Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Discussion #1 for Theory AND Form Students

Hi folks -

Sorry this is getting up later than I had hoped - just tired and busy getting ready for the Conference. I'll post about that tomorrow.

Anyway, today's discussion has to do with music that moves you.

As you can expect, there is a ton of music I listen to regularly. I do listen to classical music, but more often than not I am listening to jazz or singer/songwriter types like Ben Folds or Duncan Sheik. Especially when I am listening for pleasure - I listen to more "pop" music than classical or even jazz. Don't tell anyone I said that!

That said - there are certain composers that just absolute floor me with their artistry. Beethoven is one. Brahms is one, too. Of the more contemporary folks - Aaron Copland is someone that I have studied a lot, and someone that I find terribly musical.

So, for your viewing pleasure - here is the Fourth Movement from his 3rd Symphony - probably his most important work. His first two symphonies were composed earlier in his career - when he was a young man and before he found his more accessible voice. Copland, for all of his accessibility, was a beast of a composer as a young man.

Well, after finding a more subdued language - a language that he thought could express his musical point without alienating his audience - he composed this 3rd Symphony.

One of my Grad School teachers - Barney Gilmore - talked to me a lot about this piece. He really thinks of it as "America's Symphony". The themes throughout are SO reminiscent of what we NOW think of as "American" sonorities that the piece seems to ooze Americana from beat one of movement I through the triumphant coda of movement IV.

So, what you have here is Movement IV conducted by the composer.

Listen now - to the whole thing. I'll wait.

Now - FORM students, I want you to talk about what you think is AMERICAN in this piece. That is purposefully broad - just dig in and talk/write about your feelings. It's a touchy/feely assignment. I want your thoughts.

THEORY students, I want you to talk about music (provide a link, too) that moves you - that makes you want to be a better musician. Music that, when you close your eyes and listen to your inner thoughts, reminds you of why you like to make music. It's the music of inspiration.

Write about that, please.

Gotta jet and get some sleep. Thanks for checking the blog - and be sure to give me your REAL name in your posting - so I know who is talking about what!

Take care and I'll post pictures and words about tomorrow after it happens. I have two pieces being played and discussed. Should be a really cool experience.

Good night, y'all.



AnthonyCarino said...


Yeah, I've totally heard that symphony before. Not the entire thing, but part of it. I can definitely feel the "American," almost stereotypical, sound. Amazing stuff. What makes this so "American" to me, is mostly the very open sound. I immediately think of wide open areas, with grass... and stuff.. And Native Americans too. It doesn't sound like their style of music, but it just reminds me of them for some odd reason. . Makin a house. out of mud... and... and stuff. Am I alone here?... Anyhow, it also reminds me that there is always something to discover. The feeling of discovery is probably the most prominent thing I hear in this piece. This is really some of my favorite stuff to play. Music that almost sounds western, but not quite.

Now, the second topic is sort of hard for me. I can honestly say, I listen to absolutely NO music composed for my instrument. I listen to show tunes and some pop... And some stoner shit. Not much, but what I like, I can't get enough of.

Musicals generally make me happy. Just plain old happy. I can't stop smiling when I listen to my favorites. The musical's In the Heights, Wicked (of course,) and Last Five Years are probobally my top three. I can listen to those from track one to the end over and over again, and not get bored. They invoke a feeling of pure happiness when I'm just chillen, without a care in the world.

Also, in the pop world, Old school Panic! at the Disco, Paramore's "RIOT," and Lily Allen's "It's Not Me, It's You" give me the same feeling. However, as cliche as it is, Lady Gaga's music is just SO interesting, mainly the new tracks from her extension of "The Fame." The published tracks from the original album sound almost generic. I love them nonetheless, but the newer tracks feel like she had more freedom to put forth music that really displays her artistry.

On the stoner side, I love Cocorosie and Lykke Li. These, obviously, make me at peace. Totally chill. When I have a bad day, or I'm stressed, those two never fail me.

I hope thi is what you wanted Dr. Scully. Hahhaha =) Adios.

AnthonyCarino said...


I forgot You wanted Links.

Ambra Williams said...

I wrote a paper last quarter over Aaron Copland's Third Symphony. The opening melody is from his Fanfare for the Common Man, which encumbers what it is to be American. It's symbolic of the blue collar folk who pay taxes. I think this speaks to us as American because it is simple. It's a natural open sound that swells into a triumphant ending. His use of the Fanfare in the the Third Symphony made it the ultimate Symphony for the common man, I suppose.

There are many musicians that inspired me to be better. I love Bach's music, especially his cello suites. But, one piece of music that really moves me is from a different composer. Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor astounds me. Everyone should listen to it, because it's awesome.

The beginning is so forceful and deliberate. There's so much passion and color in the solo. Elgar's music makes me want to achieve this, and invoke a tenderness that moves myself as well as the listener. This is one of the pieces that drives me to become a better musician.

AnthonyCarino said...

Way to go Ambra. Make me feel like a loser. ;)

EProvencio said...

Elizabeth Provencio

The fourth movement of Copland's Third Symphony is undoubtedly the most recognizable music in this symphony. He reused a theme he previously composed in a piece called "Fanfare for the Common Man." He did this because the Third Symphony was composed near the end of WWII in 1939 during which the "common man" was fighting and doing all the dirty work for the county. So this symphony was essentially written for the American common man. Basically, this is a war time piece; but rather than sounding pro-war or pro-violence, it emotionally sounds optimistic and hopeful thanks to its open texture, leaping melodies, and generally diatonic harmony. The average American could listen to this piece, understand what's going on, and leave feeling optimistic; the fundamental spirit of the "American Dream." So of course this piece is truly in the new found American style; it's entire purpose reflects the America we still know an love 61 years since this piece was composed. The piece is written for the common man and has an overall journey from darkness to light, making it feel optimistic.

And for my listening pleasure, I LOVE Mozart Operas and symphonies. Cliche yes, but they are genius. Oh and Hannah Montana is good times too. :D

Alejandro said...

Alejandro Arvizu

There's a lot of music that I listen to, half of it's jazz/latin jazz/bossa nova and the other half is composed of anything from Explosions in the Sky to Snoop Dog to Mariachi music. My tastes are kinda eclectic.
As for music that really moves me a lot of Frank Ticheli's music and arrangements, perhaps it's that my high school teacher was really into him and we played his songs a lot. But the french horn parts are awesome anyway.
And that's just for playing the french horn. I feel somewhat out of place not knowing much about the history of classical music. I know only the basics of it.
As for pop music, I abhor it. I can't stand the entertainment industry. Even if the music is fantastic, composition-wise, I can't stand the business side of it. It's all for-profit, which to me, sucks all the "musicality" of it from it.
That's why I'm going into teaching. haha.

But as for trumpet inspiration, I look towards Chris Botti and Bob Baldwin, even though he plays piano. Botti's strange mix of smooth jazz (close your eyes! It's smooth jazz!) and regular jazz is cool. It's like chill but exciting. He's also not very technical and from what I read, he never really was, so there's hope for me! haha
But Bob Baldwin's music, Urban Jazz, is like the evolved, better form of smooth jazz.
And then there's music that inspires me to want to play trombone, but I still haven't learned that yet so I'll spare you guys that. haha
And I think American Elegy is more American sounding it sounds more compassionate and almost heroic at points, but maybe that's because it was written in honor of Columbine.

perpetualfool said...

(Kristen Falls)

I definitely think that this is the type of music we would say has an "American" feel. Copeland uses sonorities very distinctive of himself, using open fifths and fourths in melodies an harmonies. I think that in this way he develops the American stereotype of "anything is possible, as long as you work hard to get it." He makes his audience (of at least me) feel like it is discovering new opportunities, and new ways of seeing things. I definitely agree with Elizabeth in that it is optimistic and conveys the archetypal "American Dream" with its open melodies and contrasting rhythms, etc. Composers like Copeland, that can influence his audience so much that his sound becomes known as something that describes a now stereotypical sound, make me jealous.

Um, and I like to listen to Romantic piano music. I love listening to Chopin, etc. I also listen to a lot of acoustic music, and I really enjoy this guy named Fionn Regan, who's lyrics are slightly odd, but who's acoustic guitar playing skills are both approachable to a general audience, as well as awesome. ;)

Anonymous said...

Michael Dandy

When I listen to this piece, it evokes images of wide open spaces. I imagine cowboys riding around on horses, being good Americans, fighting natives, conquering the western frontier, etc. (probably an image subliminally programmed into my mind thanks to western movies/TV shows ;D) The texture is very clear and pure-sounding, comprised of many open fifth sonorities. The melodies are predominantly diatonic, not only making them easier for the general public to digest but also capturing a sense of America's unwavering optimism, something that still continues today (for the most part).

-Michael Dandy

Cory said...

When I was younger, the constant strive to become a better musician
has always been about looking up to the legends of the instrument. I
always looked for the "shredders" of the bass i.e. Les Claypool,
Victor Wooten, Geddy Lee, etc. It wasn't until post-high school when I
started listening to music as a whole. I think I went through a
typical stage for teenage musicians like guitarists with Eddie Van
Halen, Steve Vai, etc.

Present time, the music that moves me the most would have to been
down tempo trip-hop from the 90's Bristol, England scene. Massive
Attack and Portishead come to mind as they are the pioneers of the
original sound.

Example of the trip-hop sound -

Both musical groups incorporated electronically produced music with
sampled instruments, mainly the drums, from old jazz records. With the
dark minor-key tonality of their compositions, the music really takes
you to a different place. It's great music to listen to while
studying or during a late night from home on the I-5.

Of course you also need to listen to something uptempo and happy as
well. Shpongle comes to mind when I think of upbeat music that
brightens your day

( )

The genre of music is called "psychedelic trance" , it was originated
in Goa, India when the 1960's San Francisco hippies moved to India and
started producing electronic music. For my example, I chose their live
version of "I Am You" from their latest album, Ineffable Mysteries
from Shpongleland, because its a prime-example of blending Eastern
music with today's contemporary electronic music. Their live
performances are legendary and are so rare that you would have to
travel to the mountains of Fiji, or visit London during Halloween
weekend to see an actual live show.

When the right song or band hits you at the right moment, music seems
to slow down time, and take you to a place where there is no such
things as stress, financial obligations, only positive feelings. That
is why I was so attracted to music festival, you have the chance to
discover new art, and listen to genres of music that you typically
never listen to on a regular basis. Music is one of the few artistic
mediums that can influence the emotions you are feeling at that time,
whether you are pumping iron at the gym with Slayer, laying by the
pool with Bob Marley, or dancing with your loved one with some Neil
Diamond. Music can move you in ways most artistic mediums are unable to.

Cory said...
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Cory said...
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krystal_angulo said...

I think the music that moves me the most would have to be opera. Its something about the situation and dialogue that contributes to the heart felt music. My favorite opera song as of no is "E lucevan le stelle" its sung by Pavarotti. And its the way his tenor voice literally causes a mental and emotional reaction. His ability to capture his audience, is something every singer wishes to accomplish. To be able to perform with calmness yet while making it your own also relating the music to its original context and meaning; and to be able to display both. And this is my inspiration. Not to only sound beautiful but to capture the true essence and to share it.

Laurena Infante-Aguilar said...

I listen to every sort of music that's possibly out there. I really enjoy slower songs though that have a meaning and I can relate to. I tend to play those kinds of songs in my saxophone playing. I like classical and after high school I have never really played jazz anymore. I do listen to lots of contemporary music though and I'm one of those people that when they find a song I tend to play it over and over again. I really like Daughtrey because his songs always have a climax and they build up. I have really gottne into the song September and not just because it's the month but because I like the build up that it has. I also really enjoy a song that Lady Antebellum sings called American Honey. I tend to lean towards ballads and songs of that nature. Also a song called When I Look at You. I like songs that have a good meaning and i really like all the musical swells that happen because i like playing like that. I like crescendos and diminuendos. That sort of musicality inspires me.

This is the song "September."

PeteCrawford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PeteCrawford said...

Attempting to compose myself, I find myself at times writing out something and ultimately changing it because no matter how intricate i thought it was (nor how much sense it made to me) it was just flat out stupid and sounded like s**t.

Having said that, I want us to consider the fact that not only were composers in the 1940's trying to get that 'American Symphony' sound established, but the audiences and people wanted their own sound just as bad. Ultimately Copland did what any smart businessman would do, as young Aaron was in the department store, he simply wrote what the people wanted to hear.

All in all, the piece is undeniably characteristic of The early 20th century American sound. As we all remember from Dr. Haney's 202 class, accessibility was growing ever so important. Audiences wanted good music to listen to, and the modern experimental genre's were still considered to be gaining there respect in the world of music.

To give a solid Description of what I think is so American about his 3rd Symphony (specifically the 4th movement) is that ANVIL that comes through in the recapitulation and ending coda. It screams industrialization and growth!

PeteCrawford said...

@ Cory and anyone else who read his commetn about PROTISHEAD and the trip hop scene. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! I found this video a while back and want to share it with all you as well!!!

Thanks to Cory for inspiring me to share my appreciation.


THolliday said...

I too, am very fond of Aaron Copland's music in the "classical music genre". There are many things that come to mind as Americana interpreted through this piece. Although he doesn't borrow themes from American folk songs, it's still undeniably American. Right away you get Copland's beautiful use of melody coming in lightly introducing the "theme" of the music. The strong use of diatonicism and implementing the use of fourths and fifths through harmonization makes this piece not only monumental but also extremely beautiful.

The strength, dynamics and articulations, especially heard in the horn and percussion section (tympani) gives a feel of the boldness and strength of mind America was founded and survived on. This even being a post WW2 piece, give a sense of triumph and heart that we as Americans feel when we here songs like the Star Spangled Banner. Songs that define America as character, not just as individual people, but also individual people for the feeling of patriotism, which throughout all of Copland's compositions is expressed to it's fullest.

Tori_P said...

Classical music wise, I like to listen to opera (I love the recordings of the met they're playing at Edwards!)so my two favorite classical singers are Anna Netrebko and, of course, Cecilia Bartoli. Hearing Anna Netrebko as Juliet in the 2007 production of "Romeo et Juliette" made me want to become an opera singer, and Cecilia Bartoli just has the most perfect singing technique of any human being who's ever lived.

As for popular music, I listen to mostly pop, rock, and alternative. I don't listen to much rap or hip hop, mainly because I don't like they lyrics. I love to listen to Relient K and Disney pop like Demi Lovato and old Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus music, but not so much her new stuff. I also love acapella groups like Straight No Chaser. They're basically just awesome. =)

Andrew James said...

I listen to many different types of music including jazz, rock, hip hop, trip hop, and electronic music. First and foremost though i'm a hip hop head and beatmaker so that's the stuff i tend to listen to the most. Over the past few years though i've been gravitating more to tracks and artists that include more live instrumentation. An example is J Dilla's beat on Saturday Night.
I also love the sound of the Roots being they're a hip hop group and a band so you're getting the best of both worlds. Another example is producer Black Milk who now puts live instruments in nearly every one of his tracks.
On the hiphop/jazz tip there's the album "Shades of Blue" by producer Madlib. In it he remixes and re-performs songs from the Blue Note catalog.
Good stuff.

Heather Wright said...

This piece sounds American to me from the start because of it's fanfare-like introduction, especially from the trumpets and timpani. It sounds proud and confident, in a proud to be an American way.

-Heather Wright

Elia said...

Elia Robles

Before I had even gotten to Michael Dandy's comment, I had already decided that Copland's piece reminded me of Western movies. You know, cowboys riding the open plains and herding cattle... all that good stuff. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen at least one Western that has this symphony on its soundtrack. If that's not enough to drive the "this-symphony-is-American" point home, I don't know what is. To me, at least. And not only that, but for some reason, I associate America with the sound of trumpets. The fanfare intro at the beginning sort of screams patriotism to you. Go America! and all that. I'm not a big fan of brass sounding music, as I am a violinist. Call me biased, but when I DO like the sound of trumpets blaring it's because it reminds me of home. The strings are drowned out by all that patriotism going on in the brass section, though. Copland sure did like his trumpets in this piece.

JAG said...

Hi all. Copland is undeniably THE "American" composer of the 20th century, and his Third Symphony has become a national treasure. This is all true. Interestingly enough, I am going to say that there is not a single note or gesture in this symphony that makes it "American." We as musicians must not forget that sounds know no country as their home. It is us as emotional beings that associate these sounds with something more. We make the combinations of sound mean something to us.

Furthermore, Copland along with his colleagues of American nationality, wrote music that pulls from centuries old traditions that spawned not here, but in Europe. Writing for an orchestra, writing music of a tonal language, four movement symphonies, Italian character indications are all evidence that this music is no native to the U.S., it is an immigrant. Even the folk music that is quoted by early 20th century American composers can be traced back to traditions found in Ireland and England.

In no way am I devaluing the tremendous contributions that Copland made in the art music world. Of course his music is important to American culture, and yes there are characteristics such as heavy syncopation, and very open and uncluttered chords that are now associated with American musical dialect. However, this is only one branch or even quite possibly a "snapshot" of American music. American music can also be linked with Jazz, or Rock, or Hip-hop, styles that were born here in the U.S. Even in the classical/art tradition composers in the U.S. today are not emulating Copland; since then it has evolved several times over.

This is a fantastic piece, and I love every movement to the last note. Copland is amazing. I don't think of the landscapes,Americana, or houses of mud though. I associate it with America and it's involvement in the war and all the triumphs and tribulations that came from it.

Jason Gomez

Pauline S said...

Well it seems easy for Michael, Elia, I, and I'm sure others to relate this piece to the western times. Obviously we have seen western movies and this piece is similar to ones that we hear in those movies so it is only natural to connect the dots when listening.

The first thing that usually makes me think of patriotism in music is the sound of snares and flutes. Way back in the day during wars there were always snares and flutes marching. However trumpets do ring an "American" feeling. This piece brings out the trumpets and makes us feel at home with it. I don't generally like brass instruments over powering most of the time, but Copeland has a way of using those instruments in this piece that just feel right.

ashten said...

The music, or should I say, musician that moves me the most would have to be cecilia bartolli. As a vocal performance major, I truly appreciate and admire not only her superhuman talent, I am inspired by her love and dedication to the study of music itself. Bartolli was very large on the opera circut for a very long time, but lately she has used her success for musicology, discovering arias that have not been performed for over 300 years!
Her most recent venture has been in the realm of the Castrati (young boys who were castrated so they could fulfill the role as a soprano or mezzo since women were forbidden to perform.) Here, she explains a small portion of her album Sacrifictum, titled as such because the the bodies of the castrati were sacrificed for the sake of music:

Cecilia explains in her DVD theatrical presentation that she actually had to undergo special breath training in order to sing in the same capacity as the castrati did. Because the castrati did not stop growing their lung capacity was enormous, yet Bartoli rose to the challenge.

My next clip shows her in a recital situation and you can see from the very beginning that she is very theatrical, and some people in the music world tease her for it. However, she is actually making music through her facial expressions! Every muscle in the face has to do with tone and sound resonation, and for the sake of music yet again, she becomes the character and transforms into the song itself. She is such a passionate woman; whenever i watch her make music it truly motivates me to be at least 20% of the musician she is, because i know that anything past 20% of her passion is humanly impossible!

Ashten Smith

Yourmothershouldknow said...

HA I love how the video doesn't go along with the music, somebody did some video editing.

I think this composition is American because of the overall sonority and tonality. The strings and the brass have rhythms that are very unique to Aaron Copland. The melody carried between the french horns and the trumpets at the beginning with accents by the timpani gives the movement a grand intro and leads into the playful melody between the strings and woodwinds.

Maybe I watched too many westerns as a kid. Maybe it was too many beef commercials but the song makes me think about the prairie or a steam engine cutting across the great American plains.
Fernando Montoya

KungFuMaster said...

success!! Hi this is whitney herbst.
Copland really does capture the American gusto.And looking at other works by Copland, he seemed to like the western movement of America. I don't know that for sure, but he sorta stricks me as a 'western movie fan'.
anyways... I think he achieved that American sound by using leaps in his melody, like 5ths and 4ths. Other American patriotic songs, like the 'Star Spangled Banner', also have leaps in the melody.Through using this technique he achieves a wider more open sound, like the wide ranges of America. So, Copland basically found our National motive, and captured it through listening to our musical heritage. Also, as the piece progresses he adds excitment through off beats and faster rhythms.

Ryan Vaughn said...

Ahh, Aaron Copland, I don't tend to listen to much classical or symphonic music, but I do tend to enjoy his work.

As far as music that really moves me however, I tend to go for singer songwriter type music a lot. For a long time before I payed attention to music as a whole I would listen to songs for the lyrics. That kind of attitude really seeps into music even as I listen to it now, words tend to have a greater impact on me, so when I find a group or artist that I feel has truly profound or talented lyrical ability I tend to go all in for them. Some of my personal favorite lyricists are Mark Stewart and Adam Durits, from the bands The Negro Problem and Counting Crows, respectively.

The Negro Problem-

Counting Crows-

THis kind of view on music has it's drawbacks, as I can rarely find instrumental music that draws me in quite so well, though I've been making progress lately. With bands like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and You Slut!. Tending to catch my attention.


Explosions in the Sky-

You Slut!-

I also tend to listen to music where the musicians use effects and hardware to get interesting sounds from their instruments. I'm a big fan of distortion, fuzz, echo, whammy bars, pinch harmonics and things like that. So I do enjoy metal, but I prefer noise or indie rock. Bands like Glasvegas, Brand New's newer albums, things like that.


Brand New-

Overall though, I love all kinds of music and can listen to and enjoy almost anything with a little time. I believe music is the most universal form of artistic expression, it makes everything seem small by comparison. There's nothing more amazing to me than watching true musicians practice their craft. It's a truly existential experience, and one of the reasons I've grown to love music so much in so short a time as I have.

Hope I did this right, I had a lot of fun with it either way. See you in class.
-Ryan Vaughn

crs251 said...

Chris Nguyen

The opening- The sun is rising over a war torn battle field in Normandy. the american flag can be seen waving in the distance. A solder is carrying a wounded brother in arms over his shoulder with an expression of great resolve. He turns to his comrade, looks him in the eyes and says, "we're goin home buddy. We're goin home"

The next part with the oboe & middle part- The sun is rising upon the vast great plains of the new fronteir. The birds chirping are the first signs of the new day. A prairie dog peers his head out of a hole in the field to look around in curiosity. A butterfly lands on a flower. Two squirrels are playing happily. As the sun continues to spread its majestic light over the world, we see a wagon train riding along the faint trail in the distance. Men are riding their horses, leading the train kicking up clouds of dust in its wake. Boys are playing and runnung alongsinde the steady moving convoy while Mothers and girls sit it the back of the wagons looking in awe at the unfamiliar landscape. Looking on In the background we can see they are headed towards a huge mountain range enhanced with the brilliant rays of sunlight through the clouds. There is a mutual feeling of excitement among all of the settlers as they wonder what awaits them in this vast new land.

Next part with the piccolo- The sun is rising... in the reflection of the astronaut's helmet as he is floating in space, the final fronteir. Earth can be seen in the background, a sight never before seen by the eyes of man. The rest of the surrounding is black with tiny specks of light sprawled across the canvas. His spacecraft decends upon an all white unfamiliar surface. With a strong sense pride and triumph, He takes his first step out of the craft and says something about a man stepping on something.

Very last part- The sun is rising. Superman is looking on into the distance.

You can't get any more American than that

Emmanuel said...

I also agree with a couple of the other students about western times coming to mind when listening to the beginning of the symphony. I also for some reason start thinking about the third back to the future movie.

I can feel the "American" in this symphony because to me, the music makes me visualize a whole journey of the American man and America in general of what America has gone through through years of history, good and bad. The instrumentation that Copland created is really amazing. The brass instruments giving that broad, strong, and proud feeling that America stands for. Also the speed and emphasis the percussion adds with the brass instruments. And when the woodwinds and strings take over it makes me visualize America moving on and being productive and accompishing in things. Copland uses the different instruments to represent something different of what is American.

Semisi said...

Music that moves me would be rap, reggae, classical, funk, blues, jazz, rock, pop, Spanish, African, and oldies. I mostly listen to reggae more than anything but anything that just sounds like it is going somewhere or moves the way I like, I will listen to it. In many ways this song symbolizes what it is to be American, and I agree it is the fan fare, but the emotions reminded me of football. Being moved by music is something a lot of players need in order to prepare for a game, and Copland is doing that for America. This country is full of greatness, and so is this song, it builds your spirits just like the country. I found three links that I think also represent "American"

KungFuMaster said...

Something i have been listening to would be Rimsky-Korsakov, 'Scheherazade'. I picked this record up this summer and i just can't get enough of it. It was the best dollar i spent this summer. haha

deverysturges said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deverysturges said...

If you haven't watched There Will Be Blood, you're missing out. In case you haven't heard it before, here's "Open Spaces" of the There Will Be Blood soundtrack, scored by Jonny Greenwood:

I don't pretend to know musical aesthetics as intimately and extensively as a professor does, but I'm positive in saying that Jonny Greenwood was attempting to encapsulate the vast, daunting openness of the American Southwest (and it was portrayed in the film as especially formidable), with as much descriptive accuracy as four minutes could afford him. I can give you my airy account that I felt the intended bitterness, anguish, awe and uncertainty, but I'd actually rather know more about WHY I felt those things than go on convincing you that I did. Years of listening to more music and recognizing the parts integral to why the music is emotive are probably the only way to go about learning this.

Hearing variety in a piece brings me a lot of pleasure for some reason. Pop music rarely gets by attention because of all the redundancy and repetition.

There are two musical drives that I'm able to identify within me which ultimately aim to achieve a single mutual goal: to be technically proficient and creatively compelling. Each is the antithesis of the other it seems, or so I've been told. And as my perspective's been strictly that of a listener, I don't have much to say about more recondite compositions like those by Jonny Greenwood on the TWBB soundtrack. What I think I like about dodecaphony is the larger compositional palette and the balancing of all the tonally-complicating elements inherent to using such a large palette. And I've always loved dissonance.

Kathleen said...

Barring a few facts, I do not know much about Aaron Copland, and I know even less about his 3rd Symphony. However, by listening to Copland in high school I went to a Navy Band Concert. The program of course comprised mostly of patriotic tunes, most of which are much newer compositions than Copland's. The relationship between these compositions and Copland's fourth movement from his third symphony are evident. These more recent compositions imitate Copland's fanfare, which my ear tells me is in essence formed by arpeggiated major chords, thus indicating that Copland is very important in the history of American music. They also copy his soaring, spinning, and majestic melodies.

Kathleen said...

Whoa, my second sentence makes no sense. I meant that in high school I went to a Navy Band concert, and the patriotic music played at the concert shares similarities with this movement we listened to.

Kathleen said...

Oh, and music that moves me....anything can make me want to move, literally. Sound, even random sounds like people walking, can make me want to move. Also, I like Alejandro, have eclectic taste. Originally I was limited to listening to 89.1 FM....that was ALL that was played in my house. But once I became older, my cousins expanded my horizons to Mexican pop, then banda, mariachi, ranchera. The ball just kept rolling, and it keeps rolling, to the point that I even like atonal, dissonant music. It makes me think.

Baggins_54 said...

I went on an Aaron Copland binge just before school started, so I thought that this post was very interesting. The main thing that I can say about this piece is how surprising it is to think that American art stems from individual people. A strange concept to think about when America can be identified as a hodgepodge of different cultures. I can definitely hear the atmosphere of the open range and westerns, and even the scenes that Chris made up to go along with this music.
But, I think that all of the grandeur of the instruments, and 4th's and 5th's Dandy mentioned identifies itself within the context of what a person who has never been to America may think about this place. It brings Star Wars to mind, and those old narrorated Disney cartoons like Susie the Car ( and Boy Meets Dog ( Even more exciting to think about, is the person who does not have any kind of musical knowledge saying “Hey that sounds really patriotic!”. Which is exactly what happened with my Mom when I first viewed the link. I was excited to explain to her that it was Aaron Copland, and see her reaction to the other stuff he has done that I knew she would recognize. So I'm not entirely sure what makes this identifiable as American, but I do know that it is unmistakable.

Anna B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna B said...

Oh, Fanfare for the Common Man!
By the way, I purposefully didn’t read anyone’s responses yet, so if I’m saying the same thing as you, I’m not even sorry about it.
The most identifiably American thing about it is the first thing we hear, the open fourths and fifths, like the tunings of a banjo or guitar. It’s just a sound that we’re really accustomed to hearing, I think. These kinds of sonorities are just really characteristic of his most patriotic of compositions (Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Billy the Kid, etc.). Also, the trumpets, the most pompous of instruments (Sorry, Kathy), share their thoughts nice and loud while the rest of the orchestra struggles to get a word in edgewise. They want see to it that everyone hears about their opinion on the matter, though they don’t seem to have it straightened out themselves, hence the elevator-like modulations right from the beginning.
Very American, I think. I like the manic strings toward the end, too. It’s like the violins and the brass are fighting with each other, but then suddenly come to terms with the fact that they are totally equal or something.
I like it.

amin said...

there are many instrumental and vocal songs out there that make me to love music more and more every single day.However, I see classical music as pure sound of all the different genre, but I connect more with fusion music. specially, the ones united different cultures.for instance, this duet , Karen Briggs and Shahrdad Rohani, they prove the real improvisation based on fusion music and they both are from different part of world.

or on this piece (ascending bird) by Keyhan Kalhour that played with silk road ensemble . Kalhour composed this song in middle east and now is playing with silk road project.

these are the music that motivate me, there are infinite sounds in music in different forms that needs to be find.

Laura said...

-Laura Best-
Similiar to Jason's thoughts, I think this piece can be related to many peoples feelings about battles they have won, whether personal experiences or their country as a whole.
I like Chris's depiction of the astronaut. The music sounds like it could be used in a film, showing a "victory" in slow motion.
The emphasized brass parts have such energy in their harmonies. I think the slower tempo of this energy is creating the power and strength in the sound. Which may be why it gives a sense of optimism and "victory" to the listener.
So, the choice of instrument(trumpets here), with "open" harmonies and a slow tempo can create as much or even more power than a presto piece.
I can't get myself to categorize it under an "ONLY American" sound, but it could definitely be used to musically describe the Common, Working Man of America.

James Dandy said...


There is a lot of music out there that moves me, but if I was to pick one song in particular it would have to be "Cicatriz Esp" by The Mars Volta. I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock and not much else, and this was the first band that I got into that has a lot of jamming, soloing, and experimentation. The song is something like 9 minutes long and has really interesting jams that lead into weird ambient noise and then back to crazy jams. I first heard this song back when I was a freshman in high school and I still love it today.

Felicia said...

I am heavily influenced by music composed for films, and anything instrumental that can bring about and emphasize a mood I am in, at the current time I am listening to it. One composer that moves me unlike others is Ludovico Einaudi. Einaudi is an Italian composer, who has scored some music for films and television and has also done several albums of single tracks. He is not nearly as common as the likes of John Williams or James Horner, but his music speaks in the same essential language. Some of my favorite pieces by him are not even composed for films, but if I close my eyes and imagine a storyline among the likes of one of his pieces, I find myself easily drifting into the journey his music takes me on.

The great thing about his compositions is his use of strings and piano. I love how he incorporates subtle background harmonies while the piano takes charge of a beautiful melody that encompasses it all. One beautiful example of this is his composition “Primavera” which features exactly what I’ve described, and the tones are graceful and pure. The track “Love is a Mystery” which he composed as a part of the Dr. Zhivago soundtrack for the 2002 television remake is also a great example of his expertise in combining piano and violin harmoniously. A composer like this is exactly why I want to better myself musically, because I want to one day too, compose

Here is one of my absolute favorite pieces by this contemporary composer.
Le Onde (The Waves) by Ludovico Einaudi:

Felicia said...

I am heavily influenced by music composed for films, and anything instrumental that can bring about and emphasize a mood I am in, at the current time I am listening to it. One composer that moves me unlike others is Ludovico Einaudi. Einaudi is an Italian composer, who has scored some music for films and television and has also done several albums of single tracks. He is not nearly as common as the likes of John Williams or James Horner, but his music speaks in the same essential language. Some of my favorite pieces by him are not even composed for films, but if I close my eyes and imagine a storyline among the likes of one of his pieces, I find myself easily drifting into the journey his music takes me on.

The great thing about his compositions is his use of strings and piano. I love how he incorporates subtle background harmonies while the piano takes charge of a beautiful melody that encompasses it all. One beautiful example of this is his composition “Primavera” which features exactly what I’ve described, and the tones are graceful and pure. The track “Love is a Mystery” which he composed as a part of the Dr. Zhivago soundtrack for the 2002 television remake is also a great example of his expertise in combining piano and violin harmoniously. A composer like this is exactly why I want to better myself musically, because I want to one day too, compose

Here is one of my absolute favorite pieces by this contemporary composer.
Le Onde (The Waves) by Ludovico Einaudi:

The MARLEXBOOC said...

It sounds like a cowboy tune... Its the sterotypical pioneerish sound that everyone expects from a western movie. I bet you this song has been in at least one clint eastwood film lol.