Yearly Archives: 2017

The Different Types of Flutes

For those who think the flute is relatively modern (in terms of thousands of years), think again. The flute, in fact, has been documented as the oldest instrument of melody made by man. This comes from an archaeological discovery at the Ach Valley of Southern Germany, a flute made of bone that can be dated back by 35,000 years! After more excavation, it was concluded that the Ach Valley was quite the artistic hub back in the day. Of course, they probably had a different definition of what ‘Rock’ would sound like. Get it? Rock? No? Okay, Back to flutes, I have categorized them according to the way they are played, their shape and size and their period of creation. That makes for 9 types of flutes in all.
Flutes by Culture and Shape
Based on their home, the flutes are as variegated as they come. Click on any image to get an enlarged view of them.
The Panpipes
Panpipes flute
It consists of about 5 pipes in general, each pipe differing in size. The Panpipes(or pan flute) are completely flat at one end, with the other ends of each pipe trailing off. The different lengths of the pipes give out different notes, so instead of a single pipe with holes in it, you get multiple pipes with no holes.

The Panpipes are considered to be a folk instrument that originated from Greek culture. These type of flutes are linked to the Greek god Pan, hence the name Panpipes. Records of the instrument have been found through manuscripts and archaeological digs in places all around the worlds, from Central America to India.
The Ocarina
Ocarina flute
The instrument is too unique and simple, yet sounds amazing in its own light. The Ocarina is simple to make, easy to play and the fun can last for a lifetime. The English Pendant Ocarina can have just four holes for fingers and still get an entire octave! The instrument may have been globally available, but it was nowhere as famous or as widely used as it was in Japan. ‘The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time’, anyone? The game has to be the biggest reason for its comeback. The Ocarina’s charm is in its simplicity, the pitch gets changed simply by controlling the air flow inside the Ocarina where it keeps banging against the walls. The two basic types would be the pendant type and the chambered type. Small, simple and easy to use, the Ocarina is the definition of music that can be played anywhere.


Spotify was all the rage overseas, and this year, it finally came to America. At first, it was an invite-only service, but now it is open to the public, and mostly free. Spotify is a really great service that allows you to not only choose the music you want to stream to your computer, but also to make playlists and share music with your friends. Its streamlined integration with Facebook makes social networking with your music even easier.

What is Spotify?

Spotify is an Internet-based music streaming service that allows you to choose what music you want to listen to, when you want to listen to it. The service is free for anyone who wants to download it, and most anything you would want to listen to is available. To be sure, there are some tracks and albums that are unavailable due to restrictions from the music labels, but you will be hard pressed to find something you want to hear that isn’t available for streaming. Once you find what you want to listen to, playing it is as simple as a double click on the album or track title. Spotify also offers biographies of artists within the artist profile, as well as a list of related artists to continue your musical journey. Spotify also offers Artist Radio, which is very similar to Pandora Radio, another free, Internet-based music service that picks music for you based on your interests and choices. The final difference between Spotify and other music services is that, while it is Internet-based, it requires you to download Spotify software to your computer. This opens up a player similar to iTunes, that is much easier to use than an Internet site.

What Makes Spotify Different From Other Music Sites?

Spotify is different from other music sites like and Pandora in that it allows you to choose whatever music you want to listen to, and you can listen to it for free. With sites like Pandora, you create a radio station and “like” or “dislike” certain tracks so the program knows your preferences and can pick music you’ll want to hear. With Spotify, you can listen to an entire album or just mix up some tracks you love into a playlist and listen to whenever you want.

Spotify and Facebook

Along with the novelty of choice over what you listen to, Spotify is heavily integrated with Facebook. Your Facebook timeline will update automatically every time you listen to a track, and your friends can click on the track name, which will take them to their Spotify account and allow them to listen along with you. Similarly, you can check out what your friends are listening to and discover some awesome new music through the people you know the best. If you are listening to something really great and want to share it along with a comment, you can do that, too. Post links to your favorite tracks on Twitter and Facebook, along with your comments and recommendations.

Aiming to Become a Music Producer

Try to gain common musical knowledge, as it would certainly help you in music-related problem solving. Research on music theory and composition, which would enable you in determining errors if the music does not sound right. It is a good idea to gather an understanding of songwriting and lyric writing. Listen to all types and genres of music, and try to determine different musical instruments played. Also pay heed to the sound mixing techniques. This may be of great help when working with sound engineers to improve the sound quality of music composed.

Try to obtain knowledge about the actual recording process. There are various sound recording and mixing software available which you can use to get the basic idea of how sound recording and mixing is done. The basic education needed for a music producer may be offered at several colleges. You may learn audio engineering from a reputed institute or a certified training school. There are some universities which offer majors in music production and audio engineering. These courses generally include technical know-how relating to sound equipment, mixing consoles, monitors, main speakers, microphones, pre-amplifiers, digital effects, etc. You would also be trained on how to work on sound-related software.
Once you have the necessary skills and technical know-how, it’s time to jump into the music industry. Experience certainly plays a very important role in this sector. Start searching for trainee jobs in recording studios or production firms. Such jobs generally have a low income, but they help accumulate the needed experience. You may have to work for extended hours and even on weekends. Initially, you may be offered jobs of office assistants in the recording facility. You may also be handed the responsibility of arranging sound equipment for musicians.
After you have adequate experience, start searching for a band who is looking for a music producer. Attend musical concerts and try to get information on such bands. After finding a band, offer to produce an album at a discounted rate, as you are new to the music production field. Guide the band to produce good music, and continue with your job. When you are experienced enough, try your hand on starting your own recording studio. Get hold of the necessary equipment, and start a studio at home or at a rented space. Rent it out to musicians and make good contacts with bands. Doing so, should help you in networking with various bands and musicians, which in turn, will have a positive effect on your music business and music production career.
These are some tips that will guide you in becoming a music producer. Just remember that a strong liking for music and good networking with music professionals, are two of the most important things for fulfilling your dream to be a music producer.

An indie bands list that hardcore fans

Artists/bands are able to release live material or limited editions of their work online; that would be a little heavy on the expenses if it were done the traditional way. Artists/bands can also have their own websites to promote their music and sell it at a price of their choice. In this write-up, we look into the indie bands list, and delve into how most of them have transcended the barriers of the commercial music scene in the music business.

List of the Best Indie Bands

Indie music bands started during the punk rock era, where a cornucopia of independent labels thrived during the 1970s. Given below is a list of good indie bands, that fans of the music genre should check out. These top indie bands have made it through the years, as some of the best there is in the independent music scene.

Fugazi (1987-present, hiatus since 2002) (United States)
Known for being a do-it-yourself ethical band when it comes to business – meaning they function by doing things themselves without having someone else, who is more knowledgeable about the situation, do it for them. They have the perception of being able to do things, that one doesn’t think is possible to accomplish. They infuse styles of reggae and funk, taking their inspiration from bands like Queen and Led Zeppelin.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor (1994-2003, 2010-present) (Canada)
A post-rock band, that was on hiatus around 2003, but returned to the music scene in 2010 by appearing in the All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival in the UK. They’ve been touring in the past month of August in Glasgow, Manchester, Paris, Bristol and London. The band experiments with versatility by shifting genre styles from post-rock to avant-garde and even progressive rock and classical music.

Joy Division (1976-1980) (United Kingdom)
Labeled under punk rock, the band was short-lived when Ian Curtis, the band’s frontman and guitarist, died, where the rest of the band members formed again as ‘New Order’, achieving success on a commercial level. The band’s music revolved heavily around the Nazis, primarily to honor the memories of their grandparents’ and parents’ sacrifices during World War II. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Moby and even bands like U2, draw inspiration from Joy Division to this day. A documentary was made on the life of vocalist/guitarist Ian Curtis, from his wife’s biography ‘ Touching From a Distance’, where the documentary (Control) was screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Hüsker Dü (1979-1988) (United States)
The band initially started off on hardcore punk, shifting their music style to alternative rock by turning down the heat with melodic influences from their usual upbeat thrash style. The band briefly broke up, after the suicide of their manager David Savoy, from tensions caused within the band. They later then came together and reformed in 2004 at a benefit concert, although it ended at the concert, without a long-term reunion in mind. They’ve influenced a lot of alternative rock bands with their melodic college rock and hardcore punk sounds.

Get Album Artwork for iTunes on Your iPod

Ways to Get Album Artwork for Songs on Your iPod

iTunes Artwork Recovery
First up, you need to activate the album artwork panel. There’s a button on the bottom right corner of the iTunes window, that says, “Show or hide item artwork and window viewer”. Click on it to see the artwork for any song.
You will then click on the “Advanced” panel on the top tool bar on iTunes. There is an option “Get Album Artwork” in the panel. Click on it. It’s preferred you’re not listening to music or using any application that consumes too much RAM. You should get “Processing Album Artwork” on the top middle status bar.
This takes time according to the number of non-artwork songs you have. A point here is to try to remove any and all duplicate songs from your iTunes. Having to download the same image for a song and its copy will only delay the process. Also, the songs must be tagged properly, with no spelling mistakes in the song name, album name or genre.
After the process is done, you’ll get a notification for all the songs for whom artwork couldn’t be retrieved. You can also use Coverflow to double-check if there are any more songs left.
Manually Adding Artwork
The songs that iTunes failed to get images for, are probably the ones you didn’t buy from iTunes. In this case, you’ll have to search for the images manually through the Internet. You’ll have to either get the songs from your iPod to your computer, add the image and send them back to the iPod afterwards to maintain the artwork on both your computer and the iPod.
The best places to get the images from are the record label site,, Wikipedia and You will most likely find the image on Wikipedia, and if you don’t, search the others. Download the image onto your computer when you have found the right one. Another way is to scan the CD front image and using that scanned image.
Click on the song for which you found the image. With the song selected, click on “File” on the top tool bar and click on “Get Info”. A window for the song details should pop up.
There will be an empty square on the bottom right side of the window for the album artwork. Copy the image and paste it onto the square, or drag and drop the image on the square. Click “Ok” and check the song file again. You should have the image on the bottom left corner of the iTunes window.
If there are multiple songs that need the same image, you can select all of them, using Shift-click for grouped multiple songs, or Ctrl-click on the PC and Apple key-click on a Mac. Then click on “Get Info” and add the image like described in the above step. Click “Ok” and then wait for a while for the images to add.
If in case a song already has an image on it which you want to replace, follow the same procedure and drag and drop (or copy and paste) the new image onto the older one.
If you don’t see the image on your iPod, delete the song and add it again. If all else fails, get the song again from iTunes. Take care when you are getting these images from the Internet. There will probably be copyright laws on the images and you’ll have to be careful when you get them from the sites.

ITunes Brings About Changes in the Music Industry

In an era plagued with notorious musical fat cats who would strong-arm the competition with their stacks of greens, and the seemingly unstoppable pirates who would relentlessly steal from the artists and labels, Apple iTunes came as a godsend. Steve Jobs had a complete vision that began with the iTunes – a digital store that would provide all the music that the user wanted, and the iPods, iPads, iPhones etc., where this music could be downloaded and played.

Since its inception in 2003, iTunes has managed to completely redefine the music industry. Steve Jobs, the then-Apple CEO, literally manhandled the major record companies, extracting from them some of the most legendary deals and negotiations which completely altered the economics of music, snubbed online piracy, and did so much more.

In the following lines, we shall learn about the impact that iTunes has had on the music industry, and all the changes that it has brought about over its more than decade-long reign.

How iTunes Revolutionized the Music Industry

1) It Allowed the User to Pick His/Her Song

In the music industry, one can find many artists who are what can be best described as one-hit-wonders. Like firecrackers, they burst into the scene illuminating it with the dazzling brightness of their hit number. However, the glow of their glory is short-lived, rarely exceeding the boundaries of that one hit song.

Now imagine having to buy an entire album full of mediocre and even plain bad songs, just to savor that one good song! You would be literally spending on music you didn’t want. Makes no sense, right? Well that was the way the music industry operated before iTunes came along.

When the iTunes music store opened its digital shutters in 2003, it allowed music lovers to download and pay for only the song which they liked, without forcing them to buy the whole album against their will. Thus, it gave the power of choice to the consumers.

2) It Provided Unlimited Access to Infinite Music

Before the advent of iTunes, music was largely dispersed and usually difficult to obtain. It used to be that, you would listen to a song over the radio or see it on MTV, and then you would go out hunting for it in music stores. If you were lucky, you would find the album you wanted, else you would have no choice but to note it down and pray that it came to your neighborhood store someday in the near future. All this changed when iTunes arrived.

God put the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, and Mr. Jobs planted iTunes―the tree of music―in the Gardens of the Internet. All you need to do is bite into the ‘apple’ from it, and you are able to access an unlimited amount of music. And the best part – it ain’t no sin! Thanks to iTunes, you have all the music you want right at your fingertips.

The Popular Console Piano

Piano is an abbreviation of the word Pianoforte, which is an Italian word for the instrument. It is a stringed instrument, which produces sound when keys are pressed, which in turn causes hammers to strike the steel strings with various intensities. The hammers then rebound causing the strings to vibrate at their resonant frequency. Bartolomeo Cristofori created the gravecembalo col piano e forte in early 1700s. The changes that were made to the early invention became the basis of what today’s pianos are. They were originally large and horizontal, and used to take up much of the floor space. As the need arose, and thanks to technology, pianos were turned up vertically. As of today, there are two types of vertical pianos – console piano and spinet piano. Here, we will have a detailed look at the console piano.
What is a Console Piano?
Console piano is the most popular of the upright or vertical pianos, with other four being spinet, the consolette, the studio, and the professional. They are smaller than the usual pianos that most people have. It was developed in the 19th century keeping in mind the space-saving factor unlike the Grand pianos that are horizontal and large. It gained popularity in the 1900s as a piano of mid-range size and enhanced tones. So, if you are particular about your decor complementing the piano, then console is the one for you. It comes in a variety of choices. Owing to the digitized world, composing music has become easy and fun these days. Its design has made it a popular choice for many homes these days. The appearance ranges from wooden finishes with ornate inlays to modern sleek lines. The most renowned manufacturers of quality console pianos are Steinway, Kawai, and Yamaha.

The major difference in the five types of upright pianos is the height. The height of the console piano ranges from 40 inches to 43 inches. The height of the console piano falls in between the heights spinet and professional pianos, with spinet being the shortest and professional being the tallest. The tallest piano is about 55-60 inches in length and 21-25 inches in depth.
It weighs slightly more than the spinet. It also depends upon the material used for making a console. It usually weighs between 300-500 lbs. The action is considered to be the heaviest part of the piano. It is still lighter as compared to grand piano, which is 1300 lbs. Their light weight makes it easy to move them around, and are portable.
Other than height, pianos are distinguished on the basis of action also. The action of a piano is the mechanism that causes the hammer to strike the strings when a key is pressed. Console pianos have direct-blow action i.e. the action is above the keys. In indirect blows, the action is below the keys.

Learn to play the piano

The music made on the piano is conventionally scripted in the form of staff notations on the music sheet. Hence, familiarizing yourself with the piano notes and the staff music notations is an extremely important task.

It’s always a subjective matter of finding one instrument easier to comprehend than another, but for many, the piano helps make learning theory very easy. Playing a scale is simplified once you know where the notes are, which is also easy to figure out. In this article, we tell you about the different notes that you need to know in order to play the piano and give you some tips that will help you play the instrument.
Getting to Know the Piano Notes
Synthesizer Isolated On White
A grand piano has 88 keys. Of those, 52 are white and 36 are black. Each key represents a particular note, whose pitch is not replicated anywhere else on the piano. You have the seven natural notes in music: C, D, E, F, A, B, all of which fall on the white keys. The sharp (or flat) notes, A#, C#, D#, F#, and G#, fall on the black keys. Since B and E don’t have sharps, you get the black keys in groups of two and three, with two successive white keys in between.

The white key to the left of the group of two black keys is always C. The key that represents C in the middle of the piano is called the ‘Middle C’. It represents the center of the grand staff, which is the C note that divides the bass clef and the treble clef.
Piano Notes in Scales
Notes on a piano
In your beginner’s technical training, you’ll come across scales. To play the scales on the piano is quite easy, once you know which scale has accidentals. Let’s take the first, and the easiest example, of the C major scale. The scale is made of all natural notes, no accidentals. The scale goes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and the higher C. To play the scale in an ascending order, all you have to do is to locate the starting note C, and play all the white notes from it.

Taking another scale, G major, we come across a sharp F here. F# will be the black key that comes right after the white F key. So the scale G, A, B, C, D, E, F# will be played with all the notes from G to E on the white keys, and then you play the black F#, skipping the F. Similarly, all the other scales will respectively employ white keys for naturals and black keys for accidentals.

The Soulful Gospel Music

Gospel music is relatively easier to grasp and is filled with feeling and emotions that one can easily relate to. The theme for all gospel songs is the same, they resound the relationship with God. Talking from personal experience, gospel music has always managed to calm my tensed nerves, all because it comes from the depths of the human heart.

Gospel music doesn’t restrict itself to a particular genre of music, thus, it can be expressed in any of the music styles, including blues, jazz, reggae, and even rumba.
Roots of Gospel Music
Gospel Music
Tracing back the roots of gospel music, it seems to fore-date the African tradition of oral communication. How is this remotely connected? Well, most African music was centered around daily activities including agriculture, hunting and war. Singing, automatically became a means to achieve harmony both with nature and the cosmos.

As we know, majority of the African tribes were enslaved and forced to attend worship services. These slaves eventually learned the traditional hymns sung at these worship services, and sang them while working on the fields. Over a period of time, their understanding of the Christian doctrine grew, and the slaves began to draw strength from the biblical passages and compose their own songs. The technique of call and response stayed, and it is what gave birth to gospel music.

These African-Americans sought to singing verses and songs as a means to seek solace in their troubled times. The Church thus, became a medium for venting out their repression. The songs inspired from the Bible became a symbol of redemption, a sign of hope and freedom. The birth of gospel music became synonymous with the blacks living in South America. By the late 1800’s, this form of expression reached the rest of America through traveling minstrels.
Gospel Music in church
Prior to 1870, gospel music took the role of work songs, jubilees and social gospel. The fight for civil rights and equality gave birth to a whole new genre of gospel music. This music incorporated widely accepted social messages into songs that were sung both in church and outside.

Post the success of black music in the 1960s, gospel music became more performance-aware and equally, socially and spiritually engaging. The 70’s and 80’s saw the marriage of funk and disco into the essential gospel music. The 90’s blended an upbeat explosion with the introduction of R’n’B that scored big. Seeing the increasing popularity, the British boosted their existing gospel groups.
Due credit to Thomas Andrew Dorsey popularly called the ‘Father of Black Gospel Music’, who combined the rhythms of jazz and blues into Christian praise songs. Songs like Precious Lord and Peace in the Valley have played a major role in delivering words of assurance even today. Another noteworthy mention is that of Mahalia Jackson, also called the ‘Queen of Gospel Music’, who through her melodious voice caused a regeneration. Such was the power of her singing that people felt encouraged to wholeheartedly participate in the singing.

A Rhythmic Walk Through the Golden Era of Music

Queen Elizabeth not only mandated the arts, she herself was skilled in musical instruments. Her personal instruments were the virginals and the lute. While the Tudor reign generated magnificent amounts of music, musicians and theater, it was most prominent during Queen Elizabeth’s time. As far as music was concerned, she led by example. She would often have her court musicians play for her while she danced, as she considered it a great form of exercise.
Elizabethan music thus entered the homes and lives of all people. Native folk music was seen being played at the dinner tables when families came together for a meal. People who belonged to the higher strata of society in this era were known to hire a musician almost every night. In case of people who could not really hire such musicians, they always had at least one musical instrument and one servant who could play it.
The Popular Instruments
Just like we divide vocals according to the natural range (like tenor, soprano or contralto), the instruments in the Elizabethan era had their own tonal range. Every family of instruments was categorized according to this range and would therefore vary in size and shape, even though they were the same instrument.

The different instruments were also used to denote the status of a person as well. For example, wind instruments such as the trumpets were played to mark the arrival of royalty.
String Instruments
Dulcimer mountain music
♫ The most popular of all stringed instruments was the lute. All the artists in the Elizabethan court could play it. The chitarrone was a huge (almost 6 feet) version of the lute that was also used at the time. The lute was an instrument of soft and controlled melody rather than power, due to which it was used more commonly in a closed environment. It was still the instrument of choice for many street musicians as well as court musicians. The sound box is shaped like an elliptical melon, with multiple ribs (or sides). More ribs meant a deeper sound box, giving a deeper tone.

♫ The fiddle was a street music instrument and was played almost like the modern violin. The fiddle was commonly used by street and town musicians and could either be played with a bow or plucked. The hurdy gurdy was another version of the fiddle that was quite popular in street music as well. You had a wheel that could be rotated using a crank. The wheel brushes against the strings to produce sounds through friction.
antique lute
♫ The harp and the psaltery were in common use. The psaltery was played like the lute, but its sound box was trapezoidal and it usually had 12 strings. The upper society usually preferred keyboard instruments, while the harp was most common in chamber music.