Famous German Musicians

 

German may not sound like the most melodic language on Earth, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of transmitting strong emotions and feelings to its listeners. In fact, we owe much of the classic musical compositions to Germans and their genius. And, no matter if you are a connoisseur of fine arts or a mere amateur, we’re positive you’ve heard of the following German musicians.

 

 

Ludwig van Beethoven

Born in 1770, Beethoven is probably the best-known music composer in the world. He was a prodigy and one of the pioneers of instrumental music in Europe, playing a fundamental role in the development of modern music. He started taking violin lessons when he was just five years old, and his passion for music developed due to his father who used to give violin and keyboard classes for a living.

Coming from a modest family, he was forced to quit his musical studies and provide private lessons to support his younger siblings after his parents died. Discovered by Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, he was finally sent to study music with Haydn in Vienna in 1792.

By the time he finished composing his last symphony, Beethoven had become completely deaf and had to turn to the crowd to sense the vibrations of their applauses to find out if what he envisioned would also please his fans.

 

Johann Sebastian Bach

Born nearly a century before Beethoven, Bach is one of the greatest German composers of all times. He took his passion for music from his entire family, receiving early training from his uncle and his father.

He started his violinist career in Weimar, and he later switched to playing the organ in Arnstadt. However, his talents weren’t recognized during his lifetime and, therefore, he had a hard time providing for himself and his family out of his music. It wasn’t until fifty years after the composer’s death in 1750 that his music was rediscovered and appreciated to its true value.

 

Marlene Dietrich

Although she is one of the legendary German actors, few people know that Marlene Dietrich also had an illustrious musical career. She enjoyed singing live in theaters and she tried to bring the German language closer to her international auditory with songs like “Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind” (Tell Me Where the Flowers Are).

 

Hans Zimmer

Moving to the contemporary era, Hans Zimmer is arguably the most popular music composer of his time. He specialized in composing meaningful music for movies and counts for the success of many Hollywood sagas, including “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Inception.”

Zimmer was born in Frankfurt, West Germany but he didn’t appreciate a formal training in music, being constantly kicked out of schools because of his lack of focus and involvement.

What is progressive rock?

 

Newer members of the rock community may not be very familiar with the genre progressive rock, but this doesn’t mean it should be left aside. In fact, progressive rock was a huge part of the worldwide rock scene back in the 1960s, so here are some interesting facts you should know about.

What is progressive rock?

Also called classical rock, symphonic rock or art rock, it was developed in the United States and the United Kingdom it the beginning of the 1960s.

It was initially named progressive pop and started to become popular after many psychedelic bands of the moment decided to abandon the former pop traditions and experiment more with instrumental compositions that were usually attributed to classical music, folk, and jazz.

 

What are the main characteristics of progressive rock?

Apart from the previously mentioned musical influences, progressive rock bands decided to invest more in their lyrics and make them more poetic. New technologies were used to create unique sounds and music so that songs could turn into pure forms of art.

Another important characteristic of progressive rock is that the music was now created mainly to be listened and felt, and not necessarily danced. As opposed to the previous waves of rock bands and musicians, the ones opting for progressive rock mainly focused on delivering studio albums to the detriment of live performances on the stage.

Technical skills, eclectic costumes, and fantasy lyrics represent the main elements of progressive rock. The genre often received influences from jazz and folk music, transforming into a fusion of styles and approaches.

 

The macroeconomic climate

The development of this music sub-genre coincided with the worldwide economic boom after the Second World War. The 1960s brought a relaxed international environment, allowing record labels to invest more in the creativity of their artists instead of only thinking about the profits. Therefore, artists were encouraged to express their own personality and experiment with various musical genres.

However, the popularity of prog rock only lasted for about two decades, before the development of punk rock at the beginning of the 1980s. Some people suggest that this exact form of musical relaxation triggered the fall of prog.

Most popular musicians and bands

It is hard to make a list of the bands and musicians that promoted prog rock mainly because most of the artists were experimenting with various genres and musical influences. Some of the most iconic rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s began their activity in the late 1960s and may have released an album or two in the era of prog rock.

The most influential artist of this genre remains Jimi Hendrix. In his short musical career, Hendrix released four albums, between 1967 and 1970. After his tragic death in September 1970, his father decided to release more songs of Hendrix, gathered in four different albums – “The Cry of Love”, “Rainbow Bridge”, “War Heroes”, and “First Rays of the New Rising Sun”.

 

Interesting facts about harps

 

A harp is a string instrument, which is actually very ancient. That’s why it is almost synonymous with classical music, Celtic history, and cupid’s lyre. Over the years and in the modern era, the harp has evolved from its primitive shape, which might seem lackluster to some, to its current luxurious body, often associated with a bohemian lifestyle. Across the globe, each culture, but primarily the Irish, has its variation of this gorgeous instrument.

If I sparked your curiosity and you are interested in learning more about it, check out these facts about the harp I’ve put together to bring some awareness about its beautiful sound.

The harp is part of the string family. Also, it dates as far as 3600 BC, with origins in Europe, Asia, and even Africa. Some data says it may have even existed before 15,000 BC, although the proof is scarce and no definite evidence has come to light. The harp was mainly used as part of religious ceremonies, since some pieces were discovered in ancient burial grounds, and they were even painted on the walls of many Egyptian pyramids.

The earliest references to the instrument were found in Persia, where it was called a chang. It was an instrument associated with angels, which surprises no one since its sound is mild, kind and has a warm tonality.

Experts usually make harps with a robust triangular frame which is capable of withstanding the enhanced pressure of the specially designed strings. You play it by picking it with both your hands and, of course, each string plays a different note, in a different tonality.

As some of you suspect or might already know, the word ‘harp’ originated from an Old German language, called the Old Norse, and it means ‘to pluck.’ It held an important role in the Nordic cultures, and many references to the instrument can be found through Icelandic mythology especially.

Nowhere is there a more extensive or a more impressive variety of harps than in the old humankind’s cradle, Africa. The harp and its related instruments have a special place in the zoomorphic traditions of nearly one hundred African tribes and cultures.

One of the models can have up to 90 strings per instrument. This means you can play a wide range of songs on a harp. It can be classified, according to experts, into two categories: the frame harp, which is the most popular choice when it comes to contemporary musicians, and the open harp.

A modern harpist, as the person who plays it is called, uses only his or her first four fingers on each hand, to create sound.  Artists pluck the strings near the middle, using the pads of their fingers, a process which can sometimes be painful if you play it for too long. Irish harpists, famous all around the world, use their fingernails to pluck the strings as some guitar players do.

7 best-selling music albums of all time

 

I think there’s something fascinating regarding learning about successful artists and their highest achievements. In this article, I’ve gathered some cool info about seven of the best-selling music albums of all time, so we can marvel and be inspired by these forces of nature.

The highest selling album ever is ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, which comes as no surprise at number one. This groundbreaking masterpiece is relevant even today, and it still sells like hot bread even if more than thirty years have passed since its release in ‘82. The album sold more than 60 million copies all around the world.

Another album that is just as loved today as it was in 1980 when it hit the market is ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC. The hard rock body of work became an instant classic, and the leading singles can still be heard on today’s radio stations. The band claims it sold at least fifty million CDs, although only 26 are certified.

Yet another rock band that made history is Pink Floyd. With their album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, and with its iconic cover, they managed to sell more than forty million copies. Or so they claim, as the market only certified 25 million, which is still impressive. All the singles from this album went platinum.

It seems like rock is still on this list, with the iconic band Meat Loaf, which in ‘77 took the charts by storm and with hit singles like ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’, they transformed the music industry. Their second album, ‘Bat Out of Hell’ managed to make its way towards becoming the fourth most successful album of all times by selling a little bit over twenty-two million copies.

At number five, we have a movie soundtrack. And I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about. Whitney Houston and her legendary movie ‘The Bodyguard’, stole the hearts of thousands of people, who in total bought more than thirty million CDs. It still is the highest selling soundtrack of the century. Her solo albums were just as successful, despite the tragic turn the artist’s life took.

The Eagles fly straight to number six on our list with the compilation ‘Their Greatest Hits’, which despite containing only old songs, it sold forty million copies throughout the years. The album included beloved classics such as ‘Take It Easy’ and ‘Tequila Sunrise’. You can still find this album in stores today, and it received many awards, which were all very well deserved.

And the last album on this list is a bit of a personal choice. I wanted to include the current best selling album because all the other ones are classics, and I wanted something that even young kids can relate to. It comes as no shocker that the best selling album of the last few years is ‘21’ by the international superstar, Adele. The ballad-filled work of art sold 25 million copies and broke all kinds of records.

How to get the perfect metronome for your musical instrument

 

Metronomes are probably some of the most popular music tools most players and singers have to deal with on a daily basis. Metronomes are mechanical, electronic or electromechanical devices that emit constant audio and visual signals in order to mark equal periods of time. A metronome can provide various tempos, the standard ones ranging from 40 bpm to 208 bpm.

But, with plenty of items on the market, how can you make sure you made the right choice? No matter if you’re looking for a good metronome for pianos or the best metronome for drums, here are some aspects you should take into account.

 

Size and shape

Metronomes come in various sizes, shapes, colors, and designs, so you need to choose the right one for your purposes. When it comes to size, you have two different options – you either opt for the pyramidal ones that are usually heavier and stay on your desk or choose portability in return for a smaller-sized item.

If you carry your music equipment with you all the time, I might suggest you opt for smaller and portable devices. These can easily fit in your purse or instrument case and you can carry them with you anywhere you go.

On the other hand, if your equipment mainly sits in a rehearsal room, you could opt for a desk metronome that you won’t have to carry around when you’re not rehearsing. These decorative metronomes are usually made of luxurious materials including top-quality wood and are also used for showing-off purposes.

If you’re more of a tech guy, you can also opt for a simple app on your smartphone or tablet. All you have to do is download an app (usually free) and choose the type of tempo you’re interested in. These apps are extremely useful for those who prefer traveling light.

 

Audible or visible beats

Choosing a metronome based on this feature mainly depends on your personal preferences. Some musicians claim they can concentrate better when they only hear the sound of the metronome while others, on the contrary, will end up feeling more relaxed if they see the item instead of hearing it.

When it comes to audible metronomes, you also need to take into account the volume at which you’ll be playing or singing. You need a device that will still be heard when playing your drums or guitar loudly. So, I suggest you choose a metronome with a volume-control feature or even one with an integrated headphone jack.

Lastly, if you’re opting for the audible metronome, you might want to find one that makes a natural sound to your ears. This will help you relax easier and focus on your playing without being interrupted by a high sound made by your device.