Tag Archives: advent 2009

Musical surprises #20: The end of Sleeping Beauty is a French song

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That’s not the whole surprise, because it’s a fairly well-known fact that the big tune in the apotheosis of The Sleeping Beauty is an old French song, the pre-revolutionary national anthem, no less,  from the 16th century called Vive Henri … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #19: That Russian sound is Italian

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When you think of Russian folk music, what do you hear in your head? Probably the sound of someone playing a tune on a balalaika with that heart-rending tremolo on each note, as in the beginning of the Youtube clip … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #18: 5/4 isn’t that odd in the 19th century

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There’s a fairly common belief  that until Stravinsky came along, everything was either in 4/4 or 3/4.  When I was at school in the 70s, I remember one music lesson in which we had to listen to the second movement … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #17: Sometimes a strathspey is a reel is a jig

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It’s not just the tango that’s complicated or misleading: Scottish music is apparently prey to the same terminological confusion. Writing about naming conventions in collections of dance tunes dating back to the 18th century, Pat Ballantyne writes: What to us … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #16: The skating in Les Patineurs is nothing new

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I wasn’t going to post this since I thought it was no longer surprising, but then I overheard an announcer on Radio 3 only this morning give full credit to Ashton for the skating in Les Patineurs, and decided I … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #15: It’s musicians who count weirdly, not dancers

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The term ‘dancers counts’ is often used in a rather perjorative way – as if they’re incapable of seeing and hearing the world normally.  Even dancers use the term against themselves sometimes: teachers sometimes say ‘You’ll probably think I’m counting … Continue reading

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