In 2020 we are proud to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our Very Short Introductions. Listen to concise and original podcast episodes by our Very Short Introductions authors on a variety of dynamic topics for wherever your curiosity may take you.
How could it ever have seemed like a good idea to set one of the most familiar Christmas hymns in the English language to a tune intended by Mozart (a genius at close-binding music to drama) as a vehicle for a seductive outpouring of double-entendre?
Written, staged, and performed entirely by African Americans, Shuffle Along was the first show to make African-American dance an integral part of American musical theater, eventually becoming one of the top ten musical shows of the 1920s. Authors Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom provide a list of ten little-known facts about the show.
An analysis of religious trends from 1981 to 2007 in 49 countries containing 60% of the world’s population did not find a global resurgence of religion—most high-income countries were becoming less religious—however, it did show that in 33 of the 49 countries studied, people had become more religious. But since 2007, things have changed with surprising speed.
Learning history is complex; it requires an individual to be a critical thinker, develop different interpretations of history, and engage in analytical writing. I encourage these skills in my undergraduates when we discuss the past. However, within the US’ K-12 system, social studies have been relegated to the sidelines as education policymakers and administrators have focused on math and science since the start of the 21st century.
Beethoven wrote an enormous quantity of music: nine symphonies, some fifty sonatas, seven concertos, sixteen string quartets, more than a hundred songs…the list goes on and on. It is almost inevitable that certain of these works have been relatively neglected by performers and the listening public alike. Here are a few overlooked gems.
Had he lived, Bruce Lee would have been 80 on 27 November 2020. This anniversary will be marked by countless people and innumerable institutions all over the world, from China to Russia to the USA, and almost everywhere in between. This is because, in the space of a few episodes of a couple of US TV series and four martial arts films, Bruce Lee changed global popular culture forever.
Roman civilization is one of the foundation stones of our own western culture, and we are often exposed in newspaper and magazine articles, books, and even TV documentaries to the glories of Roman art, architecture, literature (the chances are you’ve read Virgil’s Aeneid), rhetoric (we’ve all heard of Cicero), even philosophy. Yet in the late first century BC the Roman poet Horace wrote: “Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror and introduced her arts to the crude Latin lands” (Epistle 2.1.156). Did he really mean that Rome owed its cultural and intellectual heritage to the Greeks?
The German Centre for Accessible Reading, dzb lesen, unites tradition with the modern world. Founded on 12 November 1894 as the German Central Library for the Blind, it has been a library for blind and visually impaired people for more than 125 years and is thus the oldest specialist library of its kind in Germany.
The Athenians were in a panic in 490 BC. A Persian army had landed at Marathon, on the coastline east of Athens, intent on capturing the city and even conquering all Greece. The famous battle of Marathon was Athens’ coming of age as a military power; a decade later its navy helped to block another Persian invasion (led by Xerxes), a stepping-stone to Athens’ rise as a wealthy imperial power.
In order to celebrate the release of Shakespeare: A Playgoer and Reader’s Guide, we created a quiz to see how well you know Shakespeare’s plays!
The first movement of Brahms’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in G, op. 78, has led many violin-piano duos either to ignore Brahms’s tempo markings or actually play the opposite of what he wrote. Joel Lester considers the what might we learn from this oddity.
In the second and final part of this interview, author Michael B. Bakan speaks to his co-author Graeme Gibson, Dr Deborah Gibson, and legendary science fiction author William Gibson about writing science fiction, musical influences, and essential lessons autism has taught them.
In the first part of this two-part interview, author of “Music and Autism,” Michael Bakan speaks to his co-author Graeme Gibson, Dr Deborah Gibson, and legendary science fiction author William Gibson about musical instruments and autism.
Doctors have appeared in fiction throughout history. From Dr Faustus, written in the sixteenth century, to more recent film adaptations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the familiarity of these characters will be profitably read and watched by both experienced and future doctors who want to reflect on the human condition often so ably described by the established men and women of letters.
All of us who are devoted to music education are facing new challenges due to the pandemic, and while we are lucky and grateful to have extraordinary technology at our disposal, it is undeniably frustrating to be isolated from each other, to deal with inadequate sound quality, poor connections, and time delays. We need to temporarily but urgently reinvent how we teach and connect with students.