Profile: The Conversation - Music

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NoteStreams By The Conversation - Music

No, Bob Dylan Isn’t the First Lyricist to Win the Nobel

Rabindranath Tagore, a wildly talented Indian poet, painter and musician, took the Nobel prize in 1913.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Music

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How Music Became Core to James Bond

Someone wagered £15,000 on the identity of the singer to perform the theme song for the James Bond film Spectre. How on earth did music become so entwined with the timeless debonaire spy?

Category: Music

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Michael Jackson: Posthuman

Cary Wolfe, an English Professor and author of the book What is Posthumanism, writes that we are “fundamentally prosthetic creatures,” that we rely on entities outside the self – other humans, animals, technology – in order to function and thrive. Jackson celebrated the prosthetic idea of the human in a number of ways.

Category: Arts

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Good Vibrations: The Role of Music in Einstein’s Thinking

Einstein was the product of a well-rounded education that, importantly, very much included the arts and humanities.

Category: Music

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Could Early Music Training Help Babies Learn Language?

Music training early in life (before the age of seven) can have a wide range of benefits beyond musical ability.

Category: Music

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Our Musical Love Affair With The Cosmos

Roughly 100 years ago, Holst was halfway through composing what would become his most famous work, the seven movement work The Planets. Pluto wasn’t discovered until 1930, four years before the composer’s death, and Holst chose not to write a movement for Pluto. For other reasons, Earth was left out as well.

Category: Music

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The Story Behind David Bowie’s Iconic Eyes

“At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes …”
Many aspects of the life and incredible achievements of David Bowie will be considered in the weeks and months ahead following the news of his death. Yet the cryptic lyric above from the lead single on David Bowie’s new album is a reminder that the unusual appearance of his eyes was a key part of the singer’s star persona.

Category: Music

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What Musical Taste Says About Your Personality

We’re exposed to music for nearly 20% of our waking lives. But much of our musical experience seems to be a mystery. Why does some music bring us to tears while other pieces make us dance? Why is it that the music that we like can make others agitated? And why do some people seem to have a natural ability to play music while others have difficulty carrying a tune? Science is beginning to show that these individual differences are not just random but are, in part, due to people’s personalities.

Category: Music

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Can Jazz Thrive in China?

Earlier this summer, the famed New York City jazz club Blue Note announced that it would be opening a venue in the basement of the old American Embassy in Beijing. In addition to the Beijing club, Blue Note expects to push ahead with new operations in Shanghai and Taipei in coming years.

Category: Arts

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Musical Training Can Accelerate Brain Development and Help with Literacy Skills

The notion that musical training can have positive effects on cognitive functions other than music has long been a source of interest. Research first emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. Standardized assessments of IQ and musical ability suggested the two were correlated – and it was thought that participation in musical training could improve IQ. Recently, research has shifted focus from effects on musical training on global intelligence and instead focuses on benefits to specific skills and tasks in individuals.

Category: Music

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How BB King’s Radio Days Shaped His Music & Career

BB King is remembered as one of the most important artists in the history of blues, with a long career that spanned seven decades and included classic hits such as Three O’Clock Blues (1951), The Thrill is Gone (1969) and 1989’s When Love Comes to Town (recorded with U2). Widely considered one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, he became, in his later years, a celebrated icon of blues authenticity. Had it not been for his early days in radio, however, things might have turned out differently for a young Riley King.

Category: Music

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What To Know Before Watching Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

The new documentary Montage of Heck takes a fresh look at the life and career of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who, while only in the pop limelight for a shade over two years, remains one of the most iconic figures in rock-music history. In an effort to correct some of the myths that surround Cobain, director Brett Morgen opens a window onto Kurt’s private world, providing at times intimate glimpses of the rock star’s personal life. But to better understand Kurt Cobain and his songs, it’s important to realize that there are at least three Kurts to consider.

Category: Music

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Discover 3 Revolutions of American Pop

In modern societies, cultural change seems ceaseless. The flux of fashion is especially obvious for popular music. While much has been written about the origin and evolution of pop, most claims about its history are anecdotal rather than scientific in nature. To rectify this, we investigate the US Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 2010. Using music information retrieval and text-mining tools, we analyze the musical properties of approximately 17,000 recordings that appeared in the charts and demonstrate quantitative trends in their harmonic and timbral properties.

Category: Music

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U2’s Continuing Quest for Authenticity

On the surface, it may seem as though U2 is suddenly seeking a return to the simpler times of its early years, both in their sound and their performances. But for those who have followed the band’s career closely, talk of returning to “roots” of some kind when a new record is released is nothing new for U2. If anything, it reveals the well-worn strategy of a band that seeks to remain relevant even as it ages – a pattern of alternating between radical experimentation and mining the myth of authenticity.

Category: Music

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Rolling Stones' 1st US Hit Revealed Eclectic Style

In the first weeks of 1964, the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” raced up the US charts, giving the Liverpool band its first American hit single and helping to launch the British invasion. At around the same time, the Rolling Stones were enjoying a number-three hit in the UK with “Not Fade Away,” as well as a number-one British EP. The Stones tried – but couldn’t immediately replicate – the Beatles' stateside success, lagging behind by more than a year. The decisive breakthrough for Mick, Keith and company came with the release of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in June of 1965. The song rocketed to the top of the US charts, partly fueled by claims that the lyrics referred to sexual frustration.

Category: Music

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