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[Guest Post] Cruise Control – On Getting Ready To Practice Music (Part 1)

user by Prof. Michael Klinghoffer
calendarSaturday, 18 January

Most of our practice time as musicians (as it is in other professions as well) can be described as an attempt to turn much of our actions into automatic actions. When we perform we do not have the time to think about how we do this or that. Our performance is in a state of relaxed concentration much like cruise control . In order to be able to perform in this state of mind, our practicing has to be very conscientious.

Here are some crucial points to think about, regarding intention, preparation and practicing:

 

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What really DRIVES you?
This is a very important question to students and teachers alike. I have learned that once I understand what motivates me it is easier for me to work hard. Such is the case with my students. Over the past twenty five years… Read more >>

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Participate in a piano teachers survey and win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

user by Tonara
calendarWednesday, 13 November

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To participate, please click this link here

 

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[Guest Post] The Three Stages of Sound – Sound Practicing

user by Tonara
calendarTuesday, 12 November

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Perfecting your sound is one of the most important actions one could practice. Whether you’ve already overcome the technical difficulties of the piece you are playing or you’re trying to improve your overall sound quality on scales and studies, it is important not to neglect this aspect of your playing.
Practicing sound is not like practicing for a performance. In performance we always think forward into the future and only monitor what we just played. Our focus when practicing sound should be on the “now”. I discuss further the technique of practicing sound in the post the Beam of Light. In this post I like to share how I analyze mistakes and imperfections in the sound.
I divide the sound to three stages, which I call ‘head’, ‘body’ and ‘tail’. The ‘head’ is the moment my sound begins, i.e. when the bow touches the string. The ‘body’ is when the bow moves across the string, and the ‘tail’ represents the way I end the note. Different techniques have different requirements. For example, a fast spiccato is all ‘head’, the Martele’ bowstroke technique is partly about being able to stop the note at the end of it, while a slow high pitched note which ends the piece is very much ‘body’ and ‘tail’.

When I detect a mistake in the sound (using the Beam of Light technique), I define it under one of the three stages and thus understand what I should physically do to correct it.

For example: a scratch at the ‘head’ of the note indicates a problem in the approach and in the touch phase of the bow to the string. To correct this problem, you may want to alter the way you begin the note by changing the way you start (from the air or from the string). This can include: the amount of bow, the relation between speed and weight, the amount of bow hair in contact with the string or several other possibilities.

Note that starting a note from the air or from the string are two different techniques, each with its own timing in approaching the string and each with its own pros and cons. Some violin pedagogy prefers one over the other, but I suggest you master both.

If you detect a sound mistake in the ‘body’ part, you should check if your bow is straight, if you are controlling the movement of the stroke the entire way through, if the weight you apply on the stick correlates to the speed and the changing of the bow flexibility, etc.

A ‘tail’ problem is usually about bow control. You need to master not only your approach to the string but how you end a note and whether you decide to stay on the string or whether or not you need to lift the bow.

There are also mistakes in vibrato such as: overuse or underuse, unevenness either in the ‘body’ of a note or changing it for different fingers, too tight or nervous vibrato, and uncontrolled delayed vibrato. To keep it simple, most vibrato mistakes derive from holding on to the finger too tight, holding the neck of the violin too hard, and leaving too many fingers down on the string (such as when playing chords).

Recording yourself is a very good way of assessing your sound, and applying the Beam of Light as a practice method will help you clear your sound from these very common mistakes.

>Download Tonara, the ultimate interactive sheet music viewer for iPad here

Eyal Kless is the founder and violinist of Israel Haydn Quartet. He teaches in the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv University and conducts many seminars and master classes all over the world. For more information about Eyal’s concerts, teaching schedule, including “The Bach Project” please visit www.eyalkless.com

[Guest Post] The Beam of Light: Visualizing Sound

user by Yair Yona
calendarMonday, 21 October

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Guest post by Eyal Kless

When I want to describe a beautiful, attractive sound, I use words like ‘pure’, ‘clean’, ‘full’, ‘colorful’ and ‘unified’.

As musicians, the quality of our sound is the most powerful expressive tool we have. However, I find that many students take their sound for granted, and focus their practice on playing either in tune or fast enough. As important as these issues are, nothing affects your listeners’ experience more than the sound that comes out of your instrument. It is your calling card, the manifestation of your artistic soul. With a good sound you can convince anyone to listen to you. Being in tune or technically correct will not help you, if in the process you create an unpleasant sound.

Performing well on the violin is very difficult. It involves putting your fingers in precisely the right place at the right time, remembering all those notes, battling anxiety, and trying to “do the right thing” technically. We get so absorbed with these things that we sometimes tend to neglect our sound, or ignore what we perceive as “small mistakes” such as scratches between notes, audible slides, uneven vibrato and so on. After a while, these imperfections become background noise to us, and eventually we even stop hearing them altogether.

My best tool for clearing sound is a practicing technique I call “The Beam of Light”. As I practice the piece slowly, I imagine a beam of light across my line of vision. The beam width represents the depth of my sound, and its surface – its purity. Within the beam there is a second, wavy line, which represents my vibrato in the same way a sound wave appears on a monitor.
As I play, I ‘watch’ the beam of light with my mind’s eye. If I scratch the sound my beam becomes tarnished; if I hit the string too hard it wobbles and shakes. Your entire focus should be on the ‘now’ and ‘before’, (as opposed to performance practice in which you focus on the future). It is important to practice slower than the performance tempo, and if possible – having already memorized the piece. I find this technique incredibly effective in developing sound awareness.

>Download Tonara, the ultimate interactive sheet music viewer for iPad here
Eyal Kless is the founder and violinist of Israel Haydn Quartet. He teaches in the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv University and conducts many seminars and master classes all over the world. For more information about Eyal’s concerts, teaching schedule, including “The Bach Project” please visit www.eyalkless.com

Free Interactive Music and Revolutionary Playback System in New Release

user by Yair Yona
calendarThursday, 10 October

Tonara, First iPad App that Listens to Musicians and Automatically Flips

Pages, Offers Free Interactive Music and Revolutionary Playback System in New Release

Users Can Now Download Hundreds of Free Scores from the Tonara Free Zone and Practice with a Recording and Playback System that Shows the Musicians’ Location in the Score

Ramat Gan, Israel – September 22, 2013 – Tonara, the mobile music-playing app that listens, today released a new version of the iPad application that listens to musicians, shows their location in the score and automatically turns the pages of interactive sheet music. All Tonara users can now download interactive scores for free in the new Tonara Free Zone and review their music with an interactive playback system.

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FACELIFT! + LOADS of free stuff

user by Yair Yona
calendarWednesday, 11 September

Hey everybody
We’re excited to announce a new version is out now!

The new version introduces a new look, a new feel and a much better

Tonara experience.

Screens-New Layout
Now, except for the new design, we now offer hundreds of free scores for your enjoyment. Just go to the Free Zone, and download ten new scores each week!
AND, we’ve improved the recording function and made it much easier and intuitive. You can now have your playing session recorded both when using the Magic scores or your own uploaded scores.
On the Magic scores, you’ll enjoy a synched playback and score following, while on a PDF score you’ll enjoy the automatic page turning in the right time!

Download Tonara today!

[Guide] How to import your PDF scores to Tonara from DropBox, Google Drive and eMail Attachment

user by Yair Yona
calendarTuesday, 30 July

Hi everyone,
Here’s a short and easy step by step guide on how to upload your PDF files to Tonara. Before you start, make sure that the score is in portrait format.

Dropbox

1. Open the Dropbox app and find the file you want to open
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2. Click the upper right button and then ‘Open In…’
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3. Choose ‘Open In Tonara’
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4. Fill in the information
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5. Click the green upper right button
6. Find the new score in your Myscores screen
7. Enjoy!

Google Drive

1. Open the Google Drive app and find the file you want to open
2. Click the upper right button and then ‘Open In…’
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3. Choose ‘Open In Tonara’
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4. Fill in the information
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5. Click the green upper right button
6. Find the new score in your Myscores screen
7. Enjoy!

eMail Attachment

1. Find the email message that contains the file you with to open
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2. Click the attachment
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3. Choose ‘Open In Tonara’
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4. Fill in the information
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5. Click the green upper right button
6. Find the new score in your Myscores screen
7. Enjoy!

New Arrivals in Our Store

user by Yair Yona
calendarWednesday, 03 July

Hey everybody
We’re happy to announce the arrival of lots of new items to our online store.
Among the new arrivals, we have new sheet music by Alicia Keys, Selena Gomez, Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, Beach Boys, Feist and many others.
Also, to celebrate this 4th of July, our house musician Avi Moghrabi had written a great piano arrangement oh The Star Spangled

Banner (click here if you read this on your iPad).
More sheet music to celebrate this 4th of July can be found in our store. Just click the Browse Button>>Occasion and browse between Hymn, Patriotic or American.
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The Rite and The Riot: 100 Years of Stravinski’s Rite Of Spring

user by Yair Yona
calendarTuesday, 28 May

“When the curtain opened on a group of knock-kneed and long-braided Lolitas jumping up and down … the storm broke…They came for Scheherazade, or for Cleopatra. And they saw Le Sacre du Printemps. They were very shocked. They were very naïve and stupid people.”
Stravinski Rite Of Spring 1913
This was what Igor Stravinski saw from his chair in the Paris theatre when The Rite Of Spring’s debuted, 100 years ago this

week.
The famous ballet caused a huge riot within the audience who came to see the much anticipated new production by Sergei Diaghlive’s Beallets Russes. They were shouting, fist fighting and even throwing items on the dancers.
The new show was definitely challenging for the audience; Nijinsky’s choreography was difficult to take.
There were violent, totally innovative pagan dances with strange costumes and weird jumps. Nothing like anyone had seen before in ballet.

Musically, it wasn’t easy either. Stravinski was already known for his Firebird and Petrushka which became very popular.
Suddenly, the audience encountered two dissonant chords, creating an unpleasant feeling and tension. As composer Juluis Harrison acknowledged, The Rite Of Spring demonstrates Stravinski’s “abhorrence of everything for which music has stood these many centuries … all human endeavor and progress are being swept aside to make room for hideous sounds…””. The beat is unusual, the percussion is dynamic and somehow disturbing. In “Augurs of Spring”, repetitive chords slam into horns and strings, “Sacrificial Dance” ends with a chord that Stravinski himself called “a noise”. Witnessing an experimental composition, when you’re expecting a graceful, elegant ballet, in 1913 – Not your usual concept of ‘having a good time’.

Today, The Rite of Spring is one of the most inspiring pieces of music from the 20th century, and influenced composers like Bartok and Steve Reich.
On a personal level, I can recommend you listen to it on the beach very early in the morning (say, 06:15 for example). The music blends amazingly with the wind, sea and the roaming waves. I think I’ll make it a ritual.

Yair Yona
Team Tonara (Have you tried Tonara?)

New Arrivals in Tonara Store!

user by Yair Yona
calendarThursday, 02 May

We’re happy to announce of the arrival of new pieces in our store!
We just got a collection of compositions that are suitable for piano beginners, year 1 and 2. The pieces were published by Alfred Music Publishing and we hope to get more music from them soon.
So check out our store, under First Steps in Classical Piano, and start practicing!

List of the compositions arrived:

The Ghost Who Couldn’t Say “boo!” – June C. Montgomery
Jolly Old St. Nicholas / Pachelbel’s Canon – George Peter Tingley
The Midnight Ride – W. T. Skye Garcia
Valse Romantique – Dennis Alexander
Beneath The Cross Of Jesus – Frederic C. Maker/Arr. Martha Mier
Be Still, My Soul – Traditional Hymn/Arr. Dennis Alexander
Autumn Nocturne – Martha Mier
Apache Braves – Dennis Alexander
Celebration Scherzo – Martha Mier
Dream Come True – Gayle Kowalchyk
Swan On A Moonlit Lake – Margaret Goldston
Snow Dancing – Anne Shannon Demarest
Turboccata – Dennis Alexander
Spring Lark -

Catherine Rollin
Stars And Wind – Catherine Rollin
Joy – Tom Gerou
El Zapateado – Dennis Alexander
Canterbury Bells – Judy East Wells
Maia’s Song – Kathy Holmes

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