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Listen to classical music means enjoying sound waves that are natural and unique and that have a richness of expression that artificial (pop) music is not capable of.

Brass means the family of metal wind instruments, as for example Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba and the French Horn. See our instrument-page for more information.


Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli
Composer of the renaissance time















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People today have a bad idea about what "music" really is, because what we hear all days on tv and radio has nothing to do with art. Popular music today is commerce, produced quickly and cheap with artificial sounds and digital enhanced voices, its content mostly is nothing then effects, claptrap without soul. The truth is that popular music from 500 years ago was an art already more advanced and modern then todays popular music.

For those new to classical music we want to suggest how to listen to our

Something that makes it difficult for a lot of people to understand classical music is that it mostly doesn't have a constant drumbeat. People are that habituated to listen to all music always accompanied by percussion that many never have learned to feel the rhythm of music without it, they first need to habituate to this. So we have some pieces in our repertoir that are based on dance- or march-music, they use some percussion and give us the possibility to gradually habituate by going more and more into pieces with less percussion.

Latin and pop music are body-oriented types of music that submit movement to the listeners with their strong accentuation of rhythm, while classical music is mainly a music of feelings that touches the mind and soul. There are of course always exceptions – music that combines or overlaps between the two kinds.

Most of classical music is instrumental (without singer) and does express its messages (feelings, images, stories) deeply only by using harmonies, melodies, rhythms and the characters of the different instruments. Popular music needs the sung text to express itself, because usually its stiles of composition are not able to transport messages. Thats why there is few popular music without sung text. Most popular music also is in such a way neutral in its musical expression that the texts or the music and melodies are completely exchangeable, any text could be used for any composition. It is valid to say that popular music is limited in its capabilities to express itself, for example it doesn't know the usage of dynamics (piano, forte) and usually it is composed only as a simple homophony and doesn't use changes of velocity, harmonics or instruments.

While classical music (also known as "art-music") is motivated by the composer's wish to express his feelings and intellect with his own personal style, and its creation and performance require a high level of certain skills, popular music is motivated by the wish to quickly make money and becoming famous, thats why it is also called "commercial music".

High velocity is a typical characteristic of our century (time = money) and this is favorizing popular music because it can be produced easy and instantaneous. Classical music is completely against this tendencies of our time. Natural instruments as the trumpet or violin for example, need to be studied and mastered during many years of daily practice before the musician is able to give an acceptable performance or to play in tune with a group. Popular music mostly is done in minutes just by mixing some digital sound samples.

In a time when there is nearby no music in our daily live that does not come from synthesizers and computers, natural sounds gain a new importance. Sounds from natural instruments are different on each performance. They depend on the condition and mood of the player at that specific moment. Artificial sounds coming from computers and keyboards are neutral, without soul – same as the machine that produces them. Furthermore the resonance of a big room enrichens the sound of natural instruments and the musician reacts by playing his timbre, dynamics and accents accordingly. Popular artificial and amplified music does not have this ability. Even in popular "live" music concerts all we hear is sound coming from speakers, amplified, electronically or digitally enhanced. Basically there is no difference between listening a CD and such a Concert, except maybe a different mixing – often not even the singing is live but just a playback.

Listen to classical music means enjoying sound waves that are natural and unique and that have a richness of expression that artificial music (pop) is not capable of. During a live classical music performance the sound comes directly from the artist to the listeners ear, without any distortion or manipulation in between and therefore it is a direct connection between the two.


This was the sacred and popular dance music that was played while Cartagena de Indias was founded in 1533. It was precisely the time when Venetian Renaissance composers like Andrea Gabrieli, and later his nephew Giovanni Gabrieli had a big influence on musical styles in Europe. Famous composers like Bach, Händel, Telemann or Vivaldi lived during the end of the baroque period, around 1700. The renaissance and baroque periods can be seen as the foundation of what we know today as the classical orchestra.

Despite that the music we are playing is about 500 years old, from a composition and expression level point of view, Renaissance music is far more advanced then todays popular commercial music. Many renaissance and baroque music uses polyphony and dyadic counterpoint to build complex melodic and rhythmic structures with each part being written generally against one other part, so that no instrument dominates the others but all together build into a higher structure. By comparison todays popular music is built by simple homophony – one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords. Thats basically the same scheme like popular music was in the middle ages played by a minnesinger, mostly voice only and later also accompanied by guitar cords and a tambourine.

From todays view we can say that homophony leaded the classical music into a kind of a poverty, it was not per se a progress like it was seen at that time.


GIOVANNI GABRIELI (ca. 1554 – 1612)
Giovanni Gabrieli worked for the Basilica San Marco di Venezia as did his uncle Andrea. Most of his work is sacred music he composed to be played specifically in this church with its two choir lofts facing each other, creating striking spatial effects (antiphon). He had some of the best musicians of his time at his disposal, such as trombone players, singers, violinists and himself as an organist. Gabrieli was the first to use carefully determined groups of instruments and singers, with precise directions for instrumentation, and in more than two groups. The acoustics in the church of San Marco are such that instruments, correctly positioned, can be heard with perfect clarity at distant points. Thus instrumentation which looks strange on paper, for instance a single string player versus a large group of brass instruments, can be made to sound, in San Marco, in perfect balance. Gabrieli also was possibly
the first to use dynamics (piano, forte) in his written work. He certainly was the earliest influential composer to do so.

Text: Thomas Hürlimann



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