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40 Lessons in how to correctly play improvisations.

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The Tune                                 87
should then be careful to decide, before he commences, what style of movement he wishes to play; whether slow or quick, sad, solemn, gay, martial, humorous, etc. Many players find it helpful here to have in mind some definite thought or object, such as a picture, a flower, a character, a verse of poetry; or a state of emotion, as sorrow, joy, triumph. It is not possible here to give any definite direc­tions; we are touching upon that very elusive and subtle thing called inspiration. Music should not attempt definitely to portray anything outside its own sphere; in that direction lies decadence. But it may, and should, communicate emotional states aroused by such objects as we have here enumerated. The keyboard composer will himself be influenced by emotion; this he will express in his music, and, if he is successful, his music will in turn similarly react upon his hearers.
To be practical, then, the student, before he commences to play, should decide the following points:
(i) Time — duple, triple, etc.
(2)   Pace — quick, moderate or slow.
(3)   Character — cheerful, solemn, contemplative, etc.
Exercise 29.
(a)   Play a two-part movement in the key of C, in duple time, at a slow pace, with any character preferred.
(b)   Play a two-part movement in b minor, in triple time at a moderate pace, with some chosen character.
(c)   Play a three-part movement in A, in triple time, at a quick pace.
(d)   Play a three-part movement in c minor in duple time, at a slow pace, of solemn character.
(e)   Play numerous movements in any manner, and in any keys that may be preferred.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III