Why Are Popular Songs More Or Less The Same Length?

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“Since 1990, it seems that the average song length has sort of stabilized around 250 seconds (over 4 minutes). Maybe that’s because humans prefer 4 minute songs. Clearly there is no technological limit to song length anymore, right? So, did new technologies influence song length?”

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Is Arts Council England Penalizing The English National Opera For Being Adventurous?

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“We are told that ENO is being penalised for failing to meet audience targets. But a theatre devoted to artistic adventure is bound to risk occasional box-office failure: it was precisely to buttress such eventualities that the subsidy-principle was established. If we are back to measuring artistic success by the old bums-on-seats philosophy, then we are truly heading back to the dark ages.”

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Cinemacasts Aren’t Cannibalizing OUR Audience, Says The Dallas Opera (Take That, Peter Gelb!)

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General director Keith Cerny: “We have observed no measurable cannibalization of single ticket sales from either simulcasts or HD broadcasts.” What’s more, “whereas around 75 percent of the Met’s American HD broadcast audience is age 65 or older, only around 20 percent of TDO’s simulcast audience is 65 or older.”

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Conductor May Have To Pay Orchestra For Welsh Proms (Blame The Funding Cuts)

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“The conductor of the annual Welsh Proms will have to pay the orchestra fees for this year’s event in Cardiff himself unless most of the tickets are sold. Owain Arwel Hughes is having to act as guarantor for three of the festival’s four orchestral concerts after Cardiff council cut its funding.” (includes video)

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Advocating For Musicians (Things Are Changing)

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“In the three years since the movement began, I’ve seen a definite shift in the tactics used by musicians, organizers, and other people working in the music industry as they attempt to build power and push for fair pay and conditions in the vast and strange landscape of contemporary composition, performance, and recording.”

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All The Stuff We’re Learning As The Met Opera And Its Unions Negotiate In Public

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“Now, as the company tries to win concessions from its unions by the end of this month, the labor talks are laying bare new details of life at the Met, from what performers earn to the Met’s recent box office struggles – which, an analysis of ticket sales showed, led the company to sell as many as a quarter of its seats at a discount at a handful of performances.”

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How The History Of Blues Was Shaped By White Collectors

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“If today people so often take Mississippi delta blues for heart of the form, it’s in no small measure because the collector-researchers of the ’50s and ’60s, and the blues rockers who followed their lead, taught us to think that way. In fact, those edgy, relatively marginalized, rural guitar players had, for the most part, been little-known artists with limited sales among the black Southern audience, which generally saw blues as dance music. But they presented challenging sounds and images irresistible to the white collector specialists.”

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The World’s Most-Used Musical Sequence (It Has A Very Odd Name)

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“What do Beethoven, David Bowie, Green Day, Mozart, *NSYNC, Pete Seeger, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, The Supremes, Rihanna, and many others all have in common? The Andalusian Cadence!” (a/k/a the Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord). David Garland has assembled ore than 50 (short) examples as evidence. (audio)

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Indie Music Labels (And Musicians) Take Streaming Into Their Own Hands

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“Labels like Fool’s Gold, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian have signed on with the two-year-old Drip.fm in an effort to attract fans with exclusive music, a sense of community and an intimate connection with bands and artists. Other younger, digitally savvy musicians are starting their own services to appeal directly to their fans.”

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Truth In Classical Music (And Opera) Advertising?

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“The Opera America ads taken as a whole tell a story. Is it the story of a groundswell of new works among a vast array of companies that would seem to no longer take their cue from the Met? Is it a story of the end of fear of the new driving programming decisions?”

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L.A. Metro Promises – With A Contract – That New Subway Won’t Make Disney Hall Rumble

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“An agreement … went into effect this week, formally committing Metro to making sure that the sensitive stretch of its $1 billion downtown Regional Connector Project won’t add any audible vibrations. The agreement sets out a process for what will happen if those preventive measures fail – with a Music Center lawsuit to collect damages the worst-case scenario.”

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What Makes The Tango Music For The Whole World

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“If you play with sheet music, playing [just] everything written, it’s really a bore, because you don’t know the way to do something different with that, to create some kind of fresh rhythms. It’s the way to move accents, the articulation when you play, and the very fresh manner, very tender with no rush. Most of the classical players play very square and rush.”

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The Art Of Practicing (Here’s How It Works)

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“The purpose of practising is so that we (offstage as engineers) make sure that we (onstage as pilots) are completely free to fly to the destination of our choice. That destination is one involving imagination and creativity and spirituality and danger and ecstasy of course, not merely the A to B of playing the notes, but without the nuts and bolts in place we will never be airborne. The greatest interpretative vision of the final pages of the final sonata of Beethoven will nosedive to oblivion if we can’t play an even trill.”

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The Secret Of Brian Eno’s Genius: Cluelessness

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Sasha Frere-Jones: “Eno is widely known for coining the term ‘ambient music,’ and he produced a clutch of critically revered albums in the nineteen-seventies and eighties – by the Talking Heads, David Bowie, and U2, among others – but if I had to choose his greatest contribution to popular music it would be the idea that musicians do their best work when they have no idea what they’re doing.”

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Opera Isn’t In Trouble, It’s Just In An Awkward Phase

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“Opera ain’t what it used to be. More to the point, opera companies aren’t what they used to be. The art form is not standing still. It’s growing, uncontrollably, by leaps and messy bounds,” writes Mark Swed – who argues that the problems at U.S. opera’s flagship, the Met, are more about the Met than the art form, and that the controversy over The Death of Klinghoffer demonstrates opera’s innate power.

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