The country music tradition in the United States might be characterized as a nostalgic one. To varying degrees since the emergence of recorded country music in the early 1920s, country songs and songwriters have expressed longing for the seemingly simpler times of their childhoods—or even their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods. In many ways, one might read country music’s occasional obsession with all things past and gone as an extension of the nineteenth-century plantation song, popularized by Pittsburgh native Stephen Collins Foster, whose “Old Folks at Home” (1851) and “My Old Kentucky Home” (1853) depicted freed slaves longing for the simpler times of their plantation youths.
Rock’n’Roll music has defied its critics. When it debuted in the 1950s, many adults ridiculed the phenomenon. Elvis, Chuck Berry, and their peers would soon be forgotten, another passing fancy in the cavalcade of youth-induced fads. The brash conceit, “Rock’n’roll is here to stay,” however, proved astute. Why were American adults and, for that matter, their Soviet counterparts frightened of rock’n’roll?
Since emerging at the beginning of the 20th century, jazz music has been a staple in American culture. Historians are not clear on when exactly jazz was born or who first started playing it, but it can be agreed upon that New Orleans, Louisiana is the First City of Jazz.
Composer, cosmopolite, cultural force, Nicolas Nabokov (1903-1978), first cousin of Vladimir Nabokov (the author of Lolita), came to prominence in Paris in the late 1920s with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. He then emigrated to America, returning to Europe in postwar Germany and subsequently as head of the Congress Cultural Freedom, for which he organized groundbreaking festivals. A tireless promoter of international cultural exchange, he was also remarkable for the range of his friendships, from Balanchine to Stravinsky and from Auden to Oppenheimer.
John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, which the famed saxophonist performed live only once, has the distinction of being one of jazz’s most widely celebrated yet imperfectly understood recordings. At its half-century, the devotional piece is seen as the culmination of Coltrane’s “dark night of the soul,” the sound of his heroic overcoming, and his personal entreaty to the divine.
How do you create a repertoire for all levels of learning in music education? Kathy and David Blackwell’s repertoire for beginner to intermediate string players covers a huge range of styles whilst introducing new technical points in a step by step way. Their Fiddle Time, Viola Time, and Cello Time series offer attractive tunes that are fun to learn and provide quality teaching material. Find out how and why they wrote their very first tunes for young string players:
Since Beethoven’s death on this day 188 years ago, debate has raged as to the cause of his deafness, generating scores of diagnoses ranging from measles to Paget’s disease. If deafness had been his only problem, diagnosing the disorder might have been easier, although his ear problem was of a strange character no longer seen. It began ever so surreptitiously and took over two decades to complete its destruction of Beethoven’s hearing.
“Blurred Lines” and Thicke’s overwhelming success have been eclipsed by the popularity of the recent federal court case, in which a jury decided that its creators infringed upon the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 Billboard Hot 100 chart topper, “Got to Give It Up.”
What were the first musical instruments to be regularly played in public concerts by entire orchestras of British women? The answer may surprise you. From the mid-1880s until the First World War, hundreds of “Ladies’ Guitar and Mandolin Bands” flourished throughout Britain, including several consisting entirely of female members of the aristocracy.
Fifty-nine years ago this month, My Fair Lady made its debut on Broadway to a rapturous critical response. It became the longest-running musical to date, and was a landmark in the genre.
In honor of the countless phenomenal women who have shaped the music industry, we’ve pulled together a playlist highlighting our favorite boldest and brightest female voices who have made a lasting impression in music.
Even though the harp is Ireland’s national symbol, the fiddle is the most commonly played instrument in traditional Irish music. Its ornamental melodies are more relaxed than the classical violin and improvisation is encouraged. The fiddle has survived generational changes from its start as a low-class instrument popular among the poor.
That Beethoven welcomed the French Revolution and admired Napoleon, its most flamboyant product, is common knowledge. So is the story of his outrage at the news that his hero, in flagrant disregard of liberté, égalité, fraternité, had had himself crowned emperor: striking the dedication to Napoleon of his “Eroica” symphony, he addressed it instead “to the memory of a great man.”
At least a decade prior to the recording of the first “hillbilly” records in the 1920s, journalists were writing about rural music-making in the United States, often treating the music heard at barn dances, quilting bees, and other rural social events as curious markers of local color. Since the emergence of country music as a recorded popular music in the 1920s, though, the press’s fascination with the genre has not waned.
Who was Nicolas Nabokov? The Russian-born American composer had a huge impact on music and culture globally, but his name remains relatively unknown. He had friends and acquaintances in a variety of circles, whether his cousin the writer Vladimir, the poet Auden, or the choreographer Balanchine.
In 2005, Ms magazine published a conversation between pop singer Lesley Gore and Kathleen Hanna of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Hanna opened with a striking statement: “First time I heard your voice,” she said, “I went and bought everything of yours – trying to imitate you but find my own style.”