Warning!!!!!! Flashing Lights
2CELLOS – Vivaldi – ‘Storm’

The Beatles: A Musical Appreciation and Analysis:

PARIS – April 15th, 2019
Although the 7,900 organ pipes of the Des Grande Orgue du Notre Dame de Paris (Cavaille-Coll -1868) survived the fire largely unscathed (some pipes date back to the 15thc.), the organ is still in need of extensive restoration. Recordings made before the fire:

Bach: Sinfonia, Cantata BWV 29

Bach:Agnus Dei, Mass in B minor

Charles-Marie WidorToccata (1879):




Julliard Historical Performance Program


A Day in the Life:

‘Baroque’ as a Second Language:

Julliard 415 -Terpsichore with Historical Performance and Dance:


Alana Youssefian, baroque violin, is an recent alumna of the Julliard Historical Performance Program:

Vivaldi – Violin Concerto, RV 212

La Follia – Improvisation:

Bach – Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006:

Vitorio Monti – Czardis


  • In what way(s) did the late 19thc. Pleyel harpsichord differ from an original 17thc/18thc harpsichord?
  • Name two of the early 20thc. pioneers of harpsichord performance.
  • What is a Zuckermann ‘Z box’?
  • Choose one of the 4 contemporary pieces for harpsichord listed in BEEP 21Describe the piece, and offer a critique – likes/dislikes/reasons.
  • A baroque keyboard instrument can be tuned to a number of different ‘temperaments’ e.g, ‘Werkmeister’, or Valotti’. What are the advantages/disadvantages compared to using ‘equal temperament’?
  • Describe one example of the traditional European folk instruments listed in BEEP 22.
  • Describe one example of the non-European string instruments listed in BEEP 23.
  • Describe each of the ‘Four Humours’ described by the Greek physician, Galen c. 200 AD.
  • What were willow leaves and bark used for in traditional medicine in the baroque era (and during the previous 2000 years)? What is the chemical substance in willow, and other genus Salix trees & shrubs, that in a synthesized form was used to make a well known and effective medication named …………………………….. in 1899? This medication is on the World Health  Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines.
  • Summarize the Evolution of the Violin Bow, 1540-2019. e.g. shape, makers, materials, hair tension, bow-hold etc.

Richard Webb 




Folías de España

Less Well Known Baroque Stringed Instruments

The Evolution of the Violin Bow:

17th century MEDICINE

In 17th-century Europe people were not aware that disease was spread by germs, and did not think of washing their hands before eating so diseases could spread quickly. People dreaded catching malaria, and cholera (both prevalent in parts of Europe in 17thc. and beyond), which they thought came from a poisonous gas called ‘miasma’ from sewers and cesspits. Doctors still believed the ideas of a Greek physician called Galen. He thought that the body was ruled by four humours, or fluids, which determined what your personality was and how you reacted to various diseases. The four humours were :

  • Blood/Sanguine – hot: fiery personality
  • Phlegm – cold: calm personality
  • Yellow bile – dry: bad-tempered personality
  • Black bile – moist: melancholy personality

In China, plants have been used for medicinal purposes for 4,500 years and some of these were brought to Europe. Many European plants, such as foxglove and marshmallow, were also used to treat illnesses. As well as these, doctors believed in the power of powders said to be made from strange ingredients such as horn from the mythical unicorn, and bezoar stone (made famous again in J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter books), which was claimed to be the tears of a stag turned to stone. Live worms, fox lungs (for asthma), spiders’ webs, swallows’ nests and the skulls of executed criminals were also highly sought-after ingredients.

Leeches are a type of slug-like worm, used for thousands of years to reduce blood pressure and cleanse the blood. A leech placed on the skin will consume four times its own weight in blood, and with the blood the toxins that produce diseases. While the leech is sucking it releases a chemical called hirudin, which prevents coagulation, or clotting of the blood. Fevers were thought to be the result of too much blood in the body: doctors deliberately cut veins or used leeches to release this ‘bad’ blood.

A Frenchman named Ambroise Pare discovered that the best way to treat a wound was not to put boiling oil on it, as had previously been the practice, but instead to apply a cold lotion made of egg yolk, oil of roses and turpentine. William Harvey published De Motu Cordis in 1628, determining the function of the heart & circulation of blood, using dissections and other experimental techniques – a great step forward in the understanding of working of the human body. New medications which became popular included tobacco, coffee, tea, and chocolate: all of them were first used as medicines!

In England, herbal treatment reached its peak of popularity with the publication of the Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper: The English Phystian, 1652. He described and illustrated many plants, and suggested medicinal uses for each plant. One such was the herb Wintergreen, which contains salicin, a natural form of the painkiller. Some advances in medicine came about through treating soldiers and sailors on the battlefield.

By the end of the 17th century, a more clinical and scientific approach to health, based on actual observation, gradually began to appear. This laid the foundations for the much greater medical progress in the 18thc. century and 19thc.

Wintergreen, The English Physitian, Culpeper:
“…Wintergreen is a singularly good wound herb, and an especial remedy for healing green wounds speedily; the green leaves being bruised and applied, or the juice of them. A salve made of the green herb stamped, or the juice boiled with hog’s lard, or with salad oil and wax, and some turpentine added to it, is a sovereign salve, and highly esteemed by the Germans who use it to heal all manner of wounds and sores. The herb boiled in wine and water, and given to drink to them that have any inward ulcers in their kidneys, or neck of the bladder, doth wonderfully help them. It stays all fluxes, and may take away any inflammation rising upon pains of the heart”.

Richard Webb


Spontaneous synchronization

64 metronomes are started at different times, but all of them amazingly synchronise themselves together. How can this be possible? The phenomenon was first observed by Christian Huygens,  17thc. Dutch scientist & horologist.

Virtual History of Château de Versailles 1634 – 1774

Virtual Baroque Dance:

Virtual Baroque Organ:

Virtual Dutch Baroque Architecture:

Examples of Non-European Bowed String Instruments






Central Asia








North Africa


West Africa




Persia – Iran



History of the mechanical Metronome:

Richard Webb


The Spirit of Baroque Dance


Masquerade Ball scene from Sofia Coppola’s 2006 movie – Marie Antoinette:


Examples of Traditional European Folk String Instruments:




Hardanger Fiddle:





Estonia – Sweden
















Celtic Harp:










Richard Webb

Congratulations Disneyland Tour Success!

I would like to congratulate everyone on an incredibly successful tour together to Disneyland. It was great to be a part of such a positive group and so fulfilling to see everyone having such a great a time together. I appreciate all the students following instruction so well and doing your best to represent your school in a positive way the entire trip. I am blessed to have so many dedicated and committed students in the DHS Orchestra Program.  

Musically you should all be very proud of yourselves. You all did a wonderful job in your festival performances and recording sessions. Festival results are below and I will share your recording studio videos with you when we return to school as well as the festival judges recorded audio comments. 

Symphony Orchestra- Won “Best Overall Orchestra” with a rating of Superior and a perfect score from both judges (which I have never seen happen at a festival). One of the judges said it was the best high school performance he has ever witnessed in his 20 years of doing festival adjudications!

Baroque Ensemble- Won “1st Place” with a rating of Superior. The entire festival staff said they stopped to listen to this group and the judges were so impressed that we have such a unique group in our program. 

Chamber Orchestra- Won “5th place” with a rating of Superior. I am very proud of you all! Bravo!

The judges said it is very unusual for them have so many orchestras participating in one festival from multiple schools and for all of them to be rated Superior. 

Huge thanks to our Trip Coordinator, Jill Bonner: Jill, you did such an expert job organize the logistics so our tour ran smoothly from beginning to end. The entire program thanks you for for dedication and commitment to helping to make the trip a memorable experience for all! 

Thank you as well to all of our fearless chaperones who gave of their time and resource to share this experience with the program and help us all stay happy, healthy, and organized the entire tour. We appreciate all of you very much!


  • Catherine Allday- Davis (Trip Doctor) 
  • Judy Catambay- Snack Coordinator
  • Andy Fell -Bus B Lead Chaperone
  • Hiram Jackson- Director’s Assistant
  • Stephanie Manansala- Snack Coordinator
  • Danny Maurantonio- Bus A Lead Chaperone
  • John Tyner – Super Dad of the Year
  • Stasia Tikkanen- Trip Photographer
  • Ethan Walsh- Super Dad of the Year

We also thank our Principal Tom McHale for agreeing to travel with us and the Band Program. He told me at 3:30 am when I dropped him off at his home, to tell you all he had an excellent time and was so proud and excited to share in the Orchestra Program’s success musically and organizationally. 

Lastly, I’d like to thank all the students and parents on Bus A for your patience last night. We had one of our bus drivers complain of feeling ill and was forced to pull over on the side of the road because he was nauseous so we made the decision to call for a replacement driver for him so that students were not at risk. Thank you to all the Bus B students who came to pick up their luggage this morning due to the delayed bus arrival. Everyone handled this unforeseeable issue very well and we all appreciate that everyone got home safe.