Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Celebrating Samuel Barber and his Adagio for Strings

Today we celebrate what would have been American composer Samuel Barber’s 107th birthday. Upon the composer’s death in 1981, New York Times music critic Donal Henahan, penned an obituary that asserted “probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim.”

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Bob Dylan’s complicated relationship with fame [excerpt]

Bob Dylan’s playful and at times antagonistic relationship with the press dates back to his early years on the folk scene in New York. When asked about his identity by straight- laced reporters with buzz cuts and sport coats, he frequently answered sarcastically: “a trapeze artist,” “a song and dance man,” “an ashtray bender,” and “a rabbit catcher.”

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Getting to know Antonina in music marketing

Our Cary office has welcomed a new assistant. Antonina Javier joined the marketing team in November 2016 after moving to North Carolina from Hawaii. We sat down with her to talk about publishing, books, and the outdoors. She is always ready for an adventure and is eager to share what she has seen.

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In praise of teaching with Skype

For the past six or seven years I’ve been giving music lessons online, using Skype or FaceTime (Apple’s proprietary alternative to Skype). My students include children, college students, adult amateurs, and concert artists. Some of them take occasional lessons, others hew to the traditional once-a-week lesson schedule. I’ve had face-to-face encounters with some of them, but not all of them.

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La La Land and the Hollywood film musical

Say what you will about the strong fan base of La La Land and its probable domination of the upcoming Oscars after sweeping so many of the guild awards, not to mention the critical backlash against it that I have seen in the press and among scholars on Facebook, but Damien Chazelle certainly knows the history of the Hollywood film musical!

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Preparing your choir to sing

Chris Rowbury reflects on why time spent on developing the voice, body and mind through fun and imaginative warm-up exercises will result in a relaxed, centred, focused, and engaged choir and a more effective and productive rehearsal.

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Wilson Pickett and the “Ballad of Stackalee”

On the night of December 27 1895, at the Bill Curtis Saloon in St. Louis, Missouri, two black men, “Stag” Lee Sheldon and Billy Lyons, got into an argument. They were, supposedly, friends and drinking partners, but politics was about to come fatally between them

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Blackstone's Police Online

The sound of the police

With dates for both the NPPF Step Two Legal Examination for police sergeants and National Investigators Examination looming closer, we’ve put together a playlist to help get you through your revision. Stuck trying to get your head round a tricky piece of legislation?

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Grove Music

Ten facts about the accordion

Whether you dub accordion music annoying or enticing, you cannot deny the instrument’s persistence. The earliest version of the accordion emerged in the early 1800’s and one can still find it on many street corners today. Certain universities, museums, and soloists have assisted in the accordion’s longevity.

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What makes a love song? OUP staff have their say

The “love song” is undoubtedly timeless, pervading over the centuries–the themes of beauty, time, passion and heartache can be seen very early on in William Shakespeare’s sonnets, (among some of the first expressions of the love song), and with these universal ideas of love remaining ever-significant subject matter of popular music today.

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Music Therapy Perspectives

Challenging assumptions about how music helps

When people asked me what I did for a living, some were curious and wanted to know more, while others looked at me as if I were selling snake oil. Nowadays, these conversations are slightly different. Although it is still not always well understood as a profession, more people are familiar with the term “music therapy” and open to the idea that music and other creative mediums may be used to promote health and well-being.

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