Month: March 2017

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Juan Baez Monthly post

juan Baez feburary

 

 

After being in a teacher evaluation on wednesday february 25th and monday February 30th, 2017 talking about a rhythmic pattern called Clave. I was very interested in this type of evaluation because I knew that this is something that I was going to like. Tis is because I grew playing latin music and never notice how important this patter it. After listening to this person I learn where this patter came from and how it came to america and the Caribbean. One thing that I fount interesting is how it came to the American continent. He explain that in Africa is where this pattern started called clave. And that it came to us through the african slavery coming to this great nation. They showed us videos of african playing a type of music in witch one of the most noticeable pattern is Clave. And we listen to this pater also in Brazil in Samba, in the caribbean such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic as son Salsa Merengue and other genre and basically the entire american continent. In addition, some places of Europe and Asia where african slave were imported also have this pattern. Also, one thing that called my attention is that a classical symphony by Beethoven his fifth symphony was made an arrangement as a Caribbean style and it was amazing.

I am so amaze to this video because I myself played this piece in the way Beethoven composed it, and after I watch this video my mind was like in heaven. How an african pattern can change so much this composition by Beethoven. Basically it does not sound like a classical piece its like resurrecting Beethoven in cuba and he composing Classic Salsa Music; although I don’t think he will like. However, by knowing that this pattern come from Africa can we say that this arrangement has a caribbean or an african style because of the clave? I can say that this is a Caribbean composition because although it has a rhythmic pattern “clave” that comes from Africa each country has a way of style where they use the clave Samba is not the same as Salsa or son, they share the same pattern “clave” but each country has a different way to use it.

In the arrangement of the fifth symphony not only the clave was added also the tempo is very different and some instrument where also added like Conga, Drum-set, cow bell, timbales and even the piano way of playing was not classic at all, it added a “Tumbao” witch is a way to play salsa in the piano. In addition to change the genre to a piece from classical to a modern genre in this case “Salsa” does not only needs the clave it also needs some extra instruments like I mention before and play them in that style. The dynamics is drastically change and the instrumentation as well. Each instrument cant play in a classical way they need to adapt to a certain style so that the piece can be interpreted how the arranger wants it ti be.

To conclude the participation this two professors has a good knowledge and good back ground regarding this specific pattern. Also, I strongly believe that the clave rhythmic pattern did came from Africa but each country has make it its own in it own way by using their own culture and with this pattern. We see how different it is the fifth symphony of Beethoven with the salsa arrangement by Sverre Indris Joner and how important it is to add more instrument, rhythm and specific style of playing.

The Miraculous Mandarin Suite

I listened to Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra play a concert at Carnegie Hall. Although the company’s repertoire mainly consisted of Romantic works, they played my favorite piece by Bela Bartok, The Miraculous Mandarin Suite. The other works that were played included Brahms’s Piano Concerto No.1, Strauss/Alfred Grünfeld’s Soirée de Vienne (paraphrase on Die Fledermaus), Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, “Unfinished”, and Josef Strauss’ Frauenherz (A Woman’s Heart) Polka-Mazur Op. 166. Although all the these works were well done, the Bartok was by far the most interesting. As a dancer growing up I would watch many ballets and had the chance to watch this ballet performed in Prague. It stood out in my mind as it was not the kind of music that I was used to dancing to at the time, and overall a strange strange story. Everything I had been exposed to musically had been mostly tonal and graceful up until that point, Bartok changed the game. I didn’t even realize that people could dance to music like this. And even though the music was strange, it slowly grew on me. Now I listen to this piece years later as a musician, and I am immediately drawn back into that theater.

I think that part of what make a piece like The Miraculous Mandarin Suite so memorable is that the music itself is extremely visual. Bartok is able to replicate such specific emotions through his music, so that you almost don’t need the dancers to tell the story. The ballet is about a prostitute who is kidnapped by three criminals and forced to seduce men so that the criminals could rob them. The first man they trap is old and poor, the second is young and poor. They both are jumped and thrown out, but the last man is a wealthy Chinese man (the mandarin). He is jumped and the criminals try to murder him, but he is kept alive by his longing to embrace the prostitute. Once the two are united, the mandarin’s longing is fulfilled and he begins to bleed out and die. The ballet’s dark plot-line is evident in the music and although the suite is not the entire ballet, the story is still portrayed effectively through the music. I was transported back to the setting of a run down city with the chaotic opening. When the clarinet begins its solo, I could see the seductive dance of the prostitute from her window. Each time the criminals attacked, you could feel the victims fear through the tension in the music. I highly recommend listening to this piece on the wqxr website. The link is: http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/vienna-philharmonic-orchestra-plays-brahms-schubert-bartok-carnegie-hall/ . I would skip to 1 hour and 49 minutes in so that you can hear the introduction to the piece, if you don’t want to listen to the other works.

Overall the concert was not cohesive enough. The juxtaposition of the romantic works against the modernism of Bartok was definitely dramatic, but it was too different. While all of the works had some folk influences, the execution together did not translate well. Standing alone each piece was excellent but played side by side it didn’t make sense to me. I think that the piece would have been better placed in the context of other modernists of his era. That being said I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of The Miraculous Mandarin Suite.

Bang On A Can!

 

An amazing concert I went to on January 9, 2017 at the Merkin Concert Hall was titled “Bang on a Can”. The band was made up of great musicians including six for most of the show and then eight during the second part of the show. The band not only played each instrument extremely well, but also seemed to have an amazing chemistry with each other and this in turn made each piece even more enjoyable to watch. The show featured seven composers who were great and their pieces were interesting and very colorful. There were eight pieces included in the show. Bang on a Can; a formidable concert based off of funds from the people’s commission, had its’ 30th year anniversary showcasing the owners, composers, and most of all the Bang on a Can’s All Stars. There was great dialogue from the Host John Schaefer, who is also the radio host of WNYC on the 93.9 FM radio station. There was a great ambience in the venue because it was warm, huge and full of seats. Before each piece was played, the composers were called onto the stage by John Schaefer and had a mini interview about the piece, and how they came up with the idea for the music.

During the first part of the show, the performers in the band stayed the same for all of the pieces and during the second part they added Eliza Bagg on violin and voice and Charles Yang on violin and voice as well. The band was incredibly amazing; their energy for each piece was impeccable and they did not even look tired at the end of the show, which was roughly two hours. It featured David Cossin on Percussion, Derek Johnson on Electric Guitar, Robert Black on Solo Double Bass, Ashley Bathgate on Cello, Ken Thomson on Clarinets and Vicky Chow on Piano and Keyboard. When they were required to do so, they lent their voices to pieces as well. I think that the performers made the show amazing by giving their all to every piece.

The first half of the concert featured two pieces from composers from different parts of the world. During this part of the show, the composers had to use field recordings. They were asked to record something new or old in the field of sound and then write music to correspond with what they found. The piece by American composer and co-founder of Bang on a Can, David Lang who received a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for one of his pieces, was titled sunray. Anna Thorvaldsdottir from Iceland, whose works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions, wrote a piece that was titled Fields. The piece by Juan Felipe Waller who is a Mexican-Dutch composer was titled Hybrid Ambiguities and the settings of his works vary from symphonic orchestra to chamber music and electronics. The piece by American composer Nico Muhly, who has written over 80 works for the concert stage, was titled Comfortable Cruising Altitude. The pieces featured Field Recordings incorporated into them which were either old recordings or new recordings found in real life and I was pleasantly surprised at how seamlessly they were woven into the pieces.

David Lang said sunray was inspired by masonic shapes and bringing life to physical form in music. The piece had many dissonances and used cool pizzicato chords from the strings, repetitious modulation and subtle dynamic build-up. The percussionist literally played everything; he would switch from the vibraphones to bells. He used broken rhythms and the piece gradually got stronger and louder as the percussionist went to the drum set. David Lang indeed illuminated the building with his amazing piece.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir was one of the international composers that contributed to Bang on a Can. Her piece had live, natural textures that made you feel as if you were running through fields. She mentioned she was influenced by actual fields in Iceland to write this piece. Random piano and guitar trills and scale runs were used with clarinet tonguing, breaths and spits to give the song a natural live feel. The string section held long suspenseful notes and the drummer used like a choked snare sound by using conga drum slaps.

Juan Felipe highlighted a Korean Harp in Hybrid Ambiguities that was inspired by a friend. This piece was very experimental. That unique instrument had 96 tones, 12 semi-tones for each 8 notes in the scale. The drummer was smacking the vibraphones with the shaker; he used timpani, toms, and vibraphone. The bass clarinet held higher notes for a long period of time and the pianist which was also amazing helped create a hip-hop feel and pulse. The string section produced a speeding car sound. The guitarist used many chromatic notes. This piece was definitely awesome.

Nico Muhly was absent but Comfortable Cruising Altitude was ok. It used uneasy airplane noises, and babies crying on the plane. The drummer used a violin bow on his cymbal which I’ve never seen… ever. The decay and overtones of the crash cymbal were dramatically enhanced with one arc. The piece constantly resolved dissonances, had beautiful chords and there was deep distance between the left and right hand of the pianist covering low and high octaves. All of the pieces were adventurous and daring and the artists weren’t afraid to think outside of the box and make their pieces unique to their own personalities.

The artists in the second part of the show were American composers but that did not take away from how exotic and fresh the pieces were. There was a piece by Michael Gordon, a member of the Philharmonic known to add rock instruments to chamber music. His work was titled St. Remy from his opera Van Gogh and it happens to be his final movement. Julia Wolfe whose music pushes performers to extremes and demands audiences’ attention, composed a piece titled Believing and it included double bass chaos when he would move up and down sporadically. Then there were two pieces by Philip Glass, who has written music for experimental theater and Academy Award winning motion pictures, one titled Bed which has a consonance on off-beats from his opera Einstein on the Beach and the second one is titled Closing which included cello vibrato with shaking notes from his debut record Glassworks were included in the second part. Michael Gordon’s St. Remy was conducted by the clarinetist in common time but the band would start on an off-beat. There were group vocals from everyone on this song, there were a lot of half-step ascensions. Some of the lyrics used by the male singer and violinist were “I think I have done well”. These pieces were just as interesting and unique as the pieces in the first part of the show.

The show was amazing and very insightful. I enjoyed every piece, composer, and program. I learned plenty just from being in the front row, and I’m sure I got a different sonic experience being able to hear the unfiltered effect of the music. Thank you so much Professor Tilley, I definitely plan on going to more Bang on a Can concerts.

 

Tigue at the Pregones Theater

Tigue

Music is intriguing by the way it sounds and the through a process of composing. As we progress in time and as a listener, we question what is consider “music” or just simply noise. During Music Since 1945 class session, I was exposed to John Cage composition. Cage has an unorthodox way of composing music. He would squeaky ducks, place flower into water fill bathtub, a sound of streams releasing from a boiling pot and many another unorthodox way of making music. I found it interesting because the concept was a showcased in 1960 which is futuristic for its time. Nowadays those sounds are available as a plug-in for digital music creating. Cage was also known to alter piano sounds by attaching screws, corks, and various of other things between piano wires. This allows some notes to be higher pitch and mute. Another composer that caught my attention that utilizes music beyond classical method is 12 tonnes introduce by Arnold Schoenberg and Josef Matthias Hauer. The technique is a means of ensuring that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded as often as one another in a piece of music while preventing the emphasis of any one note. Also overall gives the player to repeat the same single note every time is indicated. While it does not provide a wide range of octave it does have a clear message toward composing. This brings me toward to presenting a group name Tigue Music that utilize experimentalists and radicals method.

The band Tigue are composed of three performances: Mat Evans is keyboard and percussion, Amy Graphic is drums and percussion and Carson Moody is drums and percussion. The trio is base out of Brooklyn fused the precision of contemporary classical music with art-rock energy. The trio performed three compositions lasting one hour and thirty minutes at Pregones Theater.

The first composition the group utilize flower pots, metal sticks, metal plates, glass bottle, saws wheel, door bell,  metal panpipe. Mat began the piece by revolving what seem to be a screwdriver around the flower pot.  This created low resonant sounds while other pieces are played.  The Trio hitting on objects that created ostinato. The drums at the end of each fragment place emphasis. Two instruments that have the highest pitches are the drum and panpipe. The piece begins to make a transition as each instrument played prestissimo. The piece overall has a lot talea of sixteen notes follow by heavy drums. This piece creates a feeling of infinite since there a lot of talea and ostinator insinuate anticipation toward the listener. The listener does not know when the composition is going to resolve. When there is a transition it introduces somewhat new melodies and harmony but it resolves back to talea and ostinator. The composition motif created a subliminal infinite theme.

The second composition the trio began to sit on the floor with their instrument. Carson is on drum with a small rake, Mat is on a mini wooden keyboard that may consist of one octave and a half and Amy is using an electric guitar. The group began to chant out simultaneously “This is a Mat favorite puzzle that we like is 1,3,1,3,3,2,4,1….” The group began to look down on a piece of paper that consists of only numbers.  As each person takes turn to read out numbers they began to play their instrument in a precise method. As number one is being called Carson begins to use his left hand to rake across the drum, as for number two he begins to hit the drum on the right side. While Carson and Mat played a specific note on their instruments. The beginning of the composition it was adagio then proceeded to allegro. As This provided the piece less distance from each instrument sound. Overall the transition provided the piece a more put together sounds rather individually sounds. The group began to make a dramatic transition. Mat start to flip over his mini wooden keyboard and unscrew the back cover with a screwdriver. He would use the same screw to screw back and forth on the board to create a grinding noise. The sound was at moderate pitch. Meanwhile, Amy detaches one the electric guitar wire and begins to hit her palm to the neck of the a guitar. This created a loud heavy pitch and resonant. The other instrument can be heard as a grind and tapping sound. This transition of method created a lot of overlap sound. As the pitch and resonant of the bang guitar linger over other instruments. The end of the piece the trio began to repeat the extensive list of numbers that they been following to the audience while playing their instrument. “ 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 ..This was a puzzle of a puzzle was” as the trio announce to the audience and trio simultaneously provided sign numbers with their finger. The index finger is being 2, the third finger is 3 and so forth.  This composition seems to be using a logic like the 12 tone since each player was playing a specific tone as each number are read. However, the piece does not have a clear melody or harmony.  The first movements all instrument seem to have the same density. However, after the transition, the altered guitar have the highest density.

The third composition the trio utilize an electric keyboard, drum set, shaker, and glockenspiel. The drum repeats 3 notes as the melody meanwhile he using the shaker. The pianist is holding down one tone throughout which creates a resonant.  The glockenspiel is highlighted because is played at a higher pitch than other instruments. It also repeats melody that other instruments seem to surround it.  The song has harmony created by other repeated notes and continuous notes.  It is polyphonic. The glockenspiel has the most noticeable density. The instruments are able to work together because each instrument does not rise above the glockenspiel tone.  There is minimal variation. Most noticeable variation is the drummer play the bass note then  hi-hats and repeat. After short highlight by the drummer, it would shift back to glockenspiel. The pieces have a lot of repetition but it captures the message of the melody. The piece reminds me of the 80s style of a band playing rapid quarter notes. The sound also promotes dancing because of its tempo. This piece does connect to my life since I was playing a video game that takes place in Miami during the 80s and Latin radio station often would be played this rapid pace of instruments.  During the performance, I also rap over this beat in my head since it kept the same tempo.

Overall Tigue shows an array of creativity with their method of performance to utilizing household items as an instrument. They pay homage to past composer that forefront these methods of making music such as dodecaphony and Extended technique. The three compositions insinuate the listener with feelings such as infinite, puzzle and logical thinking.  Their witty hand sign to connect to the audience and insinuated logical thinking. Tigue pushes the boundaries by utilizing binary form to each of its composition that keeps the audience anticipated. The audience would anticipate and guess what would come after this unorthodox movement.

 

 

Small Change to the Schedule

Hi everyone,

just a quick note to alert you to a small scheduling change. I decided to switch 2 of our topics so that we will cover Minimalism in a week’s time and I’ve moved the issue of Music & Politics down to the end of March. I’ve also included a couple of new readings for next week. If you can skim them before class on Monday, that would be great. Certainly have them skimmed by Wednesday to help our discussion.

Oh, and we’ll start Wednesday’s class with another short quiz: another definition of a major term that we’ve studied so far. Quiz starts promptly at 9:30 and ends, promptly at 9:40.

Making Hyperlinks

Hey everyone,

I’ve noticed that many posts on the blog aren’t taking advantage of all the text styling features that are available, most importantly, hyperlinks.

Hyperlink definition
Google’s definition

A hyperlink is an internet-friendly sort of footnote, in which you actively take your reader to your source, without having to fill the page with all that ugly URL language.  It can be a good way to introduce your reader to websites of interest, and further reading.  I’ve seen great URLs so far to websites and reviews, but the reader has to cut-and-paste the long text.  We all prefer hyperlinks.

Here’s how to create them:

Highlight the text you want to make an active link.

Select the “link” button from the top of our editing window.  It looks like this:

Link Button

Then cut-and-paste your URL into the box that opens and hit “Enter”

Hyperlink

 

I look forward to being able to link to your interesting research with each new post!

Spain – Chick Corea

As a result of my growing interest of Latin and Jazz music, I decided for my blog post to be on the song Spain by Chick Corea. Spain is an instrumental jazz fusion composition by jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea. It is likely Corea’s most recognized piece, and some would consider it a modern jazz standard. Spain was composed in 1971 and appeared in its original and most well known rendition on the album Light As A Feather. It is played in common time(4/4) and is originally played at a very fast pace. This February, I witnessed Lehman College’s Latin Jazz Band perform a cover to Spain. The song is introduced with a lengthy piano solo with a cello in the background complimenting the piano. After the intro, the song switches to a fast, Latin jazz samba rhythm, in which the main theme and an improvisation part are repeated. The percussion and woodwind instruments are then introduced. The flutes are accompanying the piano’s melody, while the business keeps a fast and steady pace. At the break of the song, the listener is required to clap along to the beat which is indeed a part of the original recording and sheet music. The claps are done on the 1 and the 3 and then falls back into a repeat of the fast paced Latin jazz samba rhythm. The chord progression used during the improvisation part is based on harmonic progressions of GMAJ7, F#7, Em7, A7, DMAJ7, C#7, F#7, Bm, B7. Chick Corea’s instrumental of “Spain” is influenced from traditional Spanish music. In the opening arrangement of the song, There is a Flamenco style of playing on the piano, implying a dramatic setting to set the mood before heading into an elegant melodic flare. Like the original recording, each musician takes turns in the spotlight to display their musicianship skills. The piano, bass guitar, flutes, brass, and percussion all took turns soloing. The most impressive solo to me in the performance and in original recording is the bass solo. The bass solo was almost on par from the original recording with its arpeggio sweeps and even plucked some chords with a slap bass technique. The flute takes second place with its versatility among the other instruments. The flute player’s solo ornaments the music with such gracefulness in the melodic theme of the piece and even ventured out on his own. The percussion solos were also impressive. The drums especially to solo and be able to keep a steady jazz samba rhythm at such a fast pace. The spontaneous drum fills were perfectly timed and you’d have to be a pretty experienced drummer to be able to do it at such a fast pace. However, all the instruments played an important part to this piece. Each instrument originates its own sound so perfect when played together. They’re intimate unity is what makes Chick Corea’s “Spain” such a well respected masterpiece of musical sorcery. Below is a live performance of a performance of “Spain” in Barcelona, Spain.