Sturdy idiophone ubiquitous among dress shoe-wearing cultures. Rising to prominence during 15th century England, the shoehorn has today become one of the most widely used instruments in the world. This notoriety had lead many scholars to suggest that the shoehorn stands as Britain’s crowning contribution to contemporary music culture.
We’re getting ready for the annual American Musicological Society Conference, beginning 11 November 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. From panels to performances, there’s a lot to look forward to. We asked our past and present attendees to tell us what make AMS and Louisville such exciting places to be this month.
Depending on your tastes, bagpipes are primal and evocative, or crude and abrasive. Adore or despise them, they are ubiquitous across the city centers of Scotland (for tourists or locals?). In anticipation of St Andrews Day, and your Robert Burns poetry readings with a certain woodwind accompaniment, here are 10 facts you may not have known about the history of the bagpipes.
If you’re a parent, or soon to be one, you’ll know that the imminent arrival of a newborn generates above all else a mile-long shopping list. Up there with the organic cotton onesies, on many parents’ list is a CD entitled The Mozart Effect.
When Obama ran for president in 2008, there’s no question that hip hop artists provided a vital soundtrack for his campaign. Energized by the possibility that Obama could become America’s first black president, deeply optimistic tracks like Will.i.am’s “It’s A New Day” and Kidz in the Hall’s “Work to Do (Obama 08)” celebrated Obama’s historic presidency.
Imagine someone close to you disappears. She no longer shows up on the day on which she always visited. She does not call or write. No one says where she has gone or if she is coming back. To make matters worse, you cannot ask about her. You experience feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment, and grief, to name a few. The only way you have to express yourself is through your behavior.
In today’s society, technology is fundamentally embedded in the everyday learning environments of children. The development of educative interactive apps is constantly increasing, and this is undoubtedly true for apps designed to facilitate musical development. So much so that computer-based technology has become an integral part of children’s musical lives
In 1598, Jacopo Peri’s Dafne premiered in Florence. It is widely considered to be the first opera, that genre of classical music in which a dramatic work is set to music. Over the last 400 years it has evolved into numerous different art forms, from the ballad opera of the eighteenth century to the musical theatre of today, and influenced other genres, from the development of symphony to the ragtime music of the early 20th century.
Although there are several different bell-shaped brass instruments, from trumpets to tubas, it’s the French horn that people are talking about when they mention “the horn”. Known for its deep yet high-ranging sound, the French horn is an indispensable part of any orchestra or concert band.
How do opera and philosophy intersect? At first glance, this might seem like a strange question, for opera and philosophy are unlikely bedfellows. To speak of philosophy conjures up images of dry abstraction and bookish head-scratching, whereas to talk of opera is to call to mind cacophonous spectacles of colours and voices, of multitudinous audiences enthralled by impassioned song.
Every day after school, eager children cross the doorstep of a suburban Melbourne house. It’s the home of Daphne Proietto, an exceptional piano teacher who gives lessons to children six days a week, entirely pro bono. While some kids would be more inclined to see piano lessons as a chore, these kids can’t wait. The reason? Music for them is more than just an activity.
If your experience of school music was anything like mine, you’ll recall those dreaded aural lessons when the teacher put on a recording and instructed you to identify the instruments, to describe the main melody, to spot a key change, perhaps even to name the composer.
The popular music industries of the 1960s produced thousands of recordings with each studio relying on an infrastructure of producers, engineers, music directors, songwriters, and, of course, musicians. In recent years, documentaries have introduced us to instrumentalists and singers who formed the artistic backbones of America’s major studios.
It was midnight and I had just slumped into bed, exhausted after one of my first days on-call as a new intern, and still adjusting to life in a new apartment. As my nagging reflections on the day were just beginning to subside, insistent knocking at my door jolted me back to alertness. Dragging myself out of bed to open the door, I was surprised to see a diminutive elderly lady who appeared quite perturbed.
What has history got to do with music? Music, surely, has to do with the present moment. We value it as a singularly powerful means of intensifying our sense of the present, not to learn about the past. If we listen to Mozart, it’s for pleasure, not for a snapshot of Viennese life in the 1780s. Nevertheless, that begs the question why we take pleasure in something from such a distant time and place.
This year, 2015, has been quite a year for Cuba. Starting in January with President Obama’s announcement that the United States and Cuba will re-establish diplomatic and economic relations, followed by Pope Francis’s visit to the island earlier this month, Cuba has been under the global spotlight.