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Murray Grodner draws on his distinguished career as a double bass musician and teacher in this compendium of performance philosophy, bowing and phrasing recommendations, tutorials on fingerings and scales, and exercises for bowing and string crossing. Grodner addresses technical obstacles in musical performance, offers advice on instrument and bow purchase, and provides a detailed approach to the fundamentals of bass playing. This guide is an invaluable resource for any bassist seeking a professional career.
Players and Publics in the Re-creation of Peking Opera, 1870-1937
In this colorful and detailed history, Joshua Goldstein describes the formation of the Peking opera in late Qing and its subsequent rise and re-creation as the epitome of the Chinese national culture in Republican era China. Providing a fascinating look into the lives of some of the opera’s key actors, he explores their methods for earning a living; their status in an ever-changing society; the methods by which theaters functioned; the nature and content of performances; audience make-up; and the larger relationship between Peking opera and Chinese nationalism.
Propelled by a synergy of the commercial and the political patronage from the Qing court in Beijing to modern theaters in Shanghai and Tianjin, Peking opera rose to national prominence. The genre’s star actors, particularly male cross-dressing performers led by the exquisite Mei Lanfang and the "Four Great Female Impersonators" became media celebrities, models of modern fashion and world travel. Ironically, as it became increasingly entrenched in modern commercial networks, Peking opera was increasingly framed in post-May fourth discourses as profoundly traditional. Drama Kings demonstrates that the process of reforming and marketing Peking opera as a national genre was integrally involved with process of colonial modernity, shifting gender roles, the rise of capitalist visual culture, and new technologies of public discipline that became increasingly prevalent in urban China in the Republican era.
Four Contemporary Perspectives on the Mozart/Da Ponte Operas
The three Mozart/Da Ponte operas offer an inexhaustible wellspring for critical reflection, possessing a complexity and equivocation common to all great humane works. They have the potential to reflect and refract whatever locus of contemporaneity may be the starting point for enquiry. Thus, even postmodern and postmillennial concerns, far from seeming irrelevant to these operas, are instead given new perspectives by them, whilst the music and the dramatic situations have the multivalency to accept each refreshed pallet of interpretation without loss of their essential character. These operas seem perennially ‘new'. In exploring the evergreen qualities of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, this collection of studies does not shun approaches that have foundations in established theory, but refracts them through such problems as the tension between operatic tradition and psychological realism, the co-existence of multiple yet equal plots, and the antagonism between the tenets of tradition and the need for self-actualization. In exploring such themes, the authors not only illuminate new aspects of Mozart's operatic compositions, but also probe the nature of musical analysis itself.
Selected Correspondence of Istvan Anhalt and George Rochberg (1961-2005)
Eagle Minds—a selection from the correspondence between the Canadian composer and scholar Istvan Anhalt and his American counterpart George Rochberg—is a splendid chronicle and a penetrating analysis of the swerving socio-cultural movements of a volatile half-century as observed by two highly gifted individuals.
Beginning in 1961 and spanning forty-four years, their conversation embraces not only music but other forms of contemporary art, as well as politics, philosophy, religion, and mysticism. The letters chronicle the deepening of their friendship over the years, and the openness, honesty, and genuine warmth between them provide the reader with an intimate look at their personalities. A fascinating intellectual tension emerges between the two men as they record their individual responses to musical modernism, to changing political and social realities, and to their Jewish heritage and sense of place, one as a son of Ukrainian immigrants to the United States, the other as a refugee from war-torn Hungary.
Allowing us a privileged glimpse into the private lives and thoughts of these fascinating men, Eagle Minds is a valuable tool for scholars interested in North American composers in the late twentieth century and essential reading for anyone interested in the cultural and social history of that era.
<p class="red">The life and early death of a South Side guitar genius, the greatest unheralded Chicago blues-maker
Jimi Hendrix called Earl Hooker "the master of the wah-wah pedal." Buddy Guy slept with one of Hooker's slides beneath his pillow hoping to tap some of the elder bluesman's power. And B. B. King has said repeatedly that, for his money, Hooker was the best guitar player he ever met.
Tragically, Earl Hooker died of tuberculosis in 1970 when he was on the verge of international success just as the Blues Revival of the late sixties and early seventies was reaching full volume.
Second cousin to now-famous bluesman John Lee Hooker, Earl Hooker was born in Mississippi in 1929, and reared in black South Side Chicago where his parents settled in 1930. From the late 1940s on, he was recognized as the most creative electric blues guitarist of his generation. He was a "musician's musician," defining the art of blues slide guitar and playing in sessions and shows with blues greats Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, and B. B. King.
A favorite of black club and neighborhood bar audiences in the Midwest, and a seasoned entertainer in the rural states of the Deep South, Hooker spent over twenty-five years of his short existence burning up U.S. highways, making brilliant appearances wherever he played.
Until the last year of his life, Hooker had only a few singles on obscure labels to show for all the hard work. The situation changed in his last few months when his following expanded dramatically. Droves of young whites were seeking American blues tunes and causing a blues album boom. When he died, his star's rise was extinguished. Known primarily as a guitarist rather than a vocalist, Hooker did not leave a songbook for his biographer to mine. Only his peers remained to praise his talent and pass on his legend.
"Earl Hooker's life may tell us a lot about the blues," biographer Sebastian Danchin says, "but it also tells us a great deal about his milieu. This book documents the culture of the ghetto through the example of a central character, someone who is to be regarded as a catalyst of the characteristic traits of his community."
Like the tales of so many other unheralded talents among bluesmen, Earl Hooker, Blues Master, Hooker's life story, has all the elements of a great blues song -- late nights, long roads, poverty, trouble, and a soul-felt pining for what could have been.
Sebastian Danchin is a freelance writer and record producer. He also creates programs for France's leading radio network, Radio-France, and is the blues editor for France's leading jazz magazine, Jazzman. His previous books, among others, include Les Dieux du Blues (Paris: Editions Atlas, 1995) and Blues Boy: The Life and Music of B. B. King (University Press of Mississippi, 1998).
Vol. 32 (2004) - Vol. 35 (2007)
Early Music is a stimulating and richly illustrated journal, and is unrivalled in its field. Founded in 1973, it remains the journal for anyone interested in early music and how it is being interpreted today. Contributions from scholars and performers on international standing explore every aspect of earlier musical repertoires, present vital new evidence for our understanding of the music of the past, and tackle controversial issues of performance practice.
Each issue is beautifully illustrated and contains a wide range of articles on performance practice, iconography, sources, instruments and many other aspects of the historical context for a given work or repertory. Some issues are dedicated to a particular theme to mark the anniversary of a composer or to explore an otherwise uncharted territory, such as the music of the New World or the early musical traditions of non-Western cultures.
Music in the Life of a Tibetan Refugee Community
In Echoes from Dharamsala, Keila Diehl uses music to understand the experiences of Tibetans living in Dharamsala, a town in the Indian Himalayas that for more than forty years has been home to Tibet's government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama's presence lends Dharamsala's Tibetans a feeling of being "in place," but at the same time they have physically and psychologically constructed Dharamsala as "not Tibet," as a temporary resting place to which many are unable or unwilling to become attached. Not surprisingly, this community struggles with notions of home, displacement, ethnic identity, and assimilation. Diehl's ethnography explores the contradictory realities of cultural homogenization, hybridity, and concern about ethnic purity as they are negotiated in the everyday lives of individuals. In this way, she complicates explanations of culture change provided by the popular idea of "global flow."
Diehl's accessible, absorbing narrative argues that the exiles' focus on cultural preservation, while crucial, has contributed to the development of essentialist ideas of what is truly "Tibetan." As a result, "foreign" or "modern" practices that have gained deep relevance for Tibetan refugees have been devalued. Diehl scrutinizes this tension in her discussion of the refugees' enthusiasm for songs from blockbuster Hindi films, the popularity of Western rock and roll among Tibetan youth, and the emergence of a new genre of modern Tibetan music. Diehl's insight into the soundscape of Dharamsala is enriched by her own experiences as the keyboard player for a Tibetan refugee rock group called the Yak Band. Her groundbreaking study reveals the importance of music as a site where official and personal, old and new representations of Tibetan culture meet and where different notions of "Tibetan-ness" are being imagined, performed, and debated.
Rock, Folk, and the Environment
Can musicians really make the world more sustainable? Anthropologist Mark Pedelty, joined an eco-oriented band, the Hypoxic Punks, to find out. In his timely and exciting book, Ecomusicology, Pedelty explores the political ecology of rock, from local bands to global superstars. He examines the climate change controversies of U2's 360 Degrees stadium tour—deemed excessive by some—and the struggles of local folk singers who perform songs about the environment. In the process, he raises serious questions about the environmental effects and meanings on music.
Ecomusicology examines the global, national, regional, and historical contexts in which environmental pop is performed. Pedelty reveals the ecological potentials and pitfalls of contemporary popular music, in part through ethnographic fieldwork among performers, audiences, and activists. Ultimately, he explains how popular music dramatically reflects both the contradictions and dreams of communities searching for sustainability.
Pioneer of the Nashville Sound
"Fans of Arnold's mellow music will appreciate the intensely detailed record of his private life and public career. Others may find the vivid picture of country music's early decades (the many small-town radio stations and deejays that supported the music, the backroads tours, the struggling record labels) quite intriguing." --Kirkus Reviews Illustrated with fifty-four photographs and featuring a comprehensive discography and sessionography, this book traces Eddy Arnold's origins from a cotton farm in western Tennessee to his legendary status in the world of country music. Michael Streissguth covers Arnold's success as a top-selling artist in the 1940s and 1950s and his temporary wane as listeners gravitated toward the rock & roll sound, embodied by newcomer Elvis Presley. Arnold (1918-2008) kept recording, however, and working on his craft. By the mid-60s, he reemerged as a pop crooner with his hit song "Make the World Go Away." His blend of country sentiments and pop stylings created the template for Nashville's modern country music sound. Throughout his career he was a major concert attraction and a radio and television star. Few other figures can claim to have had as great an influence on contemporary country and popular arranging.
Narcocorridos and the Construction of a Cultural Persona on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Since the late 1970s, a new folk hero has risen to prominence in the U.S.–Mexico border region and beyond—the narcotrafficker. Celebrated in the narcocorrido, a current form of the traditional border song known as the corrido, narcotraffickers are often portrayed as larger-than-life “social bandits” who rise from poor or marginalized backgrounds to positions of power and wealth by operating outside the law and by living a life of excess, challenging authority (whether U.S. or Mexican), and flouting all risks, including death. This image, rooted in Mexican history, has been transformed and commodified by the music industry and by the drug trafficking industry itself into a potent and highly marketable product that has a broad appeal, particularly among those experiencing poverty and power disparities. At the same time, the transformation from folk hero to marketable product raises serious questions about characterizations of narcocorridos as “narratives of resistance.” This multilayered ethnography takes a wide-ranging look at the persona of the narcotrafficker and how it has been shaped by Mexican border culture, socioeconomic and power disparities, and the transnational music industry. Mark Edberg begins by analyzing how the narcocorrido emerged from and relates to the traditional corrido and its folk hero. Then, drawing upon interviews and participant-observation with corrido listening audiences in the border zone, as well as musicians and industry producers of narcocorridos, he elucidates how the persona of the narcotrafficker has been created, commodified, and enacted, and why this character resonates so strongly with people who are excluded from traditional power structures. Finally, he takes a look at the concept of the cultural persona itself and its role as both cultural representation and model for practice.