Stravinsky: Firebird

The Firebird ballet is one of the iconic works of the 20th century. It was composed by the 28 year old Igor Stravinsky, commissioned by Serge Diagheliv for his Ballet Russe.

Ballet = Art & Music & Movement & Literature.

Prince Ivan Tsarevich captures the Firebird. She begs for her life, and in return offers a magical feather which will summon her.
Prince Ivan Tsarevich captures the Firebird. She begs for her life, and in return offers a magical feather which will summon her.
Image from the Australian Ballet production.

Koschei is a snake-like demon who has captured souls and imprisoned the people in his walled garden (paradise).
Koschei is a snake-like demon who has captured souls and imprisoned the people in his walled garden (paradise). Traditionally the snake represents evil. Perhaps this is a relic from the times of our ancestral ape relatives caring for their infants, to whom snakes and pythons represented a constant threat?
Image from the Australian Ballet production.

Prince Ivan and the princess are returned to a naked, pure state after the defeat of Koschei.
Prince Ivan and the princess are returned to a naked, pure state after the defeat of Koschei.
Image from the Australian Ballet production.

In an echo of the Garden of Eden myth from book 1 of the Bible, Koschei (Satan) suddenly reappears and offers an apple to Eve, and the ballet finishes.

According to Jordan Peterson (video) the "fall from grace" in the Garden of Eden symbolises the rise of self-consciousness, awareness of the capacity to think ahead in time, and so to plan for good or evil.

stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky, one of the greatest musical creators of the 20th century. He studied law, and then music with the great composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, author of Principles of Orchestration (interactive version here), which is still used in composition syllabi to this day.

More info: Stravinsky's Firebird at Wikipedia.

Here are some of the more interesting versions of Firebird (YouTube playlist)..

Two approaches to melodic arpeggios on guitar

The guitar is a chordal instrument.

It is designed to easily produce full and pleasing harmonies and chord voicings.

Dm7 arpeggio - Positional form

Arpeggios are chords spelt out in time - the notes are played one after the other, often ringing together (in the manner of a harp.

Interestingly, 7th chord arpeggios are much easier to execute on the guitar than triadic arpeggios, because the 7th form replaces the often awkward leap of a 4th between 5th and upper tonic with the much easier to execute minor 3rd interval from 5th to flattened 7th.

Which fingering should you use? Check out this discussion of positional and longitudinal arpeggios with examples, the pros and cons, fingerings for left and right hand and video examples.

Read more: Two approaches to melodic arpeggios on guitar

Major scale to the 9th

Some topics covered in this video:

  • Make music out of everything you play. It's not a race!
  • Don't let the strings ring, or you will get chords rather than melody.
  • Shorten the notes with the right hand. Vary the length of the notes to bring out various notes.
  • A Scale is MELODY. (This example is Eb major, page 116.)
  • Apply LOOPING (section 8.6.1) to create accents.
  • LISTEN to yourself, always.

The basic chords, scales and arpeggios in G major

12.10 Eight bar sequence in G Major
Eight bar sequence in G Major

This is an excerpt from "Walk and Run on the Guitar"


Walk & Run on the Guitar
Using this book, the guitarist will get to grips with the most fundamental harmonies and rhythms in music.

This book limits itself to tonic and dominant chords because these are the first sounds to learn on the instrument. They will stand you in good stead no matter whether you decide to play Country and Western, Heavy Metal, Latin, Jazz, Classical ... all these styles rely on the tensions and the resolutions of the tonic and dominant relationship.

The sequence:

  • Bar 1: Tonic and Dominant Chord in Walking Rhythm
  • Bar 2.: Tonic and Dominant Chord in Swaying Rhythm
  • Bar 3: Melodic Arpeggio in Swaying Rhythm
  • Bar 4: Running melody: DOH to SOH | A versatile and reliable fingering | Articulate to Separate
  • Bar 5: Running to the 9th
  • Bar 6: Running Melody over 2 octaves
  • Bar 8: Alberti Bass
  • Bar 9: Dominant Seventh creates a Modulation to the next key in the cycle of 5ths