Sunday, October 27, 2013

African Drum and Dance Ensemble Concert Report #2

On Thursday, October 24th, at 8:15 PM I attended the African Drum & Dance Ensemble Performance. One thing that was special about this performance, was that beforehand myself and about 15 other people had a hour long session learning how to use these drums and some of the history of the music. We learned about the different symbols engraved on the various drums that meant different inspirational things such as peace or tranquility. We also learned how to create different rhythms on the drums by going around in a circle and each person making up their own distinct rhythm from our imaginations. It was interesting to hear everyone’s different styles, and to make rounds with the different rhythms. If we hit the center of the drum, the deepest noise came out of it, which was like the bass line of the music. If the side was hit, it was called the tonal part, and there was also another way to hit it, called the slap. All three different ways of hitting the drum made very different noises and that was also interesting to hear. I really enjoyed the class that I got to take, and it really opened my eyes to the varieties of music out there. Right after the hour-long class, we headed straight to the concert, which was simply amazing. From the beginning I was instantly intrigued and was moved so greatly by the music and dancing. It was so much to listen to and I wanted to get up on the stage and dance with them! The first song was called Calabash and it was performed by the Seminar class. It was a traditional song and dance from Mali, and it was very upbeat and intense. There was not one second during any of the songs that I wasn’t amazed by the intense drum beats or the stylistic dancing. There were many more songs performed, called Gyil, Kundun, Sinta, Gahu, Jare, and Adjogbo. I’d say the two most memorable pieces were the two performed by the African Drum and Dance Ensemble rather than the Seminar class. These two were Jare and Adjogbo. They both featured a guest from Africa named Sulley Imoro. The culture and greatness he brought to the stage made everyone shine even more. He was accompanied by students that have actually taken the class in Africa, which made the performance that much more believable. During a few of the songs, there was singing that was done in the African language, which added to the texture of the different instruments being played. This type of music is not very comparable to anything that we learned in class. It is its own genre of music that I found so interesting, fun and amazing. I definitely enjoyed this concert thoroughly and would recommend anyone to go see it in the future if given the chance. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Romanticism Painting

                 In this beautiful painting, “Wanderer Above Sea of Mist” by the German artist, Caspar David Friedrich, it is obvious to see the Romantic ideals. It was painted in the prime of the Romantic Era in 1818 with oil on canvas. In the foreground of the picture, there is a seemingly young man standing on a vast rocky scenery which appears to be very high. He is gazing into the distance over a sea of mist or fog. It is left up to interpretation why this man would be standing in this spot. With the title being “Wanderer Above Sea of Mist”, it leads me to think that this man is an adventurer. That he is exploring the unknown to fulfill his curiosities in some way. This ties in with the characteristic of romanticism, the rugged individual. From this perspective it is obvious to see that this man is by himself and from the title you get the feeling that he is a dreamer as well, which is another name for an individual. He is alone in his ways of travel, but that fits in with the aesthetics of romanticism perfectly. Another aspect of romanticism that could be seen in this painting is a longing for the infinite. This may not be something that is thought of right away at first glance of this piece of art, but when you think harder about it, it can be seen. In my mind, I thought, what is this man thinking? Why is he all the way on the top of this rock? I came to believe that he was searching or longing for something, which ties into the longing for the infinite. Lastly, the most obvious romantic aspect of this oil painting is the glorification of nature seen within it. Everything from the gorgeous sky, to the mysterious mountains in the distance, to the wispy fog and jagged rocks, nature is caught in a purely authentic form in this artwork. Romanticism was the start of a whole new generation of art, and I think it was one of the greatest eras without a doubt. The whole new approach and idea of Romanticism gave an attitude to art that was never seen before. The “Wanderer Above Sea of Mist” was an excellent example to explain the true ideals and aesthetics of the Romantic Era. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mozart Symphony #40 in G Minor


It is interesting to see how music from such a long time ago, helps so well with learning modern day ideals. Even though I am not too apt at dissecting music put before me, I most definitely try my hardest to attempt. For my post, I chose a Mozart symphony. It is his symphony #40 in G Minor, K 550. I chose what I believe to be the first phrase of the piece, which is the first 12 seconds of the video. The instruments that are playing are only two violins and I believe a cello to accompany them. The song has a pretty steady rhythm, with a 4/4 time signature. These first twelve seconds, however short, hold a lot of information. This part of the symphony is one period, cut into two phrases. The whole period has 4 measures in total, which means that each phrase must have two. It is sometimes hard for me to tell the difference between the half cadence and the interrupted cadence. However, I am pretty positive that this has a half cadence in it, because the first phrase doesn’t end on a tonic note. Both of the phrases have the same beginning melody, which means that they are parallel to one another. Also, with the knowledge that there is a half cadence, it is known that that means it is also an interrupted period.

This particular piece relates strongly to the Enlightenment ideals. One thing that the Enlightenment focused on was balance and symmetry, which this piece most definitely has. The beginning melody is repeated in the second phrase, keeping it orderly and symmetric. This piece was definitely made for the rich people during the Enlightenment Era, not for the masses like it was more commonly made for. The most distinct feature that relates it to the Enlightenment is mostly the fact that it is balanced. Dissecting Mozart’s music helped me understand even more how to distinguish the certain cadences and periods.