The many types of Orchestras…and how they have evolved

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Since I’ve been collecting data on Orchestras in the US I’ve come across a bewildering number of types. Contrary to the idea that a Modern Orchestra is just the culmination of a early-19th/mid-20th century Anglo-European styled large ensemble designed for repertoire requiring the large forces required by some of the most often played repertoire by these groups, the orchestra never stopped evolving. My previous post was about how the field is alive because it’s still constantly evolving.  This post is a just a brief summary of how Orchestras have evolved since the early 20th century.  For relevant links to my lists of some of the types of ensembles, just go to the navigation bar above.

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Classical Music is alive because it’s constantly evolving

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In a recent piece by Bill Zuckerman, which is ostensibly a defense of the state of Classical Music not being so dire as some Crisis folks are saying, we get the explanation that many of the types of values taught are the focus of music school instruction.  While I don’t necessarily disagree with that, I do take some issue with Zuckerman’s examples of “new values” used by younger and newer musicians.

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Who is Paul McCartney, part II

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I thought this was as humorous as the first round two years ago (sorry–no Dothraki love song info in today’s post). This blurb from the Boston Globe probably says it best–especially about how nostalgia culture has become a culture of its own:

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Essential Tools for the 21st Century Musician: Technology

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In my previous post about tools for the 21st Century Musician, I discussed improvisation as probably the most useful tool musicians can be using. In a way, technology is even more indispensable. Unless our voice is our primary or only instrument (and even then there are exceptions), then nearly everything we make music on is the result of some level of technology.  Whether we’re talking about the technology of carved bone flutes and dried skins over a wooden frame, or the highly advanced craft that luthiers use to carve/mold stringed instruments, or the ability to build circuitry or program for electronic instruments or computers, there is always some level of technology involved in the making of musical instruments.

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Discovering your Band or Orchestra’s Roots

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One of the local research projects I’ve been working on is charting the evolution of Classical Music in Kentuckiana (i.e. the Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN MSA). Being one of the MSA’s which lies over two states, this makes some of the data gathering a little trickier, but lately I’ve decided to focus very specifically on New Albany, Indiana which is where I currently live and where I spent most of my school years before going to music school.

After the recent passing of Rubin Sher and Don McMahel, two giants of music education in this area, I decided it might be time to really get my hands dirty with data in honor of them and all the other music teachers still with us that I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with since I’ve moved back.

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