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:

Pages

Notes On Music
1:23 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The Post-It

Credit flickr.com / George Lawie

Art Fry worked for the 3M Corporation in the 1960s experimenting with a glue formulated by a chemist friend, eventually coating part of the back of small pieces of paper so they would stick to almost any surface, and the Post-it Note was born. 

The musical connection?  He needed something to use as a bookmark in his hymnal that wouldn’t fall out.

Read more
Notes On Music
1:05 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Compositions For A New Nation

Cover of Billings' "The Psalm Singer's Amusement" from 1780
Credit Wikimedia Commons

William Billings was America’s first prominent composer, publishing The New England Psalm Singer in 1770, the first book of songs written by an American. 

His friend, Paul Revere, engraved the cover.  Not everyone enjoyed his music, however.  Pranksters hung two cats by their tails from a signpost outside his house, comparing the cats’ cries to his music.

Read more
Notes On Music
12:45 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The Tango

A couple dance the tango in the streets of San Telmo, Buenos Aires.
Credit Wikimedia Commons / Anouchka Unel

Born in the slums of Buenos Aires, the passionate tango eventually became the rage in the United States.  But some critics reacted by saying it was too sexually suggestive. 

Evangelist Bob Jones said New Yorkers were tangoing themselves “to the brink of hell”, adding “the only difference between Manhattan and hell is that Manhattan is surrounded by water.” 

Read more
Notes On Music
12:34 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

It Almost Didn't Happen

Publicity still of Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Louis B. Mayer released by MGM
Credit Wikimedia Commons

After the first preview of The Wizard of Oz, studio boss Louis B. Mayer thought one of the songs was so slow that it stopped the film’s movement cold and wanted to cut it.  But associate producer Arthur Freed took up the songwriters’ cause and eventually prevailed. 

Aren’t you glad he did?  The song was Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Read more
Notes On Music
12:27 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The Oldest Song In The World

Ruins from the city of Ugarit
Credit Wikimedia Commons

More than 3,400 years ago in the Mediterranean port city of Ugarit, now part of Syria, an unknown composer wrote a hymn in praise of Nikkal, the wife of the moon god, the words and music chiseled into a stone tablet. 

But it wasn’t until the 1970s that University of California professor Anne Kilmer was able to decipher them.  It is the oldest surviving song in the world. 

Read more
Notes On Music
12:22 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The Lost Composition

Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Joseph Lange
Credit Wikimedia Commons

An unknown composition by Mozart was recently found in a library in western France.  It had been catalogued in the nineteenth century, and then simply forgotten. 

Authenticated by the International Mozarteum Foundation in Austria, it is a single-sheet  handwritten melody for a section of a Mass, a Credo in D Major, and would sell today for about $100,000.

Read more
Notes On Music
12:14 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Origin Of A Nursery Rhyme

Credit flickr.com / Amanda Slater

I’m sure we’ve all sung Baa, Baa, Black Sheep thinking it was just a nice children’s nursery rhyme. 

However, Katherine Thomas, in her book, The Real Personages of Mother Goose, suggests that the rhyme refers to resentment of the wool tax of 1275, wherein part of the wool would be given to the King, part to the Church, with only the remaining wool left for the seller.

Read more
Notes On Music
11:58 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Music Fights Dementia

Notes On Music
11:35 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Partita

The Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy
Credit flickr.com

The musical partita originally referred to a single-instrument piece of music popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, not unlike today’s sonata, but J.S. Bach also used the name for collections of musical pieces as a synonym for suite. 

Interestingly, partita also refers to a Tarot card game from the 17th century popular in the Bologna region of Italy.

Read more
Notes On Music
11:22 am
Thu April 4, 2013

The Devil's Music

Nicolo Paganini, 1782-1840
Credit Wikimedia Commons

 During the Renaissance, The Devil, as agent of death, became forever linked to the violin, as later depicted in such works as The Devil’s Trill Sonata by Tartini, and Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre

The famous violinist, Nicolo Paganini, was even said to have sold his soul to the Devil in return for his performance ability.  And he played this ruse to the hilt.

Read more

Pages