The same three basic notes are always there, but turned around. In order C-E-G; E-G-C, and G-C-E.

What are the Fibonacci numbers?

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones:[1][2]

{\displaystyle 1,\;1,\;2,\;3,\;5,\;8,\;13,\;21,\;34,\;55,\;89,\;144,\;\ldots }

For the Fibonacci  inversions, I take the 1st four numbers: 1,1,2, 3.  Each of these Fibonacci numbers with its inversion totals four. In similar fashion each musical interval with its total equals the same number. The number is different but the principle is the same.

The Fibonacci  inversion of “1′ becomes “3”. This happens for each “1”. The inversion of “2′ becomes 2. This number inverts to itself. The musical parallel is as an octave inverts to a unison.  Next, the inversion of “3” becomes “1”.

In order, the inverted numbers of  1,1,2,3,  are 3,3,2,1. Now we have to points to make (1) Ancient philosophers often either separated successive numbers and/or placed them together.(2) Ancient numbers squares give rise to the Fibonacci series. The internal link explains, in depth, how Fibonacci numbers dominate 4 x 4 number square.

Remarkable Foursome is a Mathematical Wonder

I keep within the ancient tradition of number squares for this next explanation.  Take the first four inverted  Fibonacci numbers, 3,3,2,1 – as a straight read. You have 3321. The is the numerical total of the 9 x 9 number square of the Moon. This square (with other ancient squares) is pictured below. It houses all the numbers from 1 to 81. Any two opposite numbers total 82. My page was copied from an earlier blog about the “Neolithic Periodic Chart”. Note the obvious vertical sequence of numbers on the periodic chart.  It is found on the diagonal on odd numbered squares. They are clearly reinforced in reinforced black ink. The numbers are 2,8,8,18,18,32,32, …

Hidden Periodic Chart Sequence Found in a set order

So what is my conclusion? Again,  there once was a former advanced civilization. It was based on number squares. Times were then peaceful and harmonious. Somehow it was destroyed. Could it have been the continent of Atlantis that Plato mentions in his writings?

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

contrapuntal universe

Unsung Romantic Music Hero is Bella Salomon

Unsung Romantic Music Hero is Bella Salomon. The 1st question you are probably asking is:  Who was Bella Salomon?  Answer: Felix Mendelssohn’s maternal grandmother. The second question is, what did she do for her grandson? In 1823 (or possibly 1824), she presented her grandson with a gift. It was to alter the course of his life. Also, it was to alter the course of musical history.  The gift was a copyist’s manuscript score of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.  She recognized  the Passion was one of the most deeply spiritual works ever written. It was almost unknown during the time of Mendelssohn.  She had it copied by Eduard Rietz for her grandson.  Felix struggled with this special project  for 4 or 5 years. Finally, his dream was realized: He rehearsed and conducted the Passion at the Singakademie on March 11, 1829.

Unsung romantic music hero for Felix Mendelssohn was Bella Salomon
Felix Mendelssohn was assisted by his maternal grandmother

Portrait of Mendelssohn by the English miniaturist James Warren Childe, 1839.

Unsung Romantic Music Hero, Bella Saloman, to the Rescue

The romantic era revived counterpoint. One era contrasts another. Melody with accompaniment mostly characterized the rococo period and the classical eras.  Mendelssohn brought counterpoint to the Romantic era. Because of him, it became a key element. But, we have cause and effect. Had Felix Mendelssohn’s maternal grandmother, the unsung romantic music hero, not given him the copy of the St. Matthew Passion, Felix could not have made it known. Later Brahms was to embraced counterpoint’s use with melody. With this in mind, my the internal link contrasts Brahms and Wagner.

 

 

The Wedding March – Felix Mendelssohn – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcyhxC-pSaQ
Aug 18, 2017 – Uploaded by Dso Works

In the above youtube, has me playing Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. I have been called Sarasota’s Wedding Pianist.  On Dec. 20, 2017 will begin playing the piano at the Gasparilla Inn. It is pictured below: Christmas through Easter, six nights weekly. The 1924 Steinway Grand as just been refurbished.  

Musical Transcriptions Were One of Bach’s Priorities

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.[52]

Musical transcriptions contributed to Liszt's popularity.
Liszt give the musical public what they wanted- musical transcriptions

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.

44:13

Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984

Lesley & Ohrenstein
986 views

Beer Versus Coffee and Johann Sebastian Bach

Beer Versus Coffee and Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach is cool. I love his sense of humor and strength of spirit. Speaking of spirits: During J.S. Bach’s life there were two distinct points of view in Germany with regards to  beer versus coffee. In this incredible battle J.S. Bach, a humble and poor musician,  took on Frederick the Great.  First a little background on the man Bach fought against in the beer-coffee battle:

Frederick II (German: Friedrich; 24 January 1712 – 17 August 1786) was King of Prussia from 1740 until 1786, the longest reign of any Hohenzollern king.[3] His most significant accomplishments during his reign included his military victories, his reorganization of Prussian armies, his patronage of the arts and the Enlightenment in Prussia, and his final success against great odds in the Seven Years’ War.

Friedrich Zweite Alt.jpg
Portrait of Frederick the Great; By Anton Graff, 1781 who fought the Beer versus coffee Battle with Bach.

Now, enter J.S. Bach to face King Frederick the Great. An edict by Frederick the Great  declared: “It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects and this must be prevented. His majesty was brought up on beer and so were his ancestors and his officers. Many battles were fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer, and the king does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be depended upon to endure hardships or to beat his enemies in  case of war.” My source is a quote by Victor Borge in My Favorite Intermissions.

Bach’s Coffee Cantata is close to being an opera. His Coffee Cantata #211 has a plot, recitatives, and arias. Had money been raised for scenery and costumes, it would have been a baroque opera. Bach wrote it in defiance of the king’s edict. Basically, in the cantata, a daughter’s father tries to reason with her to kick the coffee habit. After all kinds of threats, in desperation he promises to find her a handsome husband. Marriages were pre-arranged in those days. However, as Borge states: “She (daughter in the  cantata)  and Bach (the composer) have the last laugh together”. The daughter confides that she would only marry the man that lets her drink all the coffee she wants.

Beer Versus Coffee – Coffee Wins (at least in the Coffee Cantata #211)

For years J.S. Bach gave weekly coffee concerts at Zimmerman’s Coffee House in Leipzig. Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as beer versus coffee could create such conflict.  Please share if you like this Bach blog. Oh yes, I am available for piano lessons in Sarasota, should you want to  study some of the music of this great master. I also  play Bach’s entire Italian Concerto on St Armand’s Circle in Sarasota at the Crab and Fin restaurant. Days are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday -check events on DSOworks for details. Yes, the Crab and Fin serves coffee, coffee drinks and beer. Your choice.

beer versus coffee
Beer versus Coffee – In this case I think I would prefer the coffee.

 

Three Square Code

Numerical Nature of Ancient Philosophy is Number Squares

Numerical Nature of Ancient Philosophy is Number Squares. There are three varied approaches to ancient mathematics. Today we will only examine “real numbers.” Categories 2 and 3 will be future blogs.

  1. Use of “Real numbers” being numbers 1 – 9.
  2. Synthetic numbers being 10, 110, 1110, 11110.
  3. Repeated “real numbers” as 11, 22, 33…Or; 111, 222, 333…Also; 111,222,333…. to the nines.*

Numerical Nature of Ancient Philosophy is Found in the Phrase “To the nines.”

Lyrics from “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. You won’t believe me, all you will see is a girl you once knew
Although she’s dressed up to the nines.

  • Evita (New Broadway Cast Recording)

 

My blog traces the history of “to the nines” to prehistoric times. Number squares were of prime importance. What set the concept and pattern of the number squares in motion was the smallest. It is referred to as the grain of mustard seed in the Bible. It uses the numbers one to nine. Nine becomes the maximum. Higher numbers are synthetic.  For example: Ten is the total of any two opposite numbers around the perimeter of the featured picture.  Examples are 9 + 1 or, 3 + 7. They combine two or more numbers in set patterns. Ten, in the distant past, did not exist as an independent number.  In musical terms repeated patterns on different tones is called a sequence. They musically demonstrate a property we will study in number squares.

J.S. Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, first movement, bars 22-24

 

The meaning of this ancient number square is revealed in the phrase Dressed to the nines.  But the history of nines is much older than this defining quote. Perhaps some 10,000 years older. *”To the nines” is an English idiom meaning “to perfection” or “to the highest degree” or to dress “buoyantly and high class”. In modern English usage, the phrase most commonly appears as “dressed to the nines” or “dressed up to the nines”.[1][2]The phrase “dressed to the nines” is just a specific application of the Scottish phrase “to the nine ” The earliest written evidence of this phrase appeared in the late 18th century in the poetry of Robert Burns. Its meaning is “to perfection; just right.

Much more to come on the featured picture of the Grain of Mustard Seed  and categories 2 and 3. Keep checking the blogs.

Musical underurrents of J.S. Bach revived in the Romantic Era

Musical Undercurrents Are About to Surface

Musical Undercurrents Are About to Surface. The following sequence attaches itself to musical styles:

  • A style begins with the 1st generation.
  • The 2nd generation literally buries the style of the 1st. It has a new concept for music.
  • The 3rd generation of style buries the 2nd. It then resurrects the ideas from the 1st.

Here’s how it has worked in our western music history. Let’s begin with the Baroque Era:

  • J.S, Bach culminated the Baroque Era of counterpoint. It transitioned to a simpler style around 1750.
  • The Rococo era and early classical were the next musical trends. They used a melody and accompaniment approach. Simplicity was preferred.
  • The Romantic Era came with Beethoven’s middle and later works. This was after 1800. Bach, counterpoint and complexity came back into vogue.

Baroque Musical Undercurrents Resurfaced  Romantic Era

Musical undercurrents of J.S, Bach resurfaced in the Romantic Era
The Autograph of J.S. Bach in musical notes

In music, the BACH motif is the motif, a succession of notes important or characteristic to a piece, B flat, A, C, B natural. In German musical nomenclature, in which the note B natural is written as H and the B flat as B, it forms Johann Sebastian Bach‘s family name. One of the most frequently occurring examples of a musical cryptogram, the motif has been used by countless composers, especially after the Bach Revival in the first half of the 19th century.

How Do the Musical Undercurrents Apply to Today?

Either rap, puck and rock and roll have have been in the forefront of popular music from Elvis in the 50’s to the present time.  This is about 65 years. It has outlasted the earlier Rococo and early classical styles of  European western music. Inevitably, music  with strong melody, like in the 1930’s, will resurface as a main thrust. Rhythm, of course, always must be there, regardless of style. Our new musical, Golden Roads, is avant guard in this respect. Yes, it also has the element of counterpoint. I say, welcome to another return of the Romantic Era.

Triads are at the basis of our harmony in music.. My Boogie Man of the Opera starts with the Bach and goes wild from there,

Triads – Their Bond With Alchemy and Chemistry

Triads – Their Bond With Alchemy and Chemistry. The first hidden code of alchemy is that is the 4 elements. They are earth, air fire and water. Here is what they hide:

  • Fire is the code for hydrogen. The primary stellar source of fire is hydrogen.
  • Earth represents carbon. The hardest earth substance is diamond. Diamond is all compressed carbon.
  • Air is the hidden name for nitrogen. Our atmosphere has approximately 75% nitrogen.
  • Water is reserved for oxygen. By atomic weight, not by atom count , water is mostly oxygen. It is hydrogen hydroxide.

The alchemical four elements are really the basis of organic chemistry. Their atomic numbers, which define the elements are:

  • Hydrogen-1.
  • Carbon-6.
  • Nitrogen-7.
  • Oxygen-6

Now, let’s parallel the four elements to the four types of triads. Here is their definition by half tones.  These 1/2 tone distances are given from the note before. “X” represents the starting tone. Note: Our basic unit, the “one” is the half tone. Like the hydrogen. The diminished is “6” like the carbon. The major and minor are 7 like the nitrogen. The augmented is 8 like the oxygen.

Four elements, four seaons, four triads. Who's counting?
Classical sets of four really come from the centers of the even numbered number squares used Neolithic times. I blog all about these.

HOW DO TRIADS REALLY PARALLEL THE FOUR ELEMENTS

  • Diminished triad:  X-3-3 (total 6 half tones from the starting note). This is like earth or carbon.
  • Minor triad: X-3-4 (Total is 7 half tones from the starting note). These next two are like air or nitrogen
  • Major triad: X -4-3 (Total is 7 half tones from the starting note). Same as above.
  • Augmented triad:  X-4-4 (total is 8 half tones from the starting note). This is like water or  oxygen.
  •  The basic building block is the starting tone. It is the fire or hydrogen.
    image 1 of 23

     Here, I hope, is a treat. Blogger, David, is  playing his own take off on J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. I play it  as a Boogie-Woogie. Nobody else has even attempted to  play it. The music is just too difficult. Classical players can’t cut the jazz. Jazz players can’t master its classical aspect. If you are daring enough, I offer it on the product page of DSOworks.com. Otherwise, simply sit back and enjoy me playing it on the Steinway grand at the Selby Public Library in Sarasota. I also offer piano lessons in Sarasota, Fl. Finally, since I think the Boogie is fun and engages the mind, feel free to share it with your friends.