Modulations

A modulation is a "change from one key to another in a piece of music." Seems simple enough. Often they are, and, being a rather lazy songwriter, I'm a huge fan of a common-tone modulation, where a single note is sufficient to transpose one key into another, often in a single beat. Right now, though,…

Preeminent Performance

In my "Redeeming Culture through Music" class, we were asked the following question: "Which is most important in music: the composer, the performer, or the listener?" The class more or less unanimously expressed that the three persons are equally important. After all, if there is no composer, there is nothing to perform and if there…

Three Principles

As I was practicing piano the other day, I wrote a series of three questions to ask myself as I worked on each detail: Is it clean? Is it beautiful? Does it mean something? First, I work technically, listening even to exercises to discern if they are played with clarity and precision. Are they clean?…

The Road Part Taken

In reading the poetry of Robert Frost for my honors college curriculum, I found myself hit by a wave of nostalgia. (Not to be confused with a "wave of nausea"- I'm not reading Nausea quite yet...) Throughout the formative years of my adolescent life, Frost provided guidance and comfort. I did not read his work extensively, but…

The Girl in the Red Dress

I am a pianist, but I have long suffered from stage fright. My junior undergraduate piano recital was yesterday and, true to my philosophy that no art is complete without a proper understanding of other art forms, I used literature such as Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to create program notes to give greater depth…

Non-Writing Writer

I was inspired this morning as I walked to practice piano for an upcoming recital... this would have been great, had I been inspired to practice. Rather, I was inspired to set the opening of Wordsworth’s The Prelude to music.  My roommate (bless her) stopped me just in time: “Ryanne, if you write a melody and…

The Eroica 10k

Calling all runners and musicians! Thanks to my music history class, I have of late become obsessed with Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 55, better known as the "Eroica Symphony." "Eroica" means "Heroic" in case you did not figure that out for yourself and this musical adventure is just that: heroic. It…

Sing, Muse

Dear reader, Please read the following poem. Then, please click the link and listen to me read it; I have of late found great value in reading poetry aloud. Once you do those two things (it should take but two minutes of your time), you are welcome to read my explanation of the poem or…