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5 The Music of Thick as a Brick: Other Features

Tim Smolko Indiana University Press ePub

This chapter continues the study of thick as a brick’s music, focusing on its stylistic diversity, instrumental passages, instrumentation, and harmony. As with many large-scale progressive rock songs, Thick as a Brick is a stylistically diverse and restless piece of music, with unrelenting shifts in musical style, meter, key area, tempo, texture, dynamics, instrumentation, and mood. The listener’s interest is maintained throughout the piece because there is always some new and unexpected turn in the music that continually propels it forward. Speaking of certain songs on the Aqualung album, Anderson said: “Even within the context of an individual song I still like the idea that you can have perhaps a loud riff to start the thing off, and then it goes into a gentle acoustic passage, and then it does some other big stuff and then it changes tempo and feel and goes off into something else, round the houses, a couple of guitar solos, whatever, and back to something else. I like that in music.”1 Yet the stylistic diversity on Thick as a Brick is not the type that is found on Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out! (1966) or the Beatles’ White Album (1968), where the songs overtly adopt or parody several different styles of music (dance hall, doo-wop, surf music, psychedelia, novelty songs, sound collage, etc.). Albums such as these are like musical quilts in which separate squares made from different fabrics are patched together with the seams showing. Thick as a Brick is an organic and blended album, as if it were a tapestry woven on a loom. It contains stylistic changes, yet they are smoothed over with a wealth of transitional material. Using the metaphor of a chef, Anderson says: “You have to find things that complement each other, you have to find the right flavors, the right colors, the right textures and you have to put those things together and blend them and coax them into something that is a satisfying and pleasing mixture. That’s what making eclectic music is all about.”2

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7. Bugles, Flügels, and Horns

Elisa Koehler Indiana University Press ePub

7  Bugles, Flügels, and Horns

Although musicians today affectionately refer to any high brass instrument as a “horn,” the term originally referred to instruments made from organic materials. The shofar, usually crafted from the horn of a ram or a goat, is perhaps the best-known example of this original meaning still in use (figure 7.1). The ancestor of the cornetto may well have been a cow horn with finger holes. Even a conch shell has been used as a signal instrument in nonwestern cultures.1

Most of these instruments, like the fictional “Horn of Gondor” depicted in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, carried religious or cultural significance and were crafted from animal horns. In fact, the term “bugle” descends from the Latin buculus, which means “bullock,” or a young bull, the source of the horn. The medieval oliphant—just as its name implies—was made from the tusk of an elephant. Bronze bugle-horns were later designed to imitate the shape and function of these animal horns, such as the twelfth-century moot horn (ca. 1180) that resides in Britain’s Winchester City Museum.2

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3. Text-Music Relationships: Five Propositions

Suurpää, Lauri Indiana University Press ePub

I examined the mainly historical context of Schubert’s Winterreise in the first two chapters. I now turn to the analytical issues and identify in this chapter some essential questions concerning text-music relationships. If one argues that words and music are related in songs, as one obviously should, then one must also define the nature of this relationship. This in turn raises two questions: Can music be associated with something from the external world? If it can, then what is the character of that association? In this chapter I offer five propositions that I believe a viable interpretation of text-music relationships should take into consideration. These propositions form the basis of my musico-poetic interpretations. Each proposition is contextualized by ideas that associate music with the external world, as suggested by music scholars and philosophers.

The term representation has been used in various ways in connection with music. I will follow Roger Scruton’s (1997, 118–39) definition in The Aesthetics of Music, a useful starting point for discussing musico-poetic associations. For Scruton, representation requires more than word painting and imitation of external sounds; merely copying something in the outside world does not suffice. Integral to his view of representation in the arts is a “fictional world,” an idea he uses to describe thoughts and associations (based on semantic content) that a representational work of art arouses in the person perceiving it—thoughts that extend beyond the work or its resemblance to features of the external world. According to Scruton, such a fictional world can emerge in literature or the visual arts but not in music.

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4 ARRK and the Soviet Transition to Sound

Edited by Lilya Kaganovsky and Masha Sal Indiana University Press ePub

Natalie Ryabchikova

IN THE MIDDLE of 1931, four years after The Jazz Singer (dir. Crosland, 1927) premiered in New York and three years after the first public demonstration of Soviet experiments with sound film, an editorial of the Soviet journal Proletarskoe kino (Proletarian Cinema) reproduced a dialogue with an imaginary reader:

Sound cinema is a powerful weapon of the socialist construction. . . .

We have learned this a long time ago—a reader will reasonably say—they’ve talked about this and written about this a thousand times, but we do not feel it; we have not been able to verify the force of sound cinema in practice, because for us, tens of millions of Soviet citizens, sound cinema is a nonexistent thing.

The situation with sound cinema in the Soviet Union is highly unfavorable. We are at least three years behind the capitalist West in this area; we have not been fast enough. . . .

And this we have also heard a thousand times—the reader says—but what is the matter, why have we been going around in circles?1

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Maurice Hinson Indiana University Press ePub

Chinese Contemporary Piano Pieces (Karlsen Publishers, Hong Kong 1979). Vol.I, 88pp. Ah Ping: The Moon Mirrored in the Pool. Wang Chien Chung: Plum Blossom Melody; Sakura. Yip Wai Hong: Memories of Childhood (6 miniatures). Kwo Chi Hung: 2 Yi Li Folk Songs. Chu Wang Hua: Sinkiang Capriccio. Lui Shi Kuen and Kuo Chi Hung: Battling the Typhoon. Post-Romantic pianistic figurations, much pentatonic usage, some charming and interesting moments. This collection is a good example of the type of piano writing going on in this area of the world today. Int. to M-D.

Chinese Piano Music for Children (N. Liao—Schott 7652 1990) 55pp. Written between 1973 and 1986 when Chinese music “increasingly absorbed the influences and ideas current in the new music of the West, without sacrificing its own tradition and national style” (from the score). Luting He (1903–1999): The Young Shepherd with his little Flute 1934; tender, artistic simplicity, national style. Shande Ding (1911–1995): Suite for Children (five pieces) 1953: folk-like but no folk songs are quoted. Tong Shang (1923– ): Seven Little Pieces after Folk Songs from Inner Mongolia 1953: a charming suite of folk song arrangements. Lisan Wang (1953– ): Sonatine 1957: three titled movements, cheerful, displays spirited humor. Int. to M-D.

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