Analysis

Style Points

Assorted spices on wooden background

Looking around, listening around, culture is as stylistically non-hegemonic as I’ve ever experienced. But parallel to that is a kind of greater semiotic compartmentalization: the vast majority of cultural artifacts I encounter keenly announce their stylistic allegiance early and often.

Trauma, Meaning, and The Quietest of Whispers

Evan Ware listening to rehearsal of his music

Evan Ware suggests that his piece is an invitation for an interpretative dialog between his listeners’ experiences and his music’s ingrained symbols. Yet, even if we accept this premise, how do we evaluate the way pieces of music, and their composers, foster the formation of listeners’ interpretations?

Who is Creative Placemaking? New Music, Integrity, and Community

Who Is Creative Placemaking?

In the past four years, a new cash spigot has been cranked open for contemporary arts funding across the nation: Creative Placemaking. If current arts policy trends continue, then new music’s institutional vibrancy might depend on how it fits into this rubric, interfacing with communities on levels rarely considered in the past such as neighborhood pride, commercial impact, and livability.

The Score Has Got You By the Short Hairs

By Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Assumptions are baked into every aspect of music notation, often layered one on top of the other, and they color the kinds of music we can make. Make too many wrong assumptions about a notation and you’ll quickly dig yourself into a hole.

Jazz Audience Development: The Gender Factor

International Sweethearts of Rhythm

Casual observation of the audience for jazz reveals that it is predominantly male, which also reflects the average jazz band personnel. One wonders aloud whether consumers witnessing more women on the bandstand might ever translate to an increase in women in the jazz audience.

Fair Trade for Sheet Music

Deep Sea Food Chain

In a world that increasingly relies on the economy of free, it’s important to establish that some things aren’t free, and in fact have an actual dollar value associated with them. I sincerely believe that we, as a society, can’t claim to value something—be it an object, a service, or our culture in general—if we refuse to ascribe an actual price to it or to some part of it.

Digital Audio Workstations: Notation and Engagement Reconsidered

Logic Pro screen cap

Despite an engineer or producer’s best attempts, a new work cannot pass transparently through a DAW; there are always stopgaps, enhancements, deletions, and tweaks being exerted that, I think, fundamentally color the recorded piece as separate from the composer’s instruction and the performer’s execution. This begs the question of how best to characterize the DAW’s everyday impact on our musical world.

Morton Subotnick’s Sidewinder

Sidewinder

I appreciated the rigor and austerity of Stockhausen’s Hymnen and Mantra and some of the Columbia Princeton recordings as a high school senior, but it was Subotnick’s Touch and Sidewinder that provided aesthetic enjoyment. The music was alive, organic in its flowing movement, and—particularly appealing to me—playful.

Music, MOOCs, and Copyright: Digital Dilemmas for Schools of Music

Berklee MOOCs

At first glance, the opportunity to take free online courses from some of the country’s most prestigious universities sounds great. But for some educational stakeholders, these classes represent a threat to higher education as we currently know it. So, what are the risks and what are the benefits for the music field?

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