~~April 1, 2014~~
What is music? A gallery ….
The word music comes from the Greek mousikê (tekhnê) by way of the Latin musica. It is ultimately derived from mousa, the Greek word for muse. In ancient Greece, the word mousike was used to mean any of the arts or sciences governed by the Muses. Later, in Rome, ars musica embraced poetry as well as instrument-oriented music. In the European Middle Ages, musica was part of the mathematical quadrivium: arithmetics, geometry, astronomy and musica. The concept of musica was split into four major kinds by the fifth century philosopher, Boethius: musica universalis, musica humana, musica instrumentalis, and musica divina. Of those, only musica instrumentalis referred to music as performed sound.
Musica universalis or musica mundana referred to the order of the universe, as God had created it in “measure, number and weight”. The proportions of the spheres of the planets and stars (which at the time were still thought to revolve around the earth) were perceived as a form of music, without necessarily implying that any sound would be heard—music refers strictly to the mathematical proportions. From this concept later resulted the romantic idea of a music of the spheres. Musica humana, designated the proportions of the human body. These were thought to reflect the proportions of the Heavens and as such, to be an expression of God’s greatness. To Medieval thinking, all things were connected with each other — a mode of thought that finds its traces today in the occult sciences or esoteric thought — ranging from astrology to believing certain minerals have certain beneficiary effects.
Musica instrumentalis, finally, was the lowliest of the three disciplines and referred to the manifestation of those same mathematical proportions in sound — be it sung or played on instruments. The polyphonic organization of different melodies to sound at the same time was still a relatively new invention then, and it is understandable that the mathematical or physical relationships in frequency that give rise to the musical intervals as we hear them, should be foremost among the preoccupations of Medieval musicians.
~~Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts (Piano/Cello Cover) – ThePianoGuys~~
~~Story behind the song~~
Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson were booked for a Piano Guys show in Hawaii. How could we resist filming our next video in the land of Aloha — beautiful beaches, green mountains, and fresh pineapple?? We went to our Founders and Facebook fans to ask what song they wanted us to play there. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was the nearly-unanimous response. But you know how we are … we couldn’t “just” do this tune by itself … so in the studio we found a made-in-heaven matchup in the timeless melody from the Shaker Hymn “Simple Gifts” written in the 1800’s (also used by Aaron Copland in his Ballet “Appalachian Spring“). We feel it’s an especially appropriate mash-up because of our profound love and respect for the Hawaiian culture — a people who are so good at finding happiness in simplicity. As you probably could hear we borrowed a lot of ideas from Iz’s version which has become the stuff of legend. This arrangement is, in part, a tribute to him.
Getting a piano onto a sandy beach and then onto a big hill in a famous ranch within the SAME day (we only had 8 hours to film) was no small feat. The only thing harder would be to be predict Hawaiian weather, which ended up being our biggest challenge.
“We had a little extra help on this one. My mother, Lynne Sanders Nelson — a main source of my inspiration for pursuing music — passed away early in life from the effects of a brain tumor. She was an incredibly gifted musician and taught me to play music passionately rather than just playing ‘notes’ on a page. ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow‘ was one of her favorite songs. We finished this arrangement on what would have been her 70th birthday. Somehow she helped. I miss her so very much, but when I play songs like this I feel like I get to be with her again. This song is dedicated to her.”
Steven Sharp Nelson