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  • 2018 July 15: Who wrote it?

    June 02, 2019 10:30

    One morning, Schubert brought singer Michael Vogl several songs for his perusal. Busy at the moment, Vogl set them aside and examined them later when he had opportunity. He liked one especially, but it was too high for him, so he transposed it and had a (hand) copy made. A couple weeks later he, Schubert and some friends were enjoying a musical evening together. Something new was asked for, and without comment Vogl placed Schubert's song on the piano (in its new key, and someone else's handwriting). When Schubert heard the piece, he exclaimed "H'm! Pretty good song! Who wrote it?"

  • 2019 May 30: Ascending Canon

    May 29, 2019 22:41

    A ’canon’ is basically a round — generally on steroids. Whereas in a normal ’round’ like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" each group starts on the same note, in canons each group might start on a different note. Or the second group might sing the same melody as the first except ’inverted’: when the first group’s melody goes up a step, the second group goes down a step, and so forth. Or the second group might sing the first group’s melody at half speed, or backwards!  Think of it as a kind of ’musical sudoku’. The challenge is to devise a melody that not only obeys all the rules, but when it’s all put together it's still a solid musical piece in its own right. Bach is still regarded as the undisputed champion of this form.(more )

  • 2014 May 26: Gymnopedie

    May 26, 2019 10:30

    Erik Satie was a French pianist and composer during the Impressionist period (early 20th century). After his mother's death when Satie was 6, he and his younger brother were sent to live with his grandparents. There he received his first music lessons from a local organist. When he was 12 his grandmother died, and the two brothers were reunited in Paris with their father, who married a piano teacher shortly afterwards. From the early 1880s onwards, Satie started publishing salon compositions by his step-mother and himself, among others. (more )

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