Jack's Musings July 29 2010, 0 Comments

MUSINGS Contributed By Jack Kopstein Marches have a Role in Musical Tastes. New research is shedding light on why not everyone swoons to the sounds of latest pop sensation Justin Bieber. In a study published in Current Biology researchers have found clues as to why some musical combinations sound so sweet, while others are downright awful. The simple answer is “musical experience.” The key to the research project is that over the years there have been numerous claims why some people like one sound version over another. One method of measuring the musical significance of a harmonic frequency and in relation to sound and the other quality known as beating. Thus if we rationalize the March form in the same context we can determine that the March experience began very early in the lives of children. Young people love parades, and throughout their early lives, numerous opportunities arise where they hear, see and beat their feet to an array of marching bands. Santa Claus parades and July 4th are a great example of the March form in action. Later as school students they are exposed to the sports venues where school and songs are played to develop an esprit de corps among the student body. Nationalism in March music has been one of the most important aspects of musical experience that both children and adults are familiar. National anthems are often written in a dramatic march style. Another consideration is the number of people who have served in their countries military forces. In this area service people are exposed to the sound of drums, trumpets commands and full military bands marching troops in various employments. The question of course arises which medium of music is an acquired taste. Music that appeals to individuals because of the style, harmonic content, solid beating, drastic counter melodies with dissonances, or simple pleasing harmony. Given for instance the jazz concepts and nuances of Charley Parker in the bebop era of the 1950’s and earlier the drum dexterity of Buddy Rich, we must conclude that this form is an acquired taste. The earlier Dixieland jazz, which it can be said was the origin of improvisation, blue notes, syncopation, and polyrhythm  most likely falls into the area of  universal  enjoyment  and requires no more than it is very pleasing to the ear. Tonality and substance are words that are bantered around in relation to classical music, particularly found in music of the masters. Here we are often subjected to massive changes in harmonic content and dark nuances, but great symphonic marches have evolved, giving a spirited rise to the street and concert march. . Large works more often than not require a selected taste. Short program type music is understandable but despite simplicity need to provide a pleasing harmony before they enter into the human psyche. Due to its diversity, popular music in the United States today challenges simple description. The history of popular music in the 1970s and '80s is basically that of rock music, which has grown to include hundreds of musical styles. New styles such as folk, salsa, new wave, funk, reggae, heavy metal, acid rock, punk rock, rap, hip-hop, acid jazz and world music have developed. Country rock, a fusion of country and western and rock 'n' roll, grew popular in the 1970s. A blend of rhythm and blues and gospel music came to be known as soul. Disco, a repetitive dance music, and rap music are direct descendants. Rap developed in the mid-1970s among African-American and Hispanic performers in New York City. It generally consists of chanted, often improvised, street poetry usually accompanied by disco or funk music. The 1990s saw the birth of alternative music or grunge. Techno, a style of dance music that gained popularity in the 1990s, combines computer-generated, disco like rhythms with digital samples. Unfortunately sustainability within the format because of formula writing has hindered learning in modern popular music. However his constant style of the pseudo religious gospel voice inflection together with the use of drum patterns has created an uncomplicated and easily understood learning experience. Next we examine the learning and experience of the Broadway Musical theatre, a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called simply, "musicals." Musicals are performed all around the world. They may be presented in large venues, such as big budget West End and Broadway theatre productions in London and New York City, or in smaller fringe theatre, Off-Broadway or regional productions, on tour, or by amateur groups in schools, theatres and other performance spaces. In addition to Britain and North America, there are vibrant musical theatre scenes in many countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia.Some famous musicals include Show Boat, Oklahoma!, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, Hair, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, The Producers and Wicked. Most of the music for the theatre  has had a long lasting effect on audiences. This  translates very easily  into the human memory bank and for which there is common  familiarity along with understanding.  The Sound of Music is the the best illustration of  a show which not only captured the world’s imagination for over fifty years but also introduced several memorable songs such as "Climb Every Mountain," "Do-Re-Me," and  "Edelweiss." Rendering a meaning for marches in terms of  musical expression is simply “beating  of the ground with feet”. The march has evolved  into a distinct style as well as a distinct form. In other words style may range from the works of Wagner(operatic) and Beethoven(Symphonic) to the numerous street and parade marches(Sousa) which were found to be a necessity for men to be kept in step. Thus the march is strictly rythmical. Strict rhythm is observed  regardless of the melody and counter melody  or accompanyment. We can conclude that the march is by far the simplest musical form to remember and to equate to daily life. The names of the marches often will elude us but we often know the tune.  We can whistle and hum the music,or fragments of it. The most well known perhaps of all marches is Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No1 . Most of us find the name of the music or the  openng unrecognizable but it is in the overwhelming melody of what is known as “Land of Hope and Glory” section  that the march takes on a life of its own. Sousa’s march Stars and Stripes Forever has the same effect. Once it begins there is something  our experience tells us that we know it, and we love it. All marches however  do not excite or give us the same feeling of pleasure, however they fit the human desire to beat our feet and feel uplifted.