Phoenix

Most broken images are now restored, so at least the resources in place are functional. Wondering whether this will be a reborn blog for musically sensitive folks, or a guide to a cappella from the same crew. Somewhat up for grabs! Here’s to celebrating uncertainty.

Linus

Not sure where this comes from — but danceability is where it’s at!

An historical

Something of a language-evolution-now observation: I had always thought that “an historical” is wrong, and the result of us getting lazy with our aspirated “h” sounds. It should be printed as “a historical,” at least for now. Nonetheless, I and many others pronounce it “anistorical” when speaking quickly, so I’m totally down with not pronouncing […]

Music, the Arts, and Ideas – Leonard Meyer (1967)

Earlier this summer, I finished reading Meyer’s Music the Arts and Ideas.  Now Leonard Meyer is no slouch in the field of music theory—his classic text Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956) has been endlessly cited for convincing music theorists that there might actually be something to *gasp* empirical descriptions of musical works!  Of course, […]

For Once In My Life

Paul Williams of the Temptations, singing For Once In My Life by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden.  The tune was originally composed for the Motown label, and Stevie Wonder’s version made it famous, but it has been performed and recorded by a variety of other outstanding artists.  This live rendition, Williams’s most famous, is from […]

Portamental is Born

We are now Portamental—and an official dot-com!  What is Portamental? A portamento is fluidity of pitch in music.  It’s a slide from one pitch to another, blurring the boundaries between notes.  Portamental is mental fluidity, playing with concepts, eschewing quantization for analogue, or even vice-versa.  Don’t worry, though, the SmarterGuides are still here. Why the […]

I really need you tonight.

Lisztomania Mashup

Don’t miss Phoenix — and get their album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.  Those French know what’s up! Here’s a mashup: If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. Update: It’s offline—another case of major industries sniping […]

First-Time Arranging Advice

A reader wrote in requesting some pointers on arranging for his high school a cappella group, and I thought I’d post a few here: advice for writing your FIRST arrangement.  These tips do not necessarily apply to ALL arrangements and are not general rules, but are good ways to make sure nothing goes too haywire […]

Beethoven Played on Period Instruments

One of the biggest issues of this ossified study of hundred-some year old music is that our university students are being taught that Beethoven, for instance, is forever… or at least his music is.  We play them wonderful excerpts recorded on Steinway 9-footers of his Sonatae, and it never occurs to the young initiates that […]