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Asian Music

Vol. 36 (2005) through current issue

Asian Music, the journal of the Society for Asian Music, is the leading journal devoted to ethnomusicology in Asian music, publishing all aspects of the performing arts of Asia and their cultural context.

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Baby You’re a Rich Man

Suing the Beatles for Fun and Profit

Stan Soocher

The Beatles, the most popular, influential, and important band of all time, have been the subject of countless books of biography, photography, analysis, history, and conjecture. But this long and winding road has produced nothing like Baby You’re a Rich Man, the first book devoted to the cascade of legal actions engulfing the band, from the earliest days of the loveable mop-heads to their present prickly twilight of cultural sainthood.

Part Beatles history, part legal thriller, Baby You’re a Rich Man begins in the era when manager Brian Epstein opened the Pandora’s box of rock ’n’ roll merchandising, making a hash of the band’s licensing and inviting multiple lawsuits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The band’s long breakup period, from 1969 to 1971, provides a backdrop to the Machiavellian grasping of new manager Allen Klein, who unleashed a blizzard of suits and legal motions to take control of the band, their music, and Apple Records. Unsavory mob associate Morris Levy first sued John Lennon for copyright infringement over “Come Together,” then sued him again for not making a record for him. Phil Spector, hired to record a Lennon solo album, walked off with the master tapes and held them for a king’s ransom. And from 1972 to 1975, Lennon was the target of a deportation campaign personally spearheaded by key aides of President Nixon (caught on tape with a drug-addled Elvis Presley) that wound endlessly through the courts.

In Baby You’re a Rich Man, Stan Soocher ties the Beatles’ ongoing legal troubles to some of their most enduring songs. What emerges is a stirring portrait of immense creative talent thriving under the pressures of ill will, harassment, and greed.

Praise for They Fought the Law: Rock Music Goes to Court

“Stan Soocher not only ably translates the legalese but makes both the plaintiffs and defendants engrossingly human. Mandatory reading for every artist who tends to skip his contract’s fine print.”—Entertainment Weekly

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Bach Perspectives, Volume 8

J. S. Bach and the Oratorio Tradition

Daniel R, Melamed

As the official publication of the American Bach Society, Bach Perspectives has pioneered new areas of research in the life, times, and music of Bach since its first appearance in 1995. Volume 8 of Bach Perspectives emphasizes the place of Bach's oratorios in their repertorial context. _x000B__x000B_Christoph Wolff suggests the possibility that Bach's three festive works for Christmas, Easter, and Ascension Day form a coherent group linked by liturgy, chronology, and genre. Daniel R. Melamed considers the many ways in which Bach's passion music was influenced by the famous poetic passion of Barthold Heinrich Brockes. Markus Rathey examines the construction and role of oratorio movements that combine chorales and poetic texts (chorale tropes). Kerala Snyder shows the connections between Bach's Christmas Oratorio and one of its models, Buxtehude's Abendmusiken spread over many evenings. Laurence Dreyfus argues that Bach thought instrumentally in the composition of his passions at the expense of certain aspects of the text. And Eric Chafe demonstrates the contemporary theological background of Bach's Ascension Oratorio and its musical realization.

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Bach Perspectives, Volume 9

J. S. Bach and His Contemporaries in Germany

Andrew Talle

This provocative addition to the Bach Perspectives series offers a counternarrative to the isolated genius status that J.S. Bach and his music currently enjoy. Contributors contextualize Bach by examining the output, reputation, and compositional practices of his contemporaries in Germany whose work was widely played and enjoyed in his time, including Georg Philipp Telemann, Christoph Graupner, Gottlieb Muffat, and Johann Adolf Scheibe. Essays place Bach and his work in relation to his peers, examining avenues of composition they took while he did not and showing how differing treatments of the same subjects or texts resulted in markedly different compositional results and legacies. By looking closely at how Bach's contemporaries addressed the tasks and challenges of their time, this project provides a more nuanced view of the musical world of Bach's time while revealing in more specific terms than ever how and why Bach's own music remains fresh and compelling. Contributors are Alison Dunlop, Wolfgang Hirschmann, Michael Maul, Andrew Talle, and Steven Zohn.

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Bach's Cello Suites, Volumes 1 and 2

Analyses and Explorations

Allen Winold

J. S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello are among the most cherished and frequently played works in the entire literature of music, and yet they have never been the subject of a full-length music analytical study. The musical examples herein include every note of all movements (so one needs no separate copy of the music while reading the book), and undertakes both basic analyses—harmonic reduction, functional harmonic analysis, step progression analysis, form analysis, and syntagmatic and paradigmatic melodic analysis—and specialized analyses for some of the individual movements. Allen Winold presents a comprehensive study intended not only for cellists, but also for other performers, music theorists, music educators, and informed general readers.

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Bach’s Cycle, Mozart’s Arrow

An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity

Karol Berger

In this erudite and elegantly composed argument, Karol Berger uses the works of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven to support two groundbreaking claims: first, that it was only in the later eighteenth century that music began to take the flow of time from the past to the future seriously; second, that this change in the structure of musical time was an aspect of a larger transformation in the way educated Europeans began to imagine and think about time with the onset of modernity, a part of a shift from the premodern Christian outlook to the modern post-Christian worldview. Until this historical moment, as Berger illustrates in his analysis of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, music was simply "in time." Its successive events unfolded one after another, but the distinction between past and future, earlier and later, was not central to the way the music was experienced and understood. But after the shift, as he finds in looking at Mozart's Don Giovanni, the experience of linear time is transformed into music's essential subject matter; the cycle of time unbends and becomes an arrow. Berger complements these musical case studies with a rich survey of the philosophical, theological, and literary trends influencing artists during this period.

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Ballads of the Lords of New Spain

The Codex Romances de los Señores de la Nueva España

Transcribed and translated from the Nahuatl by John Bierhorst

Compiled in 1582, Ballads of the Lords of New Spain is one of the two principal sources of Nahuatl song, as well as a poetical window into the mindset of the Aztec people some sixty years after the conquest of Mexico. Presented as a cancionero, or anthology, in the mode of New Spain, the ballads show a reordering—but not an abandonment—of classic Aztec values. In the careful reading of John Bierhorst, the ballads reveal in no uncertain terms the pre-conquest Aztec belief in the warrior’s paradise and in the virtue of sacrifice. This volume contains an exact transcription of the thirty-six Nahuatl song texts, accompanied by authoritative English translations. Bierhorst includes all the numerals (which give interpretive clues) in the Nahuatl texts and also differentiates the text from scribal glosses. His translations are thoroughly annotated to help readers understand the imagery and allusions in the texts. The volume also includes a helpful introduction and a larger essay, “On the Translation of Aztec Poetry,” that discusses many relevant historical and literary issues. In Bierhorst’s expert translation and interpretation, Ballads of the Lords of New Spain emerges as a song of resistance by a conquered people and the recollection of a glorious past.

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Bamako Sounds

The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music

Ryan Thomas Skinner

Bamako Sounds tells the story of an African city, its people, their values, and their music. Centered on the music and musicians of Bamako, Mali’s booming capital city, this book reveals a community of artists whose lives and works evince a complex world shaped by urban culture, postcolonialism, musical expression, religious identity, and intellectual property.

Drawing on years of ethnographic research with classically trained players of the kora (a twenty-one-string West African harp) as well as more contemporary, hip-hop influenced musicians and producers, Ryan Thomas Skinner analyzes how Bamako artists balance social imperatives with personal interests and global imaginations. Whether performed live on stage, broadcast on the radio, or shared over the Internet, music is a privileged mode of expression that suffuses Bamako’s urban soundscape. It animates professional projects, communicates cultural values, pronounces public piety, resounds in the marketplace, and quite literally performs the nation. Music, the artists who make it, and the audiences who interpret it thus represent a crucial means of articulating and disseminating the ethics and aesthetics of a varied and vital Afropolitanism, in Bamako and beyond.

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Banjo on the Mountain

Wade Mainer's First Hundred Years

Wade Mainer (b. 1907) is believed to be the longest-lived country entertainer ever. His banjo lessons began in childhood and he played informally into his adult years, when he joined his brother, fiddler J. E. Mainer (1898-1971), in Mainer's Mountaineers. Music became their ticket out of the cotton mills in 1934. At the time, country styles were swiftly evolving from community-based performance into mass-market broadcast via radio, records, and the silver screen. Mainer's Mountaineers attracted radio sponsors and touring opportunities, allowing the brothers to become full-time musicians.Eventually Wade Mainer formed his own band, the Sons of the Mountaineers. His success secured a permanent place for the fiddle and banjo sound in country music, sustained that sound's popularity throughout the 1930s, and created the foundation upon which Bill Monroe and his disciples would spread bluegrass music in the 1940s. Banjo on the Mountain features Wade's own words and recollections from a lifetime in music and an exciting career that included a command performance at the White House for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a key role in The Old Chisholm Trail , a 1944 BBC-sponsored radio play for American troops and embattled English civilians. The volume is rich in photographs and documents, thanks to Wade and Julia Mainer's careful custodianship of letters, professional photos and family snapshots, posters, songbooks, flyers, and other priceless curios.

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Barrelhouse Words

A Blues Dialect Dictionary

Stephen Calt

This fascinating compendium explains the most unusual, obscure, and curious words and expressions from vintage blues music. Utilizing both documentary evidence and invaluable interviews with a number of now-deceased musicians from the 1920s and '30s, blues scholar Stephen Calt unravels the nuances of more than twelve hundred idioms and proper or place names found on oft-overlooked "race records" recorded between 1923 and 1949. From "aggravatin' papa" to "yas-yas-yas" and everything in between, this truly unique, racy, and compelling resource decodes a neglected speech for general readers and researchers alike, offering invaluable information about black language and American slang.

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