Perceptions about music, perceptions that affect music, perceptions colored by music, perceptions expressed by music.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Top 50 Classical Music Blogs - Google Version
1 About Last Night: 8840 Terry Teachout (Crit)
2 The Rest is Noise: 6560 Alex Ross (Crit)
3 PostClassic: 2790 Kyle Gann (C)
4 On an Overgrown Path: 2580 Bob Shingleton (producer)
5 Sandow: 2560 Greg Sandow (Crit)
6 Adaptistration: 1890 Drew McManus (orchestra management)
7 Ionarts: 1880 Charles T. Downey (A)
8 Jessica Duchen: 1620 (Crit)
9 Sequenza21: 1560 Jerry Bowles (C)
10 Night after Night: 1410 Steve Smith (Crit)
11 Sounds and Fury: 1320 AC Douglas (L)
12 The Iron Tongue of Midnight: 1130 Lisa Hirsch (Crit)
13 Musical Perceptions: 1090 Me (A)
14 Mad Musings of Me: 1070 Gertsamtkunstwerk (O)
15 Classical Music: 1030 Janelle Gelfand (Crit)
16 Soho the Dog: 1020 Matthew Guerreri (C)
17 Think Denk: 919 Jeremy Denk (piano)
18 Oboeinsight: 864 Patty Mitchell (oboe)
19 Deceptively Simple: 851 Marc Geelhoed (Crit)
20 The Standing Room: 776 Monsieur C (L and voice?)
21 The Concert: 762 Anne-Carolyn Bird (voice)
22 Listen: 733 Steve Hicken (C and Crit)
23 Aworks: 722 Robert Gable (L)
24 Twang Twang Twang: 714 Helen Radice (harp)
25 La Cieca: 705 James Jorden (O)
26 Vilaine fille: 691 (Crit)
27 The Rambler: 654 Tim Rutherford-Johnson (A)
28 Wellsung: 622 Alex and Jonathan (O)
29 Violinist.com Diaries: 620 (violin)
30 The Well-Tempered Blog: 615 Bart Collins (piano)
31 Sieglinde’s Diaries: 614 Leon Dominguez (O)
32 Meanwhile, here in France: 603 Ruth (cello)
33 Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog: 563 (bass)
34Prima La Musica, poi le parole: 543 Sarah Noble (O)
35 An Unamplified Voice: 512 JSU (O)
36 Dial “M” for Musicology: 492 Phil Ford and Jonathan Bellman (A)
37 Felsenmusick: 470 Daniel Felsenfield (C)
38 Café Aman: 458 Anastasia Tsioulcas (Crit)
39 Roger Bourland: 447 Roger Bourland (C)
40 Daily Observations: 438 Charles Noble (viola)
41 Trrill: 426 Nick Scholl (O)
42 Renewable Music: 396 Daniel Wolf (C)
43 Chicago Classical Music: 363 (L)
44 Sound and Mind: 331 Kris Shaffer (A)
45 Loose Poodle: 329 Peter (the other) Kaye (C)
46 ANABlog: 310 Analog Arts Ensemble
47 Sounds Like Now: 309 Brian Sacawa (saxophone)
48 A View from the Podium: 307 Kenneth Woods (conductor)
48 NY Opera Fanatic: 307 Roy Wood (O)
50 In the Wings: 296 Heather Heise (piano)
The top 51 Classical Music Blogs - Technorati version
The list shows the rank, the blog, the TA, the author(s), and the category: C = composer, Crit = critic, O = opera, A = academic, L = listener, AD = arts director, and the rest are self explanatory.
Update: I've made a few corrections.
Update II: One more correction. Sorry for the error, Steve. And thanks to Marc for catching my mistakes.
1 Sequenza21: 783 Jerry Bowles (C)
2 The Rest is Noise: 650 Alex Ross (Crit)
3 About Last Night: 314 Terry Teachout (Crit)
4 Opera Chic: 181 (O)
5 Violinist.com Diaries: 158 (violin)
6 On an Overgrown Path: 144 Bob Shingleton (producer)
7 Ionarts: 133 Charles T. Downey (A)
8 PostClassic: 129 Kyle Gann (C)
9 Night after Night: 122 Steve Smith (Crit)
10 Soho the Dog: 120 Matthew Guerreri (C)
11 Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog: 112 (bass)
12 Sandow: 107 Greg Sandow (Crit)
13 Think Denk: 106 Jeremy Denk (piano)
14 La Cieca: 103 James Jorden (O)
15 Jessica Duchen: 93 (Crit)
16 Dial “M” for Musicology: 79 Phil Ford and Jonathan Bellman (A)
16 Sounds Like Now: 79 Brian Sacawa (saxophone)
18 Sounds and Fury: 76 AC Douglas (L)
19 Deceptively Simple: 74 Marc Geelhoed (Crit)
20 The Concert: 71 Anne-Carolyn Bird (voice)
21 Adaptistration: 68 Drew McManus (orchestra management)
22 The Standing Room: 65 Monsieur C (L and voice?)
23 The Iron Tongue of Midnight: 64 Lisa Hirsch (Crit)
24 Musical Perceptions: 62 Me (A)
25 The Rambler: 60 Tim Rutherford-Johnson (A)
26 Oboeinsight: 58 Patty Mitchell (oboe)
27 Collaborative Piano: 55 Chris Foley (piano)
28 CSO Bass Blog: 49 (bass)
29 Roger Bourland: 47 Roger Bourland (C)
30 A Singer's Life: 44 Michelle Bennett (voice) [stopped posting in September]
31 My Favorite Intermissions: 42 Maury D’annato (O)
32 Classical Life: 41 Timothy Mangan (Crit)
33 ANABlog: 40 Analog Arts Ensemble
34 Aworks: 40 Robert Gable (L)
35 Sieglinde’s Diaries: 39 Leon Dominguez (O)
35 Renewable Music: 38 Daniel Wolf (C)
36 Chicago Classical Music: 36 (L)
37 A Monk's Musical Musings: 35 Hucbald (guitar)
37 Musical Assumptions: 35 Elaine Fine (C and viola)
39 Brian Dickie: 33 (AD)
40 Catalysts & Connections: 31 Evan Tobias (education)
40 Listen: 31 Steve Hicken (C and Crit)
43 Mad Musings of Me: 30 Gertsamtkunstwerk (O)
43 Vilaine fille: 30 (Crit)
45 Terminaldegree: 29 (kazoo)
46 Wellsung: 29 Alex and Jonathan (O)
47 Thirteen Ways: 28 eighth blackbird (ensemble)
47 Wolf Trap Opera: 28 (O)
49 Today's Opera News: 27 Alan Foust (O)
49 The Well-Tempered Blog: 27 Bart Collins (piano)
51 A View from the Podium: 26 Kenneth Woods (conductor)
51 Classical Music: 26 Janelle Gelfand (Crit)
Friday, December 21, 2007
FriPod: Top 10
1. "Creep" by Radiohead, performed by the Edward Welles Quartet.
2. "Hope and Memory" by Howard Shore, from the Lord of the Rings, Return of the King soundtrack.
3. "Luna" from Ayre by Osvaldo Golijov, performed by Dawn Upshaw.
4. "God Only Knows" by Brian Wilson, performed by Petra Haden.
5. "Ich Klag Mein Not, O Herr Mein Gott" a 5, by Anonymous, performed by the Copenhagen Cornetts & Sackbutts and Ars Nova.
6. "Down to the River to Pray" performed by Alison Krauss on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
7. "Twilight and Shadow" by Howard Shore on the Lord of the Rings, Return of the King soundtrack.
8. "Sueltate las cintas" from Ayre by Osvaldo Golijov, performed by Dawn Upshaw.
9. Saltarello detto del Naldi by Giralamo Fantini, performed by The Parley of Instruments.
10. "I am a Man of Constant Sorrow" performed by The Soggy Bottom Boys on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
11. "Jesus Christus Nostra Salus" a 8, by Heinrich Fink, performed by the Copenhagen Cornetts & Sackbutts and Ars Nova.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Right now I'm watching a DVD of the Glyndenbourne Opera performing Stravinsky's Rake's Progress, thanks to Netflix. Anne is somewhat unclear in her diction, and Tom mugs directly to the camera, but the sets are interesting with their evocation of Victorian sketches, and the music has some beautiful moments, like "Never, Never."
Monday, December 17, 2007
I feel bad for the dreidel singer.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
SatPod: Snow and Wind
1. "Snow Dreams" by Joan Tower, performed by Carol Wincenc and Sharon Isbin. A very cold duet for flute and guitar.
2. "Dance of the Tumblers" from The Snow Maiden by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.
3. Dance Movements by David Snow, performed by the American Brass Quintet.
4. "Blowin' in the wind" by Bob Dylan, performed by Peter, Paul and Mary.
5. Gone With the Wind soundtrack, by Max Steiner.
6. "Gone With 'What' Wind" by Benny Goodman and Count Basie, performed by the Benny Goodman Sextet on Charlie Christian: Genius of Electric Guitar.
7. Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments by Frank Martin, performed by Richard Kapp and the Philharmonia Virtuosi.
8. Music for Eighteen Winds by John Harbison, performed by the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble.
9. Partita for Wind Quintet by Irving Fine, performed by the Dorian Quintet.
10. Quintet for Woodwinds by Jean Francaix, performed by the Dorian Quintet.
11. Scherzo for Woodwind Quintet by Eugene Bozza, performed by the Dorian Quintet.
13. Symphonies of Wind Instruments by Igor Stravinsky, performed by Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
14. Summer Music for Woodwind Quartet by Samuel Barber, performed by the New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble.
15. Symphony for Winds by Donald Erb, performed by the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble.
16. Variations for Wind Band by Ralph Vaughan Williams, performed by the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
17. Im Sommerwind by Anton Webern, performed by Christoph von Dohnányi and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.
18. "The Wind" by Russ Freeman, performed by Chet Baker on Chet Baker With Strings.
19. "Wind-Up" by Ian Anderson, performed by Jethro Tull on Aqualung.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Tradition and Innovation
Friday, December 07, 2007
FriPod: Academic to After
- It is the last week of classes, and I was trapped under ungraded exams and homework.
- I got my early midlife crisis, and I was trapped by Wii Sports and Paper Mario.
- I purchased several books, and I was trapped by Alex Ross and Stephen Ericksen.
- DePauw's Post-Classical Symposium demanded my attention, and I was trapped by a panel discussion and four awesome concerts (two not associated with the symposium).
- My furnace broke and kept me from seeing Alex Ross at the Hilbert Circle Theater, and I was trapped with two very cold cats.
- My uncle died and my marriage ended, and I was trapped in an uncommunicative funk.
1. Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80, by Brahms, performed by Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
2. Accellerationen by Johann Strauss, Jr., performed by Willi Boskovksy and the Vienna Philharmonic.
3. "Accidentally Like a Martyr" by Warren Zevon on Excitable Boy.
4. "Ach Elslein, liebes Elselein" by Ludwig Senfl, performed by the King's Singers.
5. "Ach Herre, Sehe Uns Genädig An" by Jørgen Presten, performed by the Copenhagen Cornetts and Sackbutts and Ars Nova.
6. "Ach, weh des Leiden" by Hans Leo Hassler, performed by the King's Singers.
7. "Acordes moy" by Antoine Busnois, performed by Piffaro.
8. "Addendum" for violin, cello and piano by Chick Corea on Works.
9. "Adieu Mes Amours" by Anonymous, performed by the Copenhagen Cornetts and Sackbutts and Ars Nova.
10. "Africa" by Arturo Sandoval on Danzón.
11. "Afro-Cuban Lullaby" (traditional) performed by Christopher Parkening.
12. "After Antietam" by James Horner on the Glory soundtrack.
13. "After The Thrill Is Gone" by the Eagles on Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 2.
14. "After You've Gone" by Creamer and Layton, performed by Roy Eldridge on Little Jazz.
Friday, November 30, 2007
FriPod: Psalm 100
1. Put your iTunes/ music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT*
4. Find a bit of lyrics from the song that matches the question.
*I'm altering this slightly, allowing me to skip music that doesn't have any lyrics (either performed or implied).
1. If someone says ‘Is this OK?’ you say?
"Why Are You Ladies Staying - Hark I Hear Some Dancing" by Thomas Weelkes, performed by American Brass Quintet.
Run apace and greet them/And with your garlands greet them.
2. What would best describe your personality?
"Als Nurenberg Belagert War" from Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg by Wagner.
I don't see any connection.
3. What do you like in a guy?
"Mario! Mario! Mario!... son qui" from Tosca by Puccini:
Um, a painting cavalier? A rebel? Let's go with artistic and socially active.
4. How do you feel today?
"Who am I?" from Les Miserables:
My soul belongs to God, I know I made that bargain long ago He gave me hope when hope was gone He gave me strength to journey on
5. What is your life’s purpose?
"Crux fidelis" from St. Luke's Passion by Penderecki.
Faithful cross, above all other, the one noble tree.
6. What is your motto?
"Tenderly", Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong:
The evening breeze caressed the trees tenderly The trembling trees embraced the breeze tenderly
7. What do your friends think of you?
"Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit" from Deutsches Requiem by Brahms:
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. [...]As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you.
8. What do you think of your parents?
"I Get Ideas", Louis Armstrong:
I want to hold you
This is the only part that seems appropriate.
9. What do you think about very often?
"Rose of the Rio Grande", Ivie Anderson:
Happy little bride and bridegroom [...]
I've got your loveness planned.
10. What does 2+2=
"Rompe Sprezza" by Scarlotti, performed by Wynton Marsalis and Kathleen Battle:
I can't find a translation, but this song is about a woman who callously breaks hearts. That's math for you.
11. What do you think of your best friend?
"Singt dem Herren, alle Stimmen" from The Creation by Haydn:
12. What do you think of the person you like?
"Kommt, Ihr Töchter, Helft Mir Klagen" from St. Matthew's Passion by Bach:
Just like a lamb
13. What is your life story?
"My Life", Billy Joel:
They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place / Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else / Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space / Either way it's okay, you wake up with yourself
14. What do you want to be when you grow up?
"An Die Turen Will Ich Schleichen" by Schumann, performed by Keenlyside.
quiet and humble will I stand
15. What do you think when you see the person you like?
"Ladies Night", Kool & the Gang:
You dance, you smile, the guys go wild
16. What do your parents think of you?
"Into the West", Annie Lennox (Return of the King soundtrack):
Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face? Soon you will see. All of your fears will pass away. Safe in my arms, you’re only sleeping.
17. What will you dance to at your wedding?
"Serenity (A Unison Chant) by Charles Ives, performed by Susan Graham:
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
18. What will they play at your funeral?
"Somebody Loves Me" by George Gershwin, performed by Ella Fitzgerald.
Somebody loves me, I wonder who, Maybe it's you.
19. What is your hobby/interest?
"Goody Goody" by Johnny Mercer, performed by Ella Fitzgerald:
So you lie awake just singing the blues all night, goody goody!
And you found that loves a barrell of dynamite!
20. What is your biggest secret?
"And He shall purify" from the Messiah by Handel:
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an
offering in righteousness.
That I've become religious? Not really a secret, but I don't evangelize to students or friends either. That my theology is more Jewish than Christian, though I label myself an Episcopalian? Not really a big secret either. And I'm not going to write my biggest secret here, that's why it's called a secret!
21. What do you think of your friends?
"Warum wollt ihr erschrecken?" from the Christmas Oratorio by Bach:
Instead be moved with gladness
I wish the best of them, try to support them in my flawed ways, am thankful of their support.
22. What should you post this as?
"Psalm 100" by Charles Ives, performed by San Francisco Symphony Chorus.
Shout for Joy
Thursday, November 22, 2007
- my family
- my friends
- the ability to love
- the ability to feel pain
- my career
- my students
- my counselors
- funny movies
- cute pets
- good food
- time's healing powers
- knowing when it's time to go to bed.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Now that's Interdisciplinary
(I blame Mind Hacks.)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So, where should I go to eat while in Baltimore? And any concerts happening there on Friday or Saturday evening (especially Saturday, there's no papers that night)?
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Oh, and so much for aiming for a wide audience:
Update: And I've officially reached the 100,000 viewers mark on my birthday! The viewer who made the milestone at 6:41 pm (ET) was from Austin, Texas. This person was looking for "journal articles does warming up your voice effect the pitch of your voice girls chiors[sic]". I'm guessing my blog was disappointing to this person, but a view is a view. Now to see if the Colts will give me another present. My kids gave me cold weather running gear: long-sleeved shirt, hat, gloves and socks. The socks aren't specifically cold weather, but they are specific running socks, a step up from my cotton footies that could've started eating up my feet with the longer distances I'm running. I look forward to trying out the new gear tomorrow.
Friday, November 09, 2007
2. "After the Thrill is Gone" by the Eagles on Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 2. I like this album, but this song is not one of my favorites. A little too country, though the vocal harmonies are nice. I'd replace "thrill" with other words, but I grok the sentiment.
3. "After You've Gone" by Creamer and Layton, performed by Roy Eldridge on Little Jazz. Rather cheery for the title, though perhaps it can teach me to rediscover joy. The lyrics focus on a vengeful schadenfreude, which I understand but am trying not to emphasize. Amazon MP3.
4. "After the War" from Different Trains by Steve Reich, performed by Kronos Quartet. Hypnotic, though some of the taped spoken words are too fuzzy in timbre. Slow change, nuances that are easy to miss, uncertain if we are going somewhere or where that destination might be. Just like life. Amazon MP3.
5. "The Night After" by Spang A Lang. This is a rock group of fellow Lawrence alums based in Minneapolis in the 90s. The synth sounds are a little dated, and the lead vocals are a touch too husky for my taste. "Time is damaging" not a refrain to which I want to subscribe.
6. "Sometime Later ... And After" by Bob Levy, on Did You Ever Cross Over To Sneden's? Rather abstract for a jazz album, but it fits Bob's persona. He knows what comes after. Turmoil, fear, anger, lost and alone, but found by others who understand.
7. Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy, performed by (a) Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, (b) Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I was doing a search for "apres" and this came up, even though it is really about an afternoon than being after something else. But it does capture many of the right emotions in a beautiful and sensual way. Amazon MP3.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Stewart, L. and Walsh, V. (2007) "Music perception: sounds lost in space," Current Biology 17/20, R892-3.
A recent study of spatial processing in amusia makes a controversial claim that such musical deficits may be understood in terms of a problem in the representation of space. If such a link is demonstrated to be causal, it would challenge the prevailing view that deficits in amusia are specific to the musical or even the auditory domain.Lahiri, N. and Duncan, JS. (2007) "The Mozart effect: encore," Epilepsy Behavior 11/1, 152-3.
We admitted for assessment a 56-year-old gentleman who had experienced gelastic seizures (laughing fits) since shortly after birth. He developed complex partial seizures during his teenage years and secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures in his midthirties...
It was agreed that he should be admitted for reassessment of his condition and to determine whether further surgical intervention could be of benefit.
A few months prior to his admission, he learned that Mozart's music had been used, with some success, to enhance spatiotemporal reasoning. He therefore began to listen to Mozart for an average of 45 min a day. He did not listen to one particular piece of music.
Before he began listening to Mozart, he was having gelastic seizures with intense laughter, in association with altered perception and experiential phenomena, at a frequency of five or six per day, as well as secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures at an average frequency of seven per month. Electroencephalography revealed some evidence of right hemisphere involvement during the seizures that lasted 15–30 s. Seizures also were associated with a brief rise in heart rate.
Within days of starting to listen to Mozart regularly, he noticed a difference in the pattern of his seizures. In the 3 months during which he had listened to Mozart, he did not have any secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures. He continued to have five gelastic seizures a day, but these manifested as simply a brief smile (5–9 s), which he could disguise in the presence of others; in addition, the altered perception and experiential phenomena ceased. [via Mind Hacks]
Both of these studies emphasize the connection between the abilities of music perception and spatial reasoning. Certainly we use plenty of words about space when describing music: high vs. low notes, fast vs. slow tempo, linear motion, etc. Could it be that these ideas arise from our processing of music through the spatial reasoning portions of the brain?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Shameless Self promotion
I was up on a cliff overlooking the quarry, while people strolled below on the various paths. I'm told my sound carried over quite a distance, so I hope it wasn't too annoying to the other musicians. As you can see from the video, it was rather difficult for the attendees to actually see me.
In other news, my tenure and promotion has been recommended by the School of Music Personnel Committee. Now it moves up to the University Committee on Faculty.
Beware the kutchy!
Friday, November 02, 2007
I've become ambient!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Retuning: Social bookmarks
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
1) "In the Devil's Snare and the Flying Keys" by John Williams on the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone soundtrack.
2) "The Devil's Dance" and "The Devil's Triumphant March" from L'Histoire du Soldat by Stravinsky, performed by Gerard Schwarz and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Amazon MP3, Amazon MP3.
3) "The Magic of Halloween" by John Williams on the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial soundtrack.
4) The Noon Witch by Antonin Dvorak, performed by Seiji Ozawa and the Wiener Philharmoniker.
5) "The Witch, Baba Yaga" from Fairy Tale Characters by Oleg Oblov, performed by the Aries Brass Quintet.
6) "Zombie" by the Cranberries on No Need to Argue. Amazon MP3.
7) "Ghost Dance" from Ancient Voices of Children by George Crumb, performed by Jan DeGaetani, Machael Dash, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Amazon MP3.
8) "(I don't stand a) Ghost of a Chance" by Victor Young, performed by Clifford Brown on Jazz 'Round Midnight.
9) Triskelion (Andante (with a ghostly quality)) by Bruce Adolphe, performed by the American Brass Quintet. Amazon MP3.
10) "The Superstitious Ghost" by Fred Himebaugh.
11) The Six Realms (1999-2000) For Amplified Cello And Orchestra: 3. The Hungry Ghost Realm, by Peter Lieberson, performed by Michaela Fukacova, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Justin Brown.
Monday, October 29, 2007
I wrote a brief post on a study of Pythagorean ratio rules and brain function, based solely upon the abstract of the article. Now I've read the article, and can answer some of the questions posed by me and others. Most importantly, the authors did not really test for Pythagorean ratio rules. Here is their justification:
For centuries after Pythagoras, his tuning system based on exact perfect consonances predominated. As Western music increased in complexity and range, however, slight modifications to the Pythagorean scale became necessary to preserve consistently tuned intervals across extremely large intervals (greater than one or two octaves) and small ones (half steps and intervals that are difficult to standardize using Pythagorean tuning). The difficulty arising from the increased range is apparent when one goes through 12 perfect fifths, for example, from the note C to a C seven octaves higher: the ratio of the harmonic to the fundamental starting tone is (3/2)
^12=129.746. Going from a C to one seven octaves higher via the octave route, however, produces a tone with a frequency that has a ratio (2/1)^7 = 128 times higher than the starting tone. This small difference ultimately requires some temperament or modification of pure harmonic intervals to construct and tune instruments that can play pieces written with tones that span multiple octaves. Numerous fixes or temperaments for this problem have been devised over the centuries. The one used almost universally today is known as equal temperament, inwhich the discrepancy of 1.746 is divided by narrowing each of the 12 previously perfect fifths in the seven-octave span, resulting in the 12 notes of the chromatic scale. Thus in equal temperament the fifths are no longer perfect, only close.
With this caveat of equal tempering – the temperament in which Western listeners are accustomed to hearing music – informing our search for neural correlates to the Pythagorean rules, we chose to study the neural activation pattern associated with hearing the perfect [sic] fifth (1.498:1), major sixth (1.682:1) and major seventh (1.888:1).
(The footnote cites Helmholtz. They couldn't find something a little more contemporary?) In addition, all of the "musician" participants were piano performance majors, which could bias certain brain responses to muscle memory activity. The purpose of this study was hidden from the participants, by throwing the intervals in after another listening test on sentences and progressions (probably like Steinbeis and Koelsch's experiment.) Overall, I believe the authors over-reached by claiming to test Pythagorean ratio rules. I believe they did find something about consonance and dissonance, but not specific to frequency ratios. Yet again, scientists really need to consult with theorists, so they don't make this kind of mistake. I think Tenney's A History of Consonance and Dissonance would be a great source of hypotheses to test.
Foss, AL. "Neural correlates of the Pythagorean ratio rules." Neuroreport 18/15 (October 2007) 1521-1525.
Friday, October 26, 2007
FriPod: Empty Sleep
1. "Empty" by The Cranberries on No Need to Argue. Amazon MP3.
2. "Empty Bed Blues" performed by Bessie Smith.
3. "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer from the Les Miserables Original Broadway Cast recording. Amazon MP3.
4. "Come, Heavy Sleep" by John Dowland, performed by Sting on Songs From the Labyrinth. Amazon MP3.
5. "Dreaming While You Sleep" by Genesis on We Can't Dance.
6. "Nowell, Nowell: Out of your Sleep" performed by the Indianapolis Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. Amazon MP3.
7. "Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty" by Maurice Ravel, performed by Christopher Parkening. Amazon MP3.
8. "Sleeping with the Television On" by Billy Joel.
9. "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" by Leon Rene, Otis Rene, and Clarence Muse; performed by Louis Armstrong. Amazon MP3.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Meme: Find me
1. Musical Perceptions (duh!)
2. Eighteen Days till Halloween (I've gotten a surprising number of hits from the MySpace News link on this story)
3. Purpose of Music
4. Quietest place on earth
5. Solfege battles
Scores just want to be free
In the meantime, Bob Kosovsky of the Music Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has provided some other sources of public domain scores:
Sheet Music Archive
Choral Public Domain Library
Chopin Early Editions
Werner Icking Music Archive
Indiana University's William and Gayle Cook Music Library, Variations
Eastman School of Music's Sibley Music Library, this service will take requests for public domain scores, putting all legal requests up on the website.
Monday, October 22, 2007
To provide a parallel example, the score of a Mozart symphony has an inherent intelligibility to those who know how to read music, and especially to those who are trained classical musicians. To me, who has a minimal ability to read music, and no musical training whatsoever, it is just notes on a page. However, this does not mean that even my amateur ears cannot pick out a Mozart symphony when I hear it played--at least those pieces with which I am familiar.
The intelligibility, however, is not provided by the listener, nor even by the classically trained symphony. Mozart who was, of course, part of a musical tradition himself, provided the intelligibility, and the trained musician does his best to be faithful to the text. Should a new Mozart score be discovered, trained musicians could play it because of its inherent intelligibility.
None of this has anything to do with “private judgment.” Someone (either with or without the relevant musical skills), who just decides to wing it as he goes along rather than follow the score, is not “playing Mozart.” Someone with amateur skills, who does her best to follow the score, will nonetheless be playing Mozart, even if not with the adequacy of a classically trained musician.
In both cases, the inherent intelligibility is in the text. In the former, it is ignored. In the latter, it is revealed. The question of whether or not the musician correctly interprets the text is not provided either by the private musician, or even by the skilled guild of classical musicians. It is only because the text has an inherent intelligibility that skilled (or even unskilled) musicians can listen to a performance, and respond: “That is (or is not) Mozart.”
I'm not going to attempt to argue about Scripture, but Witt's claims about Mozart were perplexing. It comes down to what a musical score is, and what relationship it has to a musical performance. Is the score of a Mozart symphony the actual symphony, or instructions on how to perform the symphony? I would say the latter. I disagree that the intelligibility of a performance "is not provided by the listener, nor even by the classically trained symphony." Those are exactly who determine the quality of the performance, with most of the emphasis on the listener. Thus to some listeners a Mozart symphony has no intelligibility, just as to some listeners a Schoenberg symphony has no coherence.
As for the dividing line between the performance being "Mozart" or "not Mozart," I think it is much more nuanced than Mr. Witt makes it. I've heard improvisations that are very much in the style of Mozart. Since they are inspired by Mozart's compositions, do they not have some "Mozart" in them? I've also heard performances of Mozart's compositions that were not played in the style that Mozart envisioned, and therefore did not sound like Mozart. Are they still "Mozart?" I'd argue that both of these situations have some "Mozart" as long as the listener (me) still perceives Mozart's influence (his intelligibility?).
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Corporations 5,312 - Public Interest 2
Friday, October 19, 2007
FriPod: Beginnings and Endings
2. "The Beginning of a Friendship" by John Williams, from the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial soundtrack.
3. "New Beginning" written and performed by Tracy Chapman on New Beginning. Amazon CD.
4. "Out Where the Blue Begins" by Graff, McHugh, and Grant; performed by Henry "Red" Allen And His Orchestra.
5. "End Credits" by John Williams, from the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial soundtrack.
6. "The End of a Love Affair" by E.C. Redding, performed by Wynton Marsalis on Popular Songs: The Best Of Wynton Marsalis. Amazon MP3 of Kenny Dorham Quartet version.
7. "The End of All Things" by Howard Shore on the Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King soundtrack.
8. "End Titles" by John Corigliano on the Red Violin soundtrack.
9. "Endless Parade" by Harrison Birtwistle, performed by Hakan Hardenberger.
10. "Lands End" performed by Clifford Brown on Jazz 'Round Midnight. Amazon MP3.
11. Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen, performed by (a) New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble, (b) Chamber Music Northwest. Amazon MP3 of movement 5, my favorite.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Eighteen Days till Halloween
Mommy spider whispering something to her eighteen babies so that no ones ear can hear. Mommy werewolf howled at the moon so all seventeen pups really could hear. Mommy vampire sat there quietly watching her sixteen little ones trying to quietly hunt. Mommy vampire bat fluttering quietly as her fifteen babies tried to not make a sound on their evening hunt. Mommy ghost and her fourteen kids making such a racket going through walls. Mommy ghoul went chompity chomp with her thirteen children very loudly. Mommy Frankenstein moaned softly in to the wind her twelve babies copied they moaned loudly in to the wind. Mommy dragon flew gracefully her eleven children followed not making a peep hoping not to be seen. Mommy dwarf and her ten kids hurried along making such a racket they woke everyone from their sleep. Mommy skeleton rattled her bones loudly her nine children copied and rattled their bones quietly. Mommy troll grunted and groaned soft and loud her eight kids moaned and groaned and grunted. Mommy giant stomped her feet her seven kids stomped it made noise like thunder. Mommy witch cackled as her six kids did a very noisy trick. Mommy demon burned some trees with one big crack her five kids burned some bushes with one small ssssssss. Mommy mummy is moaning, groaning, grunting and squealing her kids only moan and groan but what a racket did those mummys make. Mommy devil and her three kids were trying to be very quiet on that night of hunting hopes and spirits. Mommy cat said as her two kittens played we must meow loudly so they did. Mommy pumpkin and her one little pumpkin just sat there not making a peep. Well now you read about the mommy monsters and baby monsters they all want to say BOO!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Brass intonation, mostly secure throughout, fell apart during the familiar opening toccata of Monteverdi’s opera “Orfeo.” Execution improved when the trumpeters switched to cornettos, narrow wooden horns that provided more flexibility but less heft. For anyone seeking an explanation for the invention of the modern trumpet, here it was.
Playlist for Chickens
1. Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Get the hens all strutting about the power of birds, especially if they are more familiar with the Fantasia 2000 version than the ballet version. Laying waste to acres of forest is more empowering than being kidnapped by a sorcerer.
2. "Blackbird Variations" by Robert Dennis, performed by the American Brass Quintet on New American Brass.
3. "The Birds Will Still Be Singing" from Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet's collaboration, The Juliet Letters.
4. Anything performed by eighth blackbird.
5. Maybe Spring and Summer from the various 4 seasons works by Vivaldi, Piazzola, etc.
6. Likewise Copland's Appalachian Spring.
7. And Crumb's Music for A Summer Evening.
8. And Summer Music for Woodwind Quintet by Samuel Barber.
9. Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, "Pastoral."
10. Chabrier's Suite Pastorale.
I deliberately stuck with only classical music, based on the article's findings. What other music will make the hens lay more eggs?
Friday, October 12, 2007
2. "A Heart Full of Love" from Les Miserables Original Broadway soundtrack. A sad love triangle, I find myself empathizing with Eponine.
3. "Heart, We Will Forget Him" by Aaron Copland, performed by Arleen Augér on Arleen Auger, American Soprano. From Copland's Emily Dickinson songs, I'm not ready for the darkness of this one.
4. "Heartache Tonight" written and performed by The Eagles on Eagles Greatest Hits Volume 2. "There's nothing we can do." "Everybody wants to touch somebody." Truth is found in California country rock.
5. "Hold On My Heart" written and performed by Genesis on We Can't Dance. While I really liked the This American Life episode that showed Phil Collins talking about heart-break songs, I find myself increasingly annoyed by his work. This song, however, is one of the more tolerable ballads, excepting Tony Banks' soulless keyboards.
6. "I'll Follow My Secret Heart" by Noel Coward, performed by Arleen Augér on Arleen Auger, American Soprano. Why keep it secret? I've been learning that open vulnerability is a good thing.
7. "My Foolish Heart" by Victor Young, performed by Bill Evans on Waltz for Debby. This performance gets all of the nuances, from hope to fear, love to anger, joy to sadness.
8. "My Heart" by Lilian Armstrong, performed by Louis Armstrong on The Hot Fives & Sevens, Vol. 1. Lil was Louis' second wife and a fine jazz musician in her own right. This Dixie styled piece gives some bounce that was missing from this playlist.
9. "Of One Heart, Of One Mind" by James Horner, from A Beautiful Mind soundtrack. I like this cut, especially since it quotes the title song. How much can a heart stand? How do changes in the mind affect two hearts?
10. "Piece of My Heart" by Rogovoy and Burns, performed by Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. In the Wikipedia article, Ellen Willis is quoted giving two different interpretations: "When Franklin sings it, it is a challenge: no matter what you do to me, I will not let you destroy my ability to be human, to love. Joplin seems rather to be saying, surely if I keep taking this, if I keep setting an example of love and forgiveness, surely he has to understand, change, give me back what I have given." I think both views can coexist, self preservation and hope.
11. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (and reprise) by Lennon and McCartney, performed by The Beatles on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. These are not about the heart, but instead are a prologue and conclusion to the fake concert.
12. "Shape of My Heart" written and performed by Sting on Ten Summoner's Tales. The lyrics suggest that we have control of our own heart, it isn't controlled by fate (as represented by the cards). But the mask isn't good news, perhaps he is fooling himself that the cards don't show the shape of his heart.
13. "Thy rebuke hath broken His heart" from Messiah by George Handel, performed by John Aler; Andrew Davis, Toronto Symphony, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. I found this blog post that has some relevance to my thoughts right now.
14. "Two Hearts" by Lamont Dozier and Phil Collins, performed by Phil Collins on Serious Hits...Live! Ack.
15. "Unchain My Heart" by Teddy Powell and Robert Sharp, Jr., performed by Ray Charles on Ray! Ray's woman has left him, but he feels she hasn't released his love. This is tricky, when two hearts have been entwined. How do they become separate, especially when one person leaves the other? Is Ray's heart his own responsibility, that he should unchain his own heart? Or does his ex-lover still have control that she needs to relinquish? Does she need to give him permission to stop loving her? Is it possible to stop loving someone?
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I... Like Candy
H. Le Guellec et al (2007). "Cartoon music in a candy store: a field experiment." Psychological Reports 100, 1255-1258.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
One point about this study that Dave didn't emphasize is the bimodal distribution. Many people, myself included, regard absolute pitch as an ability that exists on a continuum. But most of the participants of this study either had no AP ability, or had very strong AP ability. Some of this might be due to the task, unlike the Levitin study that showed how many people can sing their favorite music within a semitone of the correct key.
Mind Hacks on epilepsy in rap music.
The Last Protestant Dinosaur on 20 ways to make the Episcopal liturgy more welcoming. Points 5, 6, 9, 15, 16, and 20 are about the music. One quote: "THE GLORIA (ack, ick,) this is praise? no, this is impenetrable dogma set to shitty music."
I like the Gloria's from most of the masses sung at the cathedral. And priests have such potty mouths!
The Chicago Cultural Center is hosting a discussion on the music industry going green.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Messiaen the Theologian
Friday 12 and Saturday 13 October 2007
The Boston University Messiaen Project [BUMP] and oliviermessiaen.net are hosting an international conference 'Messiaen the Theologian' at Boston University on 12 & 13 October, 2007. As we move to the centenary of Messiaen's birth (born 10 December 1908), this conference will explore one of the least understood and least discussed aspects of the composer. We will explore Messiaen's theological training, the context of Catholic theology in France in the twentieth century and his personal theology as it is expressed in his music.
This free conference includes a recital of music by Messiaen and Debussy, and a screening of "Apparition of the Eternal Church" by Paul Festa.
The Critics Speak
A public conversation with music critics Tim Page (The Washington Post) & Anthony Tommasini (The New York Times)
Sunday, 14 October 2007
Hill Hall Auditorium
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Saturday, October 06, 2007
End Bird Discrimination Now!
After this training the five remaining birds were exposed to Bach's Orchestral Suite, BWV 1068, and Schoenberg's Five Orchestra Pieces Op. 16. Positive food reinforcement continued for each relevant group, and all but one bird were able to discriminate the new Bach and Schoenberg to a significant level. That one bird who couldn't discriminate was in the Bach group. A second test replaced the Bach music with Vivaldi's Violin Concert in A minor, RV 356, and Schoenberg's music with Elliott Carter's Variations for Orchestra (1955). All five birds were able to distinguish between these new pieces successfully. The authors note here that a 1984 study by Porter and Neuringer showed that pigeons were able to generalize from Bach to Buxtehude and from Stravinsky to Carter and Piston.
Another interesting result was that two birds who had not shown any preference between Bach/Vivaldi and Schoenberg/Carter were still able learn to discriminate between the two types of music. Thus the lack of preference was not from a lack of ability to tell the difference, but rather from personal taste.
S. Watanabe and K. Sato, "Discriminative stimulus properties of music in Java sparrows." Behavioural Processes, 47 (1999), 53-57.
Friday, October 05, 2007
2. Three Places in New England - 2. "Putnam's Camp, Redding, Connecticut" by Charles Ives, performed by (a) the Philadelphia Orchestra, and (b) San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas.
3. "Florida Stomp" by Battle, Eldridge, and Hart; performed by Roy Eldridge on Little Jazz.
4. "Georgia Grind" by A. Williams, performed by Louis Armstrong on The Hot Fives & Sevens, Vol. 1.
5. "Georgia on my mind" by Hoagy Carmichael, performed by Ray Charles (twice) on Ray!
6. "Sweet Georgia Brown" by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, and Kenneth Casey; performed by (a) Bud Powell on Jazz Giant and (b) Ella Fitzgerald on Compact Jazz.
7. "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" by Ballard McDonald and James Hanley, performed by (a) Art Tatum on Solos (1940) and (b) Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, and Clark Terry on The Trumpet Kings at Montreux.
8. "The Lost Souls (Of Southern Louisiana)" performed by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Open Up (Whatcha Gonna Do For the Rest of Your Life?)
9. "Louisiana/Field Song from Senegal" traditional.
10. "Bright Mississippi" written and performed by Thelonious Monk (quartet) on Monk's Dream.
11. "Stop in Nevada" written and performed by Billy Joel on Piano Man.
12. "New York State of Mind" written and performed by Billy Joel on Turnstiles.
13. "Tennessee Waltz / Tennessee Mazurka" by Redd Stewart & Pee Wee King, performed by The Chieftains with Tom Jones on The Long Black Veil.
14. "Moonlight in Vermont" by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf, performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on Jazz Masters 24.
15. "I'm Coming Virginia" by Will Marion Cook, performed by Benny Goodman on Live at Carnegie Hall.
16. "Tides of Washington Bridge" by the Clogs on Lantern.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Pythagoras in the Brain
I haven't yet had a chance to read the full article to see whether the intervals were actually played in just intonation, how many intervals were played, and how many participants were in the study (fMRI studies usually have smaller numbers due to the expense of MRI time). If the intervals were played in equal temperament, that would go against the whole ratio-rule interpretation.
AH Foss, EL Altschuler, and KH James. "Neural correlates of the Pythagorean ratio rules." Neuroreport 18, no. 15 (2007), 1521-1525.
Friday, September 28, 2007
FriPod: Be the Beginning
2. "Be with you" written and performed by U2, a cool live version with guest artists (including a choir!) joining in.
3. "Beatam Me Dicent a 6" by Heinrich Finck, performed by the Copenhagen Cornetto & Sackbutts with Vocal Group Ars Nova on Winds and Voices 1: at the Court of King Christian III.
4. Beatrice et Benedicte: Overture by Hector Berlioz, performed by Yuri Temirkanov and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
5. "Beats Brand X" by Alex Temple, 12 March 2007 performance.
6. "Beautiful" by Steven Sondheim, performed by
7. "The Beautiful Galathea" by Franz von Suppé, performed by the John Foster Black Dyke Mills Band on Overtures.
8. "Before I Gaze At You Again" by Frederick Loewe, performed by Arleen Augér on Arleen Auger, American Soprano.
9. "Begin The Beguine" by Cole Porter, performed by Art Tatum on Solos (1940).
10. "The Beginning of a Friendship" by John Williams, on the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial - Remastered & Expanded soundtrack.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
How singers are like drummers
William Forde Thompson and Frank A. Russo, "Facing the Music," Psychological Science Vol. 18 no. 9(Sept. 2007), 756-757.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
RIP Bruce Benward
Dr. Bruce Benward, an eminent pedagogue and influential scholar, died on September 15, 2007 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He served as professor of music theory for 30 years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Music. Prior to that, he spent two decades as professor of music and chair of the Music Department at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Benward also served as Florida State University’s distinguished visiting professor of music theory in 1992. He earned his master’s degree from Indiana University in 1943 and his Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music in 1950.
During his career, Benward published several landmark music theory textbooks, including Music in Theory and Practice, Ear Training: A Technique for Listening, Sightsinging Complete, and Practical Beginning Theory: A Fundamentals Worktext. He is credited for being on the forefront of computer-assisted music instruction, having authored or coauthored several pieces of computer software. Throughout his career, he made presentations at conferences and workshops across the country for various professional organizations. In 1995, he founded the Macro Analysis Creative Research Organization, an organization dedicated to music theory pedagogy.
Among his many honors, Benward received the Trochos research grant from the IBM Corporation in 1985 for the development of instructional programs for microcomputers. He was awarded the Joe Wyatt Challenge Award in 1991 and was listed among 100 other technological leaders. At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he was voted as one of the “Top 100 Educators.”
As an examiner for the National Association of Schools of Music, Benward visited more than 50 accredited universities in the United States. He served on the editorial boards for Computers in Music Research, College Music Symposium, Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, and Schirmer Books. Benward also served as president of the National Association of Music Schools of State Universities.
Schenker's tonality, Part I
First, there was the tone. This tone creates overtones, the images of which create the triadic chord, called the Chord of Nature. Most contemporary theorists ignore the chord of nature part of Schenker's theory, for reasons that I listed here. Instead, we accept that Schenker's tonality is based upon the triad, and upon major or minor modes. These postulates are accepted because the music literature of 1600-1880(ish) exhibit this behavior and the analyses based upon Schenker's theory work with this starting postulate. Recent theories suggest that jazz tonality is based upon the seventh chord rather than the triad.
This triadic chord is unfolded through time by stepwise descending motion in the upper voice, from either the third or fifth* of the chord to the root tonic, which Schenker calls the fundamental tone**. Schenker equates this melodic motion, the fundamental line(Urlinie) with our own life-impulses, striving towards a goal. The melodic motion is accompanied by an arpeggiation in the lower voice up a fifth and back down again, as a foundational counterpoint. Why the fifth? From the overtone series, but also from contrapuntal practice: in three-voice strict counterpoint, if the closing scale degrees 2 and 7 are in upper voices, only scale degree 5 is allowable to complete the triad, and was the only leaping bass line found at the close (same as a cadence) in modal counterpoint.
Schenker has a few terms for this counterpoint: background, fundamental structure (Ursatz), and diatony. This fundamental structure is further expanded through middleground and foreground levels by transformations, prolongations, and elaborations, until the actual musical composition is realized (the surface level). The fundamental structure provides the unity, the primary identity of the tonal piece, by marking the goal and the direct path to that goal. Schenker defines "tonality" as the sum of the fundamental structure with all the elaborations and prolongations.
I'll stop here for the first part, quoting from p. 5 of Free Composition:
As the image of our life-motion, music can approach a state of objectivity, never, of course, to the extent that it need abandon its own specific nature as an art. Thus, it may almost evoke pictures or seem to be endowed with speech; it may pursue its course by means of associations, references, and connectives; it may use repetitions of the same tonal succession to express different meanings; it may simulate expectation, preparation, surprise, disappointment, patience, impatience, and humor. Because these comparisons are of a biological nature, and are generated organically, music is never comparable to mathematics or to architecture, but only to language, a kind of tonal language.
Next time I will describe dissonance as it affects the fundamental structure, and begin to explain the transformations that elaborate this fundamental structure.
* Schenker does allow for the traversal of an octave, from root down to root, but later analyses show that he doesn't think it is very common.
**Or at least that is how Ernst Oster translates it from the german.