January 30, 2011
In the first twenty-four hours since his death, much has already been written about what Babbitt‘s contributions to music were and were not. And much more will be. My own small piece (though large enough for me) is not a technical or argumentative one.
In the ’90s, I had dinner with him, Victor Yellin, and Martin Bernstein. What seemed to me an almost unbelievable privilege then seems no less so in retrospect. The easy conversation lent reality to historic events in music, as narrated by him, that was new to me — even though I had been educated largely by men and women of his generation. Witty, generous, and helpful: those are the adjectives that I carry around as captions under my mental image of him whom I had thitherto thought of as a terrifying lion of modern music.
January 30, 2011
I imagine that I’m not the only musician who will identify with this craftsman well before the article discloses his passion for music.
January 28, 2011
An interview with the two:
January 24, 2011
In music there are many kinds of teachers. There are many kinds of good teachers, even. The kind that is sure of everything, that dictates every detail of fingering, phrasing, stylistic and esthetic attitude — even if these are entirely defensible and “correct” — will have drawbacks:
Through two experiments with pre-schoolers, Bonawitz has found that teaching can be a “double-edge sword”. When teachers provided specific instructions about a new toy, children learned how to play with it more efficiently. But the lessons also curtailed their exploratory streak. They were less likely to play with the toy in new ways. Ultimately, they failed to find all of its secrets. …
Context clearly matters. When the apparently knowledgeable teachers in the experiments provide a seemingly complete lesson about the toy, the children deduce that there is no more to learn. If the lesson is interrupted, or if the instructor seems like a novice, the child deduces that there is more to discover. Bonawitz thinks that these abilities start from a very early age, when children are still in pre-school or kindergarten.
January 22, 2011
The clear-thinking Nicholas Carr is talking about processes that, in modern Western music, have a specific application. Thanks to different synaptic paths that are developed in the process of achieving music-reading proficiency, actual physical changes in the brain inevitably take place. Just as verbal literacy decreased our ability to memorize the exact words of epics and sagas, something is gained and lost in musical literacy. Should this temper people’s concerns about the new ways in which young people are processing music?
January 21, 2011
Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang in an extraordinary moment of Chinese-American cooperation:
January 20, 2011
Today is the third anniversary of this site. I take the opportunity to greet and thank those who follow it or just drop in from time to time. There are so many more of you than I dreamed likely three years ago!