Ancient Irish Musical History Found in Modern India
An archaeologist studying musical horns from iron-age Ireland has found musical traditions, thought to be long dead, are alive and well in south India.
The realization that modern Indian horns are almost identical to many iron-age European artefacts reveals a rich cultural link between the two regions 2,000 years ago, said PhD student Billy Ó Foghlú, from The Australian National University (ANU).
“Archaeology is usually silent. I was astonished to find what I thought to be dead soundscapes alive and living in Kerala today,” said the ANU College of Asia-Pacific student. Continue reading
Nietzsche on the Power of Music
“Without music life would be a mistake.”
By Maria Popova
“Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional,” Oliver Sacks wrote in contemplating music’s singular power over the human spirit — a power that has humbled some of humanity’s most brilliant minds into a state of awe that transcends the intellect.
Among them was the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844–August 25, 1900). He who proclaimed that “god is dead” and believed that nothing worthwhile is easy found in music life’s sole unmerited grace. Continue reading
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Ornette Coleman’s “Free Jazz”
Recorded in 1960, Ornette Coleman’s paradigm shifting “Free Jazz” broke conventions in recording, improvisation, composition, and the relationship between mainstream and the avant garde. Groundbreaking use of a double quartet, one in each stereo channel consisted of Coleman’s touring quartet (horns on one side, rhythm on the other), augmented by returning Coleman Quartet drummer Billy Higgins, multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Bassist Scott LaFaro, whom Coleman had worked with the previous two days on sessions for Gunther Schuller, would both appear on this album and replace bassist Charlie Haden in the Quartet for Coleman’s next album, Ornette!.
The rhythm sections play simultaneously, and though there is a succession of solos, they are peppered with freeform commentaries by the other horns that often turn into full-scale collective improvisation. The pre-composed material is a series of brief, dissonant fanfares for the horns which serve as interludes between solos. Not least among the album’s achievements was that it was the first album-length improvisation, nearly forty minutes, which was unheard of at the time.
The original LP package incorporated Jackson Pollock’s 1954 painting The White Light. The cover was a gatefold with a cutout window in the lower left corner, allowing a glimpse of the painting; opening the cover revealed the full artwork, along with liner notes by critic Martin Williams.
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We all have cherished memories from music lessons, great concerts, or personal performances, but this weekend after the torrential storms which inundated Clear Lake we discovered my sister’s storage unit had flooded, nearly wiping out a century’s worth of family … Continue reading