Are Bowings Really So Bad?

Via the twittersphere:

@fEARnoMUSIC: Hey composers! Please don’t put bowings in unless you have played the instrument you are bowing for for at least 30 years. Thx! Mwah! Luv u!

So, is it really so bad for composers to mark bowings?

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Composition? There’s an App for That… (Part 1)

As the academic year comes to a close, I realize it has been a quite while since I have written a post. Initially, I thought I would just share some fun music-generating web-links that I ran across:

But then I got to thinking about the music-making involved and started asking myself questions such as “What does it to take to make an application that can generate more-or-less pleasing music regardless of musical ability on the part of the ‘composer’?” That’s just about when I began reading Jason Freeman’s NYTimes opinion piece “Compose Your Own, Part 2” and its prequel “Compose Your Own.” This led to a number of other questions that I will address in separate posts in the upcoming week.

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The Ying Quartet at the Southern

Last night the Ying Quartet played the opening concert of the 2009–2010 Season of Chamber Music Columbus. If you live in central Ohio and have not availed yourself of the opportunity to go to one of these performances, I highly suggest that you make efforts to get to one (I will hopefully be at many, if not all).

Before the performance began, Emily and I were looking over the schedule for the season and in particular discussing one of the upcoming CMC concerts featuring John O’Conor on piano (3/6/10). One of the potential difficulties of listening to an evening of piano music is that it can become tiresome with the lack of variety in terms of timbre and dynamic envelope available to the pianist. Whereas many other instruments and the voice can vary these parameters in a variety of different ways, the pianist makes musical gestures out of a different set that, for example, includes intensity of attack, but not dynamic envelope.

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The Culpability of the Art(ist)

As I read through various reports on Arts this morning, I found a common thread through three articles:

Love the Art; Hate the Artist?” by John Schaefer

In Israel you still won’t hear the music of Richard Wagner in concert. The music sounds just as glorious there as it does anywhere else, but the Nazi’s appropriation of his music and of some of his anti-Semitic writings make it a painful listening experience for many Israelis who survived the Holocaust and settled there.…

If we remove all the art by artists of bad character from our lives, who are we hurting? Not a long dead composer… We’re just denying ourselves the good—in some cases, perhaps the only good—that these people did.

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Can Parents Fill In When Schools Cut Music?

Don Aucoin of The Boston Globe recently wrote an article in which he explains “How parents can fill the void when schools cut arts and music programs.” In summary:

“The first art to develop is the art of looking.…

The next step is to take them to a museum, so they can see how the pros do it…”

Or, in the case of music specifically:

“The next step is to take the children to a ‘starter show’ like ‘Shear Madness,’ then graduate to ‘Blue Man Group,’ and then on to more challenging fare.”

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