Volume 1, Number 2 (Autumn 2008)

The Government of Cantabile: Notes on Eighteenth-Century Musical Meaning

by Stephanie Frakes (Musicology)

Keywords: cantabile, affektenlehre, ornamentation, tempo, style, government, meaning

The politics of stylistic musical government, involving norms, precedents, prevailing sentiments, and tastes, has been a varied and intricate phenomenon throughout history. During the early nineteenth century, J.J. Wagner wrote that absence of the sustained, regal style of cantabile would result in "eine gänzliche musikalische Anarchie [a complete musical anarchy]." This language is evocative of the contemporary battle between the contrasting controlled and abandoned musical styles such as the cantabile and the allegro. Theorists and performers including Mattheson, Quantz and Frescobaldi are cited for their views about the established and powerful affects, dance types, expressive qualities in music—and cantabile. Various theoretical frameworks are also used to shed light on this process of using cantabile as a means of enforcing and maintaining musical government during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The Effects of Attention on Frisson-Related Responses from Unexpected Musical Events

by Joe Plazak (Cognition)

Keywords: frisson, chills, unexpected harmonies, unexpected dynamics, attention, EDA

Abstract: The state of consciousness necessary to elicit frisson-related responses from music was examined using a 2 by 3 mixed design experiment. Fourteen participants (6 males, 8 females) listened to three short samples of music that contained one of three musical events: an unexpected harmony, an unexpected dynamic change or an unexpected entrance of a new part. Half of the participants were directed to focus their undivided attention on the music; the others were told to relax and focus on their breathing patterns. The results for each musical event varied, but no significant differences were found between the two conditions. This might suggest that if musical events elicit frisson-related responses, they do so regardless of the listener's conscious state.

Paul Ben-Haim: Father of Modern Israeli Music

by Kimberly Veenstra (Ethnomusicology)

Keywords: Paul Ben-Haim, Paul Frankenburger, Bracha Zephira, Jewish music, Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean School, national style, hybridization

Abstract: This article attempts to link modern aspects of Israel to ancient ones. It focuses on the music of the diasporic Jews who eventually resettled in Israel, specifically, those who settled in Israel in the 1930s and 40s. Paul Ben-Haim stands out as a Western-born and -trained Jewish musician who, upon immigrating to Israel, worked endlessly at achieving a national style of music for Israel.

Paul Ben-Haim is known as a composer and a pianist. Upon Ben-Haim's immigration to Israel in 1933, he took an interest in the ethnic musical sounds of the Middle East. At the same time, he responded to the general feeling among Jewish musicians that there was a need for a Jewish National School of music. For several years, Ben-Haim served as an accompanist and song arranger for the Yemenite singer, Bracha Zefira. This collaboration proved to be an extremely useful experience for Ben-Haim as a composer. He eventually became one of the most influential composers associated with the Eastern Mediterranean School of music composition. Ben-Haim was able to use his musical training from Germany in conjunction with his exposure to the local melodies of not only Yemenite, but also of Sephardic and other Arabic Jewish tribes, to create a hybrid type of music that was readily accepted as music in the new national style.

Bilateral Keyboard Symmetry in the Music of Einojuhani Rautavaara

by Brandon Paul (Theory)

Keywords: 20th-century Music, Einojuhani Rautavaara, symmetry, visual composition, piano music

Abstract: 20th-century Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's propensity for symmetry played an integral role in his compositional evolution. Inherent in 12-to-the-octave composition, pitch symmetry has been exploited by many twentieth-century composers. One type of visual symmetry—bilateral keyboard symmetry—influences Rautavaara's compositions in both piano and non-piano settings. Bilateral keyboard symmetry organizes the piano keys into a symmetrical plane creating axes at pitch classes {2} and {8}. Every note consequently has a complement in mirrored respect to the axes (i.e., {7} complements {9} and {1} complements {3}) which can then be used to generate harmonies and melodies. These harmonies and melodies coincide with tonal and aesthetic choices in the music of Rautavaara yielding triadic relationships such as D-major complementing G-minor. This non-transposing type of symmetry is not based upon auditory organization of pitches, but rather of visual organization of piano keys and is used accordingly with mirrored physiological motions of the hands at the piano. Non-symmetrical structures exhibit bilateral reflective motion of the hands as well. Specific operations acting upon the symmetry are recurrent throughout Rautavaara's music. Some of these operations include immediate realization (simultaneous complements), deferred realization (complements played separately from one another), interval expansion and contraction, and implied symmetry. This system can also be found in many non-piano pieces such as Ballad for Harp and Strings and Sonata for Solo Cello no. 1, which feature sections resembling bilateral keyboard symmetry. Using a novel system of analytic notation, bilateral keyboard symmetry can be examined on local and global levels. Rautavaara's use of the symmetrical plane of the piano as a compositional tool suggests a visual and spatial component to musical creation.

Calls for Papers

Contributors