Every Song Ever

Author: Ben Ratliff
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1429953594
Size: 46.81 MB
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What is music in the age of the cloud? Today, we can listen to nearly anything, at any time. It is possible to flit instantly across genres and generations, from 1980s Detroit techno to 1890s Viennese neo-romanticism. This new age of listening brings with it astonishing new possibilities--as well as dangers. In Every Song Ever, the veteran New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff reimagines the very idea of music appreciation for our times. In the age of the cloud, the genre of the recording and the intention of the composer matter less and less. Instead, we can savor our own listening experience more directly, taking stock of qualities like repetition, speed, density, or loudness. The result is a new mode of listening that can lead to unexpected connections. When we listen for slowness, we may detect surprising affinities between the drone metal of Sunn O))), the mixtape manipulations of DJ Screw, and the final works of Shostakovich. And if we listen for more elusive qualities like closeness, we might notice how the tight harmonies of bluegrass vocals illuminate the virtuosic synchrony of John Coltrane's quartet. Encompassing the sounds of five continents and several centuries, Ratliff's book is a definitive field guide to our musical habitat, and a foundation for the new aesthetics our age demands.

Every Song Ever

Author: Ben Ratliff
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 9781250117991
Size: 49.27 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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What does it mean to listen in the digital era? Today, new technologies make it possible to roam instantly and experimentally across musical languages and generations, from Detroit techno to jam bands to baroque opera—or to dive deeper into the set of tastes that we already have. Either way, we can listen to nearly anything, at any time. The possibilities in this new age of listening overturn old assumptions about what it means to properly appreciate music—to be an “educated” listener. In Every Song Ever, the veteran New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff reimagines the very idea of music appreciation for our times. As familiar subdivisions like “rock” and “jazz” matter less and less and music’s accessible past becomes longer and broader, listeners can put aside the intentions of composers and musicians and engage music afresh, on their own terms. Ratliff isolates signal musical traits—such as repetition, speed, and virtuosity—and traces them across wildly diverse recordings to reveal unexpected connections. When we listen for slowness, for instance, we may detect surprising affinities between the drone metal of Sunn O))), the mixtape manipulations of DJ Screw, Sarah Vaughan singing “Lover Man,” and the final works of Shostakovich. And if we listen for closeness, we might notice how the tight harmonies of bluegrass vocals illuminate the virtuosic synchrony of John Coltrane’s quartet. Ratliff also goes in search of “the perfect moment”; considers what it means to hear emotion by sampling the complex sadness that powers the music of Nick Drake and Slayer; and examines the meaning of certain common behaviors, such as the impulse to document and possess the entire performance history of the Grateful Dead. Encompassing the sounds of five continents and several centuries, Ratliff’s book is an artful work of criticism and a lesson in open-mindedness. It is a definitive field guide to our radically altered musical habitat.

Better Living Through Criticism

Author: A. O. Scott
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143109979
Size: 75.79 MB
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The New York Times film critic shows why we need criticism now more than ever Few could explain, let alone seek out, a career in criticism. Yet what A.O. Scott shows in Better Living Through Criticism is that we are, in fact, all critics: because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, of interpersonal life. With penetrating insight and warm humor, Scott shows that while individual critics--himself included--can make mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn't, criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest, most creative, and urgent activities of modern existence. Using his own film criticism as a starting point--everything from his infamous dismissal of the international blockbuster The Avengers to his intense affection for Pixar's animated Ratatouille--Scott expands outward, easily guiding readers through the complexities of Rilke and Shelley, the origins of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones, the power of Marina Abramovich and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn.' Drawing on the long tradition of criticism from Aristotle to Susan Sontag, Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive. "The time for criticism is always now," Scott explains, "because the imperative to think clearly, to insist on the necessary balance of reason and passion, never goes away."

The Jazz Ear

Author: Ben Ratliff
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781429956208
Size: 22.73 MB
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An intimate exploration into the musical genius of fifteen living jazz legends, from the longtime New York Times jazz critic Jazz is conducted almost wordlessly: John Coltrane rarely told his quartet what to do, and Miles Davis famously gave his group only the barest instructions before recording his masterpiece "Kind of Blue." Musicians are often loath to discuss their craft for fear of destroying its improvisational essence, rendering jazz among the most ephemeral and least transparent of the performing arts. In The Jazz Ear, the acclaimed music critic Ben Ratliff sits down with jazz greats to discuss recordings by the musicians who most influenced them. In the process, he skillfully coaxes out a profound understanding of the men and women themselves, the context of their work, and how jazz—from horn blare to drum riff—is created conceptually. Expanding on his popular interviews for The New York Times, Ratliff speaks with Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, and others about the subtle variations in generation, training, and attitude that define their music. Playful and keenly insightful, The Jazz Ear is a revelatory exploration of a unique way of making and hearing music.

How To Listen To Jazz

Author: Ted Gioia
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465097774
Size: 78.38 MB
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An Economist Best Book of the Year "A radiantly accomplished writer . . . Gioia conveys his passion for the music with vivid description and shrewd judgements."-Wall Street Journal In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively introduction to the art of listening to jazz. He tells us what to listen for in a performance and includes a guide to today's leading jazz musicians. From Louis Armstrong's innovative sounds to the exotic compositions of Duke Ellington, Gioia covers everything from the music's history to the building blocks of improvisation. A true love letter to jazz by a foremost expert, How to Listen to Jazz is a must-read for anyone who's ever wanted to understand America's greatest contribution to music. "Gioia could not have done a better job. Through him, jazz might even find new devotees."-Economist "How to Listen to Jazz is a packed and useful introduction to the medium. . . . You feel you are in good hands."-Weekly Standard

Listen To This

Author: Alex Ross
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781429977616
Size: 36.56 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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One of The Telegraph's Best Music Books 2011 Alex Ross's award-winning international bestseller, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, has become a contemporary classic, establishing Ross as one of our most popular and acclaimed cultural historians. Listen to This, which takes its title from a beloved 2004 essay in which Ross describes his late-blooming discovery of pop music, showcases the best of his writing from more than a decade at The New Yorker. These pieces, dedicated to classical and popular artists alike, are at once erudite and lively. In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history—from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin—through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and lament. He vibrantly sketches canonical composers such as Schubert, Verdi, and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews with modern pop masters such as Björk and Radiohead; and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and indie-rock hipsters in Beijing. Whether his subject is Mozart or Bob Dylan, Ross shows how music expresses the full complexity of the human condition. Witty, passionate, and brimming with insight, Listen to This teaches us how to listen more closely.

The Secret Life Of The American Musical

Author: Jack Viertel
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
ISBN: 0374711259
Size: 45.48 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A New York Times Bestseller For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical. It often begins in childhood in a darkened theater, grows into something more serious for high school actors, and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. Americans love musicals. Americans invented musicals. Americans perfected musicals. But what, exactly, is a musical? In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next—by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebellion—from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward. Structured like a musical, The Secret Life of the American Musical begins with an overture and concludes with a curtain call, with stops in between for “I Want” songs, “conditional” love songs, production numbers, star turns, and finales. The ultimate insider, Viertel has spent three decades on Broadway, working on dozens of shows old and new as a conceiver, producer, dramaturg, and general creative force; he has his own unique way of looking at the process and at the people who collaborate to make musicals a reality. He shows us patterns in the architecture of classic shows and charts the inevitable evolution that has taken place in musical theater as America itself has evolved socially and politically. The Secret Life of the American Musical makes you feel as though you’ve been there in the rehearsal room, in the front row of the theater, and in the working offices of theater owners and producers as they pursue their own love affair with that rare and elusive beast—the Broadway hit.

Coltrane

Author: Ben Ratliff
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781429998628
Size: 53.57 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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John Coltrane left an indelible mark on the world, but what was the essence of his achievement that makes him so prized forty years after his death? What were the factors that helped Coltrane become who he was? And what would a John Coltrane look like now--or are we looking for the wrong signs? In this deftly written, riveting study, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff answers these questions and examines the life of Coltrane, the acclaimed band leader and deeply spiritual man who changed the face of jazz music. Ratliff places jazz among other art forms and within the turbulence of American social history, and he places Coltrane not just among jazz musicians but among the greatest American artists.

The Mastery Of Music

Author: Barry Green
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 076791158X
Size: 78.84 MB
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The Inner Game of Music, the breakout hit that became a standard primer in the music world, has taught thousands of musicians—professionals and amateurs alike—how to overcome self-consciousness and stage fright and to recapture a youthful, almost effortless capacity to learn. Now, in his follow-up book, The Mastery of Music, Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artistic qualities that make an extraordinary musician. Culling advice from dozens of interviews with legends including Joshua Bell, Dave Brubeck, Jeffrey Kahane, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher Parkening, Doc Severinsen, Frederica von Stade, the Harlem Boys Choir, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, he reveals that it’s not enough to have a cerebral and emotional connection to the notes. Green hows how musical excellence, exhibited by true virtuosos, requires a mastery of ten unique qualities of the soul and the human spirit, such as confidence, passion, discipline, creativity, and relaxed concentration, and he discusses specific ways in which all musicians, composers, and conductors can take their skills to higher levels. He carefully incorporates all instruments and techniques in his rejuvenating discussions, inspiring the stifled student to have fun again and the over-rehearsed performer to rediscover the joy of passionate expression. Essential reading for every musician, The Mastery of Music strikes a beautiful new chord. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Your Song Changed My Life

Author: Bob Boilen
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062344463
Size: 63.51 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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From the beloved host and creator of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts comes an essential oral history of modern music, told in the voices of iconic and up-and-coming musicians, including Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page, Michael Stipe, Carrie Brownstein, Smokey Robinson, and Jeff Tweedy, among others—published in association with NPR Music. Is there a unforgettable song that changed your life? NPR’s renowned music authority Bob Boilen posed this question to some of today’s best-loved musical legends and rising stars. In Your Song Changed My Life, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), St. Vincent, Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Cat Power, David Byrne (Talking Heads), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Jenny Lewis, Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney), Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jackson Browne, Valerie June, Philip Glass, James Blake, and other artists reflect on pivotal moments that inspired their work. For Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, it was discovering his sister’s 45 of The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn.” A young St. Vincent’s life changed the day a box of CDs literally fell off a delivery truck in front of her house. Cat Stevens was transformed when he heard John Lennon cover “Twist and Shout.” These are the momentous yet unmarked events that have shaped these and many other musical talents, and ultimately the sound of modern music. A diverse collection of personal experiences, both ordinary and extraordinary, Your Song Changed My Life illustrates the ways in which music is revived, restored, and revolutionized. It is also a testament to the power of music in our lives, and an inspiration for future artists and music lovers. Amazing contributors include: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia, Wild Flag), Smokey Robinson, David Byrne (Talking Heads), St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), James Blake, Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Sturgill Simpson, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Cat Power, Jackson Browne, Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Philip Glass, Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Hozier, Regina Carter, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes, and others), Courtney Barnett, Chris Thile (Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers), Leon Bridges, Sharon Van Etten, and many more.