The Clements Blog
Articles on music theory, music education, and fun stories from the world of classical music
by Jamie Welton
Tuesday, 17th November 2015 | 0 comments
If musical instruments are your passion, and you have a spare few millions burning a hole in your pocket, then you could buy into the Stradivarius owning club.
Music and the moving image: a marriage of equals?
by Jamie Welton
Wednesday, 21st October 2015 | 0 comments
Music and the moving image are seemingly linked at an almost genetic level. But is it a one-sided relationship? Does the use of classical music and opera in films and TV enhance the medium or is it merely a cynical ploy to add quality to otherwise low standard productions?
Sonic sentiment: Why is ‘place' important?
by Jamie Welton
Monday, 21st September 2015 | 0 comments
There is a theory which argues where you experience something is as important as the event itself – think about fish and chips at the seaside. But is that true for music? And if so, why?
Physics and fish & chips may combine to answer that question.
Violin Strings made from... Spider Silk!
by Tim Benjamin
Wednesday, 2nd September 2015 | 0 comments
The strings of a violin (and viola, and cello) are today usually made from a synthetic core (typically nylon) wound on the outside with metal (usually steel, sometimes with aluminium and sometimes gold-plated). In the past, strings were made from "catgut", but not (despite the popular assumption) actually made from the intestines of cats. "Catgut" was in fact made from stretched and dried sheeps' intestines! But now, violin strings have been made from a radically different material: spider silk!
Do we really need conductors?
by Tim Benjamin
Tuesday, 14th July 2015 | 4 comments
When we play music alone, we are of course, alone – in the sense that we are setting our own tempo and making our own interpretation of the music. At some stage, however, as ensembles increase in size, a conductor appears, and it's normal to see symphony orchestras led by a conductor.
But at what point does the conductor become necessary, and do we really need them?
Virtuoso Performance: The Trombone
When you think of a 'virtuoso', you might imagine a violinist or a pianist. One instrument you might not imagine is the trombone, which is more commonly associated with comic effects, circuses, and marching bands. Given sufficient musical talent, however, any instrument can be performed in amazing ways, and the trombone is no exception!
by Tim Benjamin | Tuesday, 5th May 2015 | 2 comments | Read more
Silence is Golden
An interesting workshop has been announced, to take place at the Trappist Monastery in West London on 1st April. The workshop, led by Mark Anon, is a day for singers and instrumentalists to study the use of the rest in music.
by Tim Benjamin | Wednesday, 1st April 2015 | 1 comment | Read more
How musical are you, really?
Obviously you must be pretty musical or you wouldn't be on this website, but what if there was a way of finding out if you had an undiscovered talent? Well, now there just might be...
by Tim Benjamin | Monday, 1st December 2014 | 1 comment | Read more
Words and Music - Mind your English
One of the tricky things composers have to deal with when setting texts in English is that so many of its words are short, sharp and hard. However, English isn't completely hopeless for singing in...
by Tim Rutherford-Johnson | Monday, 3rd March 2014 | 0 comments | Read more
If music be the food of love ...
What is it that makes us love music so much? Well, a group of Canadian scientists think they have found an answer.
by Tim Benjamin | Sunday, 9th February 2014 | 1 comment | Read more
Mark-Anthony Turnage and the Beyoncé Connection
When Mark-Anthony Turnages's new orchestral work Hammered Out was given its first performance at this year's BBC Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall it was clear Turnage had gone further than ever before in his homages to modern pop music. Because, as many members of the audience quickly recognised, Turnage had based sections of his piece on Beyoncé's hit 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)'.
by Tim Rutherford-Johnson | Tuesday, 8th October 2013 | 3 comments | Read more
Words and Music - Endless Possibilities
Singing may be the fundamental origin of all music. It is even possible that prehistoric humans may have sung to each other even before the development of language. Today there is no doubt that you can pick almost any style or genre of music from around the world and you will find music written for the voice, from traditional chant to rap, from opera to jazz scat.
by Tim Rutherford-Johnson | Friday, 4th October 2013 | 0 comments | Read more
Every performer is familiar with how their instrument should sound: from knowing which end to blow down to how to produce a really clean tone with all the notes in tune. Yet what happens if you don't do what you're 'supposed' to do, and experiment with something different? Could the results be interesting, and even fun?
by Tim Rutherford-Johnson | Friday, 20th September 2013 | 4 comments | Read more
...and now some new Mozart has been discovered too
Just a few weeks after we reported the news that an unknown piece by Brahms had been discovered, another new piece by one of the great composers has been found. This time it's music by an 11-year-old Mozart!
by Tim Benjamin | Sunday, 2nd September 2012 | 0 comments | Read more
Anna Nicole - the Real Deal?
It has been an funny old week for opera fans. Anna Nicole, the new opera by Mark-Anthony Turnage has opened at Covent Garden in London and is receiving mixed reviews...
by Tim Benjamin | Wednesday, 22nd February 2012 | 4 comments | Read more
Long-lost Brahms music discovered
An exciting piece of recent news has been the discovery of an unknown piece of music by the great composer Johannes Brahms. The two-minute piece, Albumblatt, for solo piano, was written by Brahms in a visitors book once owned by the director of music at Goettingen University in Germany.
by Tim Benjamin | Sunday, 15th January 2012 | 0 comments | Read more
Music and Comedy
One of the great things about the richness of classical music is the opportunity for comedy it provides. Musicians always have a few jokes ready - read on for some examples!
by Tim Benjamin | Thursday, 9th June 2011 | 1 comment | Read more
Prince William and Kate Middleton: Music for the Royal Wedding
It is, of course, the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate (or Catherine!) Middleton on Friday, and music will be playing a big part in the proceedings - so here's a quick run-down of what's being planned...
by Tim Benjamin | Thursday, 28th April 2011 | 0 comments | Read more
Concerts and Opera: A New Dimension
It was recently announced that a new 3D film featuring possibly the world's greatest orchestra, the Berlin Philhamonic, would be shown in cinemas. Opera in the cinema has been successful in attracting audiences however, it's worth asking: what do cinema and 3D technology actually add to the opera or concert experience?
by Tim Benjamin | Thursday, 7th April 2011 | 1 comment | Read more
Clements Comic Relief Special: Musical Spoofs
Today is Comic Relief day and BBC Radio 3 are broadcasting a special programme, 'Donald Macleod's Unbelievable Spoofs'. We get to hear of such dubious characters as Pietro Gnocchi, the Bolgnese opera composer Lasagne Verdi, and Pietro Raimondi.
by Tim Benjamin | Friday, 18th March 2011 | 4 comments | Read more
How are your New Year's resolutions coming along? Well, if you're still looking for ways to get your 2011 into shape, Clements Theory has a few musical suggestions for you (and none of them is 'do more practice'!).
by Tim Benjamin | Tuesday, 18th January 2011 | 2 comments | Read more
John Cage's 4'33'' is one of the most famous and notorious pieces of modern music. Composed in 1952 it consists of three movements, but no notes - only the instruction 'tacet', silent.
by Tim Benjamin | Wednesday, 1st December 2010 | 2 comments | Read more
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