Dawn of the Dub

This post investigates the style of music known as Dub, which was an early form of electronic dance music. In the late 1960s, artists like King Tubby and Scratch Perry began creating alternative versions of existing reggae songs by rearranging sounds within multi-track recordings. This innovation, now called remixing, marked the birth of dub.

Rhythm & Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll

In this post, Brian Jump explores the history of rhythm & blues and rock 'n' roll. He covers exciting musicians like Ike Turner, Ray Charles, and Elvis Presley, and explains their crucial contributions to the evolution of both styles. Also included are listening suggestions, video links, and study questions.

Music on Earth

This post offers a broad view of humanity's musical customs. It explores the evidence for prehistoric music making, and it explains how music got passed down through the ages. The world's musical traditions are also explored, as are the earliest efforts to notate music.

Reign of the Soloists

This blog post explores three swing-era musicians who were known for their brilliant soloing styles: Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The Bebop Destruction

This blog post is about bebop, which is a form of jazz that evolved during the 1940s and 1950s. It covers how bebop changed the jazz genre, and it examines how Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell contributed to this change.

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.

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 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.

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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