Strains of classical music echoed on Sunday - not inside an august concert hall - but in a bleak Chicago jail where the mostly teenage boys await trial on charges ranging from dope dealing to murder.
The oldest known musical melody, performed by the very talented Michael Levy on the lyre. This ancient musical fragment dates back to 1400 BCE. and was discovered in the 1950s in Ugarit, Syria. It was interpreted by Dr. Richard Dumbrill. He wrote a book entitled “The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East.”
A beautiful compilation of classic instrumental music from Iran.
One of the saddest but most beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard, by Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Olafur Arnalds.
Nicknamed Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba was a Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist. In the 1960s she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music in the US and around the world. Makeba campaigned against the South African system of apartheid, and in response the government revoked her passport, citizenship, and right of return. After the Apartheid system crumbled, she returned home for the first time in 1990. She died in 2008. Today would have been her 81st birthday.
I doubt most people will be surprised by this, but then again the industry is quite opaque.
Born Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, he displayed prodigious musical talent from his earliest childhood. He was known for his prolific love of making music,composing over 600 works, many of which are acknowledged as pinnacles of their respective genres (from symphonic to chamber, and from operatic to choral). Take the time to listen to some of his timelessly beautiful works.
A beautiful and relaxing tune from Africa. It’s been helping me get through the day.
A beautiful piece by Clint Mansell, in my opinion one of the world’s best contemporary composers. Fans of the film The Fountain may recognize it. It picks up wonderfully around five minutes in, though it’s all gold.
Because that’s the way everyone expects pop and rock musicians to sound. British pop singers have been imitating American pronunciations since Cliff Richard, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones began recording in the 1960s.* These musicians were largely influenced by the African-American Vernacular English of black American blues and rock and roll singers like Chuck Berry, but their faux-American dialects usually comprised aspects of several American dialects. Imitating an American accent involved both the adoption of American vowel sounds and rhoticity: the pronunciation of r’s wherever they appear in a word. (Nonrhoticity, by contrast, is the habit of dropping r’s at the end of a syllable, as most dialects of England do.) Sometimes Brits attempting to sing in an American style went overboard with the r’s, as did Paul McCartney in his cover of “Till There Was You,” pronouncing saw more like sawr.
Linguist Peter Trudgill tracked rhoticity in British rock music over the years and found that the Beatles’ pronunciation of r’s decreased over the course of the 1960s, settling into a trans-Atlantic sound that incorporated aspects of both British and American dialects. The trend also went in the opposite direction as new genres developed: American pop-punk vocalists like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day took on a British-tinged accent to sound more like seminal artists such as Joe Strummer of the Clash. Contemporary singers continue to adopt various accents according to their genre; Keith Urban, who is Australian, sings country music with a marked American Southern accent. A recent study suggests that the default singing accent for New Zealand pop singers utilizes American vowel sounds, even when the singers aren’t trying to sound American, perhaps because today’s singers were brought up listening to American (and imitation-American) pop vocals.
This is one of the most haunting and beautiful piano pieces I’ve ever heard, and I can’t stop myself from listening to it repeatedly. It may be familiar to many of you, as it’s been used in the sad scenes of many films and TV shows. It evokes very strong emotions from me when I listen to it, usually a mix of sadness and tranquility (if that makes any sense).
Alfred Eric Leslie Satie (Honfleur, 17 May 1866 — Paris, 1 July 1925) was a French composer and pianist. Starting with his first composition in 1884, he signed his name as Erik Satie.
Satie was introduced as a “gymnopedist” in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. Later, he also referred to himself as a “phonometrograph” or “phonometrician” (meaning “someone who measures (and writes down) sounds”) preferring this designation to that of “musician,” after having been called “a clumsy but subtle technician” in a book on contemporary French composers published in 1911.
In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications, from the dadaist 391 to the American Vanity Fair. Although in later life he prided himself on always publishing his work under his own name, in the late nineteenth century he appears to have used pseudonyms such as Virginie Lebeau and François de Paule in some of his published writings.
Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd.
The Gymnopédies, published in Paris starting in 1888, are three piano compositions written by French composer and pianist, Erik Satie.
These short, atmospheric pieces are written in 3/4 time, with each sharing a common theme and structure. Collectively, the Gymnopedies are regarded as the precursors to modern ambient musicd] – gentle yet somewhat eccentric pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition. For instance, the first few bars feature a disjunct chordal theme in the bass – first, a G-major 7th in the bass, and then a B-minor chord, also in the lower register. Then comes the one-note theme in D major. Although the collection of chords at first seems too complex to be harmonious, the melody soon imbues the work with a soothing atmospheric quality.
Satie himself used the term “furniture music” to refer to some of his pieces, implying they could be used as mood-setting background music. However, Satie used this term to refer to only some of his later, 20th century compositions, without specific reference to the Gymnopédies as background music. From the second half of the 20th century on, the Gymnopédies were often erroneously described as part of Satie’s body of furniture music, perhaps due to John Cage’s interpretation of them.
Composing gives me great pleasure… there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound.
Sea Oleena (real name Charlotte Oleena) is a Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a beautiful and haunting singing voice. I had the pleasure of learning about her through a friend on Tumblr (I love what wonderful things my random internet connections can yield). I’m particularly in love with the song that first reeled me in, “Milk,” which has one of the oddest music videos I’ve seen in some time.
What I love most about this artist is her genuine dedication to the craft: uniquely, her eponymous website allows you to download all her music for whatever price you want, making it accessible to anyone with a computer. I think it says a lot about a musician’s sincerity when they make their music that widely available. The least I can do is spread the word and give her more exposure.
Did I mention she has a Tumblr?
Yunalis Zarai, better known by her stage name as Yuna, is an indie Malaysian singer-songwriter who’s become something of a sleeper hit online. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon her music recently, but I’ve fallen in love with it.