Notes on Music

Notes on Music is heard throughout the week on KLRE, Classical 90.5, and is written and voiced by Ray Moore.

Ray Moore is Professor Emeritus of Music and former Director of Choral Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Dr. Moore received his Bachelor's degree in music from Texas Tech University, and both his Master's and Doctorate from Columbia University.

Moore has published a book, High Notes and Low, based on his Notes on Music spots. You can learn more about his book in this video:

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Notes on Music
1:37 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Every Good Boy Does Fine: Music and Mnemonics

If you can remember this useful acronym, then "Every Good Boy Does Fine."

Mnemonics are memory devices that help learners recall larger pieces of information through special associations.

 Virtually all television commercials are set to music, which acts as a mnemonic device, and which helps the listener remember that particular product. And I think we’ve all used mnemonics to help remember the pitches of the lines and spaces on the staff..” Every good boy does fine”...

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Notes on Music
1:29 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Maximilian Schell: Actor and Pianist

Maximilian Schell poses under a bust of Beethoven.

            Maximilian Schell was a Swiss film and stage actor who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1961 film, Judgment at Nuremberg, which incidentally, was only his second acting role in Hollywood. 

Not many know, however, that he was also a gifted pianist, and teamed with Leonard Bernstein as narrator in many performances of Beethoven symphonies.

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Notes on Music
4:41 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Dame Eva Turner and "The Trampoline Incident"

Dame Eva Turner, the bouncing Tosca.

At the end of Puccini’s opera, Tosca, the heroine jumps to her death from a tower.

On stage, the singer usually jumps out of a low window onto concealed mattresses.

However, in a production by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, when Eva Turner jumped she landed on a trampoline, and was seen appearing in the window a few times before finally  “dying.”

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Notes on Music
4:27 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Asperger's Syndrome and Creativity

The pianist Glenn Gould, known for his various eccentricities, may have been afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger’s syndrome is a high-performing form of autism, wherein the person is rather socially inept but quite advanced in certain areas.

Creative people who have been linked to Asperger’s include Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, and musicians Glenn Gould, Mozart, and Beethoven.

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Notes on Music
4:19 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Antonin Dvorak: Breaking the Mold

Composer Antonin Dvorak, in a caricature by Ralph Steadman.

Antonin Dvorak’s father owned a small inn and butcher shop in Austria.  Antonin, the eldest of nine children, was expected to follow the vocation of his father, and grandfather, and become a butcher.

When he turned sixteen he begged his father to let him study music, and the rest is history.

However, it is unfortunately true that some musicians can still “butcher” a performance!

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Notes on Music
4:09 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Albert Einstein: Physicist and Violinist

Physicist Albert Einstein, seen here playing the violin.

While we think of Albert Einstein primarily as a great physicist, he had a deep love of music, and often played violin in string quartets with his friends.

He wrote, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician...I live my daydreams in music...I get most joy in my life out of my violin.”

Well, if music affected Einstein so profoundly, it must certainly be good for the rest of us!

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Notes on Music
4:04 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

When Niccoló Paganini Broke His Strings

In this caricature, Paganini plays on, in spite of losing all but one string on his violin.

Niccoló Paganini is well known for his great skill as a violinist, not the least was helped by the fact that he had unusually long and flexible fingers in addition to great musicality.

On one occasion, as he was playing a serenade, one after the other, three of the four strings on the violin broke.

He simply finished the serenade playing all notes on the one remaining string!

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Notes on Music
3:50 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Perfect Pitch Through Valproate?

Having perfect pitch is the ability to identify or sing specific pitches without help, and is limited to a relatively small portion of the population.

A study by Harvard biologist Takao Hensch indicates that giving someone the drug, valproate, can greatly increase the ability to develop perfect pitch.

Further study may prove it to be a very valuable tool for musicians.

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Notes on Music
3:43 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Giacomo Puccini: A Name in Classical Music

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini

We know the composer of such operas as Madam Butterfly, Tosca, and La Bohéme simply as Giacomo Puccini.

He was the fifth child of seven, and was actually named in honor of several of his forebears, who were all distinguished musicians and composers.

His full name is actually Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini.  Wow!

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Notes on Music
3:38 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Claudio Abbado: A Remembrance

Claudio Abbado conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The classical-music world lost conductor Claudio Abbado this year.

Abbado conducted most of the world’s premier orchestras with great insight.  Known for his precision, on one occasion he kept complaining that the Chicago Symphony players were not together.

This prompted them to wear tee-shirts emblazoned with the Italian-inflected admonition, “Noddagedda!”

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