Tag Archives: music

Felipe Pedrell

“Felipe Pedrell: (1841-1922) Spanish musicologist and composer. He was largely self-taught as a musician, A scholarship for study in Rome exposed him to the great past of Spanish music preserved in archives there, and he determined to revive the tradition by bringing to light both folk and older art music and by promoting a national style of composition. His own works include operas and orchestral and choral works. He is regarded as the father of Spanish musical nationalism.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Juan Peron

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Juan Peron. And yes, it does mention Eva (“Evita”) Peron, the Argentine dictator’s wife, subject of the West End musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim RIce. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of three sentences and three comprehension questions.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Astor Piazzola

“Astor Piazzola: (1921-1992) Argentine composer. Born in Buenos Aires, he lived in the Bronx, New York, until he was 15, then returned to Argentina to play the bandoneon (a type of accordion) in a tango band led by Anibal Troilo (1917-1975). From 1944 he led his own groups. His interest in classical music led to study with Nadia Boulanger (1954-55) and the development of his own compositional style, infusing elements of jazz and modern music into tango. Not always initially popular with tango fans, his music is now recognized as having revived the genre and greatly expanded its artistic potential.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Melody

For you music teachers, whose talents I envy, here is a reading on melody along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The 23 Enigma

“In Tangier in 1960 the Beat writer William Burroughs met a sea captain called Captain Clark, who boasted to him that he had never had an accident in twenty-three years; later that day Clark’s boat sank, killing him and everyone on board. Burroughs was reflecting on this, that same evening, when he heard a radio report about a plane crash in Florida: the pilot was another Captain Clark and the plane was Flight 23. From then on Burroughs began noting down incidents of the number 23, and wrote a short story, 23 Skidoo.

Burroughs’ friends Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea adopted the ’23 Enigma’ as a guiding principle in their conspiratorial Illuminatis! Trilogy. Twenty-threes come thick and fast: babies get 23 chromosomes from each parent; 23 in the I-Ching means ‘breaking apart’; 23 is the psalm of choice at funerals; and so on. All nice examples of selective perception or, as Wilson put it, ‘When you start looking for something you tend to find it.’ The composer Alban Berg was also obsessed with the number, which appears repeatedly in his opera Lulu and in his violin concertos.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin: (1942-2018) U.S. popular singer. Her family moved from Memphis to Detroit when she was 2. Her father, C.L. Franklin, was a well-known revivalist preacher; his church and home were visited by such luminaries as Aretha’s aunt Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, and Dinah Washington. She made her first recording at 12. At first she performed only on the gospel and ‘chitlin’ circuits, but in 1967 her powerful and fervent voice took the country by storm in a string of songs including “I Never Loved a Man,” “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” and “Natural Woman.” Her later albums include Amazing Grace (1972), Sparkle (1976), Who’s Zoomin’ Who (1985), and One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (1989). She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

The Weekly Text, 24 June 2022: Summer of Soul Lesson 4

Here is the fourth and final lesson plan of the Summer of Soul unit I wrote earlier this year. This lesson opens with this short reading with three comprehension questions on the concept of “a seat at the table,” i.e. joining in decision-making processes, particularly where those decisions concern oneself. The mainstay of this lesson is this reflection and assessment guide for discussion and note-taking at the end of this unit.

Because this is it. You now have access to all four lessons in this unit. If you expand this, or otherwise change it, I would be very interested in hearing what you did. I wrote this unit quickly to capitalize on student interest (Summer of Soul won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022). Even as I presented the unit, I recognized that there is a lot of room to expand and improve this material.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Bessie Smith

“Bessie Smith: (originally Elizabeth) U.S. blues and jazz singer, one of the most distinctive stylists of classic blues and the most successful black entertainer of her time. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Smith sang popular songs as well as blues on the minstrel and vaudeville stage. She began recording in 1923 and appeared in the 1929 film St. Louis Blues. Her interpretations represent the fully realized tradition of the rural folk tradition of the blues to its urbane structure and expressiveness. A bold, supremely confident artist with a powerful voice and precise diction, she became known as ‘Empress of the Blues.’ She died from injuries sustained in a car crash, having apparently been refused treatment for reasons of racial prejudice.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

The Weekly Text, 17 June 2022: Summer of Soul Lesson 3

If you’ve been following along for the past couple of Fridays, then here is the third lesson plan of the Summer of Soul unit I wrote last spring to take advantage of high interest in that superb documentary and the events it records and assesses. To carry out this lesson, the third of four, I begin with this short reading with three comprehension questions on the Baby Boomer generation as a do-now exercise. The primary work of this lesson involves this truncated reading on Woodstock and its accompanying discussion guide and note-taking worksheet.

If you would prefer longer-form materials on Woodstock, you’ll find those here. Otherwise, that’s it for another week.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie: (originally John Birks) (1917-1993) U.S. jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleaders, one of the primary innovators of bebop. Born in Cheraw, South Carolina, Gillespie was influenced by Roy Eldridge and played with the big bands of Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, and Billy Eckstine before leading small groups in the mid-1940s. He pioneered bebop with saxophonist Charlie Parker and pianist Thelonious Monk. Bringing this approach to his big band in the late 1940s, Gillespie popularized the use of Afro-Cuban rhythms in jazz. Alternating between large and small ensembles for the rest of his career, his virtuosity and comic wit (in addition to his puffed cheeks and trademark 45° upturned trumpet bell) made him one of the most charismatic and influential musicians in jazz.

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.