What is a keytar, anyway? Well, along with being (to me) the coolest electronic instrument ever, it’s a midi controller-sometimes-synthesizer that you can wear over your shoulder like a guitar.
Today we’re here to talk about the word “bae” and the ways in which it’s used in hip hop lyrics. “Bae” is another way of saying babe or baby (though some say it can also function as an acronym for the phrase “before anyone else”). Here are some examples.
American composer and self-proclaimed “bad boy of music” George Antheil was born today 114 years ago in Trenton, New Jersey. His most well-known piece is Ballet mècanique, which was premiered in Paris in 1926
Perhaps you saw that Dr. Pepper ad in which Ravens kicker Justin Tucker shows off his opera chops, singing in a quite lovely bass-baritone voice. Well, we saw it, and it got us thinking: have there been other opera-singing American football players?
The 6th of November is Saxophone Day, a.k.a. the birthday of Adolphe Sax, which inspired us to think about instruments that take their name in some way from their inventors (sidenote: for the correct use of eponymous see this informative diatribe in the New York Times).
Beginning the 26th of December, a globe-spanning group of millions of people of African descent will celebrate Kwanzaa, the seven-day festival of communitarian values created by scholar Maulana Karenga in 1966. The name of the festival is adapted from a Swahili phrase that refers to “the first fruits,” and is meant to recall ancient African harvest celebrations.
Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi died 370 years ago today, so what better way to remember him than with the following fun facts.
Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki (pronunciation here) celebrated his 80th birthday over the weekend. As Tom Service has pointed out in the past, you’ve probably already heard some of Penderecki’s famous pieces from the 1960s, which feature in several films from directors such as David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese.
Today is the birthday of a composer who writes in a radically different musical style than many of us are accustomed to hearing on a day-to-day basis, as we sit on hold with the doctor’s office or hum along with the music piped into the aisles of the grocery store.
In my last post I wrote about little known composer Sophie Elisabeth. Today’s subject, Francesca Caccini, is somewhat better known. The last decade or so has seen a renewed interest in her work.
An intriguing post popped up in my Tumblr feed recently, called “The all-white reinvention of Medieval Europe” from the blog Medieval POC. Both in this post and generally throughout the blog the author makes the point that “People of Color are not an anachronism.”
Not only does Will and Kate’s royal wee one now have an ASDA parking spot, there’s another nice surprise awaiting his or her arrival: a specially-composed lullaby, called “Sleep On”. It’s a sweet little tune, written by Welsh composer Paul Mealor.
The centenary of the 29 May 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is being celebrated by numerous orchestras and ballet companies this year, which is always worth mentioning when that first performance incited a riot. The ballet (also performed as an orchestra piece) depicts a collection of pagan spring rituals involving fortune telling, holy processions, and culminating in l’élue (the elected one) dancing herself to death.
Somehow, I’ve made it into my 30s without ever having listened to Bob Dylan‘s first album. That is, not that I can remember; my mother informed me over the weekend that I indeed heard it many times as a young one, but truth be told I don’t remember much from my diaper-wearing days (but we’ve already gone over how terrible my memory is).
In December I blogged about composers whose works challenge listeners to reconsider which combinations of sounds qualify as music and which do not. Interestingly, The Atlantic recently ran an article relating the details of a study that tested how much of our perception of what is “music” – in this case, pleasant, consonant music – is learned (and thus not innate).
I have a confession to make: I have a terrible memory. Well, for some things, anyway. I can name at least three movies and TV shows that Mary McDonnell has been in off the top of my head (Evidence of Blood, Donnie Darko, Battlestar Galactica), and rattle off the names of the seven Harry Potter books, but you take away that Beethoven piano score that I’ve been playing from since I was 14, and my fingers freeze on the keyboard.