Why Are There Only Five Lines on the Music Staff?

music notation

Where do you put the notes?

Ah yes, music notation…

Who hasn’t wondered if there is a better way to represent music. The arcane and archaic staff, with all its idiosyncrasies, has always given me trouble. It doesn’t seem much like music to me. I can’t hear it!

I’ve tried the modern notations. The squiggly lines, the “midi box” representational  method. The guitar tablature. They all seem ridiculous!

John Cage wrote a wonderful book called “Notations.” It’s not presently in print. It’s just a compilation of the notations of an array of composers from John Lennon done in crayon to intense modern notations that look way too intricate to ever possibly play. None of it seems like music to me.

Music can be heard but not seen. I’ve been told “people hear what they see.” Video seems to be the future of music that has evolved from the MTV model of kewelness. There has to be a better way. A better future for music. An idea that contains movement but doesn’t need to show it with a picture. Something  that arises out of a thought experiment.

To me, how the musicians look when they play has a profound influence on the sound of the music. But bringing in dancing girls and cars and nakedness seems way too formulaic. Catering to the lowest elements in human nature. Those things don’t really fall into the realm of “inspiring”. Music is meant to inspire. It is meant to contain some element of mystery and the sublime. Back to the kitchen…

Winterfest 2013

Winterfest 2013

So Bill Smith, a great jazz piano player was opening up with the Steve Watson Trio at the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead for the first weekend of Winterfest on Long Island’s East End. A terrible snowstorm hit and the gig was canceled. Bill happened to be at the hotel anyway so he sat down at the piano and played a few notes to see how the piano sounded. A few people in the lobby stopped to listen and smiled so Bill decided to finish the tune. One of the day managers of the hotel came over to Bill and said, “Excuse me, this piano is for professionals only. ” Bill said “excuse me”, stopped playing and left.

 

 

What is JAZZ?

What is Jazz?
i think i have the right to ask the question.
According to Wikipedia:
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in black communities in the Southern United States.
It uses blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note.

Jazz is considered difficult to define…

In April of 1970, 42 years ago, Miles Davis released Bitches Brew.
On that album, Davis rejected traditional jazz rhythms in favor of a looser, rock-influenced improvisational style.
At that point was he no longer playing Jazz?
or had the definition of jazz changed?
According to Wikipedia:
In a 1988 interview, trombonist J. J. Johnson said, “Jazz is restless. It won’t stay put and it never will”.

The United States Dept. of Music

I have been authorized by the United States Dept. of Music to conduct the following survey:

  1. Do you find that sometimes all music sounds the same?
  2. Do you vaguely remember when music told a story or expressed a feeling?
  3. Do you think music is a language?
  4. Do you know what Jazz is?
  5. Do you have trouble understanding the words sometimes?
  6. Did you hate your piano teacher?
  7. Are you tired of listening to music on the internet while the reflection of your face turns green on the screen?
  8. Do you ever listen to the songs that birds are singing?
  9. Do you ever hear church bells in the distance?
  10. Is there a flute buried in your closet somewhere under a shoebox full of cassette tapes?
  11. Do you ever wonder who made the first drum?
  12. Do you ever flick stemware at garage sales to see what tone it emits?
  13. Do you wonder why the left hand notes in piano music are in different places than the right hand?
  14. Do you believe that every conversation is an improvisation?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, contact us immediately.