Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Folklorist’s Global Jukebox Goes Digital

Published: January 30, 2012
The vast collection of music, film, videotapes and photographs collected by the folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax is being digitized for wider dissemination.  Read More

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Huang Ruo (OC '00) Sings His Top Five Favorite Chinese Folk Songs

Huang Ruo (OC class of 2000), has written works for every conceivable format including orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano and the opera stage. While he employs Western instruments and techniques he also edited the anthology Selection of Classic Chinese Folk SongsRead more

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Garbage Pickup Announced with Classical Music!

Garbage trucks in Taiwan have a curious way of announcing their presence: by loudly playing classical music standards like Beethoven’s Für Elise. It’s not unlike the bleating of ice cream trucks in the US every summer, universally recognized and calling people out of their homes and to the curb.

Although this has been going on for some time, it recently came to wider attention as several videos began appearing online.

The musical garbage truck scheme began in the 1980s when Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration was seeking a novel way to eliminate the vermin and odors that plagued the country's designated outdoor public trash disposal areas. This way, residents are notified to bring their rubbish directly to the trucks and the trash never touches the ground (unlike Mister Softee trucks, which seem to appear out of nowhere on hot summer days, the musical garbage trucks run on a set schedule).  More

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Classical Music Played on Stricken Italian Cruise Ship

According to its Web site, Costa Concordia offered nightly Broadway-style shows, singers, acrobats and musicians playing everything from the latest popular dance hits to -- believe it or not -- classical music. It’s unclear if any classical performances were taking place at the time of the accident but several online videos show what appears to be a violin recital in the ship’s Atene Theater, its three-story, 800-seat venue.  Read more

Violinist Joshua Bell: 'French Impressions,' Yesterday And Today

When Joshua Bell was 21, he recorded an iconic piece of chamber music for piano and violin — the Sonata in A major by Cesar Franck. Today, Bell is 44 and he's recorded it again. It's on his new album, French Impressions, with pianist Jeremy Denk.  Read more and listen to the NPR story.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Digital downloads overtake physical music sales in the US for first time

Ten years after Steve Jobs promised to reinvent the music industry with the iPod, digital downloads have overtaken physical sales of singles and albums for the first time in the US.

Digital downloads accounted for a record 50.3% of all music sales in the US last year, according to an annual report by Nielsen and Billboard, contributing to a rise in total album sales for the first time since 2004.

The report shows digital album sales passed the 100m mark for the first time in 2011, as London-born Adele dominated the US charts. Individual digital track downloads also set a new record, reaching 1.27bn sales last year – an increase of 100m sales compared to 2010.

However, while music fans flocked to the internet in record numbers, the report shows that vinyl also had something of a resurgence. Vinyl album sales topped 3.9m last year, accounting for a tiny 1.2% of all album sales but shattering the previous record of 2.8m LP sales.

Total US digital sales were up 8.4% year on year in 2011, while physical sales fell 5% to 228m.  Read more

Friday, January 6, 2012

Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.

OK, here's a test. Clip one is a musical phrase from Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. Clip two is the same phrase. The same musician plays both. But one is on a Stradivarius violin, the other on a violin made in 1980. See if you can tell the difference.  Listen and Read Here!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Operatic Drinking Songs

With one of the year's biggest drinking holidays just behind us, it seems appropriate to take a look at operatic drinking songs.  WQXR in New York has done just that.  Enjoy!  Read the list and watch the video clips here.

Top Five Special Anniversaries of 2012

Adios, Liszt and Mahler. With the New Year comes a new group of top composers (and one piece) that will be marking major milestones this year:

1. Claude Debussy
2. John Cage
3. Conlon Nancarrow
4. Philip Glass
5. Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire

Read more here.