A few months ago, I decided to purchase a lute. I was, at the time, obsessed with French Airs de Courand wanted to delve into the lute accompaniments. Besides, I already had in mind to integrate viola da gamba in my music, and wanted to familiarize myself with scales, fingerings, and chord positions (apparently, some similar tunings can be used on viola da gamba and lute).
It basically looks like an inverted coffin with a neck
I bought a cheap (lutenists, please don’t read the rest of this sentence) eight course, 15 strings flat lute from Pakistan (told ya). It is a crime to some, but to a broke student that has no intention to become a lutenist, it’s really not that bad. One gets a rough sense of the instrument and might avoid some blatant writing mistakes while giving the impression of being part of a Goth/Baroque band.
Roosebeck Flat Lute
The instrument can be purchased online at Mid-East instruments. Once again, it’s only a nice working tool. If you want to be serious about the lute, seek advice from a professional lutenist (visit The Lute Society of America‘s website).
The French u has no equivalent in English. If you’ve studied German, it is, though, similar to the German ü. An easy way to pronounce a decent u is to close you lips as if you were pronouncing a very tight o (as in Figaro) while saying -ee. Use your lips. No lips, no u .
Did you know that before studying composition with Messiaen in Paris, Murail got degrees in classical Arabic and Maghreb Arabic as well as a Bachelor’s degree in economic science and a degree from the Paris Institute of Political Studies?
What is the importance of music in your work? Are you inspired by musical concepts such as rhythm, counterpoint, dynamics, texture etc.?
I love the emotion, the energy that music can communicate, a concert, an evening at la Scala. I hope that my products, my work, and my working relationships also communicate an energy.
Besides, it is true that I work on simple forms (Moebus strip, harmonic structure, etc.) and that I give them a new use. I never wondered about “music in my work” but what I can say is: music is 7 notes and 1001 possible combinations and I love this idea!
The next composer that might need our attention in this French Composers’ Names series intended to help people pronounce French composers’ names is probably Camille Saint-Saëns.
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
The diacritic, the mark, on the e is called a tréma in French. It consists of two dots ( ¨ ) placed over a vowel, used to indicate diaeresis. It is very clear in a word like maïs (corn): the combination of a and i would give an è sound, but the diaeresis is here to prevent this combination: mah – eess.
Now, sincerely, as a French person, I would say that Saint-Saëns’ name is also confusing for us. The tréma appears on a vowel followed by an -n, usually triggering a nasal sound… In this context, what is one supposed to do with the diaeresis?!
How often should one redesign one’s website? The cookie-cutter answer is around 24 months, and in my experience, it is about right. My web design clock has been ticking for a while, and I have started to ask myself the usual questions: what kind of impression should the website leave? Shall I use warm or cool colors? A triad of colors? A tetrad of colors? etc. Finally, the key question comes up: serif or sans-serif?
Since I hear a lot of people (professors, performers, composers, etc.) having a hard time pronouncing some complicated French composers’ names, I decided to modestly record myself and post the sound clips on this blog as a series.
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
The one that suffers most, I think, is Olivier Messiaen. The combination of three vowels and an -n is actually quite unusual in French, so don’t feel bad if you’re not 100% sure of the pronunciation.
Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphonie / Rattle · Berliner Philharmoniker
Olivier Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphonie Sir Simon Rattle, conductor · Berliner Philharmoniker Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano · Tristan Murail, ondes Martenot Recorded at the Berlin Philharmonie, 11 September 2008.
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