Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Music Parents' Survival Guide by Amy Nathan

Silver linings from the COVID-19 shutdowns at music schools

“Our teachers and students and families are so excited to be back, to see everyone again,” said Brandon Tesh, director of the Third Street Music School in New York City. His school resumed in-person classes in September 2021 after 18 months of online instruction, caused by government-ordered school shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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Oxford Music

A history of the Carols for Choirs angel [gallery]

A blog taking us through the many iterations of the iconic Carols for Choirs cover design, from the first version in 1961 through to the current design. The thread throughout all of the covers is an illustrated angel, which can be found on every cover version, in various shapes and sizes!

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The Oxford Book of Carols

Christmas with Ralph Vaughan Williams and The Oxford Book of Carols

The inter-war Oxford Book of Carols (published in 1928) was the brainchild of Reverend Percy Dearmer—a socialist, high church Anglican liturgist who believed that music should be at the core of Christian worship. Today the OBC is a world-renowned publication that shines as as a beacon of experimentation within tradition: a visionary musico-poetic collection of the most profoundly partisan nature.

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Carols for Choirs

Carols for Choirs: the journey to press

A history of the first ‘Carols for Choirs’ book, first published in 1961. Looking at materials from the OUP archive, we trace the journey from the initial idea through to its eventual release and unexpected success.

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Freedom girls: Voicing Femininity in 1960s British Pop

Voicing 1960s femininity: not just a “girl singer” [playlist]

“The disc charts cannot stand many girls, no matter how gorgeous they look,” claimed Beatles manager Brian Epstein in A Cellarful of Noise, his memoir of the 1960s. He was explaining why he’d only ever represented one female performer—Cilla Black. His justification falls back on the then-conventional wisdom that girl singers were an anomaly, were each other’s competitors, and that there wasn’t an audience for their work.

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The Musical Theater of Tommy Tune

The musical genius of Tommy Tune: “old plus old equals new”

From the beginning, Tommy Tune was pulled as if by centrifugal force toward dance and the Broadway musical. He was taking dancing lessons by the age of five, but his early ambition to be a ballet dancer was abandoned when he shot up in height during his teenage years. He later joked about his extreme height, saying, “Sometimes, instead of thinking of myself as six-foot-six, I tell myself I’m only five-foot-eighteen.”

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SHAPE and societal recovery from crises

The SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy) initiative advocates for the value of the social sciences, humanities, and arts subject areas in helping us to understand the world in which we live and find solutions to global issues. As societies around the world respond to the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, research from SHAPE disciplines has the potential to illuminate how societies process and recover from various social crises.

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Jazz on a Summer's Day

Inspiring women in jazz, with Nikki Iles

As a teenager, I took clarinet and piano lessons at the Royal Academy of Music on Saturdays. I always particularly loved the chamber groups and small group music-making, so in some ways, it’s no surprise that I ended up in the jazz world! My dad was a semi-pro jazz drummer and I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by the music of Oscar Peterson, Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella and George Shearing as I grew up.

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Marie Madeleine: exploring language, style, and humour in the Acadian folksong tradition

There are two main French speaking groups in Canada: the Québécois and the lesser-known Acadians, who have a fascinating but tragic history in Canada. After failing to establish a post on St Croix Island (present-day Maine) in 1604, the Acadians became the first French colonial group to settle on Canadian soil in 1605 (in present-day Nova Scotia), three years prior to the arrival of the Québécois.

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Discoveries from the Fortepiano

Missing the forest for the trees: interpreting the composer’s message

We can get so bogged down with mysterious notation that we miss the point of the score: the composer’s message. Obsession over details—why did the composer use newly available extra keys in one piece but not another? Why did the composer use particular articulation in this spot but fail to maintain consistency later?

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He That Dwelleth in the Secret Place of the Most High

Exploring the choral music of Rebecca Clarke

Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) is most commonly known as a violist and composer, in particular for her famous Viola Sonata (1919), which has remained one of the most significant in the instrument’s repertoire since its composition. Her Shorter Pieces for viola and piano, as well as a number of solo songs, have gained increasing recognition since the turn of the millennium, as more of her music has begun to be published and researched.

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