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The History of Grove Music: an interactive timeline

Since 1873, Grove Music has expanded from one piece of hardbound reference detailing the work and lives of musicians to becoming a powerful online encyclopedic database that serves to educate the world about music. George Grove, founder of the Grove dictionaries, was motivated by the lack of music reference works available to scholars and music professionals.

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The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part two

The infrequency of two high-profile songsters or their representatives going all the way to trial over claims of copyright infringement means that such a case usually receives heightened public scrutiny. This is especially so when mere sampling of the plaintiff’s song is not at issue. In recent years, few cases have drawn more public attention than the dispute between the Marvin Gaye estate and singer/songwriter Robin Thicke and song producer Pharrell Williams, over whether the song “Blurred Lines” infringed Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up.”

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Kurt Cobain, making comedy of commercialism

The release of Brett Morgen’s documentary Montage of Heck has inspired new discussions of the legacy of Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana frontman who upended popular music before committing suicide in 1994. Few artists have straddled the line between nonconformity and commercialism like Cobain. Consider the three-album arc of his band’s life: though Nirvana boasted of producing its debut album Bleach for $600, Cobain became a Generation X icon by releasing its follow-up, Nevermind, on a major label, and by having a hit single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” that dominated MTV.

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The truth will set you free

First of all, gratitude. Gratitude to Opera Parallèle for its consistently high quality productions of contemporary works, and for their extensive educational outreach program; more specifically, for its new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, featuring revised scoring for smaller orchestral ensembles—a revision that loses nothing and makes the piece more accessible for smaller companies.

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The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one

A peppy beat and bassline. Cowbell. An ecstatic whoop in the background. Make a note, because all these elements now belong to family of Marvin Gaye. Or do they? The recent verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the ‘Blurred Lines’ case has perplexed followers of the music industry. One might think the ruling was a vindication of the rights of artists, but composers like Bonnie McKee see it differently.

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Advocacy and pedagogy in secondary school singing

Music as a school subject, it so often seems, retains its apparently perilous position in the school largely as a result of the unstinting pressure of advocacy groups. The 2004 Music Manifesto that underpins much of the current drive to keep school music alive was unashamedly “a voluntary, apolitical 13-strong Partnership and Advocacy Group”.

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Death and all of his tunes

Whether they be songs about angels or demons, Heaven or Hell, the theme of the afterlife has inspired countless musicians of varying genres and has embedded itself into the lyrics of many popular hits. Though their styles may be different, artists show that our collective questions and musings about the afterlife provide us with a common thread across humanity. Here are some of the songs that best represent this wide range of emotions that many people have about what lies beyond.

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Six features of hip hop poetry

Hip hop has increasingly influenced a new generation of American poets. For instance, the current issue of Poetry excerpts poems and essays from the recently published anthology, The BreakBeat Poets, edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall. In the anthology’s introduction, Marshall asserts: “This is the story of how generations of young people reared on hip-hop culture and aesthetics took to the page and poem and microphone to create a movement in American letters in the tradition of the Black Arts, Nuyorican, and Beat generations and add to it and innovate on top.”

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Learning country music in the digital age

Recently reading through the Notes and Discographies section of Greil Marcus’s book Mystery Train (first published in 1975), I was struck by Marcus’s meticulousness when it came to recommending records.

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A Jazz Appreciation Month Playlist

Established in 2001, Jazz Appreciation Month celebrates the rich history, present accolades, and future growth of jazz music. Spanning the blues, ragtime, dixieland, bebop, swing, soul, and instrumentals, there’s no surprise that jazz music has endured the test of time from its early origins amongst African-American slaves in the late 19th century to its growth today.

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Nostalgia and the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards

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.

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“Under the influence of rock’n’roll”

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?

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Iconic trumpet players who defined jazz history

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.

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Nicolas Nabokov: a life in pictures

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.

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Religion in and beyond A Love Supreme

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.

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When is it Fiddle time?

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:

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