Walter Bitner

Home » 2015 » September

Monthly Archives: September 2015

Nashville Symphony Announces Accelerando

AccelerandoIn 2016, the Nashville Symphony will launch Accelerando, an intensive program designed to prepare gifted young students of diverse backgrounds for pursuing music at the collegiate level and beyond.

Accelerando seeks to create professional opportunities for musicians from ethnic communities underrepresented in today’s orchestras by providing them with instruction, mentorship, performance experience and assistance with applying for music schools.  With the resources of a major American orchestra, these students will be able to realize their full potential and will form the next generation of orchestra musicians.


Free Day of Music 2015

FDOM-800x800Here is your interactive, one-stop rundown of the Nashville Symphony’s 10th Annual Free Day of Music. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 10, as always at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Performances showcasing more than 20 different musical acts will be held from 11 am to 9 pm on four stages located both inside and outside Schermerhorn.  A diverse array of performers from throughout the community will present a wide range of musical styles including classical, jazz, rock, pop, Latin, traditional music from India and China, and much more.  Follow the links to learn more about each performer or ensemble.



Meet the Lute

Is it not strange that sheep’s guts could hail souls out of men’s bodies?

William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing,  2.3.57-58

musician angel by Rosso Fiorentino, circa 1520

musician angel by Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo), circa 1520

The first in a series of posts about the lute.

I would wager that while many, perhaps even most people in our culture have heard of the instrument called the lute and may even know what it looks like, most have never heard one played – either live or on a recording. Yet this paragon of musical instruments, this “instrument of angels” was the most popular instrument in Europe for hundreds of years.  Throughout the Renaissance, the lute occupied a position in European society analogous to that of the piano in the nineteenth century.  Lute virtuosi played for royalty and popes and were famous throughout the continent, and a rising middle class created demand for the new industry in printed sheet music, providing for music making at home.  The art of music took its place at the center of culture on an unprecedented scale. This musical revolution gave birth to the invention of the instruments we use today and intensified the position of music at the heart of both religious and secular ceremonies, while the public and royalty alike acknowledged famous musicians as celebrities and prophets.  At the forefront of all this was the lute – a symbol of music’s divine place in human life and the most popular musical instrument of the age.


Nashville is Music City

Lalo Davila & Friends hold forth at Conexión Américas' Hispanic Heritage Celebration #THELATINPARTY at The Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, September 12, 2015

Lalo Davila & Friends hold forth at Conexión Américas’ Hispanic Heritage Celebration #THELATINPARTY at The Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, September 12, 2015

This weekend has been a typical example of how incredibly diverse and dynamic the music scene is in this town – and I’m only speaking for events/activities I witnessed or was a part of.

For today’s post I depart from my usual in-depth-article format and bring to you a brief, breezy, gossip-column style rundown of my weekend.

As anybody who’s lived here for any length of time knows, this cornucopia of musical delights is typical of what Nashville has to offer on a regular basis.  It’s simply the best town to be a musician or a music lover in, period.


Solfège With Amadeus

SolfegePart4Part 4 of a 4-Part Series

Go to Part 1: The Joy of Solfège

Go to Part 2: The Legacy of Guido d’Arezzo

Go to Part 3: Teaching Music With Solfège

This Epilogue to my series of posts on Solfège recounts examples of solfège exercises I used in high school choir rehearsals, some anecdotes about singing Mozart’s Requiem on solfège syllables, and some unexpected things we learned from doing this.


Teaching Music With Solfège

Part3Part 3 in a 4-part series

Go to Part 1: The Joy of Solfège

Go to Part 2: The Legacy of Guido d’Arezzo

This is a simple but somewhat thorough description of the syllables for movable do solfège with la-based minor and how I applied them in my work as a teacher.  I do not claim this method as an example of haute Kodály, Gordon, or any other technique – for me solfège was always a means to an end, not an end in itself.  We used it for exercises to develop skills, and to learn notes accurately – and when these goals were achieved we left it behind.