Blogs


31
May 11

Irrational meters

I was going to write a blog post about what are called “irrational meters” (time signatures with denominators that are not powers of 2) – then I re-read a fantastic post by Helen Bledsoe, flutist for MusikFabrik (among others), and realized I should just link to her! She very lucidly explains the mathematical workings of Ferneyhough-style rhythm, complete with “irrational meters”, which really pose very little additional challenge, if you know how to interpret them.

The most basic point to remember about these meters is that the denominator, just like in more familiar time signatures, indicates the number of notes it will take to fill a whole note. 4/8 indicates 4 of something it takes 8 of to fill a whole note (namely eighth notes). A denominator of 5 would indicate that quarter note quintuplets are the basic unit of the bar, and the numerator, as in familiar time signatures, indicates the number of units in the bar. Thus, 3/5 would be a bar of 3 quarter note quintuplets! Of course, you can, instead, treat these changes of denominator as metric modulations and tempo changes – but I’ll leave some of the specifics to Ms. Bledsoe’s lucid explanations!

Head on over to her blog, Flutin’ High, for the full post!


28
Mar 11

Monodramas

I was so glad this weekend to be at Lincoln Center, seeing a crowded lobby and excited, young crowd for New York City Opera’s Monodramas triple bill of Zorn, Schoenberg, and Feldman. It could – but in this case, won’t – go without saying that an establishment venue taking a risk on programming like this is a good sign for New York’s cultural life. For me, the high point of the night was Morton Feldman’s Neither, which despite clocking in at over an hour of very static music, kept me continuously rapt. I wrote recently about my experience of Feldman’s For Samuel Beckett, which I found frustrating at times. With this opera, for which Beckett was librettist, I felt completely engrossed. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Neither has what could be called melodies, or at least melodic fragments, whereas For Samuel Beckett consists almost entirely of Feldman’s luxurious harmonic clouds. Something about the obsessive and┬árepetitive┬ánature of these melodies – especially when delivered by the voice – powerfully implies a kind of desperation, a lost and hopeless striving that connects vividly with Beckett’s text about the “impenetrable self”. See Drew Baker’s blog for an insightful review of the rest of the show.


21
Feb 11

Acknowledgments and Thanks

I thought I’d take a moment and direct you to some people who have been so kind as to write about Ekmeles and come out to our shows! They’re all following contemporary music from different and interesting perspectives, and I suggest you keep up on their writing and follow their Twitter feeds, if you don’t already. In alphabetical order:

Drew Baker – drewbakermusic BLOG@drewbakermusic
Bruce Hodges – Monotonous Forest@BruceHodgesNY
Meg Wilhoite – meg’s new music blog@megwilhoite