culture

race and the arts

Barack Obama’s speech on race was one of those rare political occurrences where the discourse was elevated. If you haven’t yet read it, you should. While the speech and the subject is being discussed and dissected virtually everywhere you turn on the net, it isn’t surprising that the arts neighborhood is uniformly silent. It’s just […]

Interesting radio interviews upcoming

Announcements for two interesting radio programs just crossed by inbox. On Friday, March 14th at 3pm (ET), Elliott Carter and Phil Lesh will be interviewed together on Counterstream radio, the online radio station of the American Music Center. On Sunday, March March 16 at noon PT (3pm ET), UCLA radio will feature experimental electronic(a) composer […]

Radiohead charts a new course

Musically speaking, Radiohead explores new territory as constant practice. But with their new release, In Rainbows, Radiohead is shaking up the model for selling and distributing music. In a bold, and perhaps Utopian experiment, the band is releasing a downloadable version of the entire “record” for whatever price each individual purchaser wishes to pay. Listeners […]

Attali on Composition

I’ve mentioned Jacques Attali’s book Noise before, and his prediction of a period of musical development he called “composition.” Although an economist, Attali offers some wonderfully poetic descriptions of composition: We are all condemned to silence – unless we create our own relation with the world and try to tie other people into the meaning […]

Reading List 1

Yes, everyone has playlists. How about a good, old-fashioned book list? Yesterday I gave a talk to our local composition seminar, I offered to post some information about my reading list of music- and culture-related books. Here are three to start with: Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific RevolutionsNot a music book, but an important […]

Verbal gaffes

A linguist has found three “cures” for the problem of stumbling speech (um’s, er’s, pauses, etc.): Drinking (alcohol) Use short sentences Have someone threaten you with electric shock if you make a mistake. Really, I’m not making this up. (the “cures” are in the last paragraph.) It’s interesting that psychologists and linguists have such different […]