Mendelssohn – Song without words op. 109

My favorite instrument, hands down, is the cello. I like to think that I’ll get around to learning how to play it someday. In the mean time, I’ll just listen to Jacqueline du Pré. She is one of my favorite cellists.

Jacqueline du Pré was a British cellist from the 1960s. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which cut her career short and ended her life prematurely.

Math in Music

Ever wonder what the Golden Ratio sounds like? It’s hauntingly eerie and beautiful…

And this is a composer’s interpretation of fractal music (Gyorgy Ligeti):

It’s a really complicated piece that has so many different layers to it. Every time I listen to it, I hear something new.

“Fractals are patters which occur on many levels. This concept can be applied to any musical parameter. I make melodic fractals, where the pitches of a theme I dream up are used to determine a melodic shape on several levels, in space and time. I make rhythmic fractals, where a set of durations associated with a motive get stretched and compressed and maybe layered on top of each other. I make loudness fractals, where the characteristic loudness of a sound, its envelope shape, is found on several time scales. I even make fractals with the form of a piece, its instrumentation, density, range, and so on. Here I’ve separated the parameters of music, but in a real piece, all of these things are combined, so you might call it a fractal of fractals.”

-Gyorgy Ligeti, 1999 interview, The Discovery Channel

Moondog: “Pastoral”

A mostly self-taught composer, Louis Hardin was born in 1916. He lost his sight in his early teens when a dynamite cap exploded. He studied music and finished high school at the Iowa School for the Blind, and in 1933, studied braille at the Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis.

“I write all my music in braille. When I write for orchestra, I do not write scores any more, but just write out parts, for the score is in my head and just writing out the parts cuts the time and cost in half … anyhow, if my pieces were ever in demand, a score to each could be made from the parts. I call this process ‘intracting’, as opposed to the opposite, having a score and ‘extracting’ parts from it. From the braille I dictate every slur, tie, expression mark.” –taken from Pandora’s Biography on Louis Hardin