Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Leisure

Book thumbnail image

10 fun facts about the banjo

By Sarah Rahman
The four-, five-, six- stringed instrument that we call a ‘banjo’ today has a fascinating history tracing back to as early as the 1600s, while precursors to the banjo appeared in West Africa long before it was in use in America. Explore these fun facts about the banjo through a journey back in time.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Does the “serving-first advantage” actually exist?

By Franc Klaassen and Jan R. Magnus
Suppose you are watching a tennis match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The commentator says: “Djokovic serves first in the set, so he has an advantage.” Why would this be the case? Perhaps because he is then ‘always’ one game ahead, thus serving under less pressure. But does it actually influence him and, if so, how?

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Getting to know Grove Music Associate Editor Meghann Wilhoite

Since joining the Grove Music editorial team, Meghann Wilhoite has been a consistent contributor to the OUPblog. Over the years she has shared her knowledge and insights on topics ranging from football and opera to Monteverdi and Bob Dylan, so we thought it was about time to get to know her a bit better.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Lady: One woman against a military dictatorship

By Roberta Seret
When Luc Besson finished filming The Lady in 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi had just been released from being under house arrest since 1989. He visited her at her home in Yagoon with a dvd of his film as a gift. She smiled and thanked him, responding, “I have shown courage in my life, but I do not have enough courage to watch a film about myself.”

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Scoring independent film music

Ever wondered what goes into scoring film music? Is the music written during filming? Or is it all added after the film is finished? Regular OUPblog contributor Scott Huntington recently spoke with film composer Joe Kraemer about his compositional process, providing an inside look at what it’s like to score music for an independent film.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

New questions about Gustav Mahler

For many years, scholarship on composer Gustav Mahler’s life and work has relied heavily on Natalie Bauer-Lechner’s diary. However, a recently discovered letter, introduced, translated, and annotated by Morten Solvik and Stephen E. Hefling, and published for the first time in the journal The Musical Quarterly, sheds new light on the private life of the great composer.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Music parenting’s unexpected, positive benefits

By Amy Nathan
When parents sign up kids for music lessons, probably first on the list of anticipated outcomes is that their youngsters’ lives will be enhanced and enriched by their involvement with music, possibly even leading to a lifelong love of music.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Hannah Arendt and crimes against humanity

By Roberta Seret
The powerful biographical film, Hannah Arendt, focuses on Arendt’s historical coverage of Adolf Eichmann’s trial in 1961 and the genocide of six million Jews. But sharing center stage is Arendt’s philosophical concept: what is thinking?

Read More
Book thumbnail image

A 2014 summer songs playlist

Compiled by Taylor Coe Now that summer is finally here — dog-eared paperbacks and sunglasses dusted off and put to good use — it’s also time to figure out what we should be listening to as we loll about in the sun.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

World Cup plays to empty seats

By Irving Rein and Adam Grossman
Stunning upsets. Dramatic finishes. Individual brilliance. Goals galore. The 2014 World Cup has started off with a bang. Yet, not as many people as expected are on hand to hear and see the excitement in venues throughout Brazil. Outside of the home country’s matches, there have been thousands of empty seats in stadiums throughout the tournament.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Composer and cellist Aaron Minsky in 12 questions

We asked our composers a series of questions based around their musical likes and dislikes, influences, challenges, and various other things on the theme of music and their careers. Each month we will bring you answers from an OUP composer, giving you an insight into their music and personalities.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Post-Hay Festival blues

By Kate Farquhar-Thomson
Despite the wet and muddy conditions that met me at Hay, and stayed with me throughout the week, the enthusiasm of the crowd never dwindled. Nothing, it seems, keeps a book lover away from their passion to hear, meet, and have their book signed by their favourite author.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Behind-the-scenes tour of film musical history

As Richard Barrios sees it, movie musicals can go one way or the other — some of them end up as cultural touchstones, and others as train wrecks. In his book Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter, Barrios goes behind-the-scenes to uncover the backstories of these fabulous hits and problematic (if not exactly forgettable) flops.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Songs of the Alaskan Inuit

Music today is usually categorized by the genre to which it most stylistically relates. A quick scroll through the iTunes genres sections reveals the familiar categories, among them Rock, Pop, R&B/Soul, Country, Classical, and Alternative. Songs or musical compilations today seem to have a readily apparent identity.

Read More