By: Robin Wallace (School of Music, Baylor University) // Ludwig van Beethoven receives a waltz by Anton Diabelli in early 1819, about a year after getting his new Broadwood piano and well into the final decline of his hearing. The piece initially seems unpromising to him, but it feels amazing on this new instrument, whose … Continue reading Where There’s a Waltz There’s a Way: Exploring the Secrets of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations
By: Linda Shaver-Gleason (Lompoc, CA) // In a scene from the 1995 movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, music teacher Glenn Holland tells his high school students about Beethoven’s deafness while playing the second movement of the composer’s seventh symphony (the same movement used fifteen years later during the climax of The King’s Speech). Holland has just … Continue reading Beethoven’s Deafness and the Myth of the Isolated Artist
By: Kendra Leonard (Humble, TX) // “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” —Napoleon Bonaparte Ludwig van Beethoven greatly admired the young Napoleon Bonaparte while the latter was serving as First Consul of France. The composer thought that Napoleon represented the three ideals of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, … Continue reading Art Mimics Art: Anthony Burgess’s Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements
By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // The eleventh century music theorist Guido d’Arezzo is best known for his innovations in musical notation. But he also made a clear distinction between those who could contemplate music’s theoretical complexities and those who actually sang or performed. Guido called those in the first category musicus (musicians), and those … Continue reading How Musicology Became That Town in Footloose
By: Travis D. Stimeling (West Virginia University) // In his book Space and Place: The Perspective of Experiences, cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan defines place as “centers of felt value where biological needs, such as those for food, water, rest, and procreation, are satisfied.”1 It is in place, most cultural geographers argue, that we make meaning of … Continue reading Hearing Place in Music
By: Felicia Miyakawa (Round Rock, TX) // On March 19, 2004, I had the good fortune to attend the West Coast premiere of Devolution, a new orchestral work by composer Anthony Paul DeRitis. I was compelled to buy a ticket after reading a feature essay by Andrew Gilbert called “New Work Brings DJ into Orchestral Mix” … Continue reading Improvisation vs. Notation: DJ Spooky Meets the Orchestra
By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // The founding fathers of musicology had a tremendous impact on the shape of Western music history. The “victors” craft the historical narrative in order to make their victory seem inevitable. But how has our traditional study of music history made it seem like Western classical music is inevitably the … Continue reading Does Music Evolve?
By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // At the very beginning of the music history survey, right before diving into the music of the early Christian church, I play examples of chant from all over the world: a Ramayana Monkey Chant from Bali, a Muslim devotional chant from Ethiopia, and a Native American Pow Wow Grand … Continue reading If History Is Written by the Victors