Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Keep it going!

Keep it going!

Music starts at the beginning and, of course, ends at the conclusion! In between, there is a continuous forward motion that is part of our life in time and space.

When someone is learning how to play an instrument, the tendency is to notice a mistake or problem and to stop, go back, and work on the discrepancy. In many cases, that’s a good practice technique during the early phases of learning a piece.

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Being gifted

Are some people gifted and others aren’t?  (Of course not!  I think that to be human is to be gifted, only in different areas, different ways, different degrees.)

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Classical Music History VIII f, the Modern Era: Some nice miscellaneous recent works

Since 1928 one of the opportunities for great composers is to write soundtracks for movies, and another is new music to be sung in churches. We’ve already covered some of these with Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Arvo Part, and Philip Glass --- but there are many others as well. Here are a few of the more famous and notable works in this category since 1960. It’s such a nice way to finish out our series of Classical music posts, don’t you think!

Ernest Gold (1921-1999): Main theme from the film Exodus, 1960, play by Ernest Gold and orchestra

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Classical Music History VIII e, the Modern Period's Minimalists

During the past several decades a new movement of the Modern Period has taken shape: Minimalism. Rather than search for deeper and deeper complexity and more and more unnatural feeling, the Minimalists have striven in an opposite direction to find peace, restful joy, creatively new applications of older sonorities. Development of a theme is seldom in a form such as the fugue or sonata, but there is indeed a definite and meaningful development through slowly morphing arpeggio patterns of chords, shifts into unusual but intriguing chord worlds and then back again, and various other gently journeying techniques.

Minimalism at times has extraordinary beauty, its own special kind of thrilling glow. (Can you tell that I like this movement?) In his watershed work ‘Credo’ (1969), the Estonian Arvo Part uses this beauty in shocking contrast to terrifying serialist passages in order to express his Christian conversion --- a kind of defining moment for the whole Minimalist movement’s concept. Since that time Part has consistently produced pieces that are profoundly devotional and greatly evocative of the human heart’s yearnings. One unique technique Part has developed is building chord structures out of the overtone series of bells, which he calls ‘tintinnabuli’.

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Classical Music History VIII d The Modern Era: Experimental Music and the Avant-Garde

Early in the Twentieth Century, Charles Ives came up with the idea of actually experimenting with truly unorthodox musical sounds; in the 1950s and 1960s the experimental and other avant-garde became more common and more acceptable to the Classical public.

The Dadaist art groups in the 1920s expressed chaos and absurdity as part of the expression of the ‘Lost Generation’ after World War I, doing such public things as reading a new poem to an audience from inside a closed garbage can; and in the 1950s the ‘Beat Generation’ picked up the philosophical and artistic baton of intentional nonsense and the absurd. (I’m speaking in very general and simple terms, but at least this addresses the trends that interjected themselves into ‘serious’ music, particularly that of Existentialist Angst.)

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