Not something that happens
But the way something happens
-- Charles Ives,
Essays Before a Sonata

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Exploring the music of Colombia

An excellent online resource if you are interested in the music of Colombia is "A Short Trip Through Colombian Music" by Andrés Muñoz Jaramillo, a graduate student in physics at the University of Montana. There's an amazing variety of musics, some very Afro-Caribbean in style, others more like the Spanish-indigenous mixes found farther south in Peru and Bolivia.

YouTube has a wealth of videos. Here is a (very fast!) performance of the pasillo "Vino tinto" ("Red wine"). It seems to be in 3 at first, but the more you listen to it, the more a secondary meter in 4 becomes apparent. (In other words, it could be notated in measures of 12/8, variously subdivided as 3x4 or 4x3.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Review of Joyful Noise: Psalms in Community

My review of the film Joyful Noise: Psalms in Community, produced by Margot E. Fassler and Jane Huber, has been published in the Fall 2008 issue of Ethnomusicology (52: 515-517).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review of Kiri Miller, Traveling Home

Kiri Miller of Brown University has recently published a book on Sacred Harp singing entitled Traveling Home: Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism (University of Illinois Press, 2007). My review of this book has just been published online in Journal of Folklore Research Reviews.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Robert Shaw on musical form

Robert Shaw (1916-1999) was one of the 20th century's most important conductors of choral music, especially in his work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and chorus. He also was an inveterate writer and speaker. This poem is included in his address "The Conservative Arts," given at Memorial Church, Harvard University, November 9, 1981.

Matters of proportion—
the relations of tone, timbre and texture
of line, rhythm and tempo
of expectation, continuation
recurrence and closure
are not grandmother's eboned and
polished clothing tree
dunce-capped and slack-coated
tall in the hall
while love is made in the parlour—
They are root, trunk, branch and leaf—
seed, sap and substance of Art's meaning.


(From Robert Blocker, ed., The Robert Shaw Reader, Yale University Press, 2004.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Continuing as treasurer of NECSEM

I have been reelected treasurer of NECSEM for another two-year term.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NECSEM at Amherst, 4/12/08

I will be at the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (NECSEM) meeting at Amherst College, Saturday, April 12, in my capacity as treasurer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lecture on singing style at Sewanee, 3/24/08

I will be giving a lecture, "Beyond 'African Rhythm': Singing Style and the Africanization of North American Music" at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, on Monday, March 24, 2008, at 4:00 P.M. In part, this lecture will draw on my research into singing techniques among Sacred Harp and choral singers. I will also discuss examples by jazz, blues, and rock vocalists.