About Bridges to Artistry
The 23 pieces in each book are etudes that develop sensitivity to the different intervals and the ability to sing and hear them accurately. We envision this book being used and enjoyed by voice teachers and students, music theory students, and any instrumental musician.
Intervals are more than the bridges between tones; they are the relationships between neighboring pitches. Music is really about feeling the depth of these complex relationships. Sensitizing ourselves to intervals and singing them accurately is the basis for musical confidence, thus building a bride to artistry.
Etudes, Not Exercises
The idea behind this book is that “immersion” in one interval develops a sensitivity toward its particular nature. This sensitivity cannot be cultivated through mechanical drill and exercise—music must be present for musical feelings to be awakened and engaged! So the pieces in this books are songs first and foremost, not exercises. If a song we created for this book wasn’t a piece that both of us really enjoyed playing, it didn’t make the final cut.
Many of the pieces in the collection feature both of the two kinds of intervals in a group. For example, I Dream of a Day alternates between the interval of a minor 6th and major 6th. This contrast helps clarify the character of each interval.
How the Book is Organized
The pieces in this book are organized by intervals—seconds first, moving up to sevenths. Within each interval group, the songs are arranged from easiest to hardest. There are four contrasting songs (in terms of both level and style) for each of the smaller intervals (seconds, thirds, and fourths), three songs for each of the larger intervals (fifths, sixths, and sevenths), and two songs for the relatively rare interval of a tritone. Teachers and students are encouraged to pick the songs in each group that they find most fitting and engaging.
Most of the songs are in modern—yet melodic and listenable—idioms. There are is a Debussy-like whole-tone piece, a song in Neapolitan style, and a popular ballad. There are also songs in styles such as upbeat swing, blues, and Latin. Voice teachers familiar with the Vaccai Practical Method of Italian Singing by Nicola Vaccai could consider this book to be a modern incarnation of that outdated volume and a replacement for it.
In the back pages of this book are brief descriptions of the various songs, their respective styles, and performance suggestions.
The piano parts in this book are as easy as they can be to still have the desired effect. Since they are usually repeated without variation for ease of reading and playing, feel free to embellish and vary them, especially when repeating. This was the common practice in Baroque times!
Easier piano parts make it possible for many more teachers to accompany themselves and their students, and for more students to accompany themselves at home. In addition, simpler piano parts can be transposed with greater ease. Some of the pieces can even be played by piano students in their first year of study, so many more people will be able to make music together.
For performances, an “advanced piano version” of this book is currently being prepared. This volume will be suited to pianists who have many years of experience.
A few of the pieces (Calypso Time, Come to Rio) have what appear to be challenging syncopated rhythms. However, we purposely used a single syncopated rhythm pattern throughout the entire piece. And so, these pieces are etudes in rhythm as well as etudes in intervals.