In My Mind's Zen Garden
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There’s Broke, And There’s Baroque…

Yamaha Grand Piano

I’ve been having a hard time dealing with my writer’s block, but there seems to be more to it. I’m wondering if I’m just burned out, or lacking in energy and enthusiasm… I’m definitely not as inspired to write nowadays.

I’ve been practicing Baroque music on the piano. Not really pieces by Bach or Telemann, although I am playing a few by them. It’s more like the concept of playing Baroque in theory.

I’m improvising a great deal. And experimenting a lot.

And I’m making mistakes but I keep going whenever I’m working out some progressions with my improvisations.

So far I’m working on specific keys that are extremely easy for me to improvise in, such as C, G, F, D and their relative minors.

I’m actually learning a lot and I realize that Baroque is tough. But I am listening to a lot of Baroque music daily, mostly studying and listening to J.S. Bach, CPE Bach, Telemann, Albinoni, Scarlatti and for some reason I am avoiding Vivaldi.

I played Pachelbel’s famous Canon, but I know I was doing my own version of it, and no, not George Winston’s version which is more New Age. For some reason I am trying not to play any New Age styles of music.

I’ve been playing at least 2 hours a day on piano. And my fingers are aching, and specifically my right wrist. I have my wrist wrapped up with one of those heated pads. So, I guess I’m really practicing a lot of piano.

I don’t really know where this whole idea of playing improvised Baroque music will go. I guess I am doing it for fun and personal satisfaction, but I would like to be able to perform somewhere improvising in the Baroque style, and I’m trying to stay true to the Baroque style as much as possible and not mixing in other styles… like avante-garde, for instance.

Hopefully, I’ll become more and more proficient playing Baroque. And, my research continues too in studying the history of Baroque and its primary composers.

Incidentally, I’m always broke nowadays… so, I try to spend as much time at home as possible, not trying to spend too much on gasoline, and of course, I have a lot of time to practice piano.

I have 3 gigs this coming weekend, and on Friday I have a double header.



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Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

6 COMMENTS
  1. tokyorose

    i quite like baroque. my dad went through a serious baroque phase when i was around 14-15. to teenage me, it was still classical, but a welcome change to mahler and shostakovich. ^ – i’d be intrigued to hear what baroque improv sounds like…

  2. tokyorose

    i quite like baroque. my dad went through a serious baroque phase when i was around 14-15. to teenage me, it was still classical, but a welcome change to mahler and shostakovich. ^ – i’d be intrigued to hear what baroque improv sounds like…

  3. Jim

    I always thought it would be fun to play Bach on a real pipe organ. I should keep one fugue or something polished up just in case the opportunity ever presents itself. Actually, I’ve never really studied that style of music. I do have one Bach book on the shelf, but I’ve always found it a bit intimidating.

    I’ve been rather focused lately on a few odd keys — F#, B, and E. I’ve been trying to notate a tune I wrote last year in that key progression. I take a bit of sick pleasure in knowing that not a lot of people compose in those keys. I think people look at a score showing 5 or 6 sharps and they scream and run away. But, getting away from my usual comfort zones of Eb and Ab and Db seems to open doors to new possibilities.

    Anyway, sounds like good times to me… Staying home & playing piano is never boring to me! Hope all’s well on your end! -Jim

  4. Jim

    I always thought it would be fun to play Bach on a real pipe organ. I should keep one fugue or something polished up just in case the opportunity ever presents itself. Actually, I’ve never really studied that style of music. I do have one Bach book on the shelf, but I’ve always found it a bit intimidating.

    I’ve been rather focused lately on a few odd keys — F#, B, and E. I’ve been trying to notate a tune I wrote last year in that key progression. I take a bit of sick pleasure in knowing that not a lot of people compose in those keys. I think people look at a score showing 5 or 6 sharps and they scream and run away. But, getting away from my usual comfort zones of Eb and Ab and Db seems to open doors to new possibilities.

    Anyway, sounds like good times to me… Staying home & playing piano is never boring to me! Hope all’s well on your end! -Jim

  5. Randomguru

    tokyorose – the more i research Baroque music in general, the more i find out that the great Baroque composers regularly improvised on the piano, just making up music as they played. it was all about understanding various theoretical concepts in the music and then just applying it to their playing on the keyboard.

    then they would take specific ideas to create music that was notated, solo and group pieces of music.

    that’s great that your Dad was into the Baroque at one time and you had exposure to it when your were younger. my Dad had records of Beethoven that i ended up playing on the turntable on my own. but it would’ve been nice if i had that initial exposure.

    jim – F# is a tough key to play in and pretty rare in popular music. i need to practice more (improvisation-wise) in Eb but i’m a bit more comfortable in Ab and especially Db. i think i’m more comfortable (in general) with flats than sharps. i need to practice in F#.

    that would be cool to play a real pipe organ. i can play Bach’s “Sleeper’s Awake” and that would sound very nice on the pipe organ.

    Bach (understandably) is very intimidating, and i think he explored almost all the possible chord progressions and combinations of contrapuntal possibilities. plus the volume of his work, just looking at The Art of Fugue and The Well-Tempered Clavier is enough to scare off any keyboardist.

    anyway, i’m doing okay. and i think that for the 2nd half of the year in 2009 it should be better for me than the 1st half… God willing. thanks.

  6. Randomguru

    tokyorose – the more i research Baroque music in general, the more i find out that the great Baroque composers regularly improvised on the piano, just making up music as they played. it was all about understanding various theoretical concepts in the music and then just applying it to their playing on the keyboard.

    then they would take specific ideas to create music that was notated, solo and group pieces of music.

    that’s great that your Dad was into the Baroque at one time and you had exposure to it when your were younger. my Dad had records of Beethoven that i ended up playing on the turntable on my own. but it would’ve been nice if i had that initial exposure.

    jim – F# is a tough key to play in and pretty rare in popular music. i need to practice more (improvisation-wise) in Eb but i’m a bit more comfortable in Ab and especially Db. i think i’m more comfortable (in general) with flats than sharps. i need to practice in F#.

    that would be cool to play a real pipe organ. i can play Bach’s “Sleeper’s Awake” and that would sound very nice on the pipe organ.

    Bach (understandably) is very intimidating, and i think he explored almost all the possible chord progressions and combinations of contrapuntal possibilities. plus the volume of his work, just looking at The Art of Fugue and The Well-Tempered Clavier is enough to scare off any keyboardist.

    anyway, i’m doing okay. and i think that for the 2nd half of the year in 2009 it should be better for me than the 1st half… God willing. thanks.

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