Monday, August 18, 2008

Hardest Part, Pt. 1

The Fourth Single from the Group's Multi-platinum No. One Album "x and Y" Includes the Title Track Produced by Tom Lord-alge and a Live Version of "How You See the World" Recorded at London's Earl's Court.

“That’s a fine lookin’ fiddle ya got there, kid.”

I gritted my teeth into a forced smile and quietly thanked the old man at the bus stop. “Fiddle!?” I thought, gritting my teeth into a polite smile. “It’s a V-I-O-L-I-N, you old goat!”

Teenagers are sensitive and easily embarrassed, but this chickie had a bit too much pride in self-labeled “superiority as a classical musician,” which meant I was annoyingly arrogant and a general pain in the butt.

Humbled by merciless teasing in jazz college opened my eyes to the music outside my sanctioned little bubble.

I learned to fiddle.

For the most part “fiddle” is a style of music, such as Celtic, Bluegrass or Old Time. Nevertheless, there are a few differences and stereotypes between fiddle and violin.

We’ve all threatened Fluffy that she’ll be taking a trip to the string factory if she doesn’t stop scratching the couch. There’s the violin’s dark secret of winding silver around a stretched piece of animal tissue (run Fluffy, run!). This used to be the principal method of making violin strings.

Gut strings possessed a rich and full quality ideal for orchestral playing. They weren’t perfect for the bank account, however, and fiddlers resorted to the cheaper alternative: steel. Steel strings have a “bright” timbre (tone) and carry well in a solo situation.

Steel strings are very difficult to tune with the violin’s clumsy wooden pegs. Many steel strings were broken until the glorious invention of fine-tuners, the tiny little metal mechanisms on the tailpiece that makes tuning a piece of cake. Violinists adopted this technology for use on their steel “E” strings which is nearly impossible to tune with the peg.

When I was youth symphony many players removed their lower string fine tuners haughtily, like a child insisting training wheels are for babies. The use of fine tuners on all four strings unfortunately had become associated with less skilled musicians since fiddlers used them. There is also evidence that fine tuners alter the quality of harmonics (higher frequencies). This a ridiculous stereotype was invented: violinists use the pegs, fiddlers use fine tuners.

It is thought that fiddles are simply cheap violins. At one time this could have been true, as poorer or rural folks usually played home-made fiddles, not Strads. They were less likely to afford private lessons or attend the symphony, but learned traditional tunes at jams and ceilidhs (kay-lees). Since many fiddlers never had formal lessons, most couldn’t read music and played everything by ear, whereas violinists could read music usually could not improvise. Another stereotype was invented.

Holding a violin with one’s jaw makes it nearly impossible to talk and play simultaneously (similar to walking around with your pants around your ankles). Square dancing fiddlers dealt with this difficulty by holding the violin down on their arm rather than under the chin, freeing up their jaws to “call” the dance moves. This technique is a big no-no in classical playing and it created yet another rift between violin and fiddle.

Luckily it seems the violin/fiddle gap has narrowed considerably in the past few years. Most players use new hybrid strings that posses a full and rich, yet clear, tone and respond well to both classical and fiddle playing. Classical violinists aren’t so sticky about fine tuners anymore as they are seen as an advantage over using stubborn old pegs.

The resurgence of fiddle music in pop culture has created an opportunity for fiddlers to aspire to a higher level of playing ability and for violin students to branch out and try other genres of music. Hence fiddlers and violinists alike have finer instruments and a formal music education.

Fiddle technique is being abandoned by many fiddlers who have discovered the benefits, such as greater speed and fewer backaches, of the classical technique. New programs in music education in new programs has produced fiddlers who can read music and violinists who can improvise.

As more musicians branch out musically and develop new ways of playing there will be little difference between "violin” and “fiddle.” Musicians will feel much more comfortable playing with each other and the stereotypes will fade away, both violin and fiddle will be valid.

You’ll see the old man at the bus stop whistling to “Celtic Swing Baroque Techno” on his MP3 player. 

**Rhiannon Schmitt (nee Nachbaur) is a professional violinist and music teacher who has enjoyed creative writing for years. She writes for two Canadian publications and Australia's "Music Teacher Magazine."

Her business, Fiddleheads Violin School & Shop, has won several distinguished young entrepreneur business awards and offers beginner to professional level instruments, accessories and supplies for very reasonable prices: Visit

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Quartier Latin 11"x17" Poster

This 11"x17" poster is from "Quartier Latin" (1939)

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Coldplay BW Group,34.5 in. x 22.3 in.

  • Title: Coldplay BW Group
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  • Image Dimensions: 34.5 in. W x 22.31 in. H

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Discover the phenomenonal complexity of music and reflect on the way it can positively influence your life with this sound collection of riveting quotes...

  1. "Music, the greatest good that mortals know, And all of heaven we have below."
    -- Joseph Addison

  2. "Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
    --Maya Angelou

  3. "Music is either good or bad, and it's got to be learned. You got to have balance."
    -- Louis Armstrong

  4. "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
    -- Berthold Auerbach

  5. "The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul."
    --Johann Sebastian Bach

  6. "Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life."
    -- Ludwig van Beethoven

  7. "Music - The one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."
    -- Ludwig van Beethoven

  8. "Music can change the world. "
    -- Ludwig Van Beethoven

  9. "Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable."
    -- Leonard Bernstein

  10. "Music has to breathe and sweat. You have to play it live. "
    -- James Brown

  11. "Music is well said to be the speech of angels."
    -- Thomas Carlyle

  12. "All music comes from God."
    -- Johnny Cash

  13. "If you learn music, you'll learn most all there is to know. "
    -- Edgar Cayce

  14. "Music is nothing separate from me. It is me... You'd have to remove the music surgically. "
    -- Ray Charles

  15. "Good music is good no matter what kind of music it is. "
    -- Miles Davis

  16. "There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music."
    -- George Eliot

  17. "You are the music while the music lasts."
    --T. S. Eliot

  18. "We need magic, and bliss, and power, myth, and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it. "
    -- Jerry Garcia

  19. "Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife."
    -- Kahlil Gibran

  20. "When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had and never will have."
    -- Edgar Watson Howe

  21. "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossile to be silent."
    -- Victor Hugo

  22. "The history of a people is found in its songs."
    -- George Jellinek

  23. "Music is the vernacular of the human soul."
    -- Geoffrey Latham

  24. "It requires wisdom to understand wisdom; the music is nothing if the audience is deaf."
    -- Walter J. Lippmann

  25. "Just as certain selections of music will nourish your physical body and your emotional layer, so other musical works will bring greater health to your mind."
    -- Hal A. Lingerman

  26. "Music is the harmonious voice of creation; an echo of the invisible world."
    -- Giuseppe Mazzini

  27. "Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don't take it too seriously."
    -- Henry Miller

  28. "I started making music because I could."
    -- Alanis Morissette

  29. "Music helps you find the truths you must bring into the rest of your life. "
    -- Alanis Morissette

  30. "Music is spiritual. The music business is not. "
    -- Van Morrison

  31. "Like everything else in nature, music is a becoming, and it becomes its full self, when its sounds and laws are used by intelligent man for the production of harmony, and so made the vehicle of emotion and thought."
    -- Theodore Mungers

  32. "Without music life would be a mistake."
    -- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

  33. "In music the passions enjoy themselves."
    -- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

  34. "Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art."
    -- Charlie Parker

  35. "Music should be something that makes you gotta move, inside or outside. "
    -- Elvis Presley

  36. "It's the music that kept us all intact, kept us from going crazy. "
    -- Lou Reed

  37. "The music business was not safe, but it was FUN. It was like falling in love with a woman you know is bad for you, but you love every minute with her, anyway."
    -- Lionel Richie

  38. "Music should never be harmless."
    -- Robbie Robertson

  39. "Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music."
    -- Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

  40. "All music is important if it comes from the heart. "
    -- Carlos Santana

  41. "Music is the key to the female heart."
    -- Johann G. Seume

  42. "The best music... is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with. "
    -- Bruce Springsteen

  43. "All I try to do is write music that feels meaningful to me, that has commitment and passion behind it."
    -- Bruce Springsteen

  44. "In music one must think with the heart and feel with the brain."
    --George Szell

  45. "When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest."
    -- Henry David Thoreau

  46. "For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul's own speech."

  47. "Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us."

  48. "I believe in the power of music. To me, it isn't just a fad. This is a positive thing."
    -- Eddie Vedder

  49. "Music at its essence is what gives us memories. "
    -- Stevie Wonder

  50. "There's a basic rule which runs through all kinds of music, kind of an unwritten rule. I don't know what it is. But I've got it."
    -- Ron Wood

Resource Box - Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine - A free newsletter for quote lovers featuring more than 10,000 quotations in dozens of categories like - love, friendship, children, inspiration, success, wisdom, family, life, and many more. Read it online at -

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The most popular wii dance games for the Nintendo has thus far been the Dance Dance Revolution or aka. DDR Hottest Party.

DDR was created by the Tokyo based company Konami Corporation which dates back to 1973, they were famous for titles like frogger, scramble and Super Cobra. When Dance dance Revolution Hottest party first came to the US in 2007 it won huge applause, partially due to the fact that it was the only wii dance games that contained the one of a kind dance pad controller.

What makes DDR so different is that using a traditional dance pad with a Wii remote requires participants to match controller movements with the remote and the Nunchuck attachment as well as do the dance steps at the same time. This new innovation causes the whole body workout, giving the top part or your arms something to do as well, which upto now has always been solely focused on feet movements. The game supports up to four players at a time.

If you never heard of or played DDR then some explanations are in order. It's a rhythm game that has you stepping all over a dance mat to hit arrows that match the corresponding arrows on the screen. All this takes place to a the beat of a popular dance track. If your new to this lookout cause it isn't easy, you will have a hard time to keep from tripping over your own feet. Whereas veterans will be hopping back and forth, seemingly hitting all the arrows with ease. The diamonds correspond to hand movements and the arrows to feet movements. The game offer 3 different Play options namely: Free Play , Groove Curcuit, and workout mode.

Lets have a closer look at this game and see what some of the pros and cons are. Whatever method you choose to play Hottest Party appears pretty good. The colors of the game are bright and vivacious, the surroundings are neat and the game characters feel right and are well animated. DDR features extra backup dancers that are an unneeded visible touch, the main character should have been rendered larger, but nonetheless the game looks decent. The audio sounds for the most part ok with a list of approximately fifty tracks. They tried to put something in the music list for everyones taste. The announcer tends to be somewhat of a nuisance, who either compliments you or insults you all at the same time. Kind of like saying "you are really good at sucking!" Might get to you after a while, those kind of comments. DDR comes with one dance pad included, for multiple players each will have to obtain it's own dance pad.

Unfortunately there are not alot of other choices in the Wii dance games niche. There is Dancing with the stars which has received less than good reviews. Which also has dance pad incompatibility problems with the dancepad offered by DDR Hottest Party.

These type of get off the couch Wii dance games are gaining in popularity. I don't think the game will convert the player into the next Fred Astaire but will definitely give you a good work out.

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Coldplay (Pulse, Original) Music Poster Print - 18" X 22.5"

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Latin Percussion LPM196 Mini Tunable Djembe

This miniature drum is the exact replica of the full size LP Djembe, making it attractive to collectors and musical enthusiasts alike. Made from kiln-dried, environmentally-friendly Siam Oak, with a natural rawhide head, and chrome plated hardware it is also fully tunable. Its irresistible size, measuring in at 8-1/4" tall and 5-1/2" wide, makes it an ideal instrument for "drumming on the go!" Bring it anywhere you would like to add a bit of music therapy. Finished with a natural stain this charming miniature will instantly reach out to players of all ages. Sold with a tuning wrench.

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Quartier Latin 11"x17" Poster

This 11"x17" poster is from "Quartier Latin" (1939)

Aivar natakom is a prominent rural drama of Kerala.

Aivar natakom or Aivar Kali literally means a play of five people or Pandavas. People of Viswakarma community of Kerala perform this art form. It includes five communities that are Aasari (carpenter), Mussari (Brassmith), Thattaan (Gold smith), Kalthachan (Mason) and Kollan (Blacksmith).

Aivar Natakom is based on Hindu legend Mahabharata. Bhadrakali, a Goddess of Hindus determines to revenge Pandavaas, who killed one of the devotees of Karna. On hearing this, Lord Krishna, a friend of Pandavaas comes to their help. He turns himself into a lamp and makes them sing and dance in praise of her. Pleased by this, she turns away from this.

This art form is mainly performed in temples of Kerala. Aivar natakom is performed on a stage with a wick lamp adorned with different colorful flowers around it. Permanent platforms for the performance of Aivar natakom are there in some of the villages of Kerala like Pallipuram, Adattu, Olarikkara and more. Kali Asaan is the central character of this play. The performers mask their face with sandal wood paste, wear white dhoti and a towel tied around their heads.

Aivar natakom is usually performed in the night. The performance starts with Ganapathy Pooja or ritualistic prayer to their deity. At first, the dancers rounds around the wick lamp, in the second stage, they perform using swords and shields. The performance gradually grows vigorous as the song proceeds. Elathalam used in this performance adds to its enjoyments. And the rhythmic movements of footsteps by striking the sticks according to the music are a beautiful sight to enjoy.

Aivar natakom, a famous dance drama of Kerala holds only moral themes that makes the art form more enjoyable.

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Nueva York!

Children's favorite Dan Zanes follows his 2007 Grammy Award winning CD Catch That Train with a collaboration with Latino musician friends from New York. These family songs, all sung in Spanish, represent various styles including son jarocho, cumbia, aguinaldo, bailecito, nueva canción and merengue. Featured guests include: Lila Downs, Daphne Rubin-Vega, The Villa-Lobos brothers, Marc Ribot and Afro-Colombian roots ensemble La Cumbiamba Eneyé.
Customer Review: Fanaticos thinks it's fantastico!!
My son is a Dan Zanes groupie (he's been to six of his shows).He's been listening him since before his second birthday and has been looking foward to new music for quite some time. My son is half Cuban, so hearing DZ sing in Spanish is very significant for him. It's a welcome addition to our Dan Zanes and Friends collection. In short, this cd is like a big party for my three and a half year old, yet sophisticated and cool enough for his parents!!! ViVa Dan and Friends!!
Customer Review: More great music for EVERYONE (this time in Spanish)!
Dan Zanes and Friends latest release features all that you love about the band: wild, energetic collaborations and quieter songs with tremendous raw beauty. Esta vez, todas las canciones están en español! They've come a long way since "Malti." This collection of favorites from several Latin American countries is, as Dan says in his concerts, his pro-immigration CD. Thanks, Dan, for giving our kids a great time while provoking interest in Hispanic culture and vital social issues. Our faves: El Pescador, Son Borinqueno, Colas, Verde Luz, El Pijul,El Canario, Cuida El Agua, & Mi Luna. Yikes, that's a lot of favorites! If Pollito Chicken doesn't get you moving, see a doctor!

An Exciting new series of Learn to Dance instructional videos which has encouraged learn to dance and fitness is rapidly being recognized. In an era poorly populated with "well being and healthy culture" dancing is an exciting innovation to lifestyle. It provides fitness with friendship and a new outlook in life.

Cha cha is a dance of the Latin American vogue of ballroom dancing where it is has become known as Cha Cha. In general Cha cha is a charismatic dance and a joy to watch. Inspired by television programs like Dancing with the Stars the ChaCha and other forms of dancing are now being learn in the home.

Rumba is another of the dances. American style rumba is characterized by the hip movement arising from the bending and straightening of the knee. Rumba is a sensual Latin dance, It is considered erotic for its hip movement and relatively slow rhythm. It is a slower dance and perhaps that is what adds sensuality.

Tango. The complex figures of this style became the basis for the style of Tango seen in the touring stage shows. The dance was simplified and adapted to the preferences of conventional ballroom dancers. Most Dance Instructors recognize that lessons needed to be easy to learn and the new methods have captured the true spirit of the dance.

Salsa. The dance steps currently being danced to salsa music come from the "Son" but were influenced by many other Cuban dances such as Mambo. Solo salsa steps are called "Shines." Salsa can be an improvised dance, taking any form the interpreter wishes. The free flowing pattens of salsa add a sexy feel to this ever popular dance.

The waltz has been danced for centuries in many forms. It has evolved to be a dance of grace and elegance. The Waltz is recognized as smooth and graceful dance and it is characterized primarily by its rise & fall action. The Waltz has a unique freedom of expression, including the ability to showcase character and theatrical presentation.

Samba. The festive mood and style of the dance fits most of today's popular music. Samba is a fun dance that has kept popular to this day. The dance can go from average to a very fast pace. The dancer simply follows the beat of the music whilst an Instructor adds easy moves and technique depending on the mood of the music.

Foxtrot is a universal and social dance and may be danced to wide range of music. Unlike slow Foxtrot, it is easy to learn and can be danced on a crowded dance floor. It is seen as one of the great social dances and can be danced to medium and fast music tempo's. The ease of learning is wonderfully expressed by any would be dancer.

Jive was introduced to competitions in 1968 as the fifth dance in the latin section. Jive is characterized by its upbeat tempo. It is an energetic dance with dance steps taking in the triple step, one set forward and the other set back. The introduction of unique step-by-step learning has made this vibrant dance an easy dance to learn.

In conclusion, Dance Schools and Professional Dance Coaches have provided innovative and complimentary new methods to the art of learning to dance. New techniques are available for people to learn to dance at home. There is hours of fun that will combine cardiac and physical fitness with the joy of dance.

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City of Men

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Customer Review: Close to being brilliant!!
"If you die your son will be like us. Fatherless." From a film-makers point of view, this film is a daunting task. It has many characters but still grasps your attention. There are so many very good foreign language films nowadays. I thought Tsotsi was top notch and now, City of Men. I mean, wow! The characters in the film are young men involved in gangs, carefully woven in their anger and paranoid youth is a sense of dread and being doomed. Excellent drama. This is a must watch for anyone who's remotely interested. There will be a scene where you will laugh really really hard. There's a little kid in the film that you'll want to cuddle. You'll never want to live the character's life though. Also ... it actually made me think about something most men don't ever think of. It's about fatherhood. Before I become incoherent, I'll just end by saying, this film is going to do really well and is a must must watch. Thankyou for reading.
This series does not follow the exact story or timeline as the movie City Of God but it takes place in Rio de Janeiro in the Favela. I was entertained and pleased with the acting, cinematography, and realness. I almost felt that I was there and I could have been there in my younger years.

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Legend Vega - Artistopia Music
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