February 23, 2015
by gpointon

Composers’ whimsies

During the 18th and early 19th centuries, it was normal for composers to give speed indications for their music in Italian. Beethoven started to vary this with German, and Schumann followed suit, but Italian is still the main language for … Continue reading

November 7, 2010
by Graham

Brahms and Priestley

Music is often used to depict works of art in other disciplines – Debussy’s “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”, for instance, is a musical interpretation of a poem by Mallarmé; there are likewise many overtures or symphonic poems based on … Continue reading

October 4, 2009
by Graham
1 Comment

Latin for choirs

Once you’ve decided how you’re going to pronounce Latin when you’re speaking English, the next problem comes up for singers. It’s not only English that has its own version of Latin pronunciation, but every language in Europe has its idiosyncratic … Continue reading

April 17, 2008
by Graham

Linguistic Rhythm

Traditionally, since the days of Arthur Lloyd James and Kenneth Lee Pike, languages have been divided into two broad types: syllable-timed and stress-timed. French was considered the archetypal syllable-timed language (Lloyd James called this ‘machine gun rhythm’), in which each … Continue reading

November 4, 2007
by Graham

The Really Terrible Orchestra

Yesterday evening, the Really Terrible Orchestra, founded in Edinburgh by Alexander McCall Smith and his wife, gave a concert in London, and, according to the press reports, received a standing ovation at the end. How often are children told that … Continue reading