August 31: On This Day in Music

today

• 1834 ~ Amilcare Ponchielli, Italian composer
More information about Ponchielli

• 1903 ~ Arthur (Morton) Godfrey, Ukulele playing, TV/radio entertainer

OCMS 1918 ~ Alan Jay Lerner, American lyricist for the musical theater
Read quotes by and about Lerner
More information about Lerner

• 1930 ~ Dudley “Big Tiny” Little Jr, American pianist on the Lawrence Welk Show

• 1939 ~ Jerry Allison, Drummer with The Crickets

• 1939 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded All or Nothing at All with the Harry James Band. The tune failed to become a hit until four years later – after Ol’ Blue Eyes had joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

• 1945 ~ Itzhak Perlman, Israeli-born American violinist, recorded with André Previn and Scott Joplin

• 1945 ~ Van Morrison, Songwriter, singer with Them

• 1955 ~ Anthony Thistlethwaite, Saxophone with The Waterboys

• 1957 ~ Glenn Tilbrook, Guitar, singer, songwriter with Squeeze

• 1959 ~ Tony DeFranco, Singer with The DeFranco Family

• 1970 ~ Debbie Gibson, Singer

• 1976 ~ A judge ruled that George Harrison was guilty of copying from the songHe’s So Fine (a 1963 Chiffons hit). The judge said that the chorus to Harrison’s My Sweet Lord was identical to He’s So Fine and it eventually (appeals went on for about five years) cost the former Beatle over half a million dollars.

• 1987 ~ This day saw the largest preorder of albums in the history of CBS Records. 2.25 million copies of Michael Jackson’s Bad album were shipped to record stores. The LP followed in the tracks of the Jackson album, Thriller, the biggest Jackson-seller of all time (35 million copies sold). The Bad album was successful but sold only 13 million copies.

• 2002 ~ Lionel Hampton, American Jazz vibraphone player and actor, died at the age of 94

• 2016 ~ Jacques Leduc, Belgian composer, died at the age of 84

August 30: On This Day in Music

today

• 1842 ~ (Victor) Alphonse Duvernoy, French pianist and composer. His works include operas, various pieces for piano and orchestra, chamber music, songs and piano music (including a set of 100 studies).

• 1853 ~ Percy Goetschius, American music teacher and critic

• 1919 ~ Kitty Wells (Muriel Ellen Deason),‘The Queen of Country Music’, Country Music Hall of Fame, married to Johnny Wright

• 1922 ~ Regina Resnik, American mezzo-soprano

• 1922 ~ The New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded Tiger Rag, one of the most familiar ragtime jazz tunes ever. It was released on the General record label.

• 1935 ~ John Phillips, Singer with The Mamas & The Papas, actress MacKenzie Phillips’ father

• 1941 ~ John McNally, Singer, guitarist with The Searchers

• 1945 ~ Van Morrison, Irish blues-rock singer, songwriter and instrumentalist

• 1968 ~ The Beatles recorded their first songs for their own Apple label. The initial session included the big hits Revolution and Hey Jude.

• 1968 ~ The stars came out for charity as John and Yoko Lennon hosted the One on One concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Among the music greats appearing were Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack. Over $250,000 was raised to aid mentally retarded children.

• 1984 ~ Beatles fans paid $271,180 dollars for memorabilia at an auction in London, England. An unpublished manuscript by John Lennon brought the largest amount – $23,056. A snare drum belonging to Ringo Starr brought $1,440.

When We Return – Studio Incentives: Bravo Badges

 

A new reward system for fall.

These collectible cards will excite and motivate your beginning students. Your student will get one when they complete a task or accomplish a goal in their musical journey! Each level has fifty-four achievement cards. There are enough for the whole year.

Bravo Badges are designed to be eye-catching. Your students will love showing off their collection.

When the next levels become available, intermediate students will be able to collect these, as well.

August 29: On This Day in Music

today

• 1920 ~ Charlie Parker, American jazz alto saxophonist
Read quotes by and about Parker
More information about Parker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington (Ruth Lee Jones), Singer, Lionel Hampton’s band from 1943 to 1946

• 1928 ~ Thomas Stewart, American baritone

• 1942 ~ Sterling Morrison, Bass, guitar, singer with The Velvet Underground

• 1943 ~ Paul Whiteman Presents, a summertime radio replacement show, was heard for the last time. The hostess for the show was Dinah Shore. Whiteman’s 35-piece orchestra serenaded listeners on the NBC radio network. Whiteman’s well~known theme song was Rhapsody in Blue, composed by George Gershwin.

• 1946 ~ Ella Fitzgerald and The Delta Rhythm Boys recorded It’s a Pity to Say Goodnight on Decca Records. The song turned out to be one of Lady Ella’s most popular.

• 1958 ~ Michael Jackson, American rock singer

• 1964 ~ Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman was released. It hit number one (for 3 weeks) on September 26th and became the biggest of his career.  The title was inspired by Orbison’s wife Claudette interrupting a conversation to announce she was going out; when Orbison asked if she was okay for cash, his co-writer Bill Dees interjected: “A pretty woman never needs any money.”   Oh, Pretty Woman was Orbison’s second #1 hit. The other was Running Scared on 6/05/61.

• 1966 ~ The Beatles performed at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA. It was the group’s last live appearance before they disbanded in 1970.

• 1986 ~ The former American Bandstand studio, at the original home of WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, PA, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The studio is located at 4548 Market Street. We expect that any day now, Bandstand host Dick Clark will also be placed on the National Register.

• 2018 ~ Paul Taylor, American dancer and choreographer (Paul Taylor Dance Company), died at the age of 88.

August 28: On This Day in Music

• 1826 ~ Walter Cecil Macfarren, English pianist and composer, born in London

• 1850 ~ Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.

• 1894 ~ Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor

OCMS   1913 ~ Richard Tucker, American tenor
More information about Tucker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington, American rhythm-and-blues singer. She popularized many, many great songs, including What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, Unforgettable, and several hits with Brook Benton.

• 1925 ~ Billy (William Wayne) Grammer, Singer

• 1931 ~ You Rascal You was recorded by Henry Allen, with the Luis Russell Band, for the Victor label.

• 1939 ~ Clem Cattini, Drummer with Tornados

• 1948 ~ Daniel Seraphine, Drummer with Chicago

• 1951 ~ Wayne Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

• 1964 ~ The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

• 1965 ~ Shania Twain (Eilleen Regina Edwards), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1984 ~ The Jacksons’ Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales. The group surpassed the 1.1 million mark in only two months.

• 2002 ~ Kay Gardner, whose last musical work with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra memorialized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s.
On hearing of her death, symphony officials scheduled Gardner’s work, “Lament for Thousand,” for the orchestra’s season-opening concert Oct. 13 at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.
Gardner was a pianist, flutist and conductor who performed in 46 states and several countries.
More than 20 years ago, she sued the Bangor Symphony, unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination after she had applied for a conducting position and learned that orchestra members had been asked how they felt about working with a female conductor.
In 2000, she was the guest conductor for a 40-member orchestra of women from the Bangor Symphony, playing a repertoire written by women.
Gardner studied music at the University of Michigan and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1972, she helped found a feminist and openly lesbian women’s band, Lavender Jane.

What Gives a Piano its Voice?

 

 

Picture a seven-foot grand piano in a studio. The lid’s missing, so you can see all the strings. Researchers suspend a rod embedded with 32 microphones over the piano’s body.

“We played this middle C at a very soft level, a medium level, and a very loud level,” says Agnieszka Roginska, a professor in NYU’s music technology program. She says using a pianist to play middle C over and over wouldn’t be scientific. So they’re using a disklavier, a fancy player piano triggered by electronics. “So we could hit the same note, with the same velocity, thousands of times,” she says.

They’d record the piano in one spot. Then move the microphones eight inches. Record the note. Move the mics again. Record the note. Over and over and over, until they reach the back of the piano. At the end, they get “what is basically a very dense acoustical scan of the radiation pattern of the grand piano,” Roginska says.

Read the entire article here: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-10/science-tries-understand-what-gives-piano-its-voice

August 27: On This Day in Music

today

• 1521 ~ Josquin Desprez, French/Franco-Flemish composer, died. Generally acknowledged as the greatest composer of the High Renaissance.
More information about Desprez

OCMS   1886 ~ Eric Coates, British composer and violist
More information about Coates

• 1889 ~ Charles G. Conn of Elkhart, IN patented the metal clarinet. More than 100 years later the name, Conn, still represents one of the most popular musical instrument names, especially for clarinets.

• 1909 ~ Lester Willis “Prez” Young, American jazz tenor and saxophonist

• 1927 ~ Jimmy ‘Cajun’ Newman, Singer

• 1937 ~ Tommy (Adrian) Sands, Singer

• 1939 ~ Singer Allan Jones recorded I’m Falling in Love with Someone on Victor Records.

• 1942 ~ Daryl Dragon, Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter, duo in The Captain and Tennille

• 1944 ~ Barry Conyngham, Australian composer

• 1944 ~ Tim Bogert, Bass with these groups: Showmen, Cactus, Vanilla Fudge

• 1949 ~ Jeff Cook, Singer, guitar with Alabama

• 1953 ~ Alex Lifeson, Guitarist with Rush

• 1970 ~ The Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA was the venue of singer Elton John’s first concert appearance in America and a record company executive for UNI records (a division of MCA) signed Elton to a recording contract.

• 1984 ~ The Menetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village opened. It was the first new off-Broadway theatre to be built in 50 years in New York City. The ribbon cutting was done by “America’s First Lady of the Stage”, Helen Hayes.

• 1990 ~ Stevie Ray Vaughan, killed in helicopter crash

Music and Mathematics: The Fibonacci sequence

fibonacci-numbers

 

Life very often throws some curious coincidences my way. Just as I was preparing a presentation for architecture students at the Goa College of Architecture on ‘Architecture and Music’ and looking at the relationship of the Fibonacci sequence to music, what should appear in my newsfeed but the announcement of the famed piano firm Steinway and Sons unveiling its 600,000th piano, incorporating the iconic Fibonacci spiral in its design.

The veneer of the “Fibonacci” piano features the eponymous spiral made from six individual logs of Macassar Ebony, “creating a fluid design that represents the geometric harmony found in nature.”

In the words of designer Frank Pollaro, who spent over 6000 work-hours over four years in its creation: “Designing Steinway & Sons’ 600,000th piano was an honour and a challenge.  To me, knowing that this piano would become part of history meant that it had to be more than just a beautiful design, but also needed to visually convey a deeper message…as I considered the number 600,000, the Fibonacci spiral came to mind.  The way in which it continues to grow but stay true to its form is very much like Steinway and Sons over these many years. Combining the universal languages of music and mathematics suddenly made perfect sense.”

Mind you, 600,000 is not a number in the Fibonacci sequence; I checked. 600,000 is between the 29th and 30th numbers in the Fibonacci series, which are 514,229 and 832,040 respectively. But Pollaro was nevertheless highlighting an interesting relationship between music and mathematics.

Named after the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci (c. 1170- c. 1250) who brought the Indian-Arabic numeral system to Europe, the Fibonacci series appear in nature and in music, and finds application in architecture and in instrument design, much before the Fibonacci Steinway.

The basic ideas of the Fibonacci progression are contained in the writings of Indian scholar Pingala (300-200 BC) in his treatise on Sanskrit prosody.

The Fibonacci numbers have the following integer sequence:  0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987 and onward. Each added number is the sum of two previous numbers before it.

In nature, the Fibonacci sequence underpins phyllotaxis (arrangement of leaves on a stem), branching in trees, fruit sprouts of a pineapple among many other examples, and even the shape of the human external ear, and the cochlear apparatus of the inner ear.

It can be applied to the western musical scale as well, with the caveat that the  starting note one makes the measurement from (or the ‘root’ note) is designated as 1 and not 0. By this token, there are 13 notes in a scale through its octave. There are 8 notes in a diatonic scale (hence the top note is called an ‘oct’ave).  The 5th and 3rd notes create the basic foundation of musical chords. All these are Fibonacci numbers.

The very notes in the scale are based on natural harmonics created by ratios of frequencies. Ratios found in the first seven numbers of the Fibonacci series (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8) are related to key frequencies of musical notes. Thus if we take an arbitrary frequency of 440 Hz, the root note has a ratio of 1/1, but the octave above it has a frequency of 880 Hz (2/1 of 440); a fifth above has a frequency of 660 Hz (3/2 of 440), and so on for other notes in the scale.

In last Sunday’s article, I had mentioned the ‘golden proportion’ or phi, which underpins the proportions of the Parthenon temple in the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.  This ‘golden ratio’ (also called the ‘golden section’, ‘golden mean’ or the ‘divine proportion’) of 1:1618 or 0.618 has influenced composition in painting and photography, prompting the notion of dividing a canvas into thirds vertically and horizontally, and to position a subject of interest ‘about one-third’ of the way across instead of in the centre.

This ‘golden ratio’ can be obtained by dividing a Fibonacci number (in the higher reaches, not the first few) by its immediate predecessor. The quotient approximates phi (φ). Thus 987/610= 1.61803, and its inverse is 0.618.

The climax or high point of many songs and other compositions is often found at the ‘phi’ (φ) point (61.8 per cent) of the work. We have seen this to be true in the first movement of

S. Bach’s G minor sonata for solo violin.

In many compositions in sonata form, the addition of a coda causes the recapitulation (the return of the original idea that started the work) to begin at the 61.8 per cent point.

The legendary violin maker Antonio Stradivari seemed to be aware of the ‘golden section’ and used it in the placement of the f-holes on his violins. The proportions of the violin conform to the ratios of ‘phi’ (φ). The spiral of a violin scroll also obeys the Fibonacci progression.

Isn’t it amazing, how the visual and aural world, indeed nature itself can all be unified by the same mathematical sequence?[NT]

From http://www.goacom.com/entertainment/28277-music-and-mathematics-the-fibonacci-sequence

August 26: On This Day in Music

• 1661 ~ Louis Couperin, composer, died

• 1813 ~ Daniel Gottlob Turk, composer, died at the age of 63

• 1873 ~ Lee DeForest, Inventor of the triode vacuum tube, possibly the most significant invention that made radio possible.
More information about DeForest

• 1894 ~ Arthur Loesser, American pianist and writer

• 1915 ~ Humphrey Searle, British composer and writer

• 1919 ~ Ronny Graham (Ronald Montcrief Stringer), Singer, actor

• 1928 ~ Peter Appleyard, British jazz vibraphonist and drummer

• 1939 ~ The radio program Arch Oboler’s Plays presented the NBC Symphony, for the first time, as the musical backdrop for the drama, This Lonely Heart.

• 1942 ~ Vic Dana, Singer

• 1949 ~ Bob Cowsill, Singer with The Cowsills

• 1957 ~ John O’Neill, Musician, guitar with That Petrol Emotion

• 1958 ~ Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer, passed away
More information on Vaughan Williams

• 1960 ~ Branford Marsalis, Musician, saxophone, bandleader with The Tonight Show, toured with Sting
More information about the Marsalis family

 

 

• 1967 ~ Brian Epstein passed away

• 1970 ~ Jimi Hendrix opened his recording studio in New York City. Because of its state-of-the-art 36-track recording capability, it attracted many top rock groups.

• 2000 ~ George Edmund Sandell, a noted violin and viola player, teacher and inventor died at the age of 88.
Sandell studied in New York under the viola virtuoso William Primrose and on scholarship at the Royal Swedish Conservatory in Stockholm.

Sandell moved to Los Angeles in 1938, where he played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena and Santa Monica Symphonies.

Along with classical music, he performed pop, swing and Latin music, and played with the string sections of big band luminaries Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey and  Xavier Cugat.

Sandell also played on some of Frank Sinatra’s recordings and worked for most of the big Hollywood studios on orchestral soundtracks, including the soundtrack for the movie Citizen Kane.

In 1947, he invented the Gee-Bee, a kitchen sponge with a plastic handle for washing dishes. He sold the company to DuPont in 1953.

• 2001 ~ Alix Williamson, the classical music publicist who suggested to Baroness Maria von Trapp that she write a book about her family’s experiences, died at the age of 85.

Williamson’s suggestion resulted in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music.”

She represented artists such as André Watts and Frederica von Stade and helped the New York Grand Opera get a citation in the Guinness Book of World Records for its performances of a complete cycle of Verdi’s operas in Central Park. Williamson also ghostwrote books.

• 2018 ~ Neil Simon died at the age of 91. He was an American playwright, screenwriter and author. He wrote more than 30 plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly adaptations of his plays. He received more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer.