Have you ever listened to Radio 3′s Discovering Music? One nice touch on the web page is the expression, “over a year left to listen.” Anyway, there is to be a recording made in Glasgow’s City Halls on at 18:15 on Wednesday 30 May. The title of the event is, The Second Viennese School: Introductory Talk.
Bouncing from one YouTube video to another, I recently came across a great series of films on Afro Cuban Rhythm – with very clear explanations of how the rhythms are layered. The central protagonist is maestro of Cuban rhythm, drummer Ignacio Berroa. There are some very good musicians involved, but I’ll let him introduce them to you.
Key to understanding the whole thing are the two main rhythms of the clave (although the qutoed graphic below from Wikipedia includes three – the extra one begin in 6/8). Note the interesting etymology of the word clave:
noun - one of a pair of wooden sticks or blocks that are held one in each hand and are struck together to accompany music and dancing. Origin: 1925–30; American Spanish, Spanish: keystone < Latin clāvis key
This little graphic from Wikipedia may help to outline the key rhythms:
At the end of the 5th video (and running well into the 6th) there is a chance to see if you can keep the clave part going once they temporarily drop out of the music. Now there’s a challenge for you.
The second project in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) was to put together a short course, explaining the basics of sound editing so that local, oral historians – using the free program, Audacity, could edit and present their work. Of course this is equally applicable to music.
In October 2011 I applied to participate in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). Under the mantle of Creative Learning Networks, the idea was to enhance creative learning in the (public sector) workplace – school, community etc. One spin-off would be that silos who have neither time not opportunity to communicate would have reason to come together, in the interest of learning. This very much appealed to my cross-curricular mind-set.
Under the leadership of Ruthanne Baxter – then Arts Education Officer and Manager for Creative Learning Network in East Lothian – I was paired with Caroline Mathers at the John Gray Centre in Haddington, soon to be moving into its new premises in Lodge Street. Various ideas were discussed and two projects were agreed:
a short series of videos where working composers would give tips to pupils to help with the composing/arranging component of the SQA Music courses
an online course in the basics of sound editing – using the free program, Audacity and aimed at oral historians
The latter idea seemed especially fitting for two reasons:
the John Gray Centre is, among other things, a museum devoted to local history and community
this seemed, to me, to fit the cross-sector brief
Five composers were initially scheduled to be involved in the video interviews but, due to various commitments, two were unable to take part. Nevertheless, I feel that the three videos we have will be invaluable to students of composition.
I shall post each of the two outcomes individually.
A piano piece by Brahms received its premier 158 years after its composition. Albumblatt (sheet from an album) was discovered by musicologist, Christopher Hogwood in Göttingen, Germany. It was tucked in the pages of a guest book which also contained signature fragments of other composers. Leaving a complete piece was exceptional. Like many composers, Brahms was a recycler and the theme also appears in his Horn Trio.
p.s. Christopher Hogwood came to the then Huddersfield Polytechnic to give a talk on early music when I was in First Year (1979/80). I’d been asked to wait outside the entrance to the hall to direct any visitors uncertain of where exactly to go. Along strolled a very relaxed man, casually dressed in the kind of rainbow jumpers which were all the rage at the time. He looked through the glass into the hall and said cheerfully, “not a bad crowd.” He then wandered off and, a few moments later, was introduced to us as Christopher Hogwood – a natural communicator and a fantastic player.
It’s hardly surprising that, in a culture of written music such as the western classical tradition, the look of the music has become more complicated throughout its centuries-old develpment. If you’ve not had the opportunity to see some more out there scores, there is a great collection on the YouTube channel of the enigmatically named ch252525.
Here is an example (click the link above for more):
p.s. the Google Ad on screen is not part of the score