What Life as a Musician Is Like

April 15, 2021

Richard Wagner and the Twilight of Western Civilization

October 02, 2020

According to Alex Ross in his book, “Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music,” Richard Wagner was more than the composer who dominated German music in the second half of the 19th century. He became a towering cultural icon who transformed the way culturally influential people and...

The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: Rock Music “Canon”

September 07, 2018

The Pythagorean “music of the spheres” has evolved into the economic sphere of marketable sounds. Writing for The Guardian, Michael Hann explores the question of the meaning of modern commercial music, especially in the Anglophone West. In his piece, “Bland on Blonde: why the old rock...

Why Sad Songs Say So Much

September 18, 2016

We avoid sadness in everyday life, so why is the emotion enjoyed and celebrated in music? Tear-jerkers such as Adele’s "Someone Like You" frequently top the charts these days, while gloomy classical compositions like Mozart’s "Requiem" have moved people for centuries. Both portray and bring...

Is Music Damaging Your Hearing?

March 03, 2016

One in seven people is at risk of hearing impairment. What do you think is one of the greatest risks facing 1 billion teenagers and young adults in the world today? An uncertain future or bleak employment prospects? The answer might surprise you. Thanks to the proliferation of personal music...

Bob Marley Was Dangerous

September 16, 2015

An interview with Marlon James, whose novel about Bob Marley’s attempted assassination has been shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. The 1976 assassination attempt on the reggae legend’s life—widely believed to be politically motivated—was, according to author Marlon James,...

The Great Firewall of China

June 03, 2015

The battle to define China's international image as a reservoir of culture, innovation and talent is taking place through online music videos. China has always been a land of contrasts. The most obvious example of this is the rampant capitalism under a nominally communist government. Another...

How the Music Industry Could Use Streaming to Reinvent Itself

July 19, 2014

With declining sales, the music industry’s biggest players are shifting toward the online streaming market.   The music industry is being inexorably drawn to a new business model centered on streaming subscription services, 15 years after music swapping pioneer Napster galvanized the industry...

Tuareg: Making Microphones Mightier Than Swords

December 22, 2013

Tuareg musicians around the world are engaging in a lyrical battle. "Is the revolution like those trees / whose branches will grow if we water them? / I have lived with this obsession for 10 years / I have come among brothers / My friends, what do you think? These men have been living with...

In Search of Sonic Translation

December 06, 2013

Celebrating the legacy of the Judaeo-Arabic musical tradition in Essaouira, Morocco. "In the very beginning, there was a single element, a single body; today, there is the Orient and the Occident – the body separated, and each of the two parts is nostalgic...

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