All Politics Is Local

Allow me to scoop all other publications with the results in my home precinct, the Barrytown section of Red Hook, New York: Kerry/Edwards 522 Bush/Cheney 82 Nader/Camejo 20 Four years ago it was something like: Gore 243 Bush 80 Nader 160 Indicates something about how far Nader has descended in the collegiate milieu. … [Read more...]

Be Glad Then, America

For my last theory class prior to election day, I took the subtle precaution of teaching a hymn whose words (and also harmonies, as I needed a minor-key piece with a homophonic texture, and they’re rare) were appropriate to this particular election week, Be Glad Then, America, by our founding national composer William Billings (1746-1800): Darkness and clouds of awful shade Hang pendant by a slender thread, Waiting commission from God the upholder to fall, Fall, fall, and distress us. Great God, avert th’impending doom, We plead no merit of our … [Read more...]

Criticism, Musical Expression, and Values

The votes are in: in my criticism class, I mean. I have two kinds of student writers. One kind is very good at style and atmosphere. They can talk about music in relation to their lives, tell how certain songs make them feel, relate their likes and dislikes. The other type knows musical terminology, and can describe music in intelligent detail. The first type of writer is entertaining to read, but ultimately merely subjective; the second is more persuasive, but a little dry and lacking in color and emotive effect. Almost none can yet combine … [Read more...]