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Music

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New Books

Analysis of Jazz

Analysis of Jazz: A Comprehensive Approach, originally published in French as Analyser le jazz, is available here in English for the first time. In this groundbreaking volume, Laurent Cugny examines and connects the theoretical and methodological processes that underlie all of jazz. Jazz in all its forms has been researched and analyzed by performers, scholars, and critics, and Analysis of Jazz is required reading for any serious study of jazz; but not just musicians and musicologists analyze jazz. All listeners are analysts to some extent. Listening is an active process; it may not involve questioning but it always involves remembering, comparing, and listening again. This book is for anyone who attentively listens to and wants to understand jazz. Divided into three parts, the book focuses on the work of jazz, analytical parameters, and analysis. In part one, Cugny aims at defining what a jazz work is precisely, offering suggestions based on the main features of definition and structure. Part two he dedicates to the analytical parameters of jazz in which a work is performed: harmony, rhythm, form, sound, and melody. Part three takes up the analysis of jazz itself, its history, issues of transcription, and the nature of improvised solos. In conclusion, Cugny addresses the issues of interpretation to reflect on the goals of analysis with regard to understanding the history of jazz and the different cultural backgrounds in which it takes place. Analysis of Jazz presents a detailed inventory of theoretical tools and issues necessary for understanding jazz.

The Cambridge Companion to Gershwin

George Gershwin is often described as a quintessentially American composer. This Cambridge Companion explains why, engaging with the ways in which his music was shaped by American political, intellectual, cultural and business interests. As a composer and performer, Gershwin embraced technological advances and broke new ground in music business practices. In the decades preceding World War II, he captured the mechanistic pulse of modern life with his concert works and lay the groundwork for the Great American Songbook with his Broadway shows and film music. With his brother Ira, and his cousins Henry and B. A. Botkin, Gershwin explored various ethnic and cultural identities and contemplated their roles in US culture. His music confronted race during the Jim Crow era and continues to engage with issues of race today. This interdisciplinary exploration of Gershwin's life and music describes his avowed pursuit of an 'American' musical identity and its ongoing legacy.

Karawitan

The twentieth century has spawned a great interest in Indonesian music, and now books, articles, and manuscripts can be found that expound exclusively about karawitan (the combined vocal and instrumental music of the gamelan). Scholar Judith Becker has culled several key sources on karawitan into three volumes and has translated them for the benefit of the Western student of the gamelan tradition. The texts in her collection were written over a forty-five-year time period (ca 1930-1975) and include articles by Martopangrawit, Sumarsam, Sastrapustaka, Gitosaprodjo, Sindoesawarno, Poerbapangrawit, Probohardjono, Warsadiningrat, Purbodiningrat, Poerbatjaraka, and Paku Buwana X. The final volume also contains a glossary of technical terms, an appendix of the Javanese cipher notations (titilaras kepatihan), a biographical listing, and an index to the musical pieces (Gendhing).

A New History of American and Canadian Folk Music

Building on his 2006 book, Which Side Are You On?, Dick Weissman's A New History of American and Canadian Folk Music presents a provocative discussion of the history, evolution, and current status of folk music in the United States and Canada. North American folk music achieved a high level of popular acceptance in the late 1950s. When it was replaced by various forms of rock music, it became a more specialized musical niche, fragmenting into a proliferation of musical styles. In the pop-folk revival of the 1960s, artists were celebrated or rejected for popularizing the music to a mass audience. In particular the music seemed to embrace a quest for authenticity, which has led to endless explorations of what is or is not faithful to the original concept of traditional music. This book examines the history of folk music into the 21st century and how it evolved from an agrarian style as it became increasingly urbanized. Scholar-performer Dick Weissman, himself a veteran of the popularization wars, is uniquely qualified to examine the many controversies and musical evolutions of the music, including a detailed discussion of the quest for authenticity, and how various musicians, critics, and fans have defined that pursuit.

Sex, Death, and Minuets

At one time a star in her own right as a singer, Anna Magdalena (1701-60) would go on to become, through her marriage to the older Johann Sebastian Bach, history's most famous musical wife and mother. The two musical notebooks belonging to her continue to live on, beloved by millions of pianists young and old. Yet the pedagogical utility of this music--long associated with the sound of children practicing and mothers listening--has encouraged a rosy and one-sided view of Anna Magdalena as a model of German feminine domesticity.             Sex, Death, and Minuets offers the first in-depth study of these notebooks and their owner, reanimating Anna Magdalena as a multifaceted historical subject--at once pious and bawdy, spirited and tragic. In these pages, we follow Magdalena from young and flamboyant performer to bereft and impoverished widow--and visit along the way the coffee house, the raucous wedding feast, and the family home. David Yearsley explores the notebooks' more idiosyncratic entries--like its charming ditties on illicit love and searching ruminations on mortality--against the backdrop of the social practices and concerns that women shared in eighteenth-century Lutheran Germany, from status in marriage and widowhood, to fulfilling professional and domestic roles, money, fashion, intimacy and sex, and the ever-present sickness and death of children and spouses. What emerges is a humane portrait of a musician who embraced the sensuality of song and the uplift of the keyboard, a sometimes ribald wife and oft-bereaved mother who used her cherished musical notebooks for piety and play, humor and devotion--for living and for dying.  

To Live and Defy in La

How gangsta rap shocked America, made millions, and pulled back the curtain on an urban crisis.How is it that gangsta rap--so dystopian that it struck aspiring Brooklyn rapper and future superstar Jay-Z as "over the top"--was born in Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, surf, and sun? In the Reagan era, hip-hop was understood to be the music of the inner city and, with rare exception, of New York. Rap was considered the poetry of the street, and it was thought to breed in close quarters, the product of dilapidated tenements, crime-infested housing projects, and graffiti-covered subway cars. To many in the industry, LA was certainly not hard-edged and urban enough to generate authentic hip-hop; a new brand of black rebel music could never come from La-La Land.But it did. In To Live and Defy in LA, Felicia Viator tells the story of the young black men who built gangsta rap and changed LA and the world. She takes readers into South Central, Compton, Long Beach, and Watts two decades after the long hot summer of 1965. This was the world of crack cocaine, street gangs, and Daryl Gates, and it was the environment in which rappers such as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E came of age.By the end of the 1980s, these self-styled "ghetto reporters" had fought their way onto the nation's radio and TV stations and thus into America's consciousness, mocking law-and-order crusaders, exposing police brutality, outraging both feminists and traditionalists with their often retrograde treatment of sex and gender, and demanding that America confront an urban crisis too often ignored.

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