Choice Cut 4 – Prompt 6

I think a university music school in the near future should include more diversity in the composers they teach as well as in its musical culture. Exclusively teaching 18th-century harmonic practices does not allow for other cultures’ unique musical understandings to be shown to students; therefore, it does not allow them to be well-rounded when it comes to the different musical cultures. After watching Adam Neely’s video, it really opened my eyes to how different cultures have their own ways of expressing music. I never really thought about this before because I just assumed all cultures used the musical practices we have learned and, in the video, Neely mentions how that is a result of music theory and history being strictly white male based. I think university music schools will start to incorporate music made by people of colour and women from all music eras in order for this preconceived notion that music theory and music history were solely created and developed by white males to slowly diminish. All the music theory textbooks Neely showed, talk and give examples of these white male figures who were the ‘greatest composers of all time’ and do not give any credit to less recognized composers who were probably just as great at what they did. If music theory classes broadened the culture they discussed in class by either making the length of the class longer or breaking down music theory and music history classes into specific cultural genres, then I think the appreciation of various cultures would grow and people would not be so set on just knowing the 18th-century harmonic practices. I think music schools should have more courses that give students the opportunity to learn about culture-specific musical notation and terms. Looking at Uvic’s music courses, there are courses broken down into various genres, but there are not a lot of courses broken down into various culture’s music. We have some, such as African Hand Drumming, however, all the courses on musical terminology are very general and mostly cover the terms created by those white male figures. Moving forward, schools should include more variety even if the most common way of musical notation in Canada is the terms and rules dictated by the past white male figures. There was one part of Adam Neely’s video where he mentions how western music theory is framed as a tool for proving a piece of music’s worth. This statement is so interesting because why is only western music theory a way to prove a piece’s worth? Why do we use this tool to determine whether or not a piece is deemed worthy enough? We should be able to appreciate all music and not focus on determining its worth to us.

Choice Cut 3 – Prompt 5

The listening example I chose is Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 94, the “Surprise” (1792). Although the actual download is 6:26, the listening guide in the textbook focuses on the first 1:06 therefore, I exclusively listened to that first section. My first listen through, I found the piece calming and subtle right up until the surprise sforzando at the end of repeated A. After the surprise, I liked how it somewhat grew in volume as well as in the number of instruments playing. The addition of instruments with each presentation or repetition I thought was interesting, and really built the piece up, making it seem more complex with the original theme underlining the B theme. Around my fifth listen, I noticed when the flutes came in, and I was surprised that I had not noticed them before. I think I was so focused on the strings and listening to how they changed that I missed the introduction of the flutes completely. I also started to notice how the strings gradually got quieter right before the sforzando, making it even more shocking to the ear when it happens. Overall, I felt when A was presented, it had a strict/formal nature to it but, after the sforzando, the piece switched to have a more freeing flowing sense with that strictness rooted in the music. My experience listening to this piece on repeat gave me a sense of calmness after having a stressful day so in future, I may use this tool when I feel stressed.

For this prompt, the listening guide I chose focused on the first minute and six seconds but coming back to it, I listened to the whole 6:26, and it was amazing. Because the section I listened to exclusively was pretty mellow and calm, I just assumed that the rest of the piece was similar and had a few moments of that surprise sound. I was definitely wrong; the piece really picks up and changes from that calm, flowy sense to a very dark, intense sound. The first time this happens, around 2:15, it surprised me, but I liked how it kept the themes from the beginning in the piece and just made them take on deeper notes. Moving on in the piece, I liked how it kept going back and forth from the softness of the beginning to this deeper, more intense sound. The transitions from the two sounds are very interesting, and I like how all of them are relatively different. Some simply just start full force into it, and some slowly faded or mix the two together until one ultimately outshines the other. I enjoyed the use of the high string at the end of a deeper moment, around 3:10, which then leads into higher-pitched notes similar to those of theme A. I like how the piece before this is very grand, and more chaotic sounding with all of this build-up which, then concludes with one single high-pitched string. This piece and the way it builds and progresses is so interesting because of the way it starts slow and builds up but then falls again. The constant build-up and then fall down is very pleasing to me. Throughout this course, and especially after this prompt, I have enjoyed just sitting with my headphones on and really listening to my favourite songs and music. I like how this allows me to be fully focused on the music I am listening to and hearing all the changes of notes, texture, rhythm, etc, and how a song builds as well. I find it very relaxing and refreshing to do this at the end of my day right before I go to bed.

Choice Cut 2 – Prompt 3

I chose to focus on variation 13 of Glenn Gould’s recordings of the Goldberg Variations. When I first listened to this particular section in the 1955 recording, I thought of a silent film where something has gone terribly wrong and one character is over-emotional/crying, and the other is flustered, scattered and shown pacing around the room. I thought of the two different staffs being played as a conversation where the higher notes are the pacing character, and the lower notes are the emotional character. The deeper notes also come across almost as a wave-like pattern, going up and then coming back down again, representing that emotional roller-coaster. The higher notes are more present and faster, making it seem like more of scattered thought, however, they seem to be settled by the deeper notes at the end. With the 1981 recording, I feel those roles are reversed, and the higher notes represent the over emotional character, and the deeper notes represent the flustered character. This happens because of the volume of those deeper notes becoming louder and stronger in this recording, compared to the first recording where they were softer and more in the background. The two conversations happening in this recording have more of an equal sound to them, even though the ending does not settle the same as the 1955 recording, Gould adds two extra notes. Both recordings have one of the staffs’ feeling more emotional than the other, but Gould switches those roles in the 1981 recording by allowing those deeper notes to be noticed more. I thought it was interesting how different the two recordings sounded. Maybe since it was recorded using a different piano or the higher quality of the recording. The 1981 recording definitely has a clearer and more crisp sound to it compared to the 1955 recording which, sounds more muffled. Coming back to this prompt, and listening to these recordings again, I did not visualize that silent movie moment as much, but more so was reminded of my past ballet classes. Growing up, I did exam ballet at my dance studio with the Royal Academy of Dance, and in class, we had a pianist who played all of the syllabus music for us. In some classes, we did not have the pianist there, so we had to play the music through a CD, and the two types of listening experiences made such a difference. Having the pianist in the room with us was so much better as we could really hear the differing textures and notes more clearly than listening to the CD. Variation 13 reminded me of this experience because I still hear a story being played throughout both recordings, and that sense of storytelling and what the music was saying is something my ballet teacher focused on for us to able to express certain emotions while working through the ballet exam syllabus.

Choice Cut 1 – Prompt 2

“Crazy in Love,” Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY

This song was Beyoncé debut solo single that came out in 2003 that features now husband, Jay-Z as well. It was a number one hit and according to Rolling Stone, it is the greatest song of this century – so far.

Baby Laughing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc

This is a clip of a baby laughing at someone ripping a piece of paper I found on YouTube. But really, any sound of a baby laughing would make it on.

“Married Life,” Michael Giacchino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rn-vMbFglI

This piece is from the Disney Pixar film Up and underscores the beginning of the film as two of the main characters move through life together.

I chose these three examples, all for different reasons. I picked “Crazy in Love” because I wanted to include one song that represents music from the 21st century. So, I googled the most popular song of the 21st century, and under the Rolling Stone article, The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century – So Far, “Crazy in Love” was number one. The Golden Record includes classic music that represents what was popular in different eras of time so, by including this song it demonstrates how music has evolved. It also shows the progression of popular music and how that style has changed as well. Compare it to what style and sound were popular back in Bach’s time – which his music is included on the record – to Beyoncé’s sound and style, the two are very different. On the current Golden Record, they have the sound of a baby crying however, I think the sound of a baby laughing or a toddler laughing is one of the best sounds in the world, as I think anyone who hears that laugh is instantly happier. I think of my nephew, who is two years old, and how no matter what kind of day I am having, seeing him and hearing him laugh will instantly cheer me up and make me smile. Having this included allows those who find the Golden Record to experience the innocence of a baby or toddler enjoying the simplest things in life through their laughter. Lastly, I chose “Married Life” because Up is a great film and this piece really shows the range of how music can take us on an emotional journey without using any words. The visual in the film that this piece underscores walks us through what specific emotions the characters are feeling therefore making the audience feel them as well. But listening to the piece on its own, I think, allows people to interrupt their own emotions throughout life into the ups and downs of the piece. There are moments of joy that then transition to sadness by a solo piano playing simple notes that just break your heart. This piece is one that perfectly takes listeners through life’s emotions, and I cannot think of another piece that does this as well as “Married Life” does. Adding it to the Golden Record gives these new listeners the chance to experience how one piece can take you through various emotions.

Prompt 9

Being a musician during Covid times, I feel, is like a balancing act. On one hand, you want to be able to start a Livestream and play the music that you enjoy, and for other people to enjoy but on the other hand, somewhere in there, you need to be able to make some sort of profit to sustain your lifestyle. In the WUNC 91.5 article No Gigs, No Income: Local Musicians Find New Ways to Make Money Amid Pandemic, I thought it had some creative ideas on how to continue to earn a profit while playing music. Creating telegrams for people to purchase, whether you deliver that telegram at a distance or in a video format, I think is a smart way to make some money, however, this method might not allow musicians to play the music they love. This makes me think of the gig triangle discussed in session 11. The telegram will give you 2/3 sides on the triangle, those sides being the money and the fact that you could easily do the telegram by yourself therefore not having to deal with other people, but you also have to think if playing at the request of others is the way you would want to play. One way I think is a really smart way to get exposure and, in the future, make more money is through TikTok. I see a lot of artists uploading covers or original music to the app, and it blowing up. I think this is an interesting way of doing it because some artists I have seen really show their process of creating their music and I think that process really intrigues people so, that might make them follow you for more and then they share it with their friends and then you kind of get that snowball effect of more and more people coming across your page. I think artists have to get really creative during these times because people are bored, and just want to be entertained and with so many musicians out there trying to accomplish the same thing as you, you have to do something more creative in order to grab people’s attention.

Prompt 8

Why does Dr. Munarriz consider the label “Latin American Music” problematic? Do you agree or disagree with his position? Why?

Dr. Munarriz considers the label “Latin American Music” problematic because it is a very general term that actually covers a wide variety of diverse music. He also believes that we have to be aware of the implications of the term depending on the certain context we are talking about. I agree with him because I think when using that label, it is very wide and does not give the credit or the recognition to the specific music styles under that label.

What is the difference between Latin American Music and Latin Music?

The difference between Latin American Music and Latin Music is that Latin American Music is music that comes from any region, any Spanish, French or Portuguese region that come from people who actually live in that particular region. Whereas, Latin Music is music produced by the Latin community, by people of Latin American decent but live elsewhere.

What are ostinatos and how are they used in many Caribbean and Latin American musical expressions?

Ostinatos are notes or rhythms that get repeated in music. They are used in many Caribbean and Latin American musical expressions by keeping its structural composition throughout the piece. It repeats its rhythmic pattern that functions as the anchor and structures the whole composition. It is also not structured by one single instrument.

What are some of the Latin American expressions in which the so called “Habanera Pattern” can be easily identified?

Some of the Latin American expressions in which the “Habanera Pattern” can be easily identified are how it switches the pattern around and changes what note the accent is on. The compositions also add other elements, but the original pattern is always present. Some compositions roll the pattern, they do not end the notes as definite and not as articulated as other compositions. Overall, they include different changes by finding a new way to do things, with the role of performance practice being important.

Prompt 7

In OOIOO recording of “Polacca”, all the elements seem to have a mind of their own, especially at the end where it sounds like a free-for-all. Throughout the whole song, the drums stay sounding relatively the same by keeping the same beat, however, the other instruments and elements of the song kind of do their own thing, which I found interesting because it created this really unique sound. When the song’s tempo started to pick up, it felt as though the drums and guitar were racing with each other to end the song. Both picking up speed while the vocal stayed slow, again doing its own thing.

Sly and the Family Stone’s song “Space Cowboy” took me by surprise. The beat and groove of the song made me think of a more upbeat, faster tempo song but, when the vocal entered, and it was quieter and soft, that really surprised me. I also was not expecting the yodel that was heavily used throughout the song. All the instruments indicated a fast-paced song but, the actual vocal of the song was slower, more so overshadowed by the music itself.

Patato and Totico’s “Agua Que Va A Caer” started off simple with only drums and vocals, but I found as the song went on more and more elements were introduced. The drums were one of the main parts I found throughout the song. They started the song and kept the same speed when everything else sped up, but when everything slowed down, they were the fastest element being played.

Prompt 6

I think a university music school in the near future should include more diversity in the composers they teach as well as in its musical culture. Exclusively teaching 18th-century harmonic practices does not allow for other cultures’ unique musical understandings to be shown to students; therefore, it does not allow them to be well-rounded when it comes to the different musical cultures. After watching Adam Neely’s video, it really opened my eyes to how different cultures have their own ways of expressing music. I never really thought about this before because I just assumed all cultures used the musical practices we have learned and, in the video, Neely mentions how that is a result of music theory and history being strictly white male based. I think university music schools will start to incorporate music made by people of colour and women from all music eras in order for this preconceived notion that music theory and music history were solely created and developed by white males to slowly diminish. All the music theory textbooks Neely showed, talk and give examples of these white male figures who were the ‘greatest composers of all time’ and do not give any credit to less recognized composers who were possible just as great at what they did. If music theory classes broadened the culture they discussed in class by either making the length of the class longer or breaking down music theory and music history classes into specific cultural genres, then I think the appreciation of various cultures would grow and people would not be so set on just knowing the 18th-century harmonic practices.

Prompt 5

The listening example I chose is Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 94, the “Surprise” (1792). Although the actual download is 6:26, the listening guide in the textbook focuses on the first 1:06 therefore, I exclusively listened to that first section. My first listen through, I found the piece calming and subtle right up until the surprise sforzando at the end of repeated A. After the surprise, I liked how it somewhat grew in volume as well as in the number of instruments playing. The addition of instruments with each presentation or repetition I thought was interesting, and really built the piece up, making it seem more complex with the original theme underlining the B theme. Around my fifth listen, I noticed when the flutes came in, and I was surprised that I had not noticed them before. I think I was so focused on the strings and listening to how they changed that I missed the introduction of the flutes completely. I also started to notice how the strings gradually got quieter right before the sforzando, making it even more shocking to the ear when it happens. Overall, I felt when A was presented, it had a strict/formal nature to it but, after the sforzando, the piece switched to have a more freeing flowing sense with that strictness rooted in the music. My experience listening to this piece on repeat gave me a sense of calmness after having a stressful day so in future, I may use this tool when I feel stressed.

Prompt 3

I chose to focus on variation 13 of Glenn Gould’s recordings of the Goldberg Variations. When I first listened to this particular section in the 1955 recording, I thought of a silent film where something has gone terribly wrong and one character is over-emotional/crying, and the other is flustered, scattered and shown pacing around the room. I thought of the two different staffs being played as a conversation where the higher notes are the pacing character, and the lower notes are the emotional character. The deeper notes also come across almost as a wave-like pattern, going up and then coming down again, representing that emotional roller-coaster. The higher notes are more present and faster, making it seem like more of scattered thought, however, they seem to be settled by the deeper notes by the end. With the 1981 recording, I feel those roles are reversed, and the higher notes represent the over emotional character, and the deeper notes represent the flustered character. This happens because of the volume of those deeper notes becoming louder and stronger in this recording, compared to the first recording where they were softer and more in the background. The two conversations happening in this recording have more of an equal sound to them, even though the ending does not settle the same as the 1955 recording, Gould adds two extra notes. Both recordings have one of the staffs’ feeling more emotional than the other, but Gould switches those roles in the 1981 recording by allowing those deeper notes to be noticed more.

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