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Music Appreciation

  1. Music Appreciation 101: Chapter 3, The Theremin

    If you have ever watched an old horror movie or sci-fi movie, you may have heard eerie sounds that seemed to float around in the high register. Examples are found in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Spellbound, and Lost Weekend. The instrument used to make those sounds is called a Theremin, invented in 1919 by a Russian physicist named Leon Theremin (changed from Lev Termem).

    It was a very unusual instrument in that the performer never touches the instrument while playing. It consists ...
  2. Music Appreciation 101: Chapter 2, Rafael Mendez

    Rafael Mendez was a wonderful trumpet player who I remember as one of the guest artists to appear with my junior high school band. At that age I was impressed, but I did not appreciate the scope of Mendez's talent. That took me many more years.

    I think it is quickly clear to anyone who hears a recording of Mendez that he had great expression and tremendous technique. What was harder for me to identify is that he also had amazing flexibility of technique. He used to listen to violin ...
  3. Music Appreciation 101: Chapter 1, Spike Jones

    As a college teacher I often find myself mentioning a performer that none of my students recognize. Sometimes that is of little practical consequence, but there are some artists that should be known by all.

    This first chapter deals with the musical legend Spike Jones. He was a bandleader and comic, both at the same time. His band was filled with talented players who could make any song into a comedy routine. One of his most popular examples is Cocktails for Two. The sound effects ...
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