Music Theory

Symphonic Poems

Symphonic poems (or tone poems) are extended orchestral works, usually in one continuous movement, which attempt to tell a story. Symphonic poems were invented by Franz Liszt in the mid-nineteenth-century, but before this time there were many works which performed a...

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Malagueña

A malagueña is a Spanish dance from the region of Málaga. The word is later used to indicate a form of Spanish gypsy song. There is an example of the mood and rhythm of the Malagueña in Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole. - San Francisco Classical Voice DePaul Symphony...

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Robert Schumann Ruined His Career

German composer and music critic Robert Schumann ruined his own career. To help him have a wider reach when playing the piano, he would use a homemade finger-stretching device. The overuse of this device eventually stopped him from being able to play the...

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Toccata

A toccata is an instrumental piece, often designed to display the technical proficiency of a performer and found particularly in keyboard music from the 15th century onwards. There are notable examples in the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach, with some toccatas...

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Orchestra

When the word ‘orchestra’ was first used in the English dictionary, it was defined as “the art of dancing.” In fact, many different countries use the word orchestra in different contexts. In Greece ‘orchestra’ means dancing place...

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A drunk conductor?

It is rumoured that composer Alexander Glazunov (a pupil of Rachmaninov) did his best to ruin Rachmaninov’s First Symphony by showing up drunk to conduct the...

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Mozart’s Requiem

Mozart completed only the first movement of his requiem before his death, while the remaining outlines were completed by various other composers over the course of time. Just how much Mozart actually did before he died is still subject to much...

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Beethoven and Water

It is often said that Beethoven was a hard worker. One who would compose for hours on end without taking a break. To fight off fatigue and risk interrupting any creative thoughts that were flowing through his head, Beethoven would often pour cold water over his...

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Composer Jean-Baptise Lully

Composer Jean-Baptiste Lully was the first documented conductor to use a baton while leading an orchestra. The baton was a heavy, six-foot-long staff that he pounded on the ground in time to the music. At one particular concert, celebrating the King’s return to...

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Dvorak’s 9th Symphony

This well-known symphony often goes by the title From The New World or New World because the Czech composer from Bohemia composed this piece in 1893 while he was in America. However, the nickname of this song is somewhat misleading, because although it was composed in...

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