Copland: Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo

Howdy y’all! We’re jumping right into Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo today so put on your cowboy boots, saddle up and let’s wrangle this great piece of American music!

Rope ’em cowgirl!

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Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

I think we can all agree that Spring is finally here. People are beginning to go outside again, windows are open, trees are budding and birds are singing. When I started thinking of something “Springy” to write about, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending,  filled with hope and nostalgia and bird songs, felt all kinds of right.

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A Brief Introduction to: Counterpoint!

Here at Canon Fodder, one of the most common reasons we hear that people don’t like classical music is that they don’t know anything about it, and therefore that they won’t understand it. The truth is, though, that even people who consider themselves newbies know more about classical music than they realize. For one thing, classical works are much more present in people’s everyday lives than they might think. From movie and television soundtracks to commercials to even many pop songs, you have probably been exposed to more of the “great works” than the average person who was alive when they were written.

At the end of this post, you will be as fancy-shmancy as this cat!

Much of pop music today relies on the same concepts of harmony and composition that were established over hundreds of years of classical music1. So when we talk about some fancy-schmancy classical music concept like counterpoint, it’s important to remember that you probably know more about it already than you think, and you have definitely already heard it. I’m going to give you the basics of counterpoint so you can impress your friends and co-workers at happy hour, and show you how it’s still being used today — come for the Renaissance, stay for Bob’s Burgers!

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If music be the (comfort) food of love…

So in the middle of January, I had a tough case of the winter blues, and I asked my facebook friends to help me crowdsource a playlist of “comfort food in musical form” and boy did they deliver. When all was said and done, I ended up with 17 hours worth of beautiful, thoughtful, and hugely varied selections.

such beautiful choices!

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Introduction to the Orchestra Instruments

This is post intended for newbies but please don’t ever feel like you’re dumb for not knowing instruments. It’s something I’ve heard people say before and I am here to tell you that identifying instruments by sight and sound is both something so simple children can do it and also something I still occasionally screw up (sometimes oboes sound like clarinets man, it happens).

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Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Part One

THE PIECE(er… -s): “Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann”, Clara Schumann (Op. 20) / Johannes Brahms (Op. 9)
DATE: 1853 (Clara Schumann) / 1854 (Johannes Brahms)
ERA: Romanticism
GOOD FOR: when you feel sad because love is so beautiful but will you ever find it?!?!, generally crying your eyes out

 

The relationship between Robert and Clara Schumann is the most beautiful, bonkers, and heartbreaking love story in classical music. It has everything: Star-crossed lovers! A scandalous legal battle! Incredible musical works inspired by and dedicated to each other! Syphilis! And one of the most tragic endings you’ll hear this side of Shakespeare. It’s my favorite coupling in all of music, so just give up now, Taylor Swift!

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Classical Music for Every Type of Valentine

Ah Valentine’s Day. A day that sets fear and bitterness into the hearts of some and joy and love into others. Well, worry not, because no matter what kind of Valentine’s Day you have planned we have some music to get you into (or out of) the spirit.

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Partita for 8 Voices

WORK TITLE: Partita for 8 Voices
COMPOSER: Caroline Shaw
DATE/ERA: 2012/New Music
IDEAL FOR: When you need some Joy, or when you’re looking for some next level acapella group music.

 

The first time I heard Partita for 8 voices was shortly after it had won the pulitzer. I put it on casually in the background while I fiddled around on the internet but it only took about a minute and a half before I closed my browser and sat stunned. I got to the end, sat blinking at my computer and pressed play again. See below for live footage of the moment

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