Music Teacher's Helper Blog

As musicians, sometimes we look for new ways to improve the way we make music, perform and experiment. Sometimes our exploration can take us to mobile apps, which can offer a wide range of functions and tasks such as Enote. Enote is an app that offers digital sheet music with the ability to access a big library of interactive sheet music via the app that may change the way you perform.

Among the features are instantly transposing it, switching between movements or measures, turning pages, changing the size of scores, and printing them of course.

One of the founders of Enote, Boian Videnoff, who is also the chief conductor of the Mannheim Philharmonic said:

“I had been complaining to Josef about why digitalisation wasn’t happening in the music world, and he was making fun of me having to drag a whole suitcase full of scores with me when I travelled. We decided together to tackle the problem,”

Josef Tufan is an IT management consultant, and co CEO of Enote.

How is Enote Innovating?

 

Before the app, the only real “digital sheet music” interaction was through pdf, but that wasn’t really any different from the original paper experience, in fact, it’s more limited, and the only thing you could do was zoom in and out and store it in any plattform, which is great but not really innovating or transformative experience.

As said before, there are a few things that Enote can do, but one of the most useful functions is being able to inmediatly transpose a notation thanks to optical music-recognition technology. This is something that would otherwise take some time to do, but thanks to the app you can do this in no time.

It’s also just the beginning, as every new creation has the potential to evolve, and improve all of its features over the years.

A Well Recieved App

Of course one of the applications of this new software would be in music education. As education in general gets used to a more digital enviroment, there is no reason as to why it should be different in music. This app helps with this transition, making a few things easier for those getting into the world of music.

In an article with the Guardian, it shows some of the support the app is having from a few recognized musicians including a statement from Daniel Barenboim:

Its supporters from the world of music include the baritone Thomas Hampson, the cellist Mischa Maisky, the violinist Lisa Batiashvili, and Michael Barenboim, the violinist and concertmaster of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, who is the son of the conductor Daniel Barenboim and the pianist Elena Bashkirova.

“Everyone in the music world is talking about it and I’m sure we’ll all be using it sooner or later, including my father,” the younger Barenboim told the Guardian. “It will be a gamechanger for musicians. The possibilities are very exciting, especially for the field of music education.”

AI in Music

It’s interesting to see that even though it’s happening now, the world of classical music has been very hesitant towards the implementation of new digital and technological inventions.

The team that worked on the app was full of historical musicologists, AI expertes and mathematicians in order to achive the precision necessary for the app to work.

It was a hard task because it involved programming the ability to learn and recognize every little thing from the music that was written down as if the AI was a musician, this means, that there is a sort of sensibility that was needed for this kind of task.

In the end it all came out perfectly and after five years, the world’s first library of native digital sheet music, has finally been realeased.

There is quite a lot of experimentation with AI in music, in fact, there are full AI music albums. But this is another thing completely, not just because of the little margin for error, but the difficulties of replicating the way a skilled musician would modify and interact with a piece of music.

We’ll have to wait and see how much this app evolves and how it could improve other areas of music such as music education.

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Sonic Youth is considered to be a band that in many ways reinvented rock and music in general, due to how they managed to have such a raw sound and still keep beautiful melodies in between all of the dissonance produced by instruments that are not only given an experimental nature with strange uncommon tunings but are also played in ways only they could feel like doing.

The founding members are Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals), Kim Gordon (bass, vocals, guitar) and Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals). They were in the beginning all the way through the end while other members such as the drummer, bassist and keybordists were more about a come and go situation. After a few drummers Steve Shelley (drums) kept the spot in 1985, and Jim O’Rourke (bass, keyboards, guitar) who was with the band from 1999 to 2005.

The band appeared in the midst of one of the most varied decade in music, the 80s was full of glam, electronic beats, synths, new wave, punk, britpop, hard rock, it was a big colorful mass of different musical experiences and they were all exploding at the same time. Sonic Youth broke away from these genres and made a sound that would become the inspiration for countless other musicians around the world.

The band had its debut in 1983 but it wasn’t until 1990s Goo and 1992s Dirty that they became a real mainstream success, in their own way.

Cheap Guitars and Priceless Tunings

Like many other bands in their humble beginnings, they were not able to get expensive great quality guitars, but the thing is that didn’t really matter if they weren’t going to use them like you’d normally would.

According to Moore and Ranaldo the idea was that using standard tuning could only get you so far in terms of creativity and different sounds, so what they decided to do was experiment with different tunings without being bound to any sort of rules. This wasn’t a one time thing or two time thing, it was a recurrent way to come up with new ideas, which meant that coming up with a new way to tune the guitar was also connected to a new song or a few.

This mindset is one of the things that gave them their original sound and also one of the reasons they get so much praise for reinventing the way you play guitar.

Sonic Youth in the Soviet Union

In an interview with vulture.com, Thurston Moore recalls one of the weirdest shows they had as a band. It was a show in Russia when it was still the Soviet Union.

In 1989, we went to the Soviet Union when it was still the Soviet Union and played some shows there. That will always stay with me because it was at a time when very few Western musicians had gone there. Nobody had ever heard of us, let alone heard us. We would play in front of audiences that were basically Russian families who were coming out for a night’s entertainment. It was like no PA to speak of, just a couple of beat-up guitar amps that we would have to sing through. We were really out of our element. People just watched us in curiosity and wonder. There was hardly any response. We were doing like drumsticks under the guitars, Confusion of Sex material. It was pretty crazy. One of the gigs just got released recently, a Live in Moscow album. It was just confusion by these Russian families sitting there. It’s a memory I’ll never forget — not just the gigs, but just the entire experience of being in the Soviet Union as this kind of sort of poor art-rock band. The food was inedible. It was really an experience and education, seeing these real failed aspects of what should have been progressive socialism but wasn’t progressive. We actually went down and played in Georgia, which was a little hipper. There were actual punk rockers.

But I did meet somebody who actually saw one of those shows. He said that it changed his life and he left the Soviet Union, came to America, and started a band called Gogol Bordello. Eugene Hutz was a kid at one of our gigs in Kiev [Ukraine] and I met him many years later. He introduced himself to me and said, “When I was a teenager, I saw you play in the Soviet Union and that was my catalyst for getting out of there and doing music and art.” If there’s anything great about going to Russia besides these funny, weird memories, it’s that.

Sonic Youth is not just an important band for rock, it’s a band that was determined to express themselves in new strange way through new methods of composition and an honest energy.

If you haven’t listened to the band give it a try, maybe start with Goo, which was their first big succesful album.

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It’s a common thing for artists to change in terms of music composition, genre and the general direction of what they were doing, this happens to bands as well as solo artists.

The music we make is a reflection of who we are as persons, so it’s not a surprise to see that music changes with us, as we evolve and the years pass, the things we make change as well.

There are some great examples to have a good idea of when or how this can happen, one great example is the strange but game changing album “Kid A” from Radiohead.

Radiohead’s Kid A

To start with the 2000s, in October, the great english rock band Radiohead, made its way into the history books when “Ok Computer” was released. It was their third album and it solidified the band as one of the greatest rock bands in the 21st century.

However, after that great success, the band decided to work on something a lot different, which for many critics and listeners, was going to be a commercial suicide. It was an experimental album with lots and lots of electronic

In an interview with Thom York with Rolling Stone in 2000, he talked a bit about the album.

There isn’t a straight rock beat anywhere on Kid A. Do you still think of Radiohead as a rock band?
There’s a lot of things about rock that are still valid, almost shamanic things: delving into drugs for creative reasons, not lifestyle reasons; music as a lifetime commitment. If that’s what someone means by rock, great. But I find it difficult to think of the path we’ve chosen as “rock music”. Kid A is like getting a massive eraser out and starting again.

Radiohead is a good example of not getteing too attached to a music genre, they let themselves explore music however they may feel like it, even if it feels like “starting again”, just like Thom says.

Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts

The latest album by Miley Cyrus has been a bit divisive among fans and critics but not because it’s bad, but because it’s different. The pop star turned pop rocker has been teasing this shift of personality and music genre for some time now, covering classic rock songs and country comedic stories in live shows.

The album not only shows us that there is always some hidden potential in the artists that we are used to listening, and whether they decide or not to experiment with it is up to them, but who would have thought that the Disney celebrity Miley Cyrus would rock alongside the legendary Joan Jett in pop rock album.

Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

This is an album that came after another incredible success by the Arctic Monkeys which was AM, it blew everyone away with the most polished album by the band and it’s considered one of the best Rock albums of the 2010s.

It came as a surprise when the band decided to come up with such a departure from their last album with more piano focused songs and less rock influenced. Some of the influences include: Ennio Morricone, Nino Ferrer and Evelyn “Champagne” King.

David Bowie’s Blackstar

Yes, a lot has been said about David Bowie, but it’s hard not to recognize his achivements of reasons, one of them is the fact that despite changing directions in music genres again and again, Bowie managed to keep its audience engaged, and to be able to keep this up until “Blackstar” which was his last album, is just an honorable mention that cannot be ignored.

The Public Opinion

One of the issues with getting a certain status in the music industry is that the people who listen, begin to expect something specific from the artists, however, music evolves and some people and even critics fail to accept that fact.

It’s interesting to see how much expectations matter to an artist, and that is one of the musicians dilemma, how much should they give the people what they want and how much should they explore new grounds. However some don’t even care and just release the music they want.

As listeners we should be excited for whatever music comes our way, in the end, it would be boring to always get what we expect right?

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