The unexpectedly rapid collapse of Afghanistan’s military forces and subsequent fall of that country’s government to the Taliban do not bode well for Afghanistan’s future. Many aspects of life that we in the “west” take for granted – such as the freedoms of expression and religion, and women’s rights for just a few examples – […]
Chemically Treated Wood Apparently Makes A Great-Sounding Violin
A recent article posted on the science website Phys.org offered some interesting research on how famous violin builders Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppi Guarneri “del Gesu” were able to create instruments of such incredible sound quality more than two centuries ago. Turns out, it was not necessarily the luthiers’ skill in building their instruments that gave […]
Libba Lives On: The Enduring Influence of Humble Folk Guitarist Elizabeth Cotten
Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten had humble beginnings in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but she would go on to launch a storied musical career that spanned four decades, gaining national renown and the title of oldest woman to ever win a Grammy.
A complete history of Tom Petty in Los Angeles
When Tom Petty arrived in Los Angeles in 1974 in search of a record deal for his band Mudcrutch, the Gainesville, Florida native found one almost immediately. While he thought he had found exactly what he was looking for in L.A., it would take years for Petty and his subsequent band, the Heartbreakers, to break […]
The Winter Solstice in Song: A Short List for the Longest Night
On December 21, 2020 the world heralds the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. As the darkness lifts, the days will grow longer. Winter Solstice celebrations all over the world mark the midwinter cycle of the seasons and new beginnings. The December solstice gave rise to celebrations that can […]
The Harp: A Global Story of Music, Man, and Medicine
In simplest terms, the harp is a plucked string instrument where the plane of the strings is perpendicular to the soundboard.
What Are Strings Made Of? The Basics of Orchestral String Construction
As a string musician, part of understanding your instrument and the sound you want to create includes understanding the strings you put on that instrument. From gut strings to steel core to synthetics, the composition of orchestral strings have changed through the centuries — and will continue to change as long as technology is used […]
The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece
One fateful evening, journalist and pop-music critic Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites—an experience that set him on an epic quest to uncover the mysterious history of the entrancing compositions and their miraculous reemergence nearly 200 years later. In pursuit of his musicological obsession, Siblin would unravel three centuries of […]
Piano History: What are the different types of pianos?
The piano was invented around 1700 in Italy by harpsichord maker Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori, who worked with the Florentine Court of the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici. Cristofori named his invention gravicèmbalo col piano e forte, which means “harpsichord with loud and soft.” It was later shortened to “fortepiano” and finally to just “piano.” […]