Music Technology

If you are interested in music technology as a career, then this blog post will be useful to you. It covers activities, like audio recording, devices like synthesizers, and concepts like AI-enabled composition. It is introductory in nature and designed to help you decide which area of this field you like best.

Summary of Jazz History

This blog post offers a synopsis of jazz history. It covers the origin, character, and trajectory of the genre, and it briefly describes the context in which jazz music evolved.

The Sons of New Orleans

This blog post introduces three influential musicians who were operating in New Orleans during the earliest years of jazz: Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong. It covers the contributions each man made to jazz music.

The Unusual and the Simple

This blog post covers Avant-garde music. It discusses the definition of that term, the concept of Modernism, and three important composers operating within the genre: John Cage, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass.

First Impressionist: The Style and Character of Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) invented the Impressionist style of Western art music. For this accomplishment, he is usually considered to be France's greatest composer. Listening to his music is like hearing the auditory component of a unicorn's dream about clouds. Debussy's approach to composition was beset by vague suggestion and a tendency to wander without destination.

The Delicate Wizardry of Chopin

This blog post covers Polish piano virtuoso, Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849). Chopin had a distinct piano style that was nothing like the pounding triumph and brilliant glory of Beethoven and nothing like the macho bravado and miraculous virtuosity of Franz Liszt. Instead, Chopin’s piano style possessed a different sort of virtuosity, one marked by a delicate and soft touch.

The Looming Shadow of Beethoven

This bog post covers the legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven. More specifically, it covers the coping mechanisms employed by Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, and Hector Berlioz to deal with that legacy. These early Romantic composers dealt with the burden of Beethoven variously by imitating his epic scale or by rejecting his adherence to form.

The Frayed Ends of Schumann

This blog post is about the nineteenth-century Romantic composer/pianist named Robert Schumann (1810-1856). It focuses on Schumann's struggle with neurosyphilis and how this infirmary deformed his final musical compositions. One of these final compositions, an unusual piece known as Theme and Variation in E-flat Major, "Ghost Variations," is explored in this context.

The Restless Pen of Franz Schubert

This blog post covers early nineteenth-century composer, Franz Schubert. It summarizes his importance to music history and describes how his ideas about music were simultaneously conservative and progressive. Two of his pieces are examined in detail, Symphony No. 8 in D Minor and Die Erlkonig.

Classical Music Detonates

This blog post covers two sublime exemplars of Classical music: Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Also covered is the Sonata form, which was the compositional architecture-of-choice for these two composers. Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 are featured with commentary, and some biographical information for both Haydn and Mozart is explored for context.

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