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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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March 7, 2010 | Zdravitsa plays the Beatles

A little lip-syncing, or more accurately pick-syncing with members of this Russian balalaika orchestra under the direction of Andrei Krasnikov. (More members are actually on the audio recording than represented in the video.) The aesthetic melancholy of the lyrics of the popular Beatles tunes, "Yesterday" is expressed effectively instrumentally with the studio recording of the ensemble, and it's certainly interesting seeing the costumed musicians and some of the scenery in the video. This is also further proof that plectrum music doesn't have to be fast to be enjoyed...

More information: Zdravitsa (from Karachev in the Bryansk region)

Translated from the website: "Orchestra "Zdravitsa" is the only one of its kind in Russia. Its unique feature is in its unusual instrumental composition. It consists of instruments only of Russian origin; balalaikas of all kinds (piccolo, topstrings, second strings, alts, basses and contrabasses) guslies (stringed and key) and percussion instruments.

Lack of bayans and domras reduces technical and artistic opportunities of the orchestra, but at the same time makes the sound of the orchestra original and unique. Such "poor", in comparison with traditional, instrumental composition supposes higher demands to the repertoire. Small range of balalaikas and diatonic order of guslies (main instruments leading the melody) gives very narrow bounds for creating instrumentation of full value. Such simplified but not primitive orchestra sounding in combination with simple compositions gives the right to speak about "Zdravitsa's" own style. It may be characterized as "naive music"."

Yesterday (The Beatles), played by Russian Balalaika Orchestra 'Zdravitsa'

Posted by Ted at March 7, 2010 8:19 AM


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