The Paradox

D&D Box

The Paradox

 

Once upon a moonlight dreary

Three staunch warriors traveled wearily

They had emerged victorious from battle that night and

hoped for their castle by daybreak’s first light

When first it caught their waxen eyes

It had already taken them quite by surprise

To fumble for sword or shield was in vain

They were left no option but to flee or be slain

But the Beast was upon them incising their reigns

It dropped then before them to commission their pain

It outstretched its wingspan as if staking its claim

Gracefully stalking it gazed in delight

at the three helpless pawns it shadowed from light

There it stood before them livid vast in size

Drooling orbs of fire and daring their defiance

Desperately they pleaded the Lord their fate decide

The Dragon then appeased them replying somewhat snide

‘It is senseless of you who destroy your own kind and then to seek solace in the Lord you defy You needn’t seek further for the fate you perceive -I am your destiny for the lives that you’ve thieved’

Then for an instant the landscape grew bright

Then settled to darkness and the gleam of moonlight

-Tommy Kennedy 1991

Free audio poem of “The Paradox”:

http://www.filetofsoulmusic.com/paradox.html 

Tommy-Digital-Downloads-bkgrnd.jpg 

Musica Arcana

Some mysteries connected to the pitch F# and A=432Hz...

Some mysteries connected to the pitch F# and A=432Hz…

  Imagine my pleasant surprise when I recently discovered my 1925 Brambach Piano was tuned to A=432.5Hz.  This stands for 432.5 vibrations per second.  This exquisite instrument was crafted in a time prior to the A=440 Hz standardization. 

1925 Brambach 4ft 8in Grand Piano

1925 Brambach 4ft 8in Grand Piano

 

  My 1925 Brambach Apartment-Sized Grand (4.8ft) is tuned to A= 432.5.  The company patented many unique designs for the piano from the late 19th Century until the mid-20th Century.  A smaller Grand Piano than a Baby Grand (5-7ft. average) was one of them, featuring a much thicker cast-iron frame to sturdy the ability of the instrument to remain in tune.  Being first built in New York in 1925 and currently residing in Florida in 2013,  the instrument remains true to A=432.5; let this be a testament to the veracity of the Brambach pledge.  Let this also be a testament to the feeling of wholesomeness associated with the frequency A=432. 1924 Brambach Ad

So, as I pondered why standard pitch was changed to A=440, I came across some very interesting data.  Let me start by stating the fact that Antonin Stradivarius built his violins to be tuned in the range of A=432Hz.  Known to be the most “passionate” of instruments in some people’s opinion, the violin superceeds most instruments in sonic expression.  It’s most revered builder felt A=432Hz was optimum. 

A picture is worth a thousand words...

A picture is worth a thousand words…

The History Of Tuning
 The pitch of ‘A’ varied between 374=A (Official Church Pitch) and A=567 (Northern Germany) in the year 1700.  In the 18th Century it is generally thought to be between 415=A to 432=A.  Handel’s Tuning fork gives the pitch of A=422.5.  One of Mozart’s Pianos was tuned to A=421.6.  The 19th Century brought the adaptation of A=452.5 by the London Philharmonic Society but seeing as how the string tension on a Stradivarius Violin (meant to be tuned to A=432) was at risk of destroying the instrument by adding enourmous tension in pounds per square inch, they changed the tuning down to A=433.2.  These changes created a “Tuning Chaos” by building new church organs tuned at A=452.5 (Philharmonic Pitch).  “New Philharmonic Pitch” was declared by the French Government in the late 19th Century as A=439 to attempt to correct the chasm but Military Bands remained at A=452.5.  This prohibited accompaniment to church organs by anything other than Military Bands.  Finally, in 1939 an International Conference set Standard Pitch was set to A=440. Frequencies To Notes

Various Tunings Through The Centuries: 

1640 Vienna Franciscan Organ- A457.6
 
1699 Paris Opera- A404
 
1711 John Shore’s tuning fork, a pitch of A423.5 He invented the tuning fork, one of which still exists today.
 
1780 Stines, for Mozart, A421
 
1780 Organ builder Schulz- A421.3
 
1714 Strasbourg Cathedral organ- A391
 
1722 Dresden’s chief Roman Catholic church organ- A415
 
1759 Trinity College Cambridge organ- A309
 
1762 Stringed instruments at Hamburg- A405
 
1772 Gottfried Silbermann built the organ in the main Roman Catholic church in Dresden, and it had a pitch of A 415 at the time.
 
1780 Organ builder Schulz- A421.3
 
1780 Stein’s tuning fork- A422.6
 
1751 Handel’s own fork- A422.5
 
1800 Broadwood’s C fork, 505.7, which is about half a semitone lower than that of today
 
1811 Paris Grand Opera- A 427
 
1812 Paris Conservatoire A440, as modern pitch
 
1813 George Smart adopted for the Philharmonic Society the pitch of A423.3.
 
1820 Westminster Abbey organ and possibly Paris Comic Opera used a pitch of A422.5.
 
1828 Philharmonic Society- A 440
 
1834 Vienna Opera- A 436.5
 
1835 Wolfels piano maker- A443
 
1836 Pleyel’s Pianos- A446
 
1846 Philharmonic pitch was A452.5 (very high) which lasted till 1854
 
1846 Mr Hipkins piano tuner (Meantone) A433.5 (Equal) A436.0
 
1849 Broadwood’s medium pitch was A445.9 which lasted till 1854
 
1858 New Philharmonic pitch- C522
 
1860 Cramer’s piano makers of London- A448.4
 
1862 Dresden Opera- A 440
 
1871 Covent Garden Opera House- A 440
 
1877 Collard’s piano maker standard pitch was A 449.9
 
1877 St. Paul Cathedral organ- A446.6
 
1877 Chappell Pianos- A455.9
 
1877 Mr Hipkins piano tuner- A448.8
 
1878 Her Majesty’s Organ- A436.1
 
1878 Vienna Opera- A447
 
1879 Covent Garden Opera- A450
 
1879 Erard’s factory fork- 455.3
 
1879 Steinway of England- A 454.
 
1879 British Army regulation pitch for woodwinds- A451.9
 
1880 Brinsmead, Broadwood, and Erard apparently used a pitch of A455.3
 
1880 Steinway may have been using a pitch of A436. According to Steinway of New York, 1880 is right around the time they switched from three piece rims to the continuous rim that is used today. So it is unlikely the pitch was any higher before 1880, yet Steinway of London had a fork A454.7.
 
1885 In Vienna a pitch of A435.4 was adopted at a temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit for A.
 
1885 At an international exhibition of inventions and music in London a pitch of A452 was adopted.
 
1896 Philharmonic pitch A439, giving C522
 
1925 On the 11th of June the American music industry adopted A440.
 
1936 American Standards Association adopted A440. yet; New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, use 442 Hz
-List: www.piano-tuners.org

“The tuning fork was invented by John Shore in 1711 and it had a pitch of A=423.5. He was the sergeant trumpeter to the Court and also lutenist in the Chapel Royal.

 Ptolemy started using just intonation in 136 AD. Meantone tuning was perfected by Salinas in 1577 AD. Equal temperament was proposed by Aristoxenus, a pupil of Aristotle, and had been in use in China for some centuries before. It would seem that equal temperament was used in North Germany as early as 1690. In 1842 the organ of St. Nicholas, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was tuned to equal temperament, and this is believed to be the first organ to be tuned in this way in England for a concert. Willis the organ builder did not use equal temperament until 1854. However, in 1846 Walter Broadwood directed Mr. Hipkins the head piano tuner at the company to instruct their tuners in the use of equal temperament. Mr. Hipkins used two tuning forks, one for meantone at A433.5 and one for equal temperament at A436. Meantone was the most common scale used at that time. “ –   www.piano-tuners.org 

As we can see, the history of musical instrument tuning has been as diverse as it’s players.  After seeing the response of the 432Hz frequency in water, it led me to this research on the Great Pyramid at Giza by a gentleman named Tom Danley.  It was followed up by Susan Alexjander, MA. The results are intriguing:

“Many respected researchers now feel that the Great Pyramid may have been deliberately ‘tuned’ as a resonator. About six years ago, Tom Danley, an acoustics engineer who used to work for NASA, was invited to Egypt by the producer of the movie The Mystery of the Sphinx to measure sound in the King’s Chamber. Using highly sophisticated equipment, he commented as follows:

“I found some very low frequency sound.resonances which start at a few Hz and go upward to 15-20 Hz or so. At least some of these were the same LF resonances I excited with my sweep, but not all of the them. This sound was present even if everyone is silent. I crunched the results of the measurements, and they were sent on to a musicologist that was part of the staff. As mentioned, he identified that there was a pattern of frequencies which roughly form an Fsharp chord. Not all the resonances fell in the right place but many did, and some repeated the pattern for many octaves. In other words, it was roughly tuned to F# over many octaves.”432Hz Fsharp tuning

 

“Subsequent experiments conducted by Tom Danley in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid and in Chambers above the King’s Chamber suggest that the pyramid was constructed with a sonic purpose. Danley identifies four resident frequencies, or notes, that are enhanced by the structure of the pyramid, and by the materials used in its construction. The notes form  an F Sharp chord, which according to ancient Egyptian texts were the harmonic of our planet. Moreover, Danley’s tests show that these frequencies are present in the King’s Chamber even when no sounds are being produced. They are there in frequencies that range from 16 Hertz down to 1/2 Hertz, well below the range of human hearing. According to Danley, these vibrations are caused by the wind blowing across the ends of the so-called shafts – in the same way as sounds are created when one blows across the top of a bottle.” -Archaeo-Acoustics

DNA: Are The Frequencies in DNA Bases Harmonically Ordered? They most certainly are. By comparing all 60 pitches one can find all of the precise ratios found in the first 16 harmonics of the overtone series: octaves, P5th, P4ths, Major and minor thirds, Major and minor 2nds and 7ths; even a ‘flat’ seventh. Mathematically, the odds of this happening at random are almost non-existent.
*The pitch which shows up the most frequently and ought to have asserted itself as a tonic, or tonal center, is F#. It is found no less than three times in each base collection. But instead it is its fifth, the C#, which acts as the organizing force. . . . ” -Archaeo-Acoustics

Here is an example of music in the key of C#: http://www.filetofsoulmusic.com/milkandhoney.html

Filetofsoulmusic Piano

*The four frequencies in the Great Pyramid are indeed F#, A, C#, and D# when tuned to A= 432Hz

*Pink Floyd – ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ is tuned  A=432Hz. The original LP release contained this poster…

Poster from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" Album

Poster from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” Album

 

 DNA
In l989 I completed a translation of electromagnetic frequencies gathered from the four DNA bases, cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine, into a sonic medium. I was assisted by Dr. David Deamer, noted cell-biologist at the University of California Santa Cruz. Briefly, I found 60 ‘pitches’ ranging over a two and one-half octave. Out of those 60, 18 were Fs and F#s, 6 were C#s, and 3 were A/A#s…a total of 27 or almost HALF, corresponding to the tunings of the Great Pyramid. Most of these probably came from the water molecules in our DNA: hydrogen and oxygen. -Susan Alexjander, MA

SCHUMANN RESONANCES
Not only are we are about 75% water, we are also literally swimming in the Schumann Resonances. These electromagnetic frequencies, mostly infrasonic and unheard, occur in the cavity between the earth’s crust and the ionosphere about 35 miles above the earth. They are activated by lightening storms and the sun. The basic frequency, 7.8Hz. creates a standing wave around the earth (traveling around the earth 7.8 times/second). The figure fluctuates by plus or minus 0.5Hz daily, as the ionosphere fluctuates. In addition to this base frequency of 7.8Hz, there are quasi-harmonics at (rounded off) 14, 19, 25, 30, 36, and 42 Hz, corresponding to the following tones: B/C, A, D#, G/G#, B, D, and E/F. So far no F#s. But a curious thing happens when these frequency numbers are octavised up. Instead of the usual doubling to create the octave above (i.e the octave above 440 = 880) – the method used in linear harmonics and ‘standard’ physics – when working with the harmonics of a sphere the rules are different. Instead of reaching an exact doubling of the original number, a slight collapse takes place and the upper number is less than an octave. When you ‘octavise’ the Schumann frequencies into our hearing range, six of the seven tones are F#s, A#s and C#s. The seventh is a D#. As they ascend they become even more like the ‘pyramid chords: F/F#, A/A#, C/C#. I haven’t a clue what this means, beyond imagining a theoretical tuning’ taking place on our physical plane. (See First, refs.)

Astounding! Which brings us back to our first question, “Why was A=440 adopted as the standard?”  It has been said that higher tuning pitch appropriates more projection and definition on acoustic instruments. An argued point centuries ago, but now?   

The “Sacred” Frequency Is 432 Hz –
“432hz vibrates/oscillates on the principles of natural harmonic wave propagation and unifies with the properties of light, time, space, matter, gravity and electromagnetism. The Sun, Saturn, Earth and Moon, all exhibit ratios of the number 432.
Concert pitch A=432hz pitch can have profound positive effects on consciousness and also on the cellular level of our bodies.
By retuning musical instruments and using concert pitch at A=432hz instead of A=440Hz, you can feel the difference of connecting awareness to natural resonance.” -www.omega432.com 

If you plot the Pythagorean tuning for the C-Major scale on a 360 degree wheel,(the wheel is based on 16 divisions), and if you set middle C as 256Hz (A432 tuning), you get 16 perfect sections of 16Hz in the wheel.

One thing that caught my eye was when I calculated the hertz frequencies for the C-Major scale in 432.   I find it fascinating that the cycles per second work out to whole numbers with A432 and NOT with A440.  Seems to make sense that this tuning would “feel better” to the human ear.Carnegie Hall Pitch Chart

Modern Standard Tuning (A = 440 hz, C = 261.63 hz)
Sources: http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html and http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-notenames.htm

Note   Frequency (hz)  

– Mid Low (1 octave below middle C)

C   130.81  
D   146.83
E   164.81
F   174.61
G   196
A   220
B   246.94

– Mid (middle C)

C   261.63
D   293.66
E   329.63
F   349.23
G   392
A   440
B   493.88

– Mid High (1 octave above middle C)

C   523.25
D   587.33
E   659.26
F   698.46
G   783.99
A   880.00
B   987.77

– – – – – – –

Stradivari/Verdi Tuning (A = 432 hz, C = 256 hz)
Calculated using the Pythagorean method of 3:2 ratio for dominants, 11:8 for sub-dominants, 2:1 for octaves.

Note   Frequency (hz)  

– Mid Low (1 octave below middle C)

C   128  
D   144
E   162
F   176
G   192
A   216
B   243

– Mid (middle C)

C   256  
D   288
E   324  
F   352
G   384  
A   432
B   486

– Mid High (1 octave above middle C)

C   512
D   576
E   648
F   704
G   768
A   864
B   972

WHY 432Hz ? -It is my opinion that it is possible the resonant frequency of A=432 “entrains” the brain to the lower Beta state which allows both hemispheres to synchronize and better communicate.  It maintains a more harmonic Beta mind state.  A higher Beta state is equivalent to agitation, while a lower state induces clarity.  In the correct state, sound frequency can have a profound effect on our critical thinking and reasoning skills.-

Brain Wave Frequency Levels
Brain wave frequency is measured in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). The amplitude, or size and strength, of the wave is also measured. Gamma brain waves are the fastest and smallest waves. Delta waves are the slowest and largest.

An "EEG" reading of an awake person.

An “EEG” reading of an awake person.

Beta is the level of normal waking consciousness and focus. When you are having a conversation or engaged in an activity, you are at the beta level. Usually in beta one side of the brain is dominant. This varies by individuals, but women tend to be right brain dominant and men tend to be left brain dominant. As brain waves slow, brain hemispheres synchronize and can communicate better.

Higher levels of beta are related to anxiety, stress, separation, and dis-ease. When slower, your thinking is clearer. Beta brainwaves vary from 15-40 cycles a second.

Alpha brain waves are slower than beta waves. Faster alpha brain waves are related to relaxed focused attention. This is a learning state of mind.

You often experience the alpha mind frequency when engrossed in a movie, book or activity. That is all you are aware of. This is a very light trance or hypnotic state. Alpha brain waves range from 9-14 cycles per second.

At deeper alpha you are not quite asleep and still have some conscious awareness and waking. This state is related to focused attention and intuition. Having more alpha brain waves is equated with feeling happier and a greater sense of well-being.brainwavechart

 

The Mystery Of The Ancient Flutes

I stumbled upon the work of Mr. Klaus Dona in my research travels whom I must say, has a fascinating collection of artifacts located here:http://www.unsolved-mysteries.info/  Perusing his collection I noticed this…

Klaus Dona: "Here you can see a stone flute. The strange thing is that the vibration of the sound of these stone flutes is exactly the same as our brainwaves. So that means maybe those flutes were used for meditation or for healing purposes. And each two holes  are connected perfectly with each other. That means you can make perfect holes into this very, very hard stone, but how you connect, with simple tools, the two holes on the bottom? This would be even in our days a very difficult work to do."

Klaus Dona: “Here you can see a stone flute. The strange thing is that the vibration of the sound of these stone flutes is exactly the same as our brainwaves. So that means maybe those flutes were used for meditation or for healing purposes. And each two holes are connected perfectly with each other. That means you can make perfect holes into this very, very hard stone, but how you connect, with simple tools, the two holes on the bottom? This would be even in our days a very difficult work to do.”

“The vibration of the sound of these stone flutes are exactly the same as our brainwaves.” -Klaus Dona  Klaus Dona Collection Flute

A bird-bone flute unearthed in the Hohle Fels cave was carved some 35,000 years ago and is the oldest handcrafted musical instrument yet discovered, archaeologists say. Boneflute 35000 yrs old!

No word on how it is tuned…

Scientists analyse 3,000 year old Conch Shell'. Archaeologists unearthed 20 complete Strombus galeatus marine shell trumpets in 2001 at Chavín de Huántar, an ancient ceremonial center in the Andes. Polished, painted and etched with symbols, the shells had well-formed mouthpieces and distinct V-shaped cuts.

“‘Scientists analyse 3,000 year old Conch Shell’.
Archaeologists unearthed 20 complete Strombus galeatus marine shell trumpets in 2001 at Chavín de Huántar, an ancient ceremonial center in the Andes. Polished, painted and etched with symbols, the shells had well-formed mouthpieces and distinct V-shaped cuts.”

If the shells were played inside the stone chamber in which they were found, the drone would have sounded like it was coming from several different directions at once. In the dimly lit religious centre, it would have created a sense of confusion.-Archaeo-Acoustics

Here’s a link to a Native American Padauk Flute maker; http://www.artemrepin.com/ Exquisite work! This particular piece is tuned to F#.  Native AmericanPadaukDroneFsharp

This craftsman is aware of the significance of the key of F# tuned to 432Hz.  From the website:

“A flute is for Meditation. A flute is for Sharing your Creativity and Performance. A flute is for Solitude and Calming yourself down after a hectic day. A flute is your path to Inner Knowing…

I have made this amazing Drone Flute with Passion and love for Craft and Music.
The flute’s body is made of African Padauk with Hard Maple accents and Bird (Totem). The beautiful carving of a feather is unique and will make this flute stand out of the million other ones in the world, along with it’s perfect tuning and response…

This flute is tuned to a Sacred Frequency of 432Hz.”

It seems we may be beginning to come full circle…

References:

Alexjander, Susan. The Infrared Frequencies of DNA Bases: Science and Art, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Journal, March/April 1999. (entire reprint www.OurSoundUniverse.com)
Danley, Tom. Early Reflections, Live Sound Magazine, July/August 2000.
Dunn, Christopher. The Giza Power Plant. Bear & Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico. l998
Ellis-The History Of Musical Pitch 1877
“Archaeoacoustics”-wikipedia

Klaus Dona  www.unsolved-mysteries.info

The Mystique Of Niccolò Paganini

Paganini (1782-1840)
I know of no composer whom is steeped in mystique nor shrouded in mystery to rival Paganini. Frankly, after reading numerous biographies on the man written from his period of time up to present, I’m stunned there hasn’t been a movie. I mean A MOVIE! A blockbuster ya know, like Amadeus. I loved that film, especially the honesty of it. I digress… The point I’m attempting here is the sheer fascination I had with the tales of Paganini. Some of the works I read appeared absolute fantasy while others, like ‘Paganini’ by Leslie Sheppard and Dr. Herbert A. Axelrod (ISBN 0-87666-618-7) were comprehensive and based on empirical, factual data from the letters of Paganini himself to his longtime friend.  Seldom did the two meet but when they did, it was explosive to say the least. 

 Let’s start from the beginning,

from Wikipedia-

Niccolò Paganini, as painted by John Whittle in 1836

“Niccolò (or Nicolò) Paganini (27 October 1782 – 27 May 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1, is among the best known of his compositions, and has served as an inspiration for many prominent composers.”

  Legend has it that young Niccolò was not a healthy child and was in constant battle for his life.  Apparently, the child would fall into states of delirium and even at one point fell into a coma.  Not knowing of said condition at the period of time in which they lived, the family assumed the child had died. As was custom, the family placed the “remains” of young Paganini in a casket for viewing in their home.  After all family and friends had gathered with their priest to begin the funeral, the child moved and awoke from his slumber frightening the lot. 

 Another eerie account of Paganini’s early life -of which there are numerous variations- is the tale of Teresa (née Bocciardo) Paganini, his mother. 

"Il Violino Di Magico"

“Il Violino Di Magico”

One evening while amidst a dream, Paganini’s mother dreamed of a battle between an angel and a demon over the life of her son.  After defeating the demon, the angel offered Teresa a blessing on young Niccolò.  The blessing;  he was to be bestowed the gift of her choice in which she replied, ” I want him to be the greatest violinist in the world.”  Another variation is the angel appeared during the pain of childbirth to Teresa and promised the blessing to her son.

By the time Paganini was eleven, his wily father had kept him fooled into believing he was only nine years old.  This was to live up to the prodigy criteria established by a very young Wolfie Mozart.  Paganini’s father, like Mozart’s was also a musician.  Although Leopold Mozart was a composer as well. Antonio Paganini was a mandolinist which worked well in the fact that the tuning is the same for both mandolin and violin. As most of Niccolò’s formative musical years were spent with his father, in his mid-thirties Paganini spoke of him, 

 ” He soon recognized my natural talents, and I owe to him the first fundamental principles to my art…one can hardly imagine a stricter father; if I did not seem industrious enough, he would compel me to redouble my efforts by hunger. I suffered very much physically, and my health began to give way, and yet there was no need for such severity.  I exhibited great enthusiasm for my instrument, and studied it unceasingly in order to discover new, and hitherto unsuspected effects.”

 

'A Fancy Fair" Concert Poster A Legend Is Born

One of my favorite “Young Paganini” tales is the story of his father’s frustration in finding a legitimate mentor for the lad.  By age fourteen, Paganini had surpassed all known skilled violinists and instructors in Italy.   His precocious sight-reading powers were quickly casting his abilities as prodigious, perhaps legendary.  Paganini’s visit to Italian composer Allessandro Rolla’s villa is one of my favorites.  Maestro Rolla (1757-1841) was sick in bed and refusing visitors when Antonio “arranged” his son’s lesson.  Rolla’s servant had allowed the young violinist into the foyer and proceeded to the Maestro’s room when Paganini began to sight read a piece on the table.  After telling the servant to refuse the boy, Rolla quickly changed his stance after hearing his latest and most difficult piece performed meticulously and called for the boy.  “There is nothing I can do for you.  You have sight read my life’s work perfectly.  Go study composition from Ferdinando Paer.” was Rolla’s advice according to some.  Others say he did study under Rolla but refused to admit it later due to a falling out of sorts, usually due to the fact that most of the teachers were completely close-minded to new, innovative techniques on the instrument.  As a matter of fact, it seems most innovative ideas are “accepted” in this manner.  Galileo was a “heretic” to the Catholic Church.  Jimi Hendrix was harassed by an engineer at the BBC for “feedback issues on ‘Purple Haze’.”

The more things change…

Composed For One String!

Speaking of such diabolical ideas, above is a piece which Paganini composed for one string, the “G”.  You see, this man was the consumate showman.  After years of performing for audiences, he realized that a solo violinist in the eyes of his peers was at a terrible disadvantage when they broke a string.  He probably chuckled to himself when they gasped in shock after his sometimes unrelenting attacks on the strings suffered a casualty.  Being astute, he was always able to complete the performance unerringly.  I suppose that’s how the above piece was born.  It was composed at Lucca and dedicated to Napoleon I for the occasion of his birthday in 1813.  The cool thing is, Paganini sabotaged three of the strings on his instrument prior to performance of the piece.  PagaHoudini!  By partially sawing through the “E”, “A” and “D” strings, leaving the sole “G” string to finish the piece for which it was written, he created an intense performance.  Sixteenth notes in the finale to boot. 

Paganini's pyrotechnics on the violin forged these images into artist's reprensentations.

Paganini’s pyrotechnics on the violin forged these images into artist’s reprensentations.

 Someone once said, if mankind doesn’t understand something they blame it on God or the Devil.  This may be the case with one Niccolò Paganini.  Because he virtually patented techniques like artificial harmonics and was a master of counterpoint -or the ability to sound like two instruments at once- it stands to reason people were afraid of him.  He caught on quick as well and being the consumate performer, built upon the image they perceived of him.  First hand accounts and sketches of his performances were saturated with supernatural overtones like, “The Devil guides his bow…” or ” He left in a black coach driven by emissaries of Hell on a road that does not exist.”

Hand sketch from an attendee of Maestro Paganini's later performances.

Hand sketch from an attendee of Maestro Paganini’s later performances.

"The Witches Dance" -a 19th century sheet music transcription for piano forte' cover

“The Witches Dance”
-a 19th century sheet music transcription for piano forte’ cover

Paganini’s appearance was tall for the era and gaunt with a cadaverous white complexion and long black curly hair.  His fingers were also reported to have been extraordinarily long and thin as well.  These would prove to be attributes to “the show”.   His early obsession for his instrument and his ability to think “outside the box”, had pushed him to heights none had seen before.  When combined with his uncanny performance abilities and mysterious image, the result was higher admission fees for sold out performances internationally throughout his career.

Pags Sketch 2Pags Sketch 1

An endearing legacy remains, “Paganini’s 24 Caprices” and “Moto Perpetuo” are criteria by which virtuosi are judged to this day.

Paganini Concert Germany

Violin duels were the pride of each country on the continent of Europe particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Each country would compete for the best violinist in the land and send him to an international duel.  England, France and Italy were the usual finalists in the international duel and Paganini was Italy’s hero.  He performed a number of years, undefeated.  It is claimed his technique for victory was to insist he perform last and he would recite all his competitor’s most difficult passages by ear after hearing them only once during their performances. 

Another story comes from a British violinist due to compete with Paganini.  Prior to the competition and frustrated with the Maestro’s uncanny abilities, the man snuck up to Paganini’s door to peer through the keyhole and see what “Paganini’s Secret” was all about.  He saw the Maestro sitting on the edge of his bed  merely fingering his instrument.  He never touched his bow to prepare.   

Paganini 1830's

To be continued…

Welcome To Filetofsoulmates!

This blog is written by Tommy Kennedy and represents ideas, motif and meanderings of said party. Any similarity to other parties is purely coincidental and not the fault of the establishment. Any parties similar to Tommy’s Halloween parties are purely fictitious and are not liable to represented party of parties. Remember, close cover before striking, keep back 500 ft., keep away from fire or flame, wear protective glasses and keep product away from pets and small animals. Tommy fancies himself a writer and no, he doesn’t play one on television. In fact, he hates television -which is why he writes…

Favorite Quotes: ♫♫♫
“Music that gentler on the spirit lies
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes.”
-Tennyson

“Life has its music; let us seek a way
Not to jangle the chords whereon we play.”
-Archilochus of Paros

“Swans sing before they die; ’twere no bad thing
Should certain persons die before they sing.”
-Coleridge

”The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.”
-Ecclesiastes 1:9

“An artist’s expression is his soul made apparent, his schooling, as well as his “cool” being exhibited. Behind every motion, the music of his soul is made visible.”
-Bruce Lee

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”
-Rod Serling

*A new release on Filet-O-Flash Drive!  “Tommygun” is a compilation showcasing  Tommy’s power trio Rock as well as compositions for the Fretless Bass.  The album includes Studio and LIVE Perfrormances and is available on the Electric Guitar USB Filet-Of-Flash Drive!

  Available at www.filetofsoulmusic.comwww.filetofsoulmusic.comNew Release on Filet of Flashdrive...