Analysis

Picture Perfect: A HyperHistory of Film Music in the United States

Nicole ZarayPhoto by Sean Gullette Do film composers ever get the fame they deserve? Probably not… They toil long hours for the Hollywood machine behind the heavy curtain of post-production, while the film’s stars and director are already sauntering through candid clips on Entertainment Tonight. Rarely do we see a film composer on prime time […]

Shelf Life: How Musical Reference Materials Treat American Composers

The two leading English-language reference works on composers of classical music, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, brought out new, vastly expanded editions in 2001. Nearby library shelves are sagging with smaller, more specialized recent books offering information on American composers living and dead. An unprecedented amount […]

Is There Really No Place Like Home?: American Composers Abroad

Guy Livingston Writing from Paris, in the beginning of the new millennium, the city of light seems pretty tame compared to its awesome role a century ago. From about 1880 until World War II, Paris was the rarely-contested center for new and avant-garde music, painting, and writing. This cultural hub attracted vast numbers of foreigners, […]

Freeze Frame: A Snapshot of Music Making on the Internet

with Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid Paul D. Miller’s Preamble: In an era of intensely networked systems, when you create, it’s not just how you create, but the context of the activity that makes the product. Operating systems, editing environments, graphical user interfaces—these are the keywords in this kind of compositional […]

On The Mark: The State of Digital Music Engraving

Steven PowellPhoto design by Melissa Richard In the beginning, when Ugh came up with a tune that the lovely Ugga found irresistible, his only method of preserving his musical masterpiece for future Uggies involved a sharp rock and a flat surface. As the results of this method proved to be difficult to transportóas well as […]

A Feat Beyond Certainty: American Composer-Choreographer Relationships

The Feet of Jennifer DunningPhoto by Melissa Richard The relationship of composer to choreographer had its certainties late in the 19th century. Ballet told stories. Both composer and choreographer had only to tell those stories of enchanted maidens, death-dealing vampires, and hapless princes with dependable dance rhythms and sufficient atmosphere. There were the Salieris, among […]

To What Degree: Teaching Musical Composition

Year after year and in ever-increasing numbers, eager young musicians seek admission to graduate and undergraduate composition programs. What attracts them to a pursuit that promises hard work, a decent amount of frustration, and limited financial rewards?