• Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown share an insane fact about music
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    17 insane (but probably true) things about music

    This is just a fun post. None of these facts have been verified, but I bet at least one of them will put a smile on your face! Have a great week ūüôā 1. There is a law in New Hampshire that prevents you from tapping your feet, nodding your head, or in any other way keep time to music whilst in a tavern (pub), restaurant or cafe. 2.¬†In the 1930s, applause caused Toscanini’s radio concerts to be too long so the audience was asked to be quiet. Until then, classical music concerts were¬†extremely rowdy with people standing, walking around, drinking & eating, and having complete conversations while the musicians…

  • British American Conductor Composer Maestro Stephen P Brown how to compose classical music
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    How I compose: Step 1

    I am now working on the 6th piece in my composition quest. This is not the first time I’ve composed music but in the past I have approached pieces from a variety of angles: systematically using someone else’s process, systematically using someone else’s process that I adapted slightly, systematically using a process I developed myself (which begs the real question: is there anything brand new, or is everything an adaptation of what we’ve already experienced?) and there were even pieces that I approached system- and process-free; meaning, I just sat and wrote something. However, in order to accomplish my current task it makes sense to stick with a systematic approach,…

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    Dedication.

    This week I came across a fascinating exploration of the history of King Arthur’s England. There is so much myth and legend surrounding our dreamy esteem of this perfect man that I’ve often wondered if he really existed. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the knights in shining armor adventures, and one day hope¬†to rid my inhibitions, dress up as a medieval knight, and accompany my wife to a Renfaire (a common American festival that revives many periods of history and fantasy into an entertaining exhibition complete with audience participation, jousts, mead and glass blowing, etc).¬†But until that day arrives, I’ll just basque in the occasional archaeological documentary and…

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    Do you ‘wing it’?

    Setting up a plan of action really does seem to work, wouldn’t you agree? As the Psalm Setting Quest was formulating, for fun I figured out a way to determine in which order I would use the psalms to compose music to. A few columns, sorts and ranking formulas were added to a spreadsheet and “voil√†!” an evenly mixed distribution of each psalm type. There’s actually one psalm type (Prophetic) that has just one psalm in it and I know this ranking system works when that psalm (#50) appears right in the middle of the list, as the 75th piece of music I will write. An added benefit of using…

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    Dreamy… to start with.

    The composer Zoltan Kodaly has a special place in my heart and history. I like much of his music, which is very folk-based. He was the chap that pioneered formal classical music based on local regional folk & popular music. He actually traveled around his native Hungary with wax cylinders recording peasants, villagers and gypsies singing their made-up songs. Then he composed pieces of music based on them, and inspired his colleague Bela Bartok to base much of his music on folk tunes and hence the formal genre now known as ‘ethnomusicology‘ was born. Perhaps Kodaly’s most famous piece is a suite from his opera Hary Janos which features a…