Christmas carols–a celebratory tradition spanning language and culture–were originally derived from the songs sung during the Winter Solstice. Christian lyrics were set to the tune of popular pagan carols, giving way to the festive music still played today.
As the Wehrmacht launched its offensive on the USSR in summer 1941, a contingent of Spanish musicians and critics travelled to Bad Elster, on the border between Bavaria and Bohemia. In the spa town, they took part in the first of three Hispanic-German music festivals held during the Second World War aimed at fostering cultural and political understanding between both countries.
We are delighted to introduce Elanor Caunt who joined OUP’s sheet music marketing department in September 2016 and is based in the Oxford offices. We sat down to talk to her about what a typical day marketing sheet music looks like, what life on a desert island should involve, and the ‘interesting’ wildlife of Oxford.
When Einstein claimed his theory of relativity came from a musical insight, no one blinked twice. Of course music could inspire scientific insight. But the reverse idea is often fraught with baggage. Artistic circles often feel that science is more threat than ally.
Most people would assume that, since Gilbert and Sullivan have been so widely renowned for so many years, the availability of satisfactory performance materials for their works would be a given. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Of all the responses to Bob Dylan’s Nobel, my favorite comes from Leonard Cohen, who likened it to “pinning a medal on Mount Everest.” It’s a brilliant line, pure Cohen—all dignity and poise, yet with an acid barb. Not only is Everest in no need of a medal, the attempt to fix one to its impassive torso (imagine the puny pin bending back on first contact) is metaphorically all too apt for the Nobel committee’s current quandary.
Radiohead is clearly a thinking-person’s music, but which of their songs are the most thought-provoking, and why? How do we make sense of their often surprising, even shocking music? If you’ve ever found yourself pondering Radiohead way too much, here are some clues, a few answers, and even more questions…
What was it like as one of the few female performers in the New York Philharmonic in the 1960s? We sat down with cellist and author Evangeline Benedetti to hear the answer to this and other questions about performance and teaching careers, favorite composers, and life behind the doors of Lincoln Center.
Between 1986 and 1988, the jazz musician and experimental music pioneer George Lewis created the first version of Voyager. After spending some time making work that involved compositional programmes in Paris, Lewis returned to the US and began work on Voyager. His aspiration was not simply to use computers as a tool or raw material, but to create software that could take an equal improvisational role to the other (human) musicians in the performance.
Have you ever wanted to control sound waves? Or spook your friends with an eerie melody? If you answered yes, check out OUP’s instrument of the month, the theremin.
Biography chooses us when there is alchemy between biographer and subject—a perfect fit of interlocking puzzle pieces. In my case, a lifelong fascination with objects and the craftsmen who make them led me to the story of a pioneering violinmaker—American Luthier: Carleen Hutchins—the Art and Science of the Violin.
“Come and put your name on it,” is the first line in Rihanna’s song “Birthday Cake.” She is referring to her female anatomy as she dances in a hip-centered motion, reminiscent of Caribbean movement. Across the globe, reactions to the song’s connotation and the provocative dancing varied greatly, each individual interpreting the sequence of events based on their own experiences, culture, race and gender.
If you were to ask a modern musician what the quarter note means in Common Time the answer would be simple: “It lasts for one full beat, to be released at the beginning of the succeeding beat.” Ah, but eighteenth-century rhythm reading is not a simple “one-size-fits-all” affair. Just as spoken language has evolved over time, so has music notational language. The notation has remained much the same; it is how the notation is read that has changed.
Why do some great Broadway shows fail, and mediocre ones thrive? How does the cast onstage manage to keep tabs on the audience without missing a beat or a line? Ken Bloom, author of Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Audiences, delves into the inner workings of the Broadway stage and the culture surrounding Broadway hips and flops.
The sonata concept served some of the greatest imaginations in the history of music, but seriously it is, as I like to say to students, “so not a form”. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms were not in need of a standardized template, and in essence what has come to be called sonata form is more like courtroom procedure: a process that allows for an infinite variety of stories to be unfold, from a fender bender to vandalism to murder.
The Kodály Concept of music education is based on the philosophical writings of Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) and incorporates principles of teaching music developed by his colleagues and students. His writings on music education provided the impetus of developing a new pedagogy for teaching music. On August 30th, we discussed five essential lessons from the Kodály Concept. Below are five additional hallmarks of his work.