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Dances of Death

By Jessica Barbour
An eerie image emerged from Europe’s 14th-century bubonic plague epidemics into popular imagination: Death, in skeleton form, leading living souls in a processional dance to the grave. This idea, the danse macabre, was evoked by artists and writers across the continent, a cultural reaction to daily lives spent surrounded by death. I was introduced to the genre in school when I first heard Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, a boisterous seven-minute work for orchestra written in the 1870s.

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Five things you should know about Grove

By Jessica Barbour
There is a reference work on the subject of music to which English-speaking music students are referred every day. It has been around, in various editions, for over 130 years, and in its current online form it includes more than 40,000 full articles. As a 1955 article in Time put it, “For three-quarters of a century, the sun never set on Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians.”

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Valentine’s Day serenades

Love is in the air at Oxford University Press! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked staff members from our offices in New York, Oxford, and Cary, NC, to share their favorite love songs. Read on for their selections, and be sure to tell us what your favorites are too. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Music we’re thankful for

Thanksgiving is upon us in the US. Before the OUP Music team headed home for some turkey and stuffing, we compiled a list of what we are most thankful for, musically speaking. Read on for our thoughts, and leave your own in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Glissandos and glissandon’ts

As a musician, I found this absolutely shocking — here I thought I’d been hearing the glissando (the effect created when, for example, a pianist runs his finger up or down the keyboard), all my life, and suddenly it turned out that the very legitimacy of the word had been dismissed by Blom, a prominent music-writer linguist, more than 30 years before I was even born.

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Remembering Joe Muranyi

Joe Muranyi, the American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and singer — perhaps best known as the last clarinetist to perform with Louis Armstrong and his All Stars — passed away on April 20th at the age of 84. Muranyi was a working musician for over 60 years, from his time as a teenager playing in an Air Force band to his recordings with the Orient Dixieland Jazz Band in the 1990s and for years afterward. He toured with the All Stars in the heart of his career, from 1967 until 1971, the year of the eponymous bandleader’s death.

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