Monday, October 29, 2012

Changes to Charts by Billboard Draw Fire

Three weeks ago, the editors at Billboard, who for decades have defined what makes an American hit, shook up the song charts for various genres.
The magazine started counting digital sales and online streams along with radio airplay in its tallies for most major formats. It also created two new charts using the same criteria, breaking out rap songs in one and R&B songs in a second.
The results have given stars with a pop-oriented sound and broad crossover appeal an advantage over other artists, upsetting and puzzling some music fans. Take Psy, the pudgy South Korean pop star with the infectious dance moves whose video “Gangnam Style” went viral on the Internet. Since the new rules took effect, “Gangnam Style” has been the No. 1 song on the new Rap Songs chart for the last three weeks, even though Psy does not rap on the track and most American hip-hop radio stations have yet to embrace him as a bona fide rapper.
On the Hot Country Songs chart, Taylor Swift’s pop single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” has held the No. 1 position for three weeks, even as many country stations have rejected it, and Rihanna’s pop hit “Diamonds“ has remained atop the Hot R&B-Hip Hop Songs chart, causing dismay among R&B purists.  Read more

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Digital Streaming from the James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection

 The Oberlin Conservatory Library is pleased to announce the official launch of digital streaming access to the LP recordings from the James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection. These materials are now accessible through OBIS to all Oberlin students and employees.  We’re beginning by making available fourteen of the releases from Bee Hive Records, a label owned by Mr. and Mrs. Neumann that was active from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s and featured artists including Pepper Adams, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes, Clifford Jordan, Jaki Byard, Frank Wess, and many others.

To access the recordings:
  • do an “author” search in OBIS for “Neumann Jazz Digital Audio Library” (or just click here)
  • select the item you wish to hear
  • click on the link for "Connect to this recording online (Firefox browser required)"
  • login using your ObieID and password
  • approve your computer's use of Flash and/or QuickTime
  • enjoy the music!

We plan to digitize 5-10 additional LPs each week, so check OBIS regularly to access the newest material.

About the Collection

The initial portion of the Neumann Jazz Collection arrived at Oberlin in October 2011 (ca. 47,000 analog recordings and 145 linear feet of periodicals, concert programs, record catalogs, and sheet music).  Inventories of the paper materials have now been completed, and audio materials will be made available on an ongoing basis through OBIS as they are inventoried.  For more information on the collection, contact

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ten Newsweek Covers That Featured Classical Musicians

Newsweek announced Thursday that it will end its print edition and shift to an all-digital format in early 2013. Since 1933, the iconic newsweekly not only covered and summarized world events but occasionally introduced general audiences to classical superstars like Leonard Bernstein and Luciano Pavarotti.  Read More

The Top 10 Photos of Pianists Showing Off Their Hands

New album covers by the pianists Lang Lang and Alessio Bax raise an age-old question that pianists face when confronted with a camera: What should they do with their hands?

The solutions, it turns out, are numerous: clasp them in front, hold them in the air, drape them across the keyboard, fold them together. Here are ten solutions to the pianist hand pose. Please share your favorites in the comments below.  More

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Claire Chase (OC '01) 2012 MACARTHUR FELLOW

Claire Chase is a young arts entrepreneur and flutist who is forging a new model for the commissioning, recording, and live performance of contemporary classical music. As artistic director of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), which she co-founded in 2001, Chase has assembled a cadre of approximately thirty conservatory-trained musicians, including herself, devoted to advancing new music and playing an expansive repertoire and range of styles. Their eclectic programming, often curated by Chase, combines well-known works imaginatively interpreted alongside premieres of exciting contemporary compositions.  Watch the video interview here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The CD, At 30, Is Feeling Its Age

Today marks the 30th anniversary of a musical format many of us grew up with: the compact disc. It's been three decades since the first CD went on sale in Japan. The shiny discs came to dominate music industry sales, but their popularity has faded in the digital age they helped unleash. The CD is just the latest musical format to rise and fall in roughly the same 30-year cycle.  Read More Here.

The Mix: The Mississippi Blues Project

The Mississippi Blues Project, produced by WXPN in Philadelphia, is a yearlong endeavor that showcases the rich musical heritage of the Magnolia State. From R.L. Burnside, Willie Dixon and Cassandra Wilson to Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and the North Mississippi All Stars, the project features a comprehensive look at the history and future of Mississippi blues, with live concert videos, audio recordings, essays and photos.  Listen to Mississippi-born harmonica player Big George Brock here!