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Category Archives: Musicology

Professor’s Records: DJ Earworm

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Each year, DJ Earworm uses the top 25 biggest US hits to create a new song entirely; a series he calls “United State of Pop”. In a masterful work of mashup, he seamlessly brings the songs into harmony. Although I do not often listen to Pop music, DJ Earworm has a way of changing perspective. These songs create a slice of what music was perceived as “good” during the preceding year.

This year’s mashup is titled Shine Brighter:

If you enjoyed that, a couple more from the series are included after the jump!

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Professor’s Records: Muslimgauze

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mg-damascus

Beginning today, I would like to start a new series: Professor’s Records. This series will focus on various musicians that I have found interesting and worthy of note. Many of them will bring a bizarre innovation or creative novelties that cannot be found in any other music. The first of such artists is the English, experimental/noise artist: Muslimgauze.

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Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners

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Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson (14th Baron Berners) was a composer of classical music who lived from 1883 to 1950. However, while his music was beautiful, his eccentricities are almost more fascinating to read about. As an example: to aid in his music writing while out on the town, Tyrwhitt-Wilson installed a small clavichord keyboard which could be stored beneath the front seat of his Rolls-Royce automobile.

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The Catalan Christmas tradition: Tió de Nadal

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Every culture that celebrates the holiday of Christmas celebrates in a different way. Many are very similar to each other, but on occasion there is a tradition that seems to boggle the mind even more. In Catalan tradition, the “Christmas Log” defecates the children’s presents on Christmas.

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Everything is a Remix

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Kirby Ferguson has created a video series demonstrating that not much is an original creation these days, but that’s not a bad thing.

Presenting, Everything is a Remix:

Everything is a Remix from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

As SLow aS Possible (ASLSP)

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John Cage was a jack of several trades. He was a philosopher, composer, music theorist, poet, artist, printmaker, and amateur mycologist. And in 1985 he wrote a musical piece for the organ that, to this day, is the source of the longest lasting musical performance. It’s title was not subtle but simple: As SLow aS Possible.

Just as the title suggests, the music should be played very slowly. In fact, he neglected to detail “exactly how slow the piece should be played”. Many people have attempted to play the piece, but not one will know if it is accurate to Cage’s original perception of the piece. This brings us to the current attempt at playing the piece in the St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany.

This particular attempt began in 1997, when a group of philosophers and musicians discussed the idea of playing the piece on an organ, knowing that they have no time limits when compared to a piano. What if you could play the piece for over 600 years? The only complication would be to create a permanent organ.

Construction was completed in 2001, with the performance beginning on September 5th; Cage’s would-be 89th birthday. While the performance began on that day, the first note began on February 5th… 2003. This note continued until July 5th, 2005, showing just how long the piece would last.

The organ itself

The organ itself

If nothing stops the organ from playing, the piece will continue until September 5th, 2640.*

*In a completely unrelated comment, Stephen Hawking noted that if space colonization does not arise then by the year 2600 people would be standing shoulder to shoulder and the Earth would glow red hot.