NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC
VOL 4, NO. 2, May, 2002
© 2002 Copyright of David E. Smith Publications
All Rights Reserved. Made in U.S.A.
Table of Contents
THE PUBLISHER'S SPACE
The Publishers' Space
Check It Out
Expanding Our Language
GREAT NEWS! As of May 2, 2002, David E. Smith Publications became the exclusive distributor for Washington Music Ministries which contains music of Bob Walters and Rich Heffler. You can find their Catalog items at www.washington-music.org (link to Washington Music Ministries...)
by David E. Smith
MORE GREAT NEWS! The MEGASCORE for Volume III of Hymnsembles is finally available!!!
To see further expansion of offerings to sacred instrumental offerings go to our sister page- www.churchmusic.biz.
I hope you will enjoy this issue. And, I would encourage you to submit an article to Harlow Hopkins sometime...it doesn't need to be a series or a lengthy piece. I think often of the single article that Alan Moss wrote on the "Whole Note" and the impact it had.
Best wishes in your creative endeavors. Have a wonderful summer!
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1. Resist the Temptation to Impress Others.
by David Eudaly (Guest Writer)
Here are four ways that we can gain confidence as believers.
Paul said, “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?” (2 Corinthians 3:1). Paul was not out to impress people, though he could have. He had impressive credentials. He was a world traveler and a brilliant man, but he refused to boast about himself to impress others.
It's common today for athletes, politicians, and people in public office to try to commend themselves. When you have to write a resume about yourself, you know what it is to have to commend yourself. It's a constant temptation to find some way to boast about your accomplishments to gain the esteem of others.
I heard of a preacher who was quite proud that he had written a book. The Sunday after the book was published, he prayed from his pulpit, “Oh God, Thou who hast also written a book...” Sometimes we find pretty clever ways to commend ourselves. But, Paul insisted, “I'm not here to try to impress you by boasting of myself, and I don't need letters of recommendation from others ei-ther.”
If your confidence is directly related to others' opinions, you will be be plagued with insecurity for three reasons:
(1) People are fickle-they might approve of you one day and criticize you the next. I've heard ball fans praise the coach as a genius at the beginning of a game and berate him as a complete incompetent by the end of the game.
(2) People can be wrong-One newspaper editor ripped Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address saying his remarks were inappropriate and not worth mentioning. Thomas Edison's grade school teacher said he was stupid and would never learn. Noah preached for 120 years and had no converts except the seven members of his family.
(3) People's tastes are varied-The toughest job in the church is music director. She/he tries to provide a variety of music to minister intelligently...what one likes another dislikes and vice versa. No one can please everyone at a given moment. One must use his/her gifts and walk confidently following God's leading.
2. Rejoice in the Endorsement of Other Believers.
Paul didn't need to boast about himself. He didn't need to receive letters of endorsement. He said, “You yourselves are our letter, written on ours hearts, known and read by everybody.” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Paul's endorsements were the changed lives of people he had led to Jesus Christ. His record spoke for itself. Everyone could see the legitimacy of his ministry by the lives that had been won to the Lord every where he went.
A school is evaluated by its students...a company by its products... and a church and its ministry by the people who come to know the Lord through its influence.
God's people are open letters to their community. Many people will not read the Bible and will not listen to a religious broadcast, but they will read our lives and carefully observe whether the church and Jesus Christ are having a positive or negative effect on us.
Paul said he received his satisfaction not from something written in ink, but something written by the Spirit; not written on tablets of stone, but on the human heart.
Christian parents should receive a real confidence boost when a child accepts Christ as Savior. He/she may not be a scholar or a fine athlete, but the relationship with Christ, though not written in ink or engraved on a trophy, is written on the heart!
Sunday School teachers should glow with satisfaction when they see one of their pupils growing in the Lord.
(The conclusion of “The Christian should be a humble person. The Christian should be a confident person.” will appear in the August issue.) The writer, David Eudaly, is a Building Contractor and Lay Minister who resides in Bloomington, Indiana.
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THE BRASS SPACE
Earlier in Romans, Paul points to some foundational perspectives we need always to remember and practice:
by Phil Norris
A few weeks ago our pastor spoke on the opening verses of Romans 4 where the apostle Paul points to one of the most revered patriarchs of Judaism, Abraham. The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus time certainly looked at Abraham as someone on an even par with Moses, the Law Giver. Without Abraham, the first Jew,, there would have been no Judaism, no Moses and no Law. When Jesus claimed to be greater than Abraham and claimed to BE God, the Jews took up stones to kill him (John 8).
Paul in Romans 4 described Abraham this way: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.” To be sure, there were few superstars in Judaism greater than Abraham, and a Jew with any “stuff” was on-board about him.
So what does this have to do with us in music? The point of Romans 4 is that before God Abraham was no different than anyone with regard to faith. Yet Abraham was put on a pedestal far above what he merited. His righteousness was given him; it was not something he naturally possessed. He was to be an example of faith but not of deeds. He was no different than any Jew who lived un-der God. Still don't follow?
The key word is “superstars.” Let's be honest. We all are fairly easily drawn to those human beings who demonstrate unusual or exception talent, wisdom or skill. We can, dare I say, idolize people made of flesh and blood, subject to similar vanities, flaws, and shortcomings. In most cases, those people we may idolize would think it sacrilege to revere them so.
We can get highly excited to go hear some great performer's concert with an enthusiasm (“enthuo” is Greek for “God in you”) nearly unmatched by other experiences we've had. The excitement is heightened if such a famous person comes to our hometown or nearby. Wow! We can hardly wait to get there. When so-and-so speaks or writes, we drink in every word as if it's “Gospel” truth, whether or not the celebrity speaks truly or accurately. Surely they must know what they're saying. They couldn't be so good and not really know!
It's not just living personalities either. We can become devoted heart and soul to Mozart, Beethoven, J.S. Bach and Stravinsky (who were fellow brothers in Christ!), or anyone else whose music moves us even to the edge of heaven itself.
How could any of these be bad? I'm glad you asked!
1. God is the Giver of all there is,
2. People naturally tend to worship the created thing or being and not the Creator,
3. People easily profess themselves to be wise and therefore before God become fools.
But you may think, “I don't practice idolatry.” Yet think about the level of intensity we can have for making music or for following musicians. Compare this with the intensity of love and worship we have toward God, the Giver of all there is. Do we find as much joy in the thought of Jesus Christ as we do the thrill of a wonderful performance of Mahler? Do we rejoice as much over a person coming to new life and faith in Christ as we do the marvelous teachings of Arnold Jacobs?
This is not to say we should not have regard for what accomplishments people make. The point is to keep human achievement in its proper perspective. When is the last time we have experienced human greatness and turned our thoughts to God in praise of what HE has provided through the human agent? Yet, in TRUTH, this is demanded. It's not an option.
Yes there is a place for excellence and beauty and truth. Who wants to listen to poorly crafted or shabbily performed music? But where, or to whom, does the credit go. What is the goal of all our efforts? Where, or to whom, are our best energies devoted?
To align our thinking with Truth (i.e. all God has said and done) is humbling, but at the same time, such alignment results in becoming our best. We all run the danger of thinking of ourselves too highly OR too lowly. But the Truth sets us free to be all God designed us to be. The Truth helps us see all that is just AS it is, not according to our personal biases. And we see others in their proper place as well, not adding to or taking away from the worth or value each possesses for us.
Ultimately, each of us, one at a time, must all stand before God and give an account for our lives. God's measure will not be a comparative scale, one with another. His scale will be the scale of our own life, what we've done divided by what He's given. To stand in comparison to the perfection and the mercy of God stretches us while at the same time encourages and comforts us.
“O Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body (and mind) of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but with the other, with my flesh, the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25.
Phil Norris is an Associate Professor of Music at Northwestern College , St. Paul, Minnesota, where he teaches trumpet and is an active performer.
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GOOD BUY? or GOOD BYE! Part 3 A Layman's Guide to Purchasing a Case for Violin, Viola, Cello or Double Bass
THE STRING SPACE
by Jay-Martin Pinner
The first two articles in this series focused on the basics of purchasing string instruments and bows. This column will deal with the important issue of purchasing string instrument cases. Having purchased hundreds of cases, flown thousands of miles with string instruments, and even seen one case with tire tread marks on it after being run over by a car (the violin was fine), perhaps I can help you as you look for the right case for your stringed instrument.
A Case for Cases
Choosing the right case is important for protecting a string instrument from bumps and scrapes, and for keeping that instrument safe from weather extremes. String instruments are designed to come apart when exposed to heat and humidity. Varnish will melt within minutes of exposure to the 120+ degree heat generated in a car parked in the sun with the windows up. Conversely, extreme cold can crackle varnish and cause wood to shrink causing structural damage. A good case will keep out heat, humidity, or cold for extended periods of time.
Case by Case Consideration
Violin and viola cases are identical except for size. Viola cases often have to be specially fitted unless the case is adjustable and information states that it will fit all violas between 15 and 17 inches long. Violin and viola cases range in quality from molded fiberglass with injected foam ($50-$75.00) to special order cases with luxury fittings such as leather, silk, velvet, and brass ($1500.00-$2500.00). For special order cases it is wise to provide a tracing of the instrument's outline so that the dealer can be sure of an accurate fit. Many violin and viola cases are made with laminated wood covered with a screw-attached ballistic nylon cover. This type of cover usually has a built-in music pocket. If a cover is damaged and a case does not need to be replaced it is relatively inexpensive to order a new cover. Interiors can be velour, velvet, or silk, in order of expense and longevity. For better quality instruments it is important to select a case with "full suspension." This suspension consists of covered foam inserts built into the case that prevent the back of the violin or viola from coming in contact with the back of the case. If the case is subjected to a sudden jolt the foam protects the instrument from direct impact within the case. Violin and viola cases come with two or four bow holders. Some cases include hygrometers or humidification systems.
Cello cases come in three varieties: soft covers, hard shell cases, and shipping cases. Soft covers come in ballistic nylon with varying densities of padding, several storage pockets, a music pocket, and a strap or backpack harness for easy transportation. They range in price from under $100.00 to $400.00. Hard shell cases are made of plywood, fiberglass, or aluminum, and may have options such as wheels and special handles. Costs range from $350.00 to $1800.00. Shipping cases are also made of fiberglass, and have features such as internal inflatable air cushions, heavy-duty padding, and wheels. Shipping cases cost from $2000.00 to $2500.00. Interiors can be velour, velvet, or silk, in order of expense and longevity. Cello cases come with one or two bow holders. Check the closure devices on hard shell and shipping cases. Some cases are extremely awkward and difficult to latch.
Bass cases come in two varieties: soft covers and shipping cases. Soft covers come in ballistic nylon with varying densities of padding, several storage pockets, a music pocket, handles, and a strap. Costs range from $100.00 to $500.00. Shipping cases come in fiberboard and fiberglass, costing from $500.00 to $3000.00. Fiberboard cases hold the bass and a soft cover. Fiberglass cases hold the bass only. Some models of shipping cases even come with a built in wardrobe for holding a tuxedo or other concert dress. Interiors can be velour, velvet, or silk, in order of expense and longevity.
When choosing a case consider the primary usage. Will it be used for extensive travel by air or will it be used to get back and forth from school, church, and other rehearsals by car? If you need to travel by air you will need to get the best case you can afford. Cellists and bassists have no choice but to purchase two cases: one case for local rehearsals, and a shipping case so that the instrument can be placed in the baggage compartment on a plane. (The only other option is to purchase two plane tickets for you and your instrument each time you fly. Even then bassists have special difficulties to work out in advance with the airlines.)
Another critical factor in choosing a case is its weight. While one violin case may weigh only two pounds more than another, over years of use your arms and neck will resent the additional pounds. Lighter cases do not always offer sufficient protection, so the extra weight may be worth hauling around to insure peace of mind. The "weight versus strength" factor becomes even more important for viola, cello, and bass cases.
With the dozens of case choices available in every shape, color, and style, it is possible to find exactly the right case for your needs. That case can protect your instrument for ten or twenty years saving you hundreds of dollars in repairs, so take your time to choose and invest wisely.
Jay-Martin Pinner is head of the String Department at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. He supervises the University's String Instrument Repair Shop, and is responsi-ble for the procurement and maintenance of precollege and University-owned instruments.
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THE LONE ARRANGER
De-Cluttering Those Arrangements
by Dana F. Everson
As an arranger, I have often looked back upon some of my previous at-tempts and noticed too much "clutter" in the mix. Clutter bogs down the listener, discourages the performer, and is a blind spot for many writers. Knowing the need for contrapuntal interest, and for variety and freshness, I have written some arrangements that included way too many ideas per square inch. In a day when so many voices in society are demanding my attention, and so many distractions pull at my consciousness, I am learning more and more to appreciate the simplicity of thinner textures and clearer musical lines. Balance of ideas and activity is always an important issue.
How does one know if there is too much clutter? May I use the analogy of YOUR messy garage ?? (We'll not discuss MINE!)
You may have too much clutter if:
1) you continually stumble over yard tools, toys, pets, or other items which are directly in the path of normal traffic flow - (don't let the embellishments rule the music)
2) you cannot look anywhere for "visual rest" -(what about aural rest?)
3) you become restless just standing there, even when it is quiet -(performers need to breathe)
4) you see that there is much wasted space -(is there needless repetition; cliched reiteration?)
5) you realize that tools and other items are NOT in their proper place hanging on the wall or on a shelf, etc.. (does the form and organization make sense?)
Now, let's go inside your house. Every room is unique, just as every arrangement. So, it is difficult to dictate a universal law as to the amount of "acceptable" clutter. Some rooms are spacious, with a high ceiling and light shaded walls. Some rooms have more or larger windows let in sunlight. These perhaps have a higher "tolerance" level for free-floating items than a smaller, more compact room. Again, look at your arrangement in terms of its expansiveness and purpose. Some melodies allow for more elaboration. Some texts or lyrics suggest more activity in the accompaniment or countermelody. Some tunes seem to call for thicker harmonies, more energetic rhythmic treatment, or some unusual colors.
One more analogy. Imagine your arrangement as several people talking at once. Are the voices conflicting or complementing? Is one voice supposed to be more prominent? Does it sound like an organized ensemble or a confused crowd?
A real key, then, is to examine the song for what it is intending to say generally, as well as what it is saying to you personally. Mixing the musical purpose with your own musical and life experiences will help you prepare a creative piece of music. Most of the time, if you are alert and observant, you will see some places in the phrasing which beg for more embellishment, but other places that plead for silence. And don't forget that in--struments can rest as well (or better) as they can play. Well Mr., Mrs., Miss Arranger,: is it time for some musical spring cleaning? When you're done with that project, I could use some help in my garage.
Dana Everson is on the faculty of Northland Bible College in Wisconsin. Prior to that he was an Assistant Professor of Music at Delta College in Saginaw, Michigan. He has over 125 published works.
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CHECK IT OUT!
David E. Smith Publications, LLC, in an effort to increase our patrons' awareness of sacred music, with the emphasis still on the instrumental, is expanding its visibility and internet capabilities by developing a new site- www.churchmusic.biz.
by David E. Smith
The new site does not replace www.despub.com but is simply an additional web site.
The purpose is to make available the vast array of product lines in one place by presenting the products of many different publishers. With so much diversity of materials and such a variety of distribution points it is hoped that this will be a central gathering place.
At this point there are several links for information access and given time many other venues will be added. Stay tuned, and check out churchmusic.biz often!
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EXPANDING OUR LANGUAGE
Each year the Washington Post's Style Invitational asks readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it in some manner and supply a new definition. The 2001 winners:
Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
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THE WOODWIND SPACE
To begin with, the strength of the jaw and the lip muscles must be considered. The average beginner (ten or eleven years old) will not normally have sufficient strength to control a reed of medium or greater than medium strength. For this reason a 1 or 1.5 strength reed is a frequently-selected reed for beginners.
by Harlow E. Hopkins
As the student matures, stiffer reeds should be used. High school players usually play on 2.5 or 3.0 strength reeds.
It should be stated at this point that a stiffer reed is no panacea for flat pitches in the altissimo register. TONE should always be the first consideration and reeds which will vibrate freely and assist the player to produce the best-possible sound should be sought. As tone improves intonation will too.
The “mouthpiece only” test can be administered once the student has been playing for a few months. Once again, maturity is the key.
If a person is using the correct amount of gripping force, and has the proper amount of reed in the mouth, blowing into the mouthpiece, with reed properly affixed, should produce a C (second-line above the treble clef). Any pitch below that means that, with clarinet fully assembled, the resulting tone will be lacking in center or core or focus Too much pressure will produce a pinched, tense sound.
One cannot discuss reed strength without mentioning the mouthpiece.
All mouthpiece manufacturers sell mouthpieces with various facings-some close, some medium-open, and some open. These terms refer to the distance between the tip of the mouthpiece and the tip of the reed.
The length of the resistance curve can vary and the amount/degree of curvature can vary as well.
It follows that the longer and greater the resistance curve, or the more open the facing, the softer the reed must be.*
The converse is true as well, i.e., the shorter the resistance curve and the greater the amount of curvature, (a more open facing) the stiffer the reed required.
Having considered all that, it now remains for the player to find the reed strength which allows the player to produce the best possible sound.
*Reeds are available in strengths from 1 to 5. The higher the number the stiffer or more resistant the reed.
Harlow E. Hopkins is Professor Emeritus at Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois, and continues there as an Adjunct Professor of Clarinet. Hopkins is a co-conductor of the New Horizons Band of Kankakee Valley.
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THE PERCUSSION SPACE
by Billy Madison
The tambourine is a shallow, single-headed hand drum with jingling metal disks in the rim. It may be played by shaking it or by hitting it or by rubbing it with the correct amount of pressure with the thumb.
The most common technique of playing the tambourine involves holding the tambourine steady at a slight upward angle with your left hand. It is then struck on the head with your right hand. This can be done various ways according to the desired dynamic level. For normal playing volume use the tips of all fingers and hit the head about one-third of the way from the edge to the center. For louder passages strike the head with the knuckles about half way between the center and the edge. To achieve a softer sound use only one or two fingertips close to the edge of the head.
Another technique is to shake the tambourine. Simply hold the instrument in one hand and shake it for the desired length of the note. It is best to begin and end the shake by striking the head with the knuckles or fist of the other hand. Sometimes only the end of the shake will require a strike. A tambourine shake is usually notated the same as a roll and is used to sustain the sound of the instrument.
The thumb roll is another method of sustaining the sound of a tambourine. Hold the instrument in the left hand and place the right thumb on the head near the edge at about the three o'clock position. While maintaining a slight pressure slowly move the thumb counter-clockwise. This will probably require some experimenting with the speed and pressure to obtain a consistent sound.
Sometimes the music will include fast rhythmic passages that may be difficult to play using the common technique. For these passages the knee may also be used to produce the sound on the tambourine. Simply rest the foot on a chair or stool so that the knee is raised. With the head facing down hold the tambourine over the knee. Make a fist with the other hand and place it over the open end of the tambourine. Alternate moving the tambourine to the knee then allowing it to bounce back up to the fist. Depending on the rhythm, the strokes will not always alternate and will require striking the knee two or more times in succession followed by striking the fist.
Still another method of playing the tambourine involves playing a continuous pattern of fast eighth or sixteenth notes. Simply hold the tambourine vertically with the right hand and move it toward the left hand without hitting it. Then move it back away from the left hand then strike the heel of the left hand for accents. Continue repeating the motion according to the duration of the passage and make any adjustments necessary for accents.
The tambourine has been a standard percussion instrument for many years. Numerous composers throughout history have written very interesting parts for the tambourine. When played properly its brilliant metallic and percussive sound can add greatly to the timbre of a composition. Practice the above techniques until they feel and sound natural.
Billy Madison has taught instrumental music in the Arkansas Public Schools for 15 years. He studied composition with Jared Spears and Tom O'Conner. Madison has played percussion with the Northeast Arkansas Symphony since 1978.
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Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a State Police Officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself, "This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!"
So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over. Approaching the car, he notices that there are five old ladies--two in the front seat and three in the back - eyes wide and white as ghosts.
The driver, obviously confused, says to him, "Officer, I don't understand,I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?"
"Ma'am," the officer replies, "You weren't speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers."
"Slower than the speed limit?" she asked. No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly 22 miles an hour!" the old woman says a bit proudly.
The State Police officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that "22" was the route number, not the speed limit.
The woman grinned and thanked the officer pointing out her error.
"But before I let you go, Ma'am, I have to ask... Is everyone in this car ok? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven't muttered a single peep this whole time." the officer asks.
"Oh, they'll be alright in a minute officer. We just got off Route 119."
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Preach Christ Always
And As A Last Resort
St. Francis of AssisiI asked a friend several months ago for some ideas for Lines and Spaces articles. After a few days he responded with several possibilities. One of them was the following question: “How does one select the appropriate reeds for beginners, junior high, high school, and college students, and what makes a reed the right choice for an individual player?”
Preach Christ Always
And As A Last Resort
St. Francis of AssisiFor this issue I want to go in an entirely different direction. Please forgive me for editorializing. I have been sufficiently impressed with what I want to say that I must say it. All the best pedagogy we can know is of small consequence compared to what I have to talk about here. The Christian Should be a Humble Person-The Christian should be a Confident Person, continued. Fans of "Lines and Spaces " are in for a real treat!!! All of the issues are now indexed by topics and titles. Just click on your area of interest, then the topic, and you will be quickly taken to the topic. There is no need to remember which issue or section the item was located. Have fun reviewing the helpful articles our writers have prepared for you!!