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The Library of Congress Letters, 1935-1945
Alan Lomax (1915-2002) began working for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress in 1936, first as a special and temporary assistant, then as the permanent Assistant in Charge, starting in June 1937, until he left in late 1942. He recorded such important musicians as Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Jelly Roll Morton. A reading and examination of his letters from 1935 to 1945 reveal someone who led an extremely complex, fascinating, and creative life, mostly as a public employee.While Lomax is noted for his field recordings, these collected letters, many signed "Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge," are a trove of information until now available only at the Library of Congress. They make it clear that Lomax was very interested in the commercial hillbilly, race, and even popular recordings of the 1920s and after. These letters serve as a way of understanding Lomax's public and private life during some of his most productive and significant years. Lomax was one of the most stimulating and influential cultural workers of the twentieth century. Here he speaks for himself through his voluminous correspondence.
The music of Alec Wilder (1907-1980) blends several American musical traditions, such as jazz and the American popular song, with classical European forms and techniques. Stylish and accessible, Wilder's musical oeuvre ranged from sonatas, suites, concertos, operas, ballets, and art songs to woodwind quintets, brass quintets, jazz suites, and hundreds of popular songs. In this biography and critical investigation of Wilder's music, Philip Lambert chronicles Wilder's early work as a part-time student at the Eastman School of Music, his ascent through the ranks of the commercial recording industry in New York City in the 1930s and 1940s, his turn toward concert music from the 1950s onward, and his devotion late in his life to the study of American popular songs of the first half of the twentieth century. The book discusses some of his best-known music, such as the revolutionary octets and songs such as "I'll Be Around," "While We're Young," and "Blackberry Winter," and explains the unique blend of cultivated and vernacular traditions in his singular musical language.
A Guide to Composing Music with Nyquist
Composers have used formalized procedures to create music throughout history. With the advent of the computer, algorithmic composition allows composers not only to create and experiment with different formalisms, but to hear and evaluate results quickly. Often in algorithmic composition, the composer has only a vague idea how the output will sound, but because the input is highly automated, the composer can make adjustments to take advantage of happy accidents, program bugs, and other creative sources of sound. Algorithmic Composition: A Guide to Composing Music with Nyquist provides an overview of procedural approaches to music generation. It introduces programming concepts through many examples written using the Nyquist system for music composition and sound synthesis. Nyquist is freely available software, and over 100 program examples from this book are available in electronic form. Readers will be well equipped to develop their own algorithms for composition. Music students who are learning about computer music and electronic music will all be interested in this innovative book, as generative music becomes an important part of the future of the discipline. Students and scholars in computer science will also find much to interest them, in a straightforward and fun way.
Immigrant Musician in Ireland
This book outlines the career of one of the most distinguished figures in Irish musical life in the first half of the twentieth century — a Bavarian organist, Aloys Fleischmann senior, whose son would later become Professor of Music in UCC. Fleischmann senior came to international attention through his work with the North Cathedral Choir in Cork, which was regarded as one of the finest of its kind. He was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 400 works, and he was a highly respected teacher whose students included Séan Ó Riada.
This small, striking book commemorates the career of experimental music composer Alvin Lucier, and features an interview with Lucier and curator Andrea Miller-Keller, essays by Nicolas Collins, Ronald Kuivila, Michael Roth and Pamela Tatge, and details of a symposium, exhibit and special performances of Lucier's work held at Wesleyan University, November 4-6, 2011. Lucier has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers' physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. From 1970 to 2011 he taught at Wesleyan University where he was John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. Lucier performs, lectures and exhibits his sound installations extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia.
An Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America
In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk' (short for "Esperanto Disko") in New York City to document the free jazz movement there, beginning with iconic saxophonist Albert Ayler. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Giuseppi Logan, and Patty Waters. Soon the label broadened its catalog, including recordings by folk-rock bands like The Fugs and Pearls Before Swine, as well as Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, and Charles Manson. But the label quickly ran into difficulties and, due to the politically subversive nature of some productions and sloppy business practices, it folded in 1974. The story of ESP-Disk' is told through a multitude of voices--first by Stollman, as he recounts the improbable life of the label, and then by many of the artists involved. The result is a fascinating account of the music and the times. Includes interviews with Amiri Baraka, Gato Barbieri, Milford Graves, Roswell Rudd, Sirone, Sonny Simmons, James Zitro, Tom Rapp, Sunny Murray, and many more.
Sideman to the Stars
For more than fifty years, Chicago drummer Jimmi Mayes served as a sideman behind some of the greatest musicians and musical groups in history. He began his career playing the blues in the juke joints of Mississippi, sharpened his trade under the mentorship of drum legends Sam Lay and Fred Below in the steamy nightclubs of south Chicago, and hit it big in New York City behind such music legends as Tommy Hunt from the Flamingos, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown.
Mayes played his drums behind blues giants Little Walter Jacobs, Jimmy Reed, Robert Junior Lockwood, Earl Hooker, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. He lived for a while with Motown sensation Martha Reeves and her family and traveled with the Shirelles and the Motown Review. Jimi Hendrix was one of Mayes's best friends, and they traveled together with Joey Dee and the Starliters in the mid-1960s.
Mayes lived through racial segregation, the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the integration of rock bands, and the emergence of Motown. He personally experienced the sexual and moral revolutions of the sixties, was robbed of his musical royalties, and survived a musical drought. He's been a pimp and a drug pusher--and lived to tell the tale when so many musicians have not. This sideman to the stars witnessed music history from the best seat in the house--behind the drum set.
Vol. 27 (2009) through current issue
American Music publishes articles on American composers, performers, publishers, institutions, events, and the music industry, as well as book and recording reviews, bibliographies, and discographies. Article topics have included the lyricism of Charles Ives, Henry Cowell's "sliding tones," Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Henry Brant's "Spatial Music," the reception and transformation of pop icons such as Presley and Sinatra, and the history and analysis of blues, jazz, folk music, and mixed and emerging musical styles.
Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria
How does a Middle Eastern community create a modern image through its expression of heritage and authenticity? In Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria, Jonathan H. Shannon investigates expressions of authenticity in Syria's musical culture, which is particularly known for embracing and preserving the Arab musical tradition, and which has seldom been researched in depth by Western scholars. Music plays a key role in the process of self-imaging by virtue of its ability to convey feeling and emotion, and Shannon explores a variety of performance genres, Sufi rituals, song lyrics, melodic modes, and aesthetic criteria. Shannon shows that although the music may evoke the old, the traditional, and the local, these are re-envisioned as signifiers of the modern national profile. A valuable contribution to the study of music and identity and to the ethnomusicology of the modern Middle East, Among the Jasmine Trees details this music and its reception for the first time, offering an original theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Arab culture, music, and society.
New York City-January 1998
"That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." This quote from Henry David Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience is one of thirty quotations from which John Cage created Anarchy, a book-length lecture comprising twenty mesostic poems. Composed with the aid of a computer program to simulate the coin toss of the I Ching, Anarchy draws on the writings of many serious anarchists including Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, and Mario Malatesta, not so much making arguments for anarchism as "brushing information against information," giving the very words new combinations that de-familiarize and re-energize them. Now widely available of the first time, Anarchy marks the culmination of Cage's work as a poet, composer and as a thinker about contemporary society.