How Fast Should A Piece Of Music Be Played

The tempo of a piece of music is the speed at which it should be played and is an important part of playing music properly. Imagine if you played God Save the Queen for example at twice the speed for example, it just wouldn’t have the same solemnity and Happy Birthday at half speed wouldn’t be such a cheerful thing. Plus of course if you are playing in a group it is imperative that you all play at the same speed or it just sounds like a mess. The tempo is therefore decided upon by the composer and written on the music for musicians to follow.

Often this is indicated above the stave (the five lines upon which music is written) by a note followed by an equal sign and a number. This shows the number of notes in a minute. So if the note shown is a crotchet (a note a single beat long which can also be called a quarter note) then = 120, you know that the speed it should be played at is 120 single beats per minute or 2 a second. Or if it was a minim (a two beat note which can also be called a half note) then = 30 you know that there are 30 mimims to a minute, or 1 minim every 2 seconds.

However, sometimes tempo is not described in this way but by a written, usually single word, description. Occasionally this will be written in English, simply ‘fast’ for example but much more often it will be written in Italian. Some examples are given below.

Adagio – Slow

Allegro – Fast

Allegro non Troppo – not too fast

Andante – Walking tempo

Con Brio – with movement

Giocoso – Playful

Largo – Very slow

Lento – Slow

Moderato – Moderately

Presto – Very quick

You will also get add on words to these such as Molto – Very, Un Poco – a little. So Molto Lento means play very slowly.

Then there are words which describe a change to the tempo for example,

Rallantando – which means to gradually slow down and Ritard – which means immediately slow down to a slower speed and stay playing at that same slow speed. Also Accelerando which means gradually play faster.

Sometimes once the tempo has changed to a second different speed you might later get the indication Tempo Primo. This means go back to playing at the first tempo – speed – that you played at.

Dobro Lessons – Music Theory + Playing by Ear = Super Musician!

Here are 3 things I recommend you memorize.

1.    All the notes of the dobro or specific instrument
2.    All the Key Signatures
3.    All the Chords and Chord Tones for each key

Question: Why do this?

Answer: To gain a more complete understanding of your instrument, and to know where you are at all times and to know why what you are playing may sound good and why it may sound not so good.

Question: Is there an easier way? Can I get around not knowing any music theory and not knowing where any of the notes on my instrument are located?

Answer: I have found if you do not want to learn any music theory one can still play and in fact get quit good. Tons of great players have done it, and this is what I think ones options are if they want to get really good, but do not want to learn any music theory.

No Music Theory Option 1:

(I highly recommend doing this “In addition” to also understanding music theory)

To simply transcribe tons and tons and tons of songs, solos, rhythm playing, song forms, etc…so many that you can use the memory of those solos to dictate what you should play when you hear it in the context of a song. Your memory of all the songs and solos that you’ve learned and transcribed will trigger a muscle memory with your fingers and mind, and it will be like you are speaking with your instrument. Simply reacting to what you hear like you would if you were carrying on a conversation with someone. You will see all the patterns, and scales, and key signatures more as shapes that you equate to things that you’ve learned from solos, songs, and other musicians. You will have a working knowledge of the theory, but will not know why any of it works. You just know it does.

This is actually a great way of learning, and this way combined with an understanding of music theory can dramatically improve your playing and improvising in a much quicker way than just theory alone, or just transcribing alone.

Wtih theory you can take one thing that you transcribe and play it in other keys. Know how to change it around and play it over other chords. Basically multiplying everything that you already know.

No Music Theory Option 2:

(I do not recommend doing this)

The slowest way of improving….Not transcribing solos and simply to use trial and error or “noodling” around, fishing for the right note, not having a clue why anything you play sounds good or bad.

Getting Started:

The Keys:

The Sharp Keys:

C MAJOR – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

G MAJOR – G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

D MAJOR – D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

A MAJOR – A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

E MAJOR – E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

B MAJOR – B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B

F# MAJOR – F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E#, F#

C# MAJOR – C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, B#, C#

The Flat Keys

C MAJOR – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

F MAJOR – F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F

Bb MAJOR – Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb

Eb MAJOR – Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb

Ab MAJOR – Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab

Db MAJOR – Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db

Gb MAJOR – Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb

Cb MAJOR – Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb

To Start Memorizing the Chords and Chord Tones Just Use these simple rules:

1) Chords are built in 3rds – Root, 3rd, 5th. Start with your root, skip a note, then you’ve got your third, skip a note, then you’ve got your fifth.

2) If you do that in a major key you end up with this pattern, harmonizing over each note of the scale: (examples are in the Key of G major)

1. = MAJOR ex. GBD
2. = minor ex. ACE
3. = minor ex. BDF#
4. = MAJOR ex. CEG
5. = MAJOR ex. DF#A
6. = minor ex. EGB
7. = diminished ex. F#AC

* NOTE:

To memorize anything quickly, simply use NOTE CARDS, and make out a set for your Key Signatures, a set for your Chords per Key, and a set for your chord tones per key.

Carry them around with you and when you are waiting in line or just don’t have anything to do. Pull them out and start memorizing them. In a month or so you will see dramatic improvements.

Stop Your MySpace Music From Playing Automatically

Music is an important part of the whole MySpace experience. And, MySpace ever-so-kindly designed their site so that you can add a song to your profile. There are quite a few songs to choose from; a visit to the Music section of MySpace makes that painfully obvious.

I say “painfully” because if you visit a lot of profiles on MySpace, your ears just might go on strike because of the cacophony of voices and musical instruments they will be subjected to.

You probably are already well aware of what I am speaking of here. The music on some people’s pages can make a sane person go nuts! People usually place a song which has some sort of meaning for them on their profile, or one which they have chosen to be the “theme song” of their life.

But it’s terribly annoying… and rude, according to some… to be subjected to that music in order to check out someone’s profile. It also seems to make the page load slower than it should, as it seems the song has to start up before the profile page will fully load.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a music hater. In fact, I love music! As a matter of fact, I usually am listening to music while I am online. That’s one reason why the MySpace profile music irks me so much. It interferes with my own music that I want to hear!

And, if by chance you click off of someone’s profile page to look at a photo or something else they have posted, then go back to the profile, the music starts up all over again from the beginning of the song! People need to realize that the music that they consider beautiful or relaxing may well be very annoying to others.

So, how do you stop MySpace music from playing automatically? Music on your own profile as well as anyone else’s? Actually, it is very simple. Log into your MySpace account as usual, and in the box that has your default picture inside of it, you will see a list of things you can do.

You are looking for the one that says “Account Settings.” When you find it, click on it. It will take you to another, larger box that says “My Account Settings.” Scroll down until you see “Music Settings.” See right beside those words where it says “Change Settings”? Click on that link.

Now, you will see two settings beneath “My Music Settings.” One says “Disable My Player from Automatically Starting” and the other says “Disable Band Songs from Automatically Starting.” Band songs are what MySpace is for some reason calling the music on everyone’s profile except your own, and not just actual band profiles.

Choose both of these options by clicking on the small boxes with your mouse. Then, click on the “Change Settings” button to save what you just changed.

You’ve done it! No longer will you have to worry about anyone else’s MySpace profile music – including your own!