Friday, December 14, 2007

The Last Bit

Is going to be appropriate for a late night blog. Two things, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and a YouTube video and some music education.

Ever hear a tune and you find yourself improvising filler in between the notes or perhaps changing one musical attribute or another? That is perhaps in your head you take the tune and move each note up or down in pitch? Ever hear a song that makes you think you have heard that melody before, but can not quite realize where you heard it before? Music contains a style called variations on a theme (VOT). VOT is a simple concept, take a tune and change it in someway retaining enough of the tune or theme to recognize the original theme.

One theme I often hear in church music is Brubek's Take Five theme. There are at least two hymns our church choir sings regularly that seem to be VOTs off of Take Five. Invariably when I pull out the hymnal the timing is 4/5 timing which is unusual and the same as Take Five's timing.

VOTs can vary in any number of ways many easily discernible to the music lover's ear and some not. First some variations easily discernible (not high-school orchestra don't expect a top-notch performance): and then some not so easily discernible (the famous Variations on a Theme by Haydn - by J Brahms):

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