Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video]

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video]
Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7261 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 16x45 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.43GB

We all know that beneath the surface of music, beyond the joy or excitement or even heartache that this beautiful language of sound can stir within us, lies the often mysterious realm of music theory—a complex syntax of structural and instrumental resources that composers may draw on.

No matter what kind of music we listen to—symphony or string quartet, saxophone solo or vocal ballad, hip hop or Gregorian chant—we feel the impact of that music and have done so all our lives, even though we may not know how such impact is achieved, or understand the fundamental processes of musical composition.

But what if we did understand how certain musical effects were achieved? What if we could learn to follow the often-intimidating language of key signatures, pitch, mode, melody, meter, and other parts of musical structure used by composers? What if we could recognize these various components at work as we listened to our favorite music? What if we could "speak" the language of Western music?

It's a language that Professor Robert Greenberg calls rich, varied, and magnificent, and he has little doubt about the rewards of even a beginning level of fluency.

"It's a language that pays us back tenfold—a hundredfold—for every detail we come to recognize and perceive! And it's a language that will only get richer and more varied, as our increasingly global culture contributes ever more vocabulary to it."

Learn the Basics of Music Theory without Knowing How to Read Music!

In this course, Professor Greenberg offers a spirited introduction to this magnificent language—nimbly avoiding what for many of us has long been the principal roadblock, the need to read music.

For anyone wanting to master music's language, being able to read musical notation is a necessity. But this course, as Professor Greenberg notes, is a basic course, designed to introduce you to music's language in a way that is similar to the way you learned your own native language, by "discovering and exploring musical syntax through our ears—by learning what the parts of musical speech sound like—rather than what they look like on paper."

By sidestepping the necessity to read music, these lectures represent an extremely rare opportunity in musical education—an opportunity to experience a solid introduction to music theory's basics in a way that is not technically intimidating, yet provides a substantial grounding in the fundamentals. As such, Professor Greenberg has devised a highly individualized approach to music theory. There is simply little or no literature in this field that can teach as much without recourse to music notation. Thus, it can appeal to those who are not learning, or even planning to learn, to play a musical instrument or to compose. It can even be beneficial to musicians who do not play a keyboard instrument and may have had difficulty grasping some of the more abstract concepts of music. As much as anything else, the course is designed to help deepen and intensify the experience of Professor Greenberg's other Teaching Company Courses, currently 21 in number.

Professor Greenberg has made use of a variety of tools, including thoughtfully chosen recorded examples, his own demonstrations at the piano, and helpful diagrams. One of those diagrams—a reproduction of a piano keyboard, with its keys identified—frees the student from needing access to a piano or any other keyboard instrument, a traditional demand of most music theory courses. It's of tremendous help in visualizing many of the course's most important concepts, such as how "pitch collections" are built, and it opens up the benefits of this course to anyone without access to a piano or keyboard instrument.

The extent of those benefits becomes clear the moment you start to apply the basic knowledge taught in this course. You'll listen to music with new levels of understanding and appreciation, not only when you find yourself at the concert hall, but also at home with your stereo, and when you're listening to your favorite music in the car or on a portable player.

Listen Over and Over and Learn More Each Time!

Each time you listen to this course—and Professor Greenberg has designed it to be listened to again and again—you increase your music-listening skills and come to appreciate what a complex and rewarding study music theory can be.

These are lectures that will prepare you, in Professor Greenberg's words, to "hear and identify those aspects of the musical language that are, collectively, the means to comprehending, on an intimate level, the music of the Western repertoire and, to a significant degree, the music of many other world cultures as well."

It's difficult to imagine a teacher more qualified to help you reach that goal. Professor Greenberg is one of The Teaching Company's most highly regarded, popular, and prolific teachers—as well as an award-winning composer in his own right. He has produced more than 500 lectures for The Teaching Company on a range of composers and genres, each marked by his characteristic knowledge, enthusiasm, humor, and, most important, unique ability to teach the technicalities of music to nontechnical audiences. A love of music and a desire to understand it are the only prerequisites you need.

All these skills are on constant display throughout the lectures, as Professor Greenberg takes you step by step through the material, laying a firm foundation before introducing the next concept. He begins by introducing you to the instrumental families of the orchestra and their characteristics, before moving on to subjects that might seem intimidating in a classroom: pulse and meter; sound, pitch, and pitch collections; melody and texture; tonality and tonal harmony. Professor Greenberg's lectures are clear and purposeful.

Learn about the People behind the Music

Along the way, you'll learn the human side of music—about the men and women who write and play it—and discover, for example, that:

  • When violinists or other string players use the bow over the fingerboard, or neck, of their instruments, a lovely, flutelike sound is produced, similar to the effect of clamping a comb-shaped muting device to the instrument's bridge. The technique is called sul tasto. Even though it is an effect that can be achieved instantly, without having to pause to clamp on a mute, string players generally dislike it. That's because the rosin they use on the hair of their bows to make the hair grip the strings gets on a part of the strings that may come into contact with the players' fingers—an unwelcome experience for string players. Not wishing to incur the wrath of the string section, experienced composers have thus learned to avoid using sul tasto unless absolutely necessary.
  • The piccolo has so much power that its piercingly brilliant sound can be painful, so piccolo players wear earplugs when they practice to protect themselves from their own instruments.
  • The extraordinary two-and-a-half octave upward slide—or glissando—that begins George Gershwin's 1924 Rhapsody in Blue has become the most famous clarinet glissando in all of music. Gershwin did not write it that way; he indicated a simple ascending scale. But Gershwin's original score was written for piano and then orchestrated by Ferde Grofé. Grofé knew that Russ Gorman, who would play clarinet in the Rhapsody's premiere, was extraordinarily gifted at playing glissandi. Grofé thus scored the opening of Rhapsody as a glissando, and the rest is musical history.
  • Hector Berlioz was rare among major composers for barely being able to play any individual musical instrument. The "instrument" he could play was the orchestra. Considered the most original, adventurous, and innovative orchestrator that had yet come along, his "Treatise on Orchestration" has been a must-read for composers and conductors since its publication in 1843.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music is as rich in musical lore as it is in technical knowledge. It will reward you many times over, not only as you listen and relisten to the lectures, gaining a new understanding each time, but also as you listen to different varieties of music and find yourself enjoying a much deeper understanding of their compositional structures.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video]

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video]

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video]
The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video] by Hannah B Harvey
Course No 9313 | WMV, WMV3, 640x480 | WMA, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins + PDF Guidebook | 10.9GB

The gift of storytelling may be one of life's most powerful—and envied—skills. A story well told can make us laugh, weep, swell with pride, or rise with indignation. A story poorly told can be not just boring or uncomfortable, but positively painful to experience. Humans seem to be fundamentally hard-wired for stories—they’re how we record both the monumental events of life and the small, everyday moments.

The oral storytelling tradition is as old as language itself. Throughout history, stories have primarily existed in the verbal realm, preserving and passing knowledge across generations before being canonized in print. This was true of the ancient epics, and it’s true today. Your family history, your company’s history, the stories you tell that define and shape your identity—these are all stored in your mind and shared through your actions and words.

And being a gifted storyteller has its advantages: A well-crafted narrative can keep the people, values, and life lessons you hold dear alive and give you the power to influence your children, your employees, and others.

There are many reasons we relate and respond to stories. We’re often drawn to

  • what or whom the story represents;
  • how the story reflects a core part of who we are (or who we want to be); and
  • what the story could be—because we don’t like the reality of what the story is.

So how do you tell stories that stick—in your own mind and in the minds of your family, friends, colleagues, and clients?

That’s precisely what you’ll learn in The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals, an enthralling course that reveals the tried-and-true methods experienced storytellers use to develop and tell engaging, entertaining, and memorable tales. In 24 lectures, Professor Hannah B. Harvey demonstrates how to master the art form’s basic principles with the same witty, dynamic energy that has made her an internationally recognized professional storyteller and award-winning educator.

Even if you never plan to set foot on a stage, knowing what a professional storyteller does in the process of crafting and delivering a tale allows you to enhance the stories you tell everyday—to your children at bedtime, in your conversational anecdotes, and in your presentations at work. Teachers, lawyers, clergy, coaches, parents, and anyone who wants to understand the power of stories to capture hearts and minds will benefit from the lessons presented in this course.

Find Your Own Story

Professor Harvey calls the act of creating a story performance an “alchemical process” that involves an interconnected cycle of talking, writing, imaging, playing, and rehearsing.

You’ll begin your exploration of this layered chain of events by breaking down storytelling’s secret underpinnings and examining the dynamic relationship between you, the story, and the audience, known as “the storytelling triangle.”

This course introduces you to practical methods for building dynamic tension and capturing—then maintaining—your audience’s attention. You’ll acquire tips and techniques for finding, selecting, and preparing stories, whether they’re based on your own experiences, time-honored folk tales, or beloved family yarns.

You may be surprised to discover how many small, virtually imperceptible decisions go into the telling of a good story, right down to the way you emphasize certain words. For example, a far richer picture is painted when you say “the door creeeeeeeeaked open,” instead of stating “the door creaked open.” That’s because the former enhances “sensorium,” allowing the audience to fully visualize what you’re describing.

You’ll also learn to

  • choose expressive language;
  • craft compelling characters;
  • refine your narrator’s point of view;
  • shape your story’s plot, structure, and emotional arc;
  • develop imagery, vocal cues, and intonation; and
  • use body language to connect with your audience.

And there’s so much more. Professor Harvey instructs you on ways to make the past feel present, to take “on and off ramps” to gracefully enter and exit stories, and to employ devices such as repetition and audience participation to lure back listeners you’ve started to lose.

Beyond Happily Ever After

Part how-to workshop, part intellectual study of the history of narrative, The Art of Storytelling investigates the hidden meanings of various genres from the hero’s journey to the fairy tale. You’ll examine classic story structures, archetypal characters, and why certain stories, such as Cinderella, have endured across time and cultures.

In studying the psychology of fairy tales you’ll discover that, although they were never intended for children, their characters and situations serve as a mirror in which children see themselves reflected. As you dissect the familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood to examine the themes of temptation, heroism, good, and evil, you’ll realize how real the fantasy world can seem for children and the many ways fairy tales fulfill children’s needs.

Fairy tales offer children reassurance that

  • their feelings are valid;
  • although they struggle with contradictory desires, it will all turn out OK in the end; and
  • if they “enter the woods,” they can overcome the temptations that the woods represents.

Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

Many lectures feature exercises that literally get you moving to develop your stories and make them more enjoyable for you to tell and your audience to hear. Although journaling and scripting are part of the process, at no point will you be expected to memorize your stories word for word. The professor’s interactive activities and “side coaching” sessions are designed to make you comfortable enough with your story to tell it naturally and make impromptu changes as needed.

For the uninitiated, some exercises may seem outside your comfort zone, but you’ll soon find that Professor Harvey’s warm-ups, activities, and rehearsal ideas are an effective way to harness performance anxiety and get prepared to be playful and spontaneous.

While you may not do this preliminary work when telling stories at a party, doing the exercises ahead of time will help tremendously when you’re thinking on your feet.

In taking this course, you’ll learn that storytelling is less about the telling than it is about listening to what your particular audience needs, and reacting in the moment by adapting your language, body gestures, and voice to accommodate the changing dynamics and atmosphere.

You’ll even learn what to do if the unexpected occurs while telling a story to a roomful of kids or giving a presentation (such as sirens blaring outside). Lectures addressing the practical considerations of using props, PowerPoint, and microphones in various scenarios are as informative for performers as they are for business professionals.

An Unforgettable Experience

An absolute treat for the heart and mind, this course is complemented by clips of accomplished storytellers practicing their craft at festivals, as well as Professor Harvey’s own personal tales about growing up in Appalachia, which range from the heartfelt to the downright hilarious.

An exceptionally captivating lecturer, she brings her unique perspective as a scholar-artist to this endeavor, grabbing hold of your attention from the start and never letting go—which is exactly what you’ll learn to do with your own audience by the end of this course.

Whether you seek to sharpen your abilities in the boardroom, the classroom, or simply around the water cooler, The Art of Storytelling has the answer. The context may change, but the methods remain the same.

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video]

Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past [TTC Video]

Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past [TTC Video]
Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past [TTC Video] by Allen C Guelzo
Course No 8818 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.46GB

History is not truth. While it forms the backbone of our knowledge about the world, history is nevertheless only a version of events. History is shaped by the interpretations and perspectives of the individual historians who record it. Consider:

  • Sallust, writing his dark history of Rome to rail against the political corruption he saw consuming the empire—while artfully concealing his own role in it;
  • John Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, writing about church history to discredit the Catholics and legitimize the reign of Elizabeth I;
  • David Hume, penning his massive History of England with the deliberate goal of creating a potboiler that will earn him a fortune.

What, then, is the motive and the vision of the historian? How do historians create their histories? And what role does the historian's viewpoint and method play in what we accept as truth?

These questions underlie a history lesson of the most revealing kind.

In Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past, award-winning scholar Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College takes you inside the minds of our greatest historians. Over 24 intriguing lectures, he challenges you to explore the idea of written history as it has shaped humanity's story over 2,000 years. Told through enthralling historical anecdotes, the course travels deep into mankind's fundamental desire to record and understand the world, to shed new light on the events and experiences of yesterday, and to use the past as a window onto the present and the future.

History: The Art of Discovery

"History is more than merely a pile-up of facts or a chronicle of the past," notes Dr. Guelzo. "It is an art—and a very complicated one at that. And like the others arts, it has techniques and perspectives, some of them old and long-since retired, some of them in violent conflict with each other."

The actors in this art of discovery are the great historians themselves, from the ancient Greeks to our own time. You look through the eyes of our civilization's greatest historical minds to ponder why they conceived and wrote history the way they did.

In key sections, you explore the seminal thinking of these men:

  • Herodotus, considered by many the first history writer, who replaced the epic imagination of Homer with istorieis, or inquiry
  • Livy, the author of a 142-volume didactic history of Rome that spanned three continents and seven centuries
  • David Hume, who framed English history with an evolutionary vision of economic, political, and intellectual freedom
  • Edward Gibbon, whose monumental Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire forged a complex picture of epic collapse and decay

Beneath the Surface of Written History

With Professor Guelzo's penetrating perspective, you examine the processes that create accepted views of historical events. As you take apart the elements of history writing, you discover how the great stories of the past were chosen and how they were interpreted.

In considering the key choices the historian makes, you uncover the ways in which understanding how history is written is crucial to understanding historical events themselves. You also explore how the version of history you accept reveals much about you as an individual and as a member of a community.

The journey rewards you with an unforgettable insight into our human heritage and the chance to look with discerning eyes at human events in their deeper meanings. Anyone with an interest in history, philosophy, or intellectual history will find these lectures a far-reaching meditation on the evolution of historical thought.

"Constructing" the Past

As a core feature of Making History, you explore the major interpretive concepts or historical genres that form the backbone of Western history writing. These are among the many fundamental genres you examine:

  • Celebration: History writing as the remembrance or glorification of great deeds or events, providing a cultural identity for a given people
  • Declension: An interpretive model of decline, charting the deterioration of political, social, and moral systems
  • Continuity: The understanding or justification of present events as they conform to patterns of the past
  • Apocalyptic: A view of human events as moving toward an ultimate, devastating rupture with the past, leading to a new order

You follow these core genres through time and learn how they interact with other ways of viewing history, including history as science, as economics, as progress, as class struggle, and as culture. You also chart the ways these themes intersect and oppose each other across the centuries, as they illuminate the origins of our contemporary thinking.

In the Trenches with Great Minds

Professor Guelzo's storytelling enriches the background of the writing. In the Greek world, you travel with Xenophon and Thucydides through their own dramatic military exploits, as they develop models of history writing that still carry weight. In the early Christian era, you witness Augustine's personal trials as he defends Christianity against the pagans. In the 19th century, you trace Macaulay's dynamic career and his white-hot impact on the reading public.

From Thucydides, you hear Pericles' great articulation of democracy. You hear Sallust's reasoning that ancient Rome declined due to moral rot, Luther's condemnation of the papacy, and Macaulay's soaring rhetoric in his contemplation of the Puritans.

Throughout the story, the evolving arc of historical thought plays out as a heated series of battles of interpretation.

In the bloody era of the Christian Reformation, you see how the conflict of Luther's ideology with Catholic dogma takes the form of warring views of church history. In the revolutions of the Enlightenment, Gibbon, Leopold von Ranke, and Auguste Comte overthrow the Christian influence, advocating the use of scientific systems in understanding history.

Rejecting the logic of Enlightenment ideals, the Romantics develop another method for understanding history: the glorification of emotions, nature, and the sublime. On the heels of Romanticism, you meet another breed of historian, from Wilhelm Dilthey to Arnold Toynbee, who demands understanding of cultures and patterns.

On our own shores, you taste the poignant struggles of the Puritans, the Indian wars, and the closing of the frontier, as history writers come to grips with the promise and disillusionment of the new nation.

Professor Guelzo highlights compelling connections in theme and thinking between historians of different epochs. You see how Bancroft and Prescott's narratives of the American Revolution hearken back to the ancient Greeks, and how Karl Marx's writing echoes themes articulated by Augustine in the 5th century.

This is knowledge to enrich all the history you know and all the history you encounter. Join one of America's outstanding historical scholars in this bold engagement with critical thinking about the past.

Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past [TTC Video]

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