The unlikeliness of buses

This is another of those things that I feel compelled to write just because I have a blog. It has nothing to do with music. You should probably ignore it.

I wouldn’t follow this link if I were you . . .

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Rich, complex, and beautiful — Lamma Bada

Tuning the Oud

Rich, complex, and beautiful — could describe someone to fall in love with. But I’m talking about an Arabic song, sometimes rendered in English as Lamma Bada Yatathanna, an ancient muwashshah, a genre of secular music from Al Andalus, Moorish Spain, which means it’s from some time before 1492 – that’s half a millennium ago!

To hear this wonderful song and learn more about it, click here . . .

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Why DO we hate modern classical music, Alex Ross?

Alex Ross’s blog is the first  in my list of links over there on the right. That’s because Alex Ross is a god. I never miss his writing in the New Yorker. I’m in the middle of reading his wonderful book The Rest is Noise. I can’t wait to start his next one, Listen To This.

But even Bach nods. And Alex (you’ll never read this so I’ll presume on our slender web relationship and call you by your given name) you’ve taken a nap on this one.

If you’re not Alex Ross, you might not care enough to click here to read the rest . . .

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Gamelan Musician - courtesy of Richard Blair

A gamelan (photo copyright ©

A gamelan is an instrument made up of  instruments. It plays the classical music of Bali and Java, Indonesia. But that’s not important. What is important is that a gamelan makes incredible music.

Click here for more about gamelans and some wonderful music . . .

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Why would you care what I think?

This blog is about music, something I’ve been thinking about for fifty years. I’m reluctant to include anything else here as I hate a bate and switch. But the urge to blog about drivel must be some primal thing that even I can’t resist.

I’m reading Philip Roth’s American Pastoral — a terrific book (so far) and, being terrific, it’s already, at page 35, given me thoughts.

You probably shouldn’t follow this link

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Time Out

Time Out is the title of a famous record* from 1959 by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. It took that name because three or four of the cuts**  played with  musical time. I’m using it as the title for this post because it’s about musical time, too.

The hit song on that album*** was Take Five, a piece by Paul Desmond, sax player in the Brubeck Quartet. In 1959 Take Five was the quintessence of  cool to me (it still is, actually). The first twenty bars should give you an idea how cool it is. While you listen,  see if you can tell how it got its name.

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Here comes the hook

In pop music, the ‘hook’ is the part of the song that grabs the listener (at least in theory). Not all songs have them. A few have more than one.

Talking about the hook in the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun seems to me like sacrilege. It’s one of the greatest songs in popular music, a song that people put on when they need cheering up. Not only does it have more than one phrase that grabs the listener, the whole thing is so great it’s its own hook.

Still there is one bit that particularly stands out for me. And it relates to the hook I talked about in You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.

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