Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The term "carnatic music" refers to music performed in the expressive style of a vocalist. The origins of this musical style reside in southern India. Carnatic music is typically performed precisely according to the original composition, though improvisation is allowed in some pieces. Traditionally, keyboard instruments did not suit this expressive method of performance, though modern synthesizer technology has changed this.
Learn about the features of Carnatic music that set it apart from traditional western music. The vast majority of music created and played by the western world utilizes a 12 note scale, whereas Carnatic music employs a 22 note scale. In the world of Carnatic music, notes are called "sruthis." Playing in the Carnatic style requires the performer to gradually slide from sruthi to sruthi, rather than jumping from pitch to pitch.
Achieve a basic understanding of Carnatic notation. If you're familiar with traditional solfege, you'll know that to sing a seven note scale you would pronounce the syllables do, re, mi, fa, so, la and ti. In Carnatic music, these syllables are changed to sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da and ni. Asterisks can be applied to these syllables to indicate a modified sruthi. Symbols such as / and \ indicate slides.
Purchase a synthesizer with a pitch bender. The pitch bender will come in the form of a wheel, typically found in the lower left portion of the keyboard's surface. Adjusting the pitch wheel as you play a note will raise or lower the note's pitch. This will allow you to play the expressive slides necessary to Carnatic music.
Use the pitch wheel to "shake" notes in addition to sliding between them. Some synthesizers have a portamento option that can be toggled on and off. With this feature enabled, the keyboard will automatically slide between notes, freeing up the pitch wheel for note shaking. To shake a note, rapidly move the pitch wheel up and down as you play. This motion should be fast, yet subtle.
Browse the Internet for audio and video samples of keyboardists playing Carnatic music. This will give you a better idea of how Carnatic music should sound and will provide inspiration for your playing. Carnatic music can be simultaneously beautiful and haunting, and this is something you should strive for while performing.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
A MIDI keyboard is a full piano-style keyboard that connects to a computer to play music on computer programs in the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) format. If you don't have an actual MIDI keyboard and are looking to play keyboard music on the computer, you can use the keys already at your fingertips. Once you have MIDI drivers and a music sequencer program, all you need is another application that uses your computer's keys as the MIDI musical keys.
Things You'll Need:
* Computer with keyboard
* MIDI drivers
* Music sequencer program
* Virtual keyboard program
Check to make sure your computer's sound card is updated. Your computer must have MIDI drivers installed on it. If needed, download and install a virtual driver like the Sony Virtual MIDI Router or Maple Virtual Midi Cable.
Install a music software program on your computer that has a sequencer, like Cakewalk Sonar, Steinberg Cubase or Propellerhead Reason. These programs allow you to create music on the computer. These programs are often available for purchase and/or download.
Download and install a separate program that has a virtual MIDI keyboard that works with your computer keyboard. Bome's Mouse Keyboard and Roni Music's Sweet Little Piano are two such examples.
Read and study the online manuals and tutorials for the keyboard program, seeing which computer keys represent which MIDI keys. Write down a guide on paper to help you learn the keys on the program. If you have time, rewrite any keyboard sheet music you plan to use, so the notes match with the computer keys.
Friday, July 30, 2010
First you need to purchase an electronic keyboard. Both Yamaha and Casio make great entry level keyboards. I suggest either Yamaha's PSR line of electronic keyboards or Casio's LK lighted keyboard series.
Experiment! Modern keyboards are packed with features that allow for amazing expressions of creativity. By just playing around with your new keyboard, you will begin to get comfortable with your new instrument.
Enroll in a class. Some kind of instruction is needed to learn how to properly play the keyboard. Using your local community college, video tapes or books, you can learn the basics of playing the keyboard. The more interactive the teaching, the more you will learn.
Memorize a song. Having the ability to play the keyboard from memory is a sure fire way to impress your friends and feel like you accomplished something.