If you could learn to play any musical instrument

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  • #76
Jonathan Scott
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How can a musician regenerate or rewrite the musical notes for a good song he just heard a few times ?
A lot depends on the complexity of the music.

Most popular music has simple background harmony and rhythm patterns, which can often be learned or at least approximated almost instantly, so one basically picks up the melody accompanied by an obvious pattern. I used to do that on the guitar as a student (over 40 years ago). I've also for example played the violin along with folk music which I've never heard before, without any music in front of me, picking up the tune and harmonies as I go along (sometimes with a fractional delay or gap where the next move is not obvious), just following the patterns. It's just like singing along with something; you can guess a bit on the first verse and gradually get to know it as it goes on. If you know guitar chords, you can just hear the chord as a whole and play it automatically.

Even classical music has memorable patterns if you are familiar with the composer's style. I have on more than one occasion spotted an inconsistency (notes or phrasing) when sight-reading, for example when something on page 2 has a subtle difference from the equivalent passage on page 1. It's like someone said something just now, and now someone has said something similar but phrased it in a slightly different way, which is easily spotted.

In contrast, some of the Rachmaninoff I'm playing tonight is incredibly difficult to memorise; I always wonder how the composer knew that what appears to be cascades of random notes when played slowly would turn into amazingly rich and complex music at speed. The notes are far too fast to sight-read; I just have to keep playing them in different ways until my hands know them. An important trick is not to focus on too small a section for too long; it works much better if you keep moving on to new sections and don't come back for a few minutes, so that the pattern so far can get programmed into your longer term memory before the next iteration.
 
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  • #77
Pythagorean
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A lot of classical music has common phrasing, like the 5-3-5-1 arpeggio and follows some elaborate rules for constricting melody options.

One of the more difficult tasks is reproducing timbre (attack/decay shapes) particularly on guitar. David Gilmour has always had some wild sound architecture behind his notes - classical players like Paco de Lucia and Sergei Orekhov have very unique flourishes in their arrangements.
 
  • #78
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I wish I could play something, but I do not.
When I was very young, I played the coronet in the school band. My favorite song that I learned to play very well was "she wore blue velvet":)
I do not know "coronet", where do you come from?and you know I come from China?
 
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lisab
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  • #80
RonL
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I do not know "coronet", where do you come from?and you know I come from China?
The coronet, as Lisab said, is a horn instrument and can have a very brassy or a soft mellow sound.
I live in Texas, USA.
I just made a guess, based on the reply heading of your post. I see lots of instructions on things I purchase, written in Chinese:).
One can never be sure of anything on the internet, lots of people make lots of assumptions. Sometimes it is best not giving too much detail about identity:)
 
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The coronet, as Lisab said, is a horn instrument and can have a very brassy or a soft mellow sound.
I live in Texas, USA.
I just made a guess, based on the reply heading of your post. I see lots of instructions on things I purchase, written in Chinese:).
One can never be sure of anything on the internet, lots of people make lots of assumptions. Sometimes it is best not giving too much detail about identity:)[/QUOT
Thank you. It's very late at USA, you sleep so late...
 
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  • #83
Jonathan Scott
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Last night the Havant Symphony Orchestra rehearsed the rest of the Rachmaninoff Paganini Variations (11 to end - we did from the start to 10 last week); I was playing the solo piano part on my digital piano (as the rehearsal hall piano is unusably decrepit). That was very enjoyable, and went very well, and we particularly enjoyed the big tune in variation 18. Normally as a rehearsal soloist I skip the cadenzas, but this time I had learned them properly, and the conductor thanked me saying it is good for the conductor and players to learn to follow the cadenzas.

I wish I had the speed and strength to play it properly, rather than always being fairly terrified that I'm about to come unstuck. Fortunately, my instincts under pressure are such that I keep the essential structure going even when I lose some details.

I'm really looking forward to having the real soloist join us for the concert. And if you or anyone you know lives in Hampshire, UK, it's going to be a good concert on 6th December, with big Russian romantic tunes - the Borodin "Stranger in paradise" Polovtsian Dances, the Rachmaninoff, and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" Suite.
 
  • #84
Danger
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A Cornet is a type of horn, similar to a trumpet:
When they asked me if I wanted to play a trumpet, I thought that they said "strumpet" and answered that I would rather play with one. Ended up in the damned repair department. :(
 
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  • #85
RonL
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When they asked me if I wanted to play a trumpet, I thought that they said "strumpet" and answered that I would rather play with one. Ended up in the damned repair department. :(
You or the (strumpeto_O) ended up in repairs?
 
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Danger
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You or the (strumpeto_O) ended up in repairs?
I meant that they put me to work fixing them.
On the other hand, if you have to explain a joke it probably wasn't worth printing...
 
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What I'd like to do is place struts on my guitar in between the manufactured ones to create quarter tones. Sorry for a math question in a general discussion thread, but I was wondering: if I do this, how far between the manufactured struts do I place them? I think I set it in such a way that the ratio of the distance between the lower manufactured strut and the quarter tone strut over the distance between the higher manufactured strut and the quarter tone strut is equal to 2^(1/24) units (since there are 24 quarter tones). Is this right?
 
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Jonathan Scott
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What I'd like to do is place struts on my guitar in between the manufactured ones to create quarter tones. Sorry for a math question in a general discussion thread, but I was wondering: if I do this, how far between the manufactured struts do I place them? I think I set it in such a way that the ratio of the distance between the lower manufactured strut and the quarter tone strut over the distance between the higher manufactured strut and the quarter tone strut is equal to 2^(1/24) units (since there are 24 quarter tones). Is this right?
That's probably about right, but the pitch might not be as accurate as the maths. For a start, pressing down the guitar string changes the tension and holding it down closer to or further away behind the fret therefore also changes the pitch. (This effect can mean that acoustic guitar strings made from different materials can result in different pitches for the same fret position, especially for higher frets). That means that when you add a new fret, you will now need to hold the string down closer to the existing fret, which will actually raise the pitch of the existing note slightly. Perhaps you need a fretless instrument!
 
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Thank you, Jonathan Scott. :) Why do I say "strut"? Where did I get that from? I hope that mistake is common, otherwise I be sounding like a complete dweeb.o_O
 
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RonL
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Thank you, Jonathan Scott. :) Why do I say "strut"? Where did I get that from? I hope that mistake is common, otherwise I be sounding like a complete dweeb.o_O
Well come on down:D
 
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  • #91
Pythagorean
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What I'd like to do is place struts on my guitar in between the manufactured ones to create quarter tones. Sorry for a math question in a general discussion thread, but I was wondering: if I do this, how far between the manufactured struts do I place them? I think I set it in such a way that the ratio of the distance between the lower manufactured strut and the quarter tone strut over the distance between the higher manufactured strut and the quarter tone strut is equal to 2^(1/24) units (since there are 24 quarter tones). Is this right?
To make the 12 fret octave on stringed instruments, master luthiers used the 1/18th rule. Each successive fret is 1/18th the distance remaining on the unfretted portion of the board. Not sure how the derivation comes out - probably the relation between frequency, length, and tension:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/waves/string.html

That's probably about right, but the pitch might not be as accurate as the maths. For a start, pressing down the guitar string changes the tension and holding it down closer to or further away behind the fret therefore also changes the pitch. (This effect can mean that acoustic guitar strings made from different materials can result in different pitches for the same fret position, especially for higher frets). That means that when you add a new fret, you will now need to hold the string down closer to the existing fret, which will actually raise the pitch of the existing note slightly. Perhaps you need a fretless instrument!
The 1/18th rule leads to an error that's slightly flat, so the increase in tension ideally cancels out the error. Of course, if you use light vs. heavy strings it probably affects the amount of compensation, but we're probably talking on the order of ~10 cents here.
 
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