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Music

A page from Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 for piano, pulled from the stack that sits atop the Baer family Steinway grand.

Sound + Vision

For some of us concerned about the fate of sheet music, Song Reader also served as a litmus test of sorts: How many music fans (at least among the sample Beck attracts) still read, or know someone who reads, Western music notation, notes and chords placed on a five-line staff with clefs, rests, and time signatures?

A Harry Belafonte Playlist

October 8, 2013

I like stories that allow me to linger, to circle back, to return to a set of words, an image, a song I can’t get out of my mind. In writing “Voice and Hammer,” it was the 1959 broadcast of Tonight With Belafonte, and the chain-gang songs with which Belafonte declared himself more than just the “King of Calypso.”

The Composer

On the June night of Dolphy’s passing, the composer is in New York, holding forth about the size of space. An audience has gathered to hear him speak. Perhaps they recognize him, but more likely they only think they do. He is wide as a boxcar and not a little frightening, this giant of a man with a scowl across his lips. He ashes his cigar into an up-turned linen cap.

The Future of Pop?

April 3, 2008

Radiohead is selling tracks for fans to remix. Our editor is working at home today. You do the math.

Piano Fire

How she must have dreaded us and our sweaty coins, more
than we hated practice, the lessons, scales, the winter-hot parlor,

her arthritic hands, the metronome’s awful tick. She lectured

I Learned It All the Hard Way

I first heard Howard Tate back in 1995. These were the happy Clinton years. The mean kids hadn’t taken over the playground yet. We were all a little dizzy on peace. I was living in the suburbs of the South, Greensboro to be precise, where I had come to receive indoctrination into the good miseries of literature.

 

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