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Article

Laurence Libin and Jessica L. Wood

Term introduced in the 20th century for instruments that had become obsolete but later were reintroduced as copies based on historical models. Some 19th-century antiquarians essayed earlier music on harpsichords, lutes, viols, recorders, and other types that had fallen out of production, for example in concerts organized by François-Joseph Fétis at the Paris Conservatoire from the mid-1830s, by Prince Albert at the court of Queen Victoria in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Electronic music player that accompanies singers with pre-recorded music. The name comes from Japanese, kara (‘empty’) and oke (‘orchestra’). The basic karaoke machine includes some form of music player, a built-in audio mixer, microphone inputs, and audio outputs. The first karaoke systems included a microphone, eight-track tape player, amplifier, loudspeaker, and printed songbooks. Later machines display the lyrics on a video screen, and the more expensive versions can adjust the pitch level to suit the singer without changing tempo (some early systems allowed for changing the pitch but only by changing the tape speed, altering the tempo). Some early 21st-century versions include an Auto-Tune audio processor to correct intonation and software for making music videos. Karaoke systems for public spaces often are integrated into a pedestal that holds the controls, song storage, microphones, and video display, with separate loudspeakers. Portable systems resemble portable CD players, with or without a video screen. Wireless-microphone karaoke systems by companies such as Entertech use television or entertainment consoles for both audio and video. Video-game versions allow singers/players to receive scores or perform ‘with’ famous bands, sometimes as an animated character onscreen....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Term for any device, mechanism, or means by which a player controls an instrument. It embraces keys and keyboards, valves, mouthpieces, bows, plectra, beaters, ribbon controllers, joysticks, touchscreens, other computer input devices and displays running control software, and any other intermediary between player and instrument (real or virtual) giving the player control of the sound-producing elements....

Article

Brandon Smith and Anne Beetem Acker

On an electronic instrument, an expressive MIDI characteristic or data type (in the form: channel, note number, pressure) that transmits the key pressure for individual keys, and therefore separately for each note played, even when several are played simultaneously. This allows the performer to play different notes simultaneously at different loudness levels or with other effects, such as adding vibrato or triggering a filter. As with the more common monophonic MIDI data type (which averages the pressure for different keys pressed simultaneously, as if all were played with the same pressure), the pressure value is transmitted when the performer strikes a key while it is depressed, allowing the tone to change while a note is held....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Five-stringed small guitar of Mexico. Commonly known as the vihuela, it is played in the mariachi ensemble as a harmony and rhythm instrument, and should not be confused with the Spanish vihuela de mano. It has a loud, crisp, rapid-decay sound. The soundbox is typically 39 cm long with a 29 cm maximum width, a 28 cm neck with four to six movable nylon frets, and 50 cm string length. The maximum depth of the sides is 10.5 cm plus an additional 6 cm depth to the apex of the vaulted, angled back. Wooden pegs inserted from the rear of the pegboard are traditional but nowadays most vihuelas have mechanical tuners. The tuning is ...

Article

Aoko  

Konin Aka

Scraper of the Baule and Agni-Morofwe peoples of Ivory Coast. A serrated stick passes through a hole pierced in a nut; the right hand moves the nut along the stick against which the left hand occasionally presses a small resonator. The instrument, played only by women and young girls, is used for rhythmic accompaniment to singing for amusement....

Article

Bajo  

Jeremy Montagu

Bass; used alone or in combination to refer to any bass instrument.

Article

Laurence Libin

Division of an organ, whose chest and pipes are spatially separated from the main pipework so as to create an antiphonal effect when this division is played in alternation with others. Further, this division can be coupled to others for simultaneous playing that surrounds listeners with sound emanating from different locations. Antiphonal ranks need not have a dedicated manual but, in modern organs, often ‘float’ among several manuals by means of console controls. Development of the Antiphonal division was facilitated beginning in the late 19th century by electric and electropneumatic actions that simplify spatial separation of an organ’s components. However, it remained uncommon and nowadays normally appears only in large instruments. The term is also applied to a separate, independent, sometimes moveable organ, subsidiary to the main one in a building and played from its own console....

Article

Howard Mayer Brown

(1) An adjective used, like ‘contra-’, to indicate a lower octave, hence qualifying particular instruments. Thus the double bassoon (or contrabassoon) plays in the octave below the bassoon, the double bass (or contrabass) an octave below the cello, and so on. This usage derives from the old practice of identifying notes below ...

Article

David H. Fox and David L. Junchen

A type of pipe organ built between 1911 and 1940 specifically for the accompaniment of silent films and the performance of popular music in the magnificent movie palaces that arose during the first four decades of the 20th century. Used at first to substitute for the house orchestra during breaks, the theater organ eventually superseded the orchestra, for a single organist could improvise a more flexible accompaniment to the action on the screen. In the United States the term “theater organ” is preferred; in the UK “cinema organ” is used. Many characteristics of the theater organ can be traced to innovations in organs built between ...