Categories
essays

on how an academic changes a musician

Mira, Where is the place that you get lost? Is it the stopped horn bit—the fourteen notes with a distant, pinched, buzzy sound, and then the normal horn tone returns? Then there’s a phrase, then a restatement of the second big line of the piece, then the climb to the ending? I’m doing musicology on […]

Categories
essays

on playing kaddish

Mira Amiras’ blog “and this part is true” had a recent post entitled “war stories” about translating the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish mourner’s prayer. She asks, “What does this really mean?” It’s a good question, because the Aramaic text doesn’t say a thing about mourning. It’s a pretty generic prayer, in fact. Here’s the basic […]

Categories
essays

mandelbrot and music: on listening in fractal dimensions

Benoit Mandelbrot died this month. He was the guy who came up with fractal theory, which led to all those gorgeous computer graphics like this one: Last week, my friend and contradance bandmate Tina Fields wrote an essay about Mandelbrot’s ideas on her blog, Indigenize! I found it quite thought-provoking, and it surprised me how much I […]