One More Time

You thought I was done with the music lessons, didn’t you? You were so wrong….

Johann Pachelbel (1653 – 1706) was a German composer, organist, and teacher who brought the south German organ schools to their peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era.

Pachelbel’s music enjoyed enormous popularity during his lifetime; he had many pupils and his music became a model for the composers of south and central Germany. Today, Pachelbel is best known for the Canon in D; other well known works include the Chaconne in F minor, the Toccata in E minor for organ, and the Hexachordum Apollinis, a set of keyboard variations.

And here is my take on it:

And the list of Bach Chorales is growing. Here are nine chorales, harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach. Whether or not he wrote all of the music is a question I guess only he can answer. I find it very comforting to listen to.

Paul Klee Art

And now for something completely different.

In music theory, we are taught to use “smooth voicing” when changing chords. That involves moving as few notes as possible. This little musical experiment has all dominant chords, ascending and descending by minor thirds. The melody contains the notes of the chords, called arpeggios. For example, the first four chords are G, B-Flat, D-Flat, and E. The root moves up a minor third each time. Do you understand?

I knew you would.

To move a chord up by three half-steps (a minor-third): Lower the root by one whole step, and lower the third by a half-step. The fifth doesn’t move and it becomes the third of the new chord. For example G B D, or G Major, becomes F B-flat D, or B Flat Major.

If you want to move a chord down by a minor third, you raise the root a half step and raise the fifth by a whole step. The third stays the same and becomes the fifth of the new chord.

For example G B D Becomes G# B E.

And that concludes today’s music lesson.

The following examples use the above mentioned technique and go through all 12 keys. The beautiful thing about music, at least for me, is the fact that there are no rules.

And Now For Something New

As of April 2022, this song has been the number one downloaded song on johnsthewritestuff.com.

It is my version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. (A part of it, at least!)

Here is a very well-known song
It’s not too short and it’s not too long
If you have two sticks then you can drum
But if you don’t you still can hum

Drums Gone Wild
Beethoven’s Favorite Painting

Your Daily Dose

Of Bach, that is.

Here are four chorales from the “101 Chorales by Bach” songbook, along with a new version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

I changed the last note on one of the chorales. Actually, I made a mistake transcribing it, but I liked the way it sounded and left it in. I hope I don’t get haunted by the ghost of Johann Sebastian telling me to fix it.

Bach Chorales
Canon in D

An OK Chorale

A long long time ago, even before “The Masked Singer” was on TV, I bought a book called “101 Chorales Harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach.” It was required reading for a music class, and I have since discovered many treasures within its pages. The song I have posted here was written in the Baroque era, before the Classical period, which began in 1750.

Here is Chorale Number One, “O God Look Down From Heaven and View.” Just 100 Chorales to go…..

ORGAN
PIANO
See the source image

It Is Finished

I have been working on this song all day long
And for some reason it kept coming out wrong
But I didn’t give up, and now it’s done
I can’t tell you when I’ve had so much fun

It’s a simple tune, this is true
And it makes me the opposite of blue
It’s written in the key of C
Just another song, to you from me

Green Version
Red Version
Blue Version
Name That Tune

Wolfgang Is Back

Here is a song written in 4/4 time
Some might say it sounds sublime
It’s really quite a work of art
And it was written by our friend Mozart

This version is different from the first
It’s not the best, but not the worst
It has percussion, this is true
It’s the latest gift, from me to you

Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major

“View of a Port in the Morning”, 1774, painting by Claude-Joseph Vernet (Museum: National Museum in Warsaw):

See the source image
This Painting Was Done the Same Year as Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 1 – 1774

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756. That means that when he wrote this well-known sonata in 1774 he was just 18 years old. Wow!

And Now For Something Old

See if you can name these Classical Masterpieces. Or not. It is entirely up to you. No pressure. I will give you a hint: The composers (in alphabetical order) are Bach, Beethoven, Grieg, Mahler, and Mozart.

And remember all of the songs I have posted in the past 2 years can be played in the music player at the bottom of every page on this site. With no cost to you!

Also, if you didn’t already know this, you can adjust the speed of each song while it is playing. Click on the three dots, and choose to either slow it down or speed it up. I like the first song here on 1.5 speed.

And way back in 2020, I re-harmonized the previous song during my “music teacher” phase. Here it is again with lots of loud instruments:

The Bills are Favored Over the Chiefs this Weekend”

100 Classical Songs

Months ago I started transcribing sheet music from The Big Book of Classical Music. There were forty different composers, and 352 pages of music. Today’s songs are song numbers 99 and 100.

Song #99 was written by Johannes Brahms (1830-1897) and is an excerpt from the fourth movement of his First Symphony in C Minor.

And the 100th and final song was written by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and is titled Pilgrim’s Chorus, from the opera Tannhauser:

Do you notice how they sound similar? That is because they were both written in C-Minor, a favorite key of Beethoven also.

I hope you have all enjoyed listening to this music. I learned many things about classical music, and the history of our world, while doing this project. A video that will test your knowledge will be posted here next week, so be sure to study.

See the source image
IT’S TIME TO FEED THE DUCKS!

More Muzik

Song Number 98 in the countdown of 100 classical songs was written by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and is titled The Evening Star. That means there are just two songs left.

PIANO
OLD TIME PIANO

“Song to the Evening Star” (“O du, mein holder Abendstern”), also known as “Oh Star Of Eve”, is an aria sung by the character Wolfram (baritone) in the third act of Richard Wagner’s 1845 opera Tannhäuser. Wolfram greets the Evening Star (the planet Venus) for offering hope in darkness; with an implied contrast to Tannhäuser’s lover Venus at the beginning of the opera, in her underground realm Venusberg.

Franz Liszt wrote in 1849 a paraphrase for piano of this aria, S. 444, arranged with Bernhard Cossmann for cello and piano in 1852 as S. 380.

It has been arranged for voice and piano, and for various wind instruments and piano.

For more on the composer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wagner

MY OTHER SUMMER HOME

Just Three Songs Left

Song number 97 in our countdown of classics was written by Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) and is titled The Moldau. I previously posted a longer version of this song, but this version comes from the music book titled “The Big Book of Classical Music.” You can almost see the water nymphs bathing in the moonlight. (What exactly are those?)

PIANO
ORGAN
Long and Loud

The Moldau, Czech Vltava, symphonic poem by Bohemian composer Bedřich Smetana that evokes the flow of the Vltava River—or, in German, the Moldau—from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside, to the city of Prague. A devoutly patriotic work, The Moldau captures in music Smetana’s love of his homeland. Completed in 1874 and first performed the following year, the piece constitutes the second movement of a six-movement suite, Má vlast (My Country), which premiered in its entirety in Prague on November 5, 1882.

Smetana conceived of a series of orchestral pieces with topics drawn from the legends and landscapes of his homeland, what he called “musical pictures of Czech glories and defeats.” It took the better part of the 1870s for the composer to bring the idea to full fruition as Má vlast. Each movement of the suite is a self-standing symphonic poem with its own program (story). In the order of their placement within the suite, the movements portray chivalrous deeds at a medieval castle (Vyšehrad); a river journey with scenes of rural life (Vltava); the legendary revenge of a spurned maiden (Šárka); the fields and woods along the Elbe River (Z c̆eských luhů a hájů); the perseverance of Czech warriors (Tábor); and the reminder of their eventual return in victory (Blanik).

Má vlast ultimately became Smetana’s most enduring composition, and of its movements, the second, The Moldau, has remained the most popular. The movement starts with light, rippling figures that represent the emergence of the Moldau River as two mountain springs, one warm and one cold. Water from the springs then combines to become a mighty river, symbolized by a thickly orchestrated, stately theme that recurs periodically throughout the remainder of the work. Farther downstream, the river passes jubilant hunters, portrayed by a horn melody, and then passes a village wedding, signaled by a passage in polka rhythm. The river then enters a gorge where, according to legend, water nymphs—suggested by serene and mysterious melodies—come out to bathe in the moonlight. With the morning light, the main river theme returns, though it soon breaks into tumultuous dissonance as the river enters the St. John’s Rapids. Beyond the white water, the river reaches Prague, where to grand arpeggios of a regal hymn, it flows past the castle Vyšehrad, once the seat of power for Bohemian kings. After fading to a trickle, the piece—and the journey—comes to an unambiguous close with a loud two-chord cadence.

For more: https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Moldau

“Has Anyone Seen the Bridge?”

96 Songs

That’s right, folks. This is song number 96 in our countdown of 100 classical songs. It was written by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and is titled Bridal Chorus. I wonder what they played at weddings before 1850? Perhaps some Bach? In any event, we now have just four songs to go and we will have explored 100 classical masterpieces together! Isn’t that exciting? I feel as if my musical knowledge has really increased during this project.

According to Wikipedia, The “Bridal Chorus” from the 1850 opera Lohengrin by German composer Richard Wagner, who also wrote the libretto, is a march played for the bride’s entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world. In English-speaking countries, it is generally known as “Here Comes the Bride” or “Wedding March”, but “wedding march” refers to any piece in march tempo accompanying the entrance or exit of the bride, notably Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”. Wagner’s piece was made popular when it was used as the processional at the wedding of Victoria the Princess Royal to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858.

For more on that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridal_Chorus

PIANO
BRASS
ORGAN

And here is Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Now you have both songs ready in the event you are at a wedding and the keyboard player is out.

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