I was browsing on reddit as I am sometimes wont to do, and I learned about the new and exciting music notation tool for Google Docs. For those of you not familiar with Google Docs, think of it as basically a free version of Microsoft Office provided by Google. One significant difference between Google Docs and Office though is that Docs automatically backs up your documents online (not saved on your computer).
Anyway, enough about Docs. The important news is that you can now use an add-on with Docs to notate music (for free!) VexTab enables you to code music into your document and seems pretty easy to learn. I spent about 15 minutes using it to create this worksheet (available in full on PianoTeacherNOLA’s Facebook page):
Here’s an image of the editing window for the first line of music, so you can see how un-scary it is to use. The green box shows what you type (and the music that results appears above it).
It’s actually pretty intuitive. You get to divide up your music into measures and type the notes thru note + octave notation. I haven’t messed with different note values other than the quarter note yet, but it was very easy to change time signatures – all you do is change the value in “time=?” spot.
This is going to come in handy, I can tell.
I’ve been obsessed with Allen Toussaint’s version of Tipitina and Me off of the post-Katrina compilation Our New Orleans
It’s a really refreshingly different version of the piece. For reference, I’m going to link to a few famous versions first:
(Randomly, Hugh Laurie)
So, here’s the Allen Toussaint version that just blew me away for being such a refreshingly different take on this New Orleans classic:
And, here’s what you really came for, the sheet music. This version has been, thankfully, transcribed (for free!) by Steve Castallano on his website. As far as I know, it’s not available anywhere else. A word of warning, this is an advanced piano piece that could probably be turned into a real mess by a less-than-discerning performer.
For Valentine’s day, spread a little love using a practice chart with hearts.
Available on my website, here.
Hey everyone. It’s been awhile – things have been SUPER busy for me these last few weeks. However, I had time to create a simple version of Good King Wenceslas per a student request last night, so I thought I’d pass it along to you.
This version is meant to complete the excerpted version included in Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 1.
It involves simple rhythm (quarter notes, half notes) and requires students to be able to read flats and be able to move positions.
You can find the full .pdf version on my website.
Not to overly spoil the surprise, but the following video depicts a random group of people bursting into “Va Pensiero” at a mall. Well-worth watching.
Couldn’t stop smiling. Who knew there were flash choruses? I NEED to participate in one ASAP.
In other news, this is the article from which I got the video. Apparently “Va Pensiero” only became a rallying cry for Italian unification some years after its publication, contrary to common lore.
The image of Verdi as a “revolutionary” composer . . . became standard in the early 20th century; it was encouraged during the Fascist years (the state-sponsored 1941 Verdi celebrations were a high point), and was sustained post-war by a continuing adherence to the “heroic” aspects of Italian nationalism.
In spite of all this latter-day boosting, there is, alas, no evidence that the chorus excited patriotic fervour in its early years (a often-repeated tale about it being encored on opening night by enflamed patriots is a blatant invention).
It’s pretty late right now, and I’m up blogging because I made the mistake of falling into a Wikipedia black hole right before bed. At some point, I realized that tomorrow (today, really) is Friday the 13th and I got to wondering why Friday the 13th is considered bad luck.
Well, that led me to Wikipedia (duh), where I learned that the first known reference in the English language to Friday the 13th as an ill-omened day ties it to the death of none other than the opera composer-cum-chef, Gioachino Rossini (of Barber of Seville and William Tell fame). The biographer Henry Sutherland Edwards described Rossini’s death thusly:
He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died.
So, it turns out that Friday the 13th is unlucky because a great composer departed this world. But then again, as Rossini was a mere mortal, he had to go sometime . . . The death dates of all great men and women can’t be inauspicious, after all.
Anyway, enough of my rambling, it’s time for bed. Tomorrow, make sure to pour out some vino in memoriam of Rossini. Maybe blare a round of “Figaro” from your speakers.
PS) For those of you who didn’t know this, Rossini retired from composing and became a chef. Many Italian dishes were named after him, including Tournedos Rossini (pictured below)
Here’s a non-fancy music theory worksheet for students learning the circle of 5ths and their key signatures. It includes only the keys with sharps (i.e. C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#).
I will create a follow up worksheet that will include the flat keys sometime in the coming weeks.
Get the free pdf here.