Classical Tyro

A Beginner's Guide to Great Music

Falla, Fire Dance (1915)

This piece is taken from Manuel de Falla’s ballet El Amor brujo (The Bewitched Love). During the ballet, the ritual fire dance is performed by gypsies to help a widow exorcise the ghost of her dead husband. Originally composed for a small ensemble of winds and strings, this version is performed by a dozen cellos.

Crocellomania directed by Valter Dešpalj


Welcome to my blog, and let me begin by explaining what I mean by the phrase “classical tyro."

The term "classical" refers to the type of music I will discuss on this site. The term is often misused, and I will provide a precise explanation in the future. Until then, readers should know that I will be using the term in a general sense to describe a type of cultivated music that has stood the test of time. Even though Bach and Mozart have been dead over 200 years, people still enjoy listening to their music. For me, that's "classical."

The term “tyro” refers to a person who is trying to learn something new, someone who has only recently become acquainted with a subject. The term comes from medieval Latin and describes a young soldier, a recruit. I’m hoping that’s the audience I will find with this blog — people who are willing to become recruits to the world of classical music, people who will become soldiers for a type of music that can feed their souls and improve their lives.

And there it is. This blog is for people who are new to classical music. Read the blog and learn how Bach’s music differs from the music of Mozart and Beethoven. Learn how a concerto differs from a sonata. Learn about the structure of a symphony and why it matters whether the symphony was composed in C major or C minor.

If you know nothing or very little about the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, you have come to the right place. If you are unsure about the meaning of the terms “concerto,” “sonata,” “symphony,” “major,” or “minor,” I will eventually describe all of that and more.

I hope you enjoy the journey.