theremin major

notes from me and my moog etherwave pro

Habanera Sauce April 19, 2007

Filed under: Habanera Sauce — jenhammaker @ 7:57 pm


Grindhouse was awesome. Go see it. This is why.

It made me want to kick ass.

Okay, back to the theremin.

Soooooo . . . Chamber Music!

Here’s a definition from Wikipedia:

Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any “art music” that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part. The word “chamber” signifies that the music can be performed in a small room, often in a private salon with an intimate atmosphere. However, it usually does not include, by definition, solo instrument performances.

I guess I didn’t know this because I’m a downtown musician. I’ve been playing chamber music my whole life . . .except that I’ve never played in a palace. I have, however, played in small rooms.

I looked this up because my current chamber setup is only piano and theremin. When I think of the term chamber music, I picture either a string quartet or a 18th century corseted crew playing harps, flutes, and harpsichords in a drawing room for a dinner party. But then, when one thinks of the term classical music, I’m sure one’s brain does not immediately produce an image of a theremin.

Again, we were given a repertoire to work on. So, thanks so much for all the suggestions (Brian), but again I have no say in the matter. Luckily, this time, I’m really excited about the pieces that we chosen for my chamber duo.

The pieces that we were assigned are the Rachmaninoff Vocalise, Vocalise en form d’ Habanera by Ravel, and a piece called Chant Grec by Manolis Kalomiris.

I’ve been working on the Rach Vocalise in my lesson, so I was able to play that right away, which was great. We worked on that for the first two coaching sessions, during which I was told to change my technique (successfully I think), and the pianist got in a heated argument with one of the coaches (!!).

Last week was our first coaching session with the main professor of the class. She hadn’t heard what we had been working on with the other coaches and I guess she hadn’t spoken to them either, because when she came in, I think she was scared to death of the sound that she thought she was going to hear.

She came in and sat down and said, “Let’s just do this. Let’s try something. Do you have a piece that you can play on the piano that she can improvise with?”

After explaining that we had been working on the Rach Vocalise for 3 weeks, she agreed to listen to that before trying to find some alternate way of producing sound.

After we played it, she scrapped her improv idea, thank goodness.

Yesterday, she coached us again and we mostly worked on the Ravel Habanera piece.

“Are you familiar with the term, Habanera, Jen?”

“Isn’t it a Spanish, kinda sultry dance?”

“Yes, that’s good.”

As we were working through the piece, we came across a particular run of notes which was basically a scale that was embellished with flourishes in the form of triplettes. I was having trouble getting all the notes, so I was to play the basic scale without the flourishes.

“But even without the flourishes, you can still make this the sexiest scale . . .”

Sultry Habanera.


PS: I added a music page to this blog. I’ve downloaded several songs that may or may not illustrate the progress that I’ve been making while in school. Feel free to comment, but like I say on the page, please don’t tell me things that I already know, namely, that I tend to go sharp and that I swell too much . . .oh, and that I miss some notes. I know. I’m working on it! None of the pieces I have downloaded are meant to be great recordings. I record myself often so that I can listen to how I really sound, as opposed to how I think I sound. It really helps. Anyway, have a listen and tell me what you think.



One Response to “Habanera Sauce”

  1. Jon B. Says:

    Just wanted to second Hello Hilarious’ recommendation of “Double Dare.” I saw it a couple of years ago at a film festival where ZoĆ« Bell was present and spoke after the screening. She was hilarious (no pun intended) and had quite the pottymouth! I distinctly remember her making a comment about something riding up her crack, although I can’t remember if she was speaking metaphorically or literally.

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