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  • 2014 August 23: Rinse and Repeat

    February 24, 2019 10:30

    The 'chaconne' (sha-KONE) is a musical form consisting of a repeating bass pattern, or alternatively a repeating chord sequence, with variations carrying on all the while. Some scholars have argued that a 'chaconne' is a repeating chord sequence while a 'passacaglia' has a repeating bass line, but it's too easy to find contrary examples (composers being a contrary bunch, after all). The form was rather popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, and dropped out of use for a while (although Beethoven's 32 "Diabelli variations" are arguably an example). Meanwhile I'm thinking the form is reincarnating in modern times in genres as varied as Taizé (sacred music built on a repeating choral phrase) and rap. Some may argue that humanity's history is an ever rising line from the swamps to the stars (I'm frequently not so sure), but I think the history of music is definitely more circular — ideas come into vogue, fall out of fashion, and then return from the underworld in new garb for another go. As the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes, "There is no new thing under heaven." (more )

  • 2019 February 17: Louis-Claude Daquin

    February 17, 2019 22:30

    "The Cuckoo"  L.-C. Daquin (1694-1772)

    Louis-Claude Daquin was born in Paris to a reasonably well-connected family. On his mother’s side he was related to Rabelais, on his father’s to the Rabbi of Avignon (who had converted to Christianity before he ...

  • 2019 February 3: Washington Gladden

    February 03, 2019 10:30

    William Gladden (1836-1918) — so named because his great-grandfather served as George Washington's bodyguard during the Revolutionary War — was a Congregational pastor. He served in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio during the post-Civil War industrial era when racial and economic injustice was rampant. People everywhere were searching for a new American ethic. (more )

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