24 Thursday Mar 2016
It’s been too long… but here’s an update on what’s happening.
School: we are in our last year of being in temporary digs, although truth to tell, our temporary quarters in the downtown mall in I.C. have been much nicer than the old music building. This fall we move into a brand new state-of-the-art building. Where the old music building was a great architectural example of of early Medieval Dungeon (but with less charm), the new one exudes joy and light. The former was all dark spaces and ugly, depressing concrete (redundant?); our new one is all glass and open spaces. I am already gone from the temporary quarters – because this semester I am on….
Sabbatical: the one, the only, the brilliant James Naigus has taken over for me this semester leading the UI Horn Studio. While I am off doing some completely different things than usual. My study topic for the semester is…. rhythm! It occurred to me some time ago that all my (and everyone else’s) training is about pitch – get the note, don’t miss the note! Rhythm we pick up mostly haphazardly as we go, although in, say, an audition, a sterling sense of rhythm and pulse is more important that getting all the notes. You can nick a note, but you are out instantly if you can’t count. Although we can read pretty well, in general we classical musicians have a very weak sense of pulse and rhythm. Natch: we were all raised on a diet of very vanilla rhythms – most everything is in duple meter, with a bit of triple thrown in. Odd and mixed meters give us fits, as do ties and syncopation.