Category Archives: Music – Theater

Be not afraid of greatness:some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. – From Act II, Scene V of “Twelfth Night”  by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Claude Debussy’s use of the tritone 

Introduction to Debussy’s Pianistic Language

Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy

This is the tritone scale.

Built by pairing two major triads a tritone apart, and then placing those notes in scale order, the tritone scale brings a nice level of tension to your lines that you can use to build energy when soloing over 7th chords in a jazz or fusion context.

Art music in the twentieth century encompasses a wide range of expression, forms, and media. The development of mass communication and easy travel throughout the twentieth-century has linked the world into a global community that allows the collection and blending of many sources. One result of this is that diverse musical sources including folk music, Classical Indian Scales, American jazz elements, and the musical forms of Asia among others, have been assimilated into the Western Musical Tradition.

Debussy-Prelude to a Fawn-Leonard Bernstein

Folk music assimilation began before the end of the nineteenth century as Western thinkers explored previously remote lands and cultures.  An important result of this travel was the use of folk modes, pentatonic scales, and whole tone scales derived from native music in works by composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky, and Debussy.  Non-diatonic scales based on modes and seemingly abstract intervals such as the half step and whole step proved tantalizing to composers during the last part of the nineteenth, and early part of the twentieth century.

See an analysis of Prelude to a Fawn by Leonard Bernstein next.

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One for the money – Blue Suede Shoes

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go cat go… That was Carl Perkins with Blue Suede Shoes. But where did the phrase come from?

Elvis Presley - Blue suede shoes 1956

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes and The Phrase Finder cite a horse race poem that is likely the source of the phrase. In horse racing, the winners are termed:

  1. Win
  2. Place
  3. Show

The omission of “place” is noted in The Phrase Finder. This is likely poetic license, to make a short rhyme, used to start a race or event.
Excerpt from The Phrase Finder post:
In “The Annotated Mother Goose” p 259 the following rhyme is included:

“One to make ready

And two to prepare

good luck to the rider

And away goes the mare.”

And origins from Google Books.

 

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The Minor third – a mystery revealed

The paradox of music-evoked sadness

Taruffi L, Koelsch S – Published October 20, 2014

music-evoked emotion
music-evoked emotion

Department of Educational Sciences & Psychology and Cluster of Excellence, “Languages of Emotion”, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

This study explores listeners’ experience of music-evoked sadness. Sadness is typically assumed to be undesirable and is therefore usually avoided in everyday life. Yet the question remains: Why do people seek and appreciate sadness in music? We present findings from an online survey with both Western and Eastern participants (N?=?772). The survey investigates the rewarding aspects of music-evoked sadness, as well as the relative contribution of listener characteristics and situational factors to the appreciation of sad music. The survey also examines the different principles through which sadness is evoked by music, and their interaction with personality traits.

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We Three Kings

Kings College sings "We Three Kings"

King’s College Choir

Kings College

The Choir owes its existence to King Henry VI to sing daily services in his magnificent chapel. This remains the Choir’s role and is an important part of the lives of its 16 choristers, 14 choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects in the College.
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