Saturday, August 30, 2008

Domenico Alberti

Friday August 29, 2008

Who the [bleep] is Domenico Alberti? Why, let me tell you!

Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by Yahoo #1, who after only 7 short months of piano lessons has learned to play Alberti Bass.

What the [bleep] is Alberti Bass? Why, let me tell you!

Domenico Alberti was born in Venice in 1710 and died 30 short years later. Being a music aficionado (it is Friday you know, so it's all about music), Alberti wrote operas and sonatas for keyboard instruments. The harpiscord mainly. For a minute of musical instrument history, note that the mondern piano (or the piano as we know it - and not the Yamaha Clavinova variety) wasn't fully invented until the early 1800s. Until that time, most composers preferred the tingy pitter of the harpsichord.

Domenico Alberti's claim to fame was his overuse of a certain left-hand chord pattern. In fact he used it so much, the chord pattern was named Alberti Bass. What is Alberti Bass, you say? I'll tell you what Alberti Bass is and then maybe bribe Yahoo #1 into a demonstration.

To illustrate, we must first talk about blocked chords. A blocked chord is where all notes in a chord are played simultaneously. For example, let's use the plane jane boring C chord which houses the notes C, E and G. A blocked chord will play all three of these notes at the same time.

An Alberti Bass line, on the other hand, does not play the notes at the same time, but individually, in the same pattern (did you see all the commas in that sentence? Wow). The low note is played first, the highest note next, the middle note third and the highest note again last.

Let's go back to our plane jane C to elucidate. To play the C chord in Alberti Bass would go like this - C, G, E, G. Then you'd keep playing that pattern over and over until the chord changes to say, an F chord. At this point you'd switch the pattern to C, A, F, A.

Genius huh? I'll tell you what's Genius. It's the Yahoo's piano teacher. It took me eight years to learn this crap. And he can do it in interesting D flat. (Why would any one refer to a "D" as being flat? An "A" maybe, but not a "D").

Sigh.

Here's that demonstration.

video

5 comments:

Staci said...

Now can I stop?

rabidrunner said...

Hehehehe. That's my favorite part!

Anonymous said...

last week our group held a similar discussion on this topic and you illustrate something we haven't covered yet, appreciate that.

- Kris

Anonymous said...

I must digg your post therefore more people can look at it, really helpful, I had a hard time finding the results searching on the web, thanks.

- Mark

Anonymous said...

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

- Lora