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Music is Hard

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Saxophonist Tim Rosenberg and composer David MacDonald chat about how hard it is to make this music stuff happen.

Saxophonist Tim Rosenberg and composer David MacDonald chat about how hard it is to make this music stuff happen.
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East Lansing, MI


Saxophonist Tim Rosenberg and composer David MacDonald chat about how hard it is to make this music stuff happen.






Music is Hard 60: Organizations

What are our various professional organizations good for? What are they good (and bad) for? How can we be better members of our professional organizations? How can we make our organizations better? Bonus: Dave shares a personal beef.

Duration: 00:28:48

Music is Hard 59: Accessibility

What does it mean for music to be "accessible"? Why are we seeing a resurgence of accessible music? What do composers owe performers? What do performers and composers owe audiences?

Duration: 00:31:23

Music is Hard 58: Humor

We borrow this week's big question from The Dark Knight. Why so serious? Does humor have a role in classical music?

Duration: 00:41:20

Music is Hard 57: Size

This week, we are inspired by the recent premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's gargantuan Mittwoch aus Licht. Why did it take so long to be premiered? How do we think about works that flirt with the border between "impossible" and "really, really hard"?

Duration: 00:27:21

Music is Hard 54: Reviews

Zachary Woolfe's extremely negative New York Times review of Charlie Siem's recital at Le Poisson Rouge got us thinking about the nature and value of reviews. What are they worth to us as performers, composers, and fans of classical music?

Duration: 00:28:46

Music is Hard 52: Inferiority

Musicians will always be compared to other musicians. How do we deal with feelings of inferiority or inadequacy? Are those feelings negative, or can they have a positive effect?

Duration: 00:24:21

Music is Hard 51: Play

This week, we were inspired by electronic dance music artist Deadmau5. Often, performances of electronic music (popular and "classical") involve little or no input from live performers. What then, is the purpose of such a performance?

Duration: 00:28:43

Music is Hard 50: Repetition

This week, we discuss repetition. Why repeat things? How do composers and performers approach it differently? This week, we discuss repetition. Why repeat things? How do composers and performers approach it differently?

Duration: 00:28:17

Music is Hard 49: Ideas

Often, the most difficult part of making music is finding an idea. Where do ideas come from? How are they conveyed in music? What kinds of ideas to performers have to come up with? How and when do we go back and evaluate our ideas?

Duration: 00:27:01

Music is Hard 48: Repeat Performances

All too often, composers spend months (years?) writing a new work, performers spend months (years?) preparing them, all for only one performance? Why do we have this problem? What can we do to help new works receive subsequent performances?

Duration: 00:30:37

Music is Hard 47: Repeat Attendance

This week, we're inspired by the always brilliant David Smooke's NewMusicBox piece "Repeat Attendance." How do we balance the value of newness and novelty with the seemingly inherent appeal of the familiar?

Duration: 00:25:50

Music is Hard 46: New Journalism

Peter Gelb, managing director of New York Metropolitan Opera, has had a rough couple of weeks dealing with journalists. What are the implications for new journalists covering the arts in new kinds of media?

Duration: 00:35:03

Music is Hard 45: Audience Rot

Tim and Dave respond to Kurt Ellenberger's piece published on the Huffington Post. Ellenberger thinks that education has failed to create new audiences for jazz and classical music, and therefore it doesn't (or won't) work. Tim and Dave disagree.

Duration: 00:25:35

Music is Hard 44: Lyrics

What is a lyric? Tim and Dave disagree. Can we translate the text without losing it's meaning? Should we? What is lost (or gained) in translation? Thanks to Chloe Veltman for getting us started on the topic.

Duration: 00:39:52

Music is Hard 43: Movement

What happens when musicians become "dancers"? Do players bouncing and swaying around look like idiots, or do their motions contribute something to the performance? Is there a point at which a performer's movement can detract from a strong performance?

Duration: 00:32:25

Music is Hard 42: Encore

Chloe Veltman got us thinking about the nature of the encore. Why do people give encores? What is the value to the audience? What does it take to get a standing ovation? (hint: not much)

Duration: 00:26:52

Music is Hard 41: Alt

Even the style-curmudgeons at the New York Times are throwing around terms like "alt-classical" and "indie-classical." What do these terms mean? Are they valuable labels? Are any such labels helpful?

Duration: 00:36:47

Music is Hard 40: Picks (Spring 2012)

We return to our award-eligible series of Picks. Tim and Dave talk about what music they've been listening to lately and what's so great about it.

Duration: 00:42:04

Music is Hard 39: Fatigue

Tim and Dave talk about too much of a good thing. Can you listen to too much music? What do you do when your ears and mind get fatigued? How might we avoid fatiguing our audiences?

Duration: 00:23:17

Music is Hard 38: Scale

Tim provides anecdotal evidence of composers writing an increasing number of short works. Is this a trend that should concern us? What is the importance of scale to our perception of new works?

Duration: 00:31:35

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