Sunday, July 31, 2011

"At Summer Morn" in 3/8

On July 17th I posted a hammered dulcimer version of the round "At Summer Morn".  In today's lesson I use this same song to give you sight singing practice in G major and 3/8 time.  3/8 is triple meter and can be counted in one or three depending on the tempo.  On the video I sing it slowly enough to count three beats in each measure.  The eighth note represents the beat.  A faster tempo would be counted with one beat per measure with the dotted quarter note representing the beat.  The beat would then be divided into three parts for the triple meter feel.  This triple division of the beat is often called compound time as opposed to simple time which has the beat divided into two parts.  Several previous lessons go into more detail about this:

Feb. 16 - Compound Time Signatures
Feb. 17 - Simple or Compound?
Feb. 18 - Triple Meter: Simple and Compound  (part 1)
Feb. 20 - Triple Meter:  Simple and Compound (part 2)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Now All the Woods Are Waking

I finally got my issue with Google Docs solved and can share the recording of Community Singers singing the round "Now All the Woods Are Waking" at our practice this week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

sight singing a mystery song

I had planned to put a recording of the round "Now All the Woods Are Waking" on my blog today, but I am having trouble getting into my Google docs account.  I will post it as soon as I can.

Today's lesson gives you practice sight singing a simple folk song in the key of C major.  Pause the video at the beginning to see if you can figure out the song.  It has a small range (drmfs) and very simple rhythms (quarter, 2 eighths, quarter rest).  The second half of the lesson gives you practice singing simple harmonies by following the notes in the chord progression.  The song uses only the I (one) and V (five) chords.  The I chord is named that because it is a triad built on the first degree of the scale (C in the key of C major).  The V chord is a triad built on the fifth degree of the scale (G in the key of C major).

Monday, July 25, 2011

sight singing practice in major using s drmfsltd

Today's lesson gives you sight singing practice with the song "Now All the Woods Are Waking".  The melody is all scale wise motion with the exception of the skip from "so" up to "do" and back down again.  It uses all of the tones in the D major scale and extends down to the "so" below "do".  Pause at the beginning and see if you can sight sing it on your own. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

good intentions

I had good intentions of doing my blog while I am on vacation, but I am just having too much fun visiting, tie dying and planning a wedding shower for my nephew.  I will be back to my lessons on Monday.  Have a good weekend.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

a new round

I am excited to have new strings on my hammered dulcimer.  It was long overdue since I haven't ever put new strings on it and I bought it 17 years ago.  I was on my way to a music workshop in Harrisonburg, Virginia, so I drove through Bedford, Virginia and visited James Jones' dulcimer workshop.  He built my dulcimer back in 1992.  He spiffed it up with new strings and a proper dusting.  I forgot my electronic tuner, so I spent a long time this morning tuning with only a pitch pipe and my ears. 

Since I am away from my video recorder for this week, I will do some audio recording.  Here is a pretty little round in triple meter that I just learned from one of my round books.  I accompany it on my hammered dulcimer.  fyi...Philomel means nightingale.

At Summer Morn
At summer morn the merry lark heralds in the day.
At eventide sad Philomel breathes her plaintive lay.
Warbling sweetly all her grief away.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

notating "Skip to My Lou" in 3 keys

I hope you'll take the challenge and try to write out the notation for the song "Skip to My Lou".  Watch the video to get you started.  You'll need staff paper and pencil or you can print out this large staff and use pennies as moveable notes.  The melody of "Skip to My Lou" outlines the tonic triad (I) and then the dominant seventh chord (V7) and ends with stepwise motion to end on "do" (surprise, surprise).  Remember that sight singing is a skill and, just like any other skill, it takes practice.  Don't worry if you don't get all of the solfege syllables correct.  The most important thing is that you are hearing the intervals when you see them on the page.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

notating "Polly Wolly Doodle" in D

Today's lesson walks you through the process of notating "Polly Wolly Doodle" starting with the rhythm, adding the solfege and, finally, putting it all on the staff.  There is a short explanation of straight beat versus swing beat.  "Polly Wolly Doodle" has a swing beat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

ear training with dulcimer

Today was the Charlotte Folk Society's Ice Cream social at the Historic Rosedale Plantation.  After a delightful (despite the heat) afternoon of playing dulcimer and fiddle and singing I came home to do my music lesson for the day.  I had lots of music from the day going through my mind, but the song that came to me when I sat down with my dulcimer was "Polly Wolly Doodle".  I haven't sung or thought about that song in years.  It was one I enjoyed singing in elementary school.  Maybe the old fashioned feel of the day at Rosedale triggered the memory or maybe it was trying to think of a song with lots of the pattern drm.  Anyway, today's lesson is ear training on the dulcimer with "Polly Wolly Doodle".  You will echo the phrases by singing the solfege which stays within the range tdrmfs with the tonic being “do”.  You will also find the tonic when I stop the song at random places.  It is always important to know where the tonal center of the song is.  This will help you sing in tune.

Friday, July 8, 2011

sight singing "Jubilate Deo" in two keys

Today's lesson gives sight singing practice with the round "Jubilate Deo".  It is notated in A major and B major on a grand staff with unison in the treble and bass clefs.  Since the song is only one line long you can compare the lines and see how the patterns in the different keys and clefs are the same even though they start at different places on the staff.  This is the beauty of the moveable "do" system of sight singing:  Once you know the tonic and the starting pitch, you can sing in any key (provided you can hit the pitches).  "Jubilate Deo" has a large range (drmfsltdrm) and works well in A, Bb or B.  If you pitch in higher or lower than these keys, then some people may not be able to hit the higher or lower notes.  You can listen to the round sung in six parts by Community Singers at practice this week.  We are singing it in Bb.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

singing arpeggios in G and A major

An arpeggio is a chord that is sung or played one note at a time.  In today's lesson you will practice reading and singing arpeggios for the I, IV and V chords in G and A major.  Being able to move easily among the tones in a chord will help you when singing harmonies.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

harmony - "You Are My Sunshine"

Today's lesson is a harmony part for "You Are My Sunshine".  It moves in parallel motion to the melody.  It is very obvious when you see the notation that the contours of both parts are the same.  The harmony part is a third above the melody.  Pause the video at the beginning and try to sight sing the harmony before watching.

Friday, July 1, 2011

sight singing practice in A major

Today's lesson continues with the round "Gaudeamus Hodie".  I have notated it in A major in the bass clef so that you can check yourself if you tried writing it out in yesterday's lesson.  I realized after recording the video that I played the tonic up an octave from the way it is notated.  Altos and sopranos will sing it where I sing it.  Tenors and basses will sing it as written which is an octave below where I sing in the video.