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 purchase the book at amadeuspress.com. And you can learn more about his book in this video:

Singing Hocket

Mar 20, 2013

“Hocket” is an interesting technique popular in vocal music of the 13th and 14th centuries, most often for two voices, in which the voices take turns singing a melody while the other rests. 

For example, if you and a friend were to sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, alternately singing a short phrase and then resting while the other continues the sequence, you would be engaging in hocket.

 

The Miracle Symphony

Mar 19, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

Haydn’s Symphony No. 96 is nicknamed “The Miracle Symphony.”  It seems that a large chandelier in the concert hall crashed to the floor, missing the audience due to the fact that they had moved forward to the stage for applause. 

However, this event actually occurred during a performance of his Symphony No. 102.  Wonder how that erroneous story got started...

Bagatelle

Feb 27, 2013

In Italian the word “bagatta” literally means “a little possession”, a trifle, or something of little value. 

Thus in music a bagatelle, although charming and captivating, refers to a short, light composition of little consequence, especially for piano.  It’s interesting that a “bagatelle” also refers to a game played on an oblong table with a cue and balls, much like billiards or pool.

Postage Stamps

Feb 27, 2013

Postage stamps dedicated to musicians appear in virtually every country. 

A few of those so honored in America:  Samuel Barber, Marian Anderson, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Stephen Foster, George Gershwin, Charles Ives, Cole Porter, and  John Philip Sousa.  Unfortunately, no composer has been so honored by having U.S. currency dedicated to them!

The Black Crook

Feb 27, 2013

In 1866, a theatre manager desperate to get any production to fill his theatre, cobbled together a script about some sort of fantasy world. 

Though the script made little sense, an unemployed ballet company with some spare scenery offered a numbing five and a half hour production called The Black Crook.  It ran 474 performances, and essentially began the “American musical theatre experience.”

A Ghost Light

Feb 27, 2013

Have you ever wondered why a single light is left burning on a stage after all the musicians, cast, and crew have left? 

Tradition laced with superstition has it that many theaters have ghosts, and so a “ghost light” is left burning all night.  Without it, it is said, the ghosts can run free, and so the light keeps them hidden.  But, maybe it is really left on so they themselves can perform?

What Does Philharmonic Mean?

Feb 27, 2013

We’ve all heard the word “philharmonic” used in connection with orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.  But do you know what it actually means? 

“Philharmonic” is from the Greek philos, meaning “loving”, and ta harmonika, meaning “theory of harmony.”  Literally, it means “loving harmony” or “devoted to music.”  Makes sense it’s used so often.

The Aeolian Harp

Feb 27, 2013

The Aeolian harp is an interesting instrument that is played just by the wind.  Named after Aeolus, the ancient Greek god of the wind, the harp is placed in an open window, or outdoors, where the wind can blow across the strings to product tones.  The only instrument played solely by the wind, its etherial volume of sound is controlled only by the force of the air.

The Roman Carnival Overture

Feb 27, 2013

The Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz is a very popular selection essentially made up of music from his opera, Benvenuto Cellini, especially its carnival scene, but is intended to stand on its own as a concert piece.  Interestingly, the word “carnival” means “put the meat away”, and refers to Shrove Tuesday, a time of revelry and feasting before the austerity of Lent.

Pages