Friday, December 04, 2009

Blogroll update

I've finally gotten around to (partially) updating my blogroll, because I finally got around to reading through my old emails that were piling up and got some link exchange requests that prompted the editing. One particular new blog that I want to highlight is The Taruskin Challenge, by Zach Wallmark and Mark Samples. I met Zach at an improvisation conference a few years ago, where he gave a great paper on the jazz pianist Andrew Hill. Zach and Mark are working their way through Richard Taruskin's Oxford History of Western Music, ten pages at a time. As this is a 5-volume set, they will have fodder for quite some time. Right now they are up to Josquin, and are having an interesting debate about the musical "middle" as inspired by Tinctoris' description of the middle style. One thing I like about their blogging style is the Week in Review, which oddly falls on a Wednesday. They summarize the previous week's worth of posts, which is very helpful in providing a larger picture than the 10-pages posts can give by themselves.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Rocking' the Advent

After spending the first Sunday of Advent at a Lessons and Carols in Indianapolis, and preparing to perform in another Lessons and Carols this weekend, it is only fitting that I pass along this announcement from Amazon: from today through Christmas Day, Amazon will be giving away a free mp3. Each day will feature a new song, "hand picked by Amazon MP3 editors" that is appropriate to the holidays. You can treat this as your own musical advent calendar. Today's free song is "Joy To the World" by Casting Crowns, which looks like a Christian Rock group. The press release by Amazon names Tori Amos and Lady Gaga as other artists on the list, and suggests that "traditional classics" will also be included. I'm guessing that I'll end up deleting many of these songs, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Bad Musicologist, Bad!

This video has been making the music scholarship rounds, as a poke at musicology:

While I acknowledge the humor to a certain extent, I have to say that our knowledge of events 1000 years ago is more complete than the video suggests. Yes, the average person on the streets may think that Charlemagne and Emperor Constantine lived at the same time, but the historians would never make that mistake. And while music creates it's own issues given the possibilities of losing audio evidence, thus giving rise to the performance at the end of the video, academics are also careful not to make claims that don't have clear evidence. Joining Scottie Pippin to the Beatles, and the Beatles playing in the Super Bowl, would take some massive misunderstandings of our current culture, suggesting that a major cataclysm wiped out practically all of our cultural products, like recordings, posters, books, and Larry King. And that doesn't match with our experience of the last 1000 years. After all, Larry King is still alive.