Author Archives: Isaac Schankler

Where Do You Work?

For a while it seemed to me like every successful composer was telling the same story about their working habits—get up early in the morning, maybe have breakfast, then write music for several hours straight. It’s funny how this pattern used to feel like a prison to me, and now it feels like a vacation.

Changing the Concert Ritual

My main issue with the traditional concert ritual is not that it’s intimidating, necessarily, but that it’s based on an unspoken and faulty assumption.

Elitism and Eclecticism

The idea that elites congratulate themselves on their eclectic tastes, while not recognizing that they are class-determined, is thought-provoking and significant. The reality, however, is certainly at least a little more complicated; for one thing, you certainly don’t need to be painfully wealthy to have eclectic tastes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Experimental

Morricone’s theme for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is almost certainly the most recognizable piece of music that he’s written. It’s been referenced and parodied so many times that it’s become easy to take for granted, and harder to hear just how strange and original it is.

Beyond Sound and Science: Musicians, Researchers, and the Next Spotify

Musicians and researchers must work together to build a streaming music service that is musically and technologically sophisticated, appealing to audiences, fair to musicians, and conducive to direct engagement between the two. We must be involved in this next phase of creation, or we leave the future of music up to others.

Between Sound and Science

The more I hang out with scientists and engineers—and this seems to happen more and more often these days—the more I feel like an incorrigible composer. No matter how much knowledge and lingo I absorb, it sometimes seems that our goals or areas of concern are fundamentally different.

Alien Music

When I listen to this kind of music, I imagine I am like an animal listening to human music, perceiving some dim reflection off a distant surface.

An Audience of Performers, Part 1

Following up on some loose threads from last week’s post, I’d like to delve a little further into the many-layered and non-transparent relationship between composers, performers, and listeners in music.


Why is indeterminacy still looked upon with such suspicion in the new music world, 100 years after John Cage’s birth?