The more things change the more they stay the same. As we have repeatedly seen, technology today is moving at a breakneck speed, influencing musicians to think differently about the way they hear and experience music. From sampling sounds to music apps for children and music transcription, there is a world of technology designed to help us be better musicians. Even traditional music changes as the world grows smaller, such as Argentine tango and jazz.
What doesn’t change, though, is our basic need to express our creativity and musicality. Whether it be teaching children to be musical, or learning basic jazz chords, the grounding our of our skills in traditions that have been passed down through centuries keeps us united as a musical community.
Before we dive into this week’s new resources let’s celebrate the start of the Olympic Games with these Brazilian music playlists from Joe Gatto at Funkish.audio:
One way technology is drastically changing the way we make music is by the abundant sampling of any and all sounds to create new music, as discussed in a post on the Musical U blog.
Sampling is not an entirely new concept, as Flypaper points out in this article, but like all other music forms it’s forever growing and evolving. If these articles have gotten you eager to try sampling for yourself, here’s an endless supply of new samples to try out from Gear Junkies. They post new samples on Saturdays. Then again, as we mentioned, one great place to look for sound samples is simply in your very own environment. Check out this cool track Matt Glass made – out of his kitchen!
If you really want to stay ahead of the music-making technology curve, take a look at this digital sampling music box introduced by RouteNote – it’s not even out yet!
Hey, speaking of music-making technology…
Do You Need an Instrument to Make Music?
What? Who told you that you need to play an instrument to make music? With the absolute abundance of new technology there is surely an app for that. In fact, there are so many music making apps on the market it’s hard to keep up with them. This week the Musical U blog presents a Top 5 list of music-making apps for creating music without an instrument.
Liisten has another great list of instrument-free music-making apps. Of course that doesn’t mean that learning an instrument is obsolete. There are benefits to making music on both the computer and on instruments as discussed in this article by Sessions X.
Raising a Musical Child
Don’t you hate it when the kid next to you on the Metro seems better at using their smartphone than you are? Children even learn with new technology today, including music apps like the ones above. It seems it’s never too early to introduce your child to music, anymore – or is it?
One of the best ways to start your child on learning music is with… wait for it… the autoharp! This miraculous little instrument teaches your child a myriad of music skills all at once, as Let’s Play Music explains. (There’s even an autoharp app mentioned in the post!)
If you are interested in music education apps for your child, Edify lists the seven of the best.
The roots of so much of what we think of as our western music – such as jazz and rock n’ roll – come from the music traditions of slaves brought over from Africa. Another form of music that can now trace its history back to African roots is the Tango, which is as varied and complex as the sensual dance which bears its name.
We took a look at five pieces of music that represent the history of this internationally-loved genre. Because of its complexity, we chose to focus solely on Argentine tangos in our post, as this is the genre of tango that will come to most people’s minds. For a better understanding of the roots of tango, have a look at Hispanic Culture Online’s history of the tango.
If you are really loving listening to tango music and are intrigued by its history, check out this musical history tour of 200 years of tango from Tango Mundo, presented by the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS – ANU):
Jazz Chords Made Easy
Jazz also has a long, fascinating and complex history and mastering the genre is one of the highest achievements a musician can earn. However, jazz takes time to learn and it pays to have patience and study the basics.
As part of an impressive career in performing and teaching, Jeffrey Agrell (of ImprovInsights.com and HornInsights.com) has written seven books about musical improvisation and also specializes in improvisation games. He was kind enough to share his tips on improvisation with us recently and this week, he gave his advice on learning jazz chords to Musical U – it’s not as hard as it sounds!
If you’re int