musical milliner

July 14, 2013

Libri di Musica

imagesBinder notebooks in several widths. Check. Tape and a three-hole punch. Check. Recycling box. Check. Super cool labeling tape machine. Missing! Crap. Sheets of (interim) file labels, and file folders? Check.

And a fourteen inch stack of orphan photocopies of arias, songs, IPA and translation sheets, research, and the odd program booklets sitting on top of my piano in my music studio.

This is a project I’ve been avoiding for months. After I taught a lesson yesterday, and was unable to locate which binder or file folder contained the music I wanted to give my student, I went mad. Time to have a tidy.

Because this occupation is tedious, I enlisted the White Album to keep me company. It turned out that I worked my way through the last half of the Beatles catalog in the process before I was done.

Before getting to the main task, all the opera scores had to be organized (by composer, and order of composition, and publication for multiple copies). Mixed in were several super-title cuing scores, and directing/production copies. These found a new home on another shelf because the regular scores were offended at their unkempt qualities.

How to divide and conquer? Clearly sorting by genre makes the most sense. But it is trickier than that. There are further divisions. So far, this is how things are going:

  • Opera arias: past “unlikely to ever sing (Gilda, Juliette) again…”
  • Opera arias: Mozart
  • Opera arias, present/learning
  • Opera arias to learn if I live long enough
  • Oratorio arias: present/polishing
  • Oratorio arias: feeling guilty that I’ve not learned
  • Songs: Common Practice
  • Songs: Romantic (by composer and language)
  • Songs: 20thC (ditto)
  • New compositions: 21stC by composer friends
  • Audition pieces: opera and oratorio, ready to go
  • Recital program: two copies/two binders (one for accompanist)
  • Church/Wedding/Funeral: (ditto)
  • Teaching hand-out: (vocalises, information, articles)
  • Student pieces to hand out
  • Three thick binders of lead sheets: (pop/rock)
  • GoshGusMusic compositions (half-inch binder…may outgrow)

Should the reader think of something I missed, please speak up.

The piano pile contained copies of copies of copies. Much tossed into the recycle bin, as were dozens of cassette tapes. I was elated to find eight tapes my coach had recorded of accompaniments to entire opera roles for practice purposes. Lucia, La Traviata, Don Pasquale, and so on. Such generosity. New plan to get these transferred to disc before they degrade beyond usefulness.

As I go about flipping the house for summer cleaning, I will find the label machine, which will produce flouncy covers for the temporary file stickers. I’m thinking Help, Rubber Soul and Revolver should do.

August 18, 2011

Risposte

Filed under: music — by SAMM @ 1:08 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Over the summer I have read and skimmed through seventeen books on repertoire, musicology, pedagogy, and read through almost as many opera scores and song cycles. This has left me with more questions than answers, but has brought me to certain conclusions.

I am disturbed by the pedagogues, many of whom are not singers, but theoreticians related in ways similar to musicologists. I am reminded of the adage that “music should be seen and not heard” so often smirked toward the direction of our academic brethren. There is much voodoo and little common sense. Most alarming are those tomes dedicated to surveying “great singers on singing.”   In some cases, it is obvious by the way a singer speaks of her technique just why she has vocal issues.

As to answers to my questions, I have begun a sure process and feel I understand my own vocal direction. I am a beginner in my new fach. I am looking at repertoire which other folks, audience and singer alike already know, but I do not. Music I should have known but never familiarized myself with because I had so much to learn within the bandwidth in which I used to sing.  Had you told me that at this point in life I would be best suited to Strauss and Puccini I would have thought you absolutely mad. With confidence my teacher and two coaches have finally convinced me otherwise.

I still have books to read and dissect. The San Francisco Main Library has been a regular haunt as I work through the music stacks and the audio section. I’ve learned what I do not know and must now learn. This is a very good thing.

(c)GoshGusMusic (ascap) 2011

August 2, 2010

Questa malefica razza indiscreta: Despina spells it out.

Non vi fate sentir, per carita!
Di pasta simile son tutti quanti,
Le fronde mobili, l’aure incostanti
Han piu degli uomini stabilita!
Mentite lagrime, fallaci sguardi
Voci ingannevoli, vezzi bugiardi
Son le primarie lor qualita!
In noi non amano che il lor diletto,
Poi ci dispregiano, neganci affetto,
Ne val da barbari chieder pieta!
Paghiam o femmine, d’ugual moneta
Questa malefica razza indiscreta.
Amiam per comodo, per vanita!

Bravo Lorenzo Da Ponte.

February 18, 2009

A New Key

images

Instrumentalists look at the key signature before beginning to play a new piece. Being a typical singer in this regard, I look at the inclusive range of notes. Two considerations: the extreme- how low, how high, and the tessitura, the Italian word for “texture” – the place where most of the notes call home.

For me, the parallels of these matters to my current situation is telling. What are my limits, my breadth of tolerance? How do I live in my home when it is no longer where I belong? How do I find my way to a comfortable tessitura? And how do I find the strength and stamina to live those long, arching lines and difficult passage work, which fly naturally from my throat, yet not from my environment?

So I begin. Not to fret over the key, because I own the gift of relative pitch. Rather, to find that tessitura which will lead me forward into a new way of living.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

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