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FEBRUARY 16, 2010   

PIzzicato, pianissimo,

Detail of text from Understanding the Fundamental of Music booklet...and Mozart's Miniature Schnauzer.

It's only been a week since I started listening to lectures on CD about the fundamentals of music. Already I know that when the performer plucks the strings of the violin it's called pizzicato.

When the composer wants the music to be played very softly it's marked pianissimo.

And Mozart "couldn't write a bad piece of music if you held a gun to the head of his Miniature Schnauzer."

All of this information is courtesy of Robert Greenberg and The Teaching Company. Greenberg is a composer and lecturer with a snarky sense of humor that I didn't like at first. I'm used to it now and often laugh out loud listening on my drive to school. Think the NPR Car Guys, but only one of them who mercifully doesn't force gales of laughter at how funny his last remark was.

I look forward to each new lecture, even wish my drive to work was a little longer so I could hear the entire 35 minutes at once. Instead I usually end up with 5-10 minutes that carry over to the next day. Tomorrow, according to the booklet that comes with the course, I'll learn about percussion instruments, maybe answering one of my long-standing concert questions: what's up with the triangle?

Incidentally, according to WikiAnswers Mozart's dog was actually an English terrier named Miss Bimperl, often called Bimps, which translates to Spot. But you have to admit, Mozart's Miniature Schnauzer sounds funnier.

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