Friday, September 30, 2011

Funny Things about Serious People: Declaratively Hemingway

Buying paperback editions of Hemingway is funny because inevitably the back of the book has a statement that says something to the effect of "Hemingway wrote in short, declarative sentences" (that's a direct quotation) and then on page 18 you find a sentence like He knew about that, about motor cycles—that was earliest—about motor cars, about duck-shooting, about fishing, trout salmon and big-sea, about sex in books, many books, too many books, about all court games, about dogs, not much about horses, about hanging on to his money, about most of the other things his world dealt in, and about his wife not leaving him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mexico City: Scenes/ Adventures in Rhythm—Folkloric Violins

Last night I went to the Ballet Folklorico for the first time. The violins were out of tune there too, just like they are everywhere else I've heard in Mexico. Throughout the two-hour performance I kept trying to decide if this was done to be "authentic," or if for some reason in Mexico any two given violins are incapable of being in tune with one another. I could not decide.

One expert offers an explanation:
"Stanford (1984)...stresses the devastating effect the inclusion of the trumpet initially had on traditional ensembles, particularly in causing the role of the violin to atrophy. According to Stanford, the violin players in the first modern mariachi groups (after the inclusion of the trumpet) subsequently viewed their instrument as less important, and began to play out of tune and with less care. In small mariachi ensembles, the violin was retained only to complete the overall visual image."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Adventures in Rhythm: Music for Maniacs

For other fans of weird music: enjoy Music for Maniacs. You can download things there and learn things like the fact that Neil Young and Rick James were in a band together in 1966 (but didn't make very weird music) and who Frank Pahl is (hint: he makes weird music).