Australian Aboriginal Music Performed on the Didgeridoo

This video clip shows an aborgin from Australia playing the typical instrument of this region of the planet: the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo produces an unique sound while the instrument itself remembers some horns played by people from other countries.
The players produce very long droning tones on this horn which is achieved by a technique called circular breathing. Circular breathing is used by musicians from different musical environments, for example by jazz trumpet and saxophone players.
The australian population counts with different tribes and each tribe has its own religious rules regarding the playing of this sacred instrument. While some tribes allow all members to play the didgeridoo, others don’t let their women play it and still others don’t allow children to play it.
The didgeridoo has made its way to the modern music environment and there are many recordings of didgeridoo sounds belonging to world music, trance, techno and other modern music styles.

Saxophone Robot Performs Giant Steps Solo by John Coltrane

Watch this video here with a saxophone robot playing John Coltrane’s famous solo over his bebop tune Giant Steps. The song is in up tempo bu you might feel that this solo could be played a little bit faster. Well, there is another version of Giant Steps at a higher speed, 350 bpm to be exact.
Some people say that this solo sounds cold and unpersonal. While this can be admitted it is still amazing that a machine can actually play a saxophone and with a high grade of accuracy. This is not simply a synthesizer or a computer’s sound card that synthetically imitates the sound of a certain music instrument, instead it is a machine that produces an air stream which is directed into the mouthpiece of a tenor saxophone while some artificial hands move the keys of the instrument.
You might want to listen to Giant Steps with John Coltrane’s original sound from the Blue Note record Blue Train on the soundtrack while a computer generated video animation shows the melody written out as sheet music in real time.
Of course there is a difference in interpretation and John Coltrane sounds as human as a musican can sound. We like this video because it helps to illustrate the point of slight tempo variations throughout the performance of a song. This sould be considered by all the ‘musicians’ who insist on the objectivity of a metronomes pulse. Yes, it is true that some sheet music indicates a certain number for the beats per minute the piece should be performed with. However, the japanese robot does exactly this while in real musicians’ interpretations there might be slight variations of the speed. Of course we don’t want to encourage the musicians to play ‘easy’ parts with the indicated speed and slow down during the ‘difficult’ parts, but we want to encourage the performers to put their personal style into an interpretation and that this style should be ruled by the sense of balance and freedom.
We don’t think that this robot qualifies as a suggestion for our poll about the greatest tenor saxophone player ever heard, but it´s up to you to decide now..

Latin Music Lesson by Rebeca Mauleon Teaching the Clave Concept

Rebeca Mauleon is dedicated to music and teaching it, giving private lessons as well as clinics and master classes. She specially likes afro-carribbean music and has been teaching about it in many universities and colleges around the world. She is a writer too and her “critically acclaimed books on Latin music have been adopted into the programs of such prestigious institutions as the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Stanford University”.
In this video, Rebeca talks about and demonstrates the clave concept which is present in all latin music styles. It is played originally by the instrument with the same name, clave, which consists of two wood sticks, one hitting the other, in a very basic pattern. This pattern counts with two bars, having two beats in one bar and three beats in the second bar (or the other way around). Notice that the time is 4/4, not 5/4!

Tradicional Chinese Tune Liu Yang River Performed by Gu Zheng Duo

In this video Qiong Song and Su Zhao perform the ancient chinese tune Liu Yang River on a tour at the University of New Brunswick Saint John in Canada. Some people think that the 1st song (Liu Yang River) is out of tune because one girl pressed too hard with her left hand while the 2nd tune should be performed much faster. I personally think that the performance of the song is quite enjoyable. You decide for yourself!
For most of the western listeners of this tune it might be difficult to hear the subtleties of the interpretation and yet, they can enjoy the music. However, there is a pont in the critics: Why is this song performed by two gu zheng instrumentalists when they play the same thing? This reminds the desire of pope Gregor when he asked for unisonos for the music performed during the church services which became a starting point for the history of western classical music in the sense that this history culminates with Arnold Schoenberg and other composers of atonal twleve tone music after having suffered the progressive ‘consonantization of dissonances’.
Of course, this kind of concept is not applicable to the chinese music. However, the gu zhengs could have been playing slightly different parts.

Austrian Folk Music Performed on the Button-Box, a Music Instrument from Styria

The Steirische Button-Box or Steirische Harmonika is a kind of accordeon from the austrian region of Styria. It has buttons for both hands instead of a combination of buttons and a small keyboard as the traditional accordeons have. The music played with this music instrument is mostly austrian folk music which is still alive in this quiet region at the south of the Alpen mountains. The instrument is also played in other countries in this region. Remember that european countries are smaller than the states in northern america …
With this instrument it is relatively easy for a single person to play for entertainment and dancing of a bigger crowd. The bass notes sound full.

Sarangi – A Musical Instrument with Strings from Nepal and India

Watch this video with several musicians playing an ancient nepalese instrument, the sarangi. It is similar to the western violin in the sense of being a string instrument which is played with a bow. However, the standard tuning of the strings is quite different so that the pentatonic and other oriental scales can be played with relative ease.
In Nepal it is played frequently as a solo instrument and the melodies and sound produced by the instrument are very relaxing. Nevertheless, people from Nepal and from around the world say it is pretty difficult to learn to play the sarangi.
The music itself sounds much like music from India and Pakistan. Nepal is an idependent state and does not belong to China, however it has a border with India so it’s only natural that the music of Northern India and Nepal sound similar or are the same. Whatever, if you are familiar with indian music, you know that the sarangi is a typical instrument for performing ragas, as a solo instrument or together with tablas and other oriental music instruments.
For those of you who like to listen to more eastern music here is a page with videos of indian music with sarangi and other traditional instruments.

Beijing Classical Music Ensemble Performing an Old Tune

This video shows the Bejing Classical Music Ensemble playing an old song on traditional instruments. It is a quartet and the song is an old melody composed for these instruments. The concept of chinese music is quite different from western music, even though in recent times, the globalization has a strong impact on the chinese music scene. Now you can listen to a big bunch of singers performing pop music which sounds like any other modern pop song, just with chinese lyrics. The chinese national identity disappears and the product is complying with the need for almost identical stuff that can satisfy the ‘needs’ of millions of potential buyers from all around the world.
This ensemble, however, performs traditional music with traditional chinese instruments. Some comments for this video clip of chinese music mention a too high pitch and the lack of an counter-melody. That’s just not the way chinese music was composed. In chinese music tonality is not that important as rhythm and rhythmical coincidence is release, not harmonic coincidence as in western music. We think that all people regardless of their cultural identity can perceive the joyfull character of the song in this video.