Articles

Great Expectations: The Challenge of New Music In New Spaces

When new music groups perform in rock clubs and other similar venues they are counting on these spaces to recontextualize what they do. But what about the venues that make this recontextualization possible? How do their priorities differ from those of more traditional venues? They are an essential part of this trend, but do they know it?

Some Recent Silences

4’33” is often regarded as an end, a philosophical cul-de-sac, but over the course of six decades the negation of music has proved fertile ground for many composers. This appears to have been particularly true in the last 20 years or so, as though the noise of the avant garde’s war of words had itself to subside into silence before we could appreciate 4’33” on its own terms.

The Procedural Hows and Theoretical Whys of SoundCloud.com

SoundCloud.com has quickly become the default go-to site for music hosting by all manner of musicians. The following overview is intended to provide an introduction to making use of SoundCloud, including some tips for maximizing one’s efforts, as well as some passing contextual and tactical thoughts on why SoundCloud has proved as popular and functional as it has.

The ‘Woman Composer’ is Dead

It’s wonderful to celebrate the composers of our time, but lets do it by freeing them from our gender-burdened past. If we do this, then what happens to the ‘woman composer’? Well, we bury her.

A Federal Case for the Arts

Is the idea of government support for the arts un-American? On the contrary. It is as American as apple pie. In the early years of the republic, were our political leaders rubes when it came to music and other arts? Look again. Our iconic founding fathers Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and many of our subsequent presidents had signal public relationships to music and the arts.

Sounds Heard: Anatomy of a Truth-Bender

It’s easy to understand the appeal of an article like the Wall Street Journal‘s “Anatomy of a Tear-Jerker,” which purports to explain why Adele’s hit song “Someone Like You” makes people cry. Unfortunately, the article is marred by a number of scientific, musical, and aesthetic misconceptions, some glaring and some more subtle.

The Cycle of Get

From our earliest encounters with music, we are told tales of extraordinary accomplishment by musicians: stories so magnificent that no musicologist could hope to put them into context. It is absurd to think of Mozart applying for graduate school, but we scarcely question a cinematic portrayal of him dictating the Requiem from his deathbed.

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