Current Musicology

Articles from No. 95, Spring

Ambient Drone and Apocalypse
Celer and The End of Happiness A good time to listen to Celer's music is early in the morning, around three o'clock. Any later, and road noise would drown it out. In the album Salvaged Violets, high--and low-pitched tones seep in, barely perceptible...
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Road Maps as Analytical Tools
I. Initial Considerations My experience with road maps began fifteen years ago, when I was teaching an upper-division course on 20th-century music. Sarah Z, a senior, was simultaneously pursuing degrees in violin performance and studio art. She...
A Timely Musical Discourse, or a Music Treatise from Lost Times, Part I
Eschewing some serious scholarly reservations, I wish to present a significant portion of a heretofore unknown treatise that concerns the nature of musical time. It takes the form of a dialogue between two musicians, a teacher and his student. The...
Breathtails: A Song Cycle in 13 Breaths Written for Anne Lebaron
1 My breath had already settled on the windows of eternity I go on but only in flits and stops to hear myself unsettling as I settled in as I go on pressed against the windowpane when even as I stop...
Composing Breathtails (a Song Cycle in 21 Breaths)
#1: unleashed in the composer candy store My good fortune: a commission from Mutable Music for baritone Thomas Buckner, with some unusually open conditions: no restrictions on duration, instrumentation, or delivery time. There's more: an invitation...
Correspondences
In this series of letters, the musicologist and violinist Gascia Ouzounian (writing from Belfast) and the composer Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri (writing from Berlin and Stuttgart) discuss the latter's music, touching on such topics as: graphic...
Cover to Cover
Ali. Wait, can you please turn up the volume?... I know this tune! Baba. I should hope so. It's Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, the famous Adagio Sostenuto. Ali. No, what I meant is that it reminds me of a song. Give me a second ... Yes,...
Editor's Note
The impetus for compiling this issue followed from my encounter a few years ago with Nathaniel Mackey's 1986 epistolary jazz novel, Bedouin Hornbook. In a series of letters addressed to a friend called "Angel of Dust," Mackey's protagonist, N., recounts...
Eleven Theses on Sound and Transcendence
I. Listening can only be localized in the ear by force of reduction. Imagine a room (call it the "music room"), in which sounds are heard; any normal person entering the room is presented with sounds which are audible only there, but which...
Erb's Text for Bab's O
[via Samuel Beckett & Gertrude Stein] All tips engaged. Not ever known when, not ever known where, mid lows, mid ways, mid highs, way high, way low, way allover ways. Each weighs just so unknown then known. Weighted here weighted there, each...
From Errata 5uite
We talk about and try to think through these notions--like sounds in music--and we forget what really happens. We forget that we must always return to zero in order to pass from one word to the next. John Cage, For the Birds Errata...
Igor's Goriest Tune and Selected Text Pieces
To observe my 50th birthday in 1982, I conceived Igor's Goriest Tune and sent it out to friends, colleagues and family members. In 1987 IGT became part of a limited edition of graphic-texts--IMAGE: a collection (with four pieces of mine and works by...
Improvising Compose Yourself
The post-World War II era in the USA saw the emergence of an intense new strain of composing music, begun by Milton Babbitt (1916-2011) and students collected around him, at Princeton University. This high-modernist project also produced writings about...
In Response to Intero and Canto Infinito
TO ASTONISH THE ROSES 7 e-mails to Walter Branchi Roses #1 Dear Walter, Since your last visit {- when you played us a CD of an Intero episode, in a bedroom chock-full of beds, desks, chairs, stacks of books and music, bookcases, LP's &...
Listening in Poppies
listening as I speak as I hear a sound, listening I remember to a sound of an image as I reach for the center freckles of shaping ~ of the wind ~ of what is becoming or scales of what scarlet first maybe only a stain that breaks...
Memoirs of a Musical Object, Supposedly Written by Itself: It-Narrative and Eighteenth-Century Marketing
Dedication (1) To the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public at large, who have witnessed my talents, and raised me from obscurity to the proud eminence on which I now stand, I dedicate my following maiden essay in literature. [ ... ] I have been...
Nonsense and Unmusic
First thing. Without nonsense there is no sense. Without sense there is no nonsense. Without sense there is no sense. Without nonce there is no once. Without out end there is no begin in. Without redundancy the waves would surge in one direction...
"Words for Music, Perhaps"? Texts, 1975-2013
forM(a music) articulate is incarnate form fingertips articulate voices incarnate articulate incarnations articulate incarnate articulations incarnate voice forms fingertip fingertips form voices ...
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