Vaughn Ormseth

Stories

Class Notes: Technique, Virtuosity, and Soul

To learn a new work of music takes dedication and practice. Dedication and practice in turn help develop what's known as a musician's technique - not just fluency with the work itself and its composer's ideas, but mastery of various musical effects the composer and performer use to express those ideas. Performers who master the technique of a particularly challenging work while also being able play with sensitivity and poetry - with soul - are said to play with virtuosity.

Class Notes: Song and Dance in 'Asturias'

Spanish composer, pianist, and conductor Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) based his beloved work 'Asturias' on a kind of Spanish dance known as flamenco, which involves intricate footwork, brightly colored costumes, and a wide range of emotion. 'Asturias' also vividly demonstrates the ABA form, in which a work's opening and concluding melodic theme book-ends a distinctly different theme. This video introduces young students to the music through guitarist Milena Petkovic's masterful performance of it, and describes its underlying rhythm, inspiration, and structure.