Valley of the Bells

In classical music, there’s a good chance that you’ll hear the opening music return at the end. It might be: A) literally repeated note for note or B) altered in some way (but let’s keep this second type under the “repetition” umbrella, too, for simplicity’s sake).

TIME OUT for a delicious food analogy:

Opening and closing music = outer donut      Middle music = custard filling

Okay, so why do composers repeat the opening music?

Well for one thing, I think music sounds differently each time it comes back, even if it’s repeated note for note. It’s like when
you go on vacation. You start out at home, go someplace else for a while, and then return home. I don’t know about you, but home always feels different by the time I get back (sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a not so good way if I really enjoyed the vacation).

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Disney Doppelgängers

Disney Covers 3It’s common knowledge that Disney’s The Lion King is based on Hamlet, where Mufasa is King Hamlet Sr., Simba is Hamlet Jr., and Scar is Claudius (I guess that would make Nala Ophelia??). So it got me thinking: do any other literary characters resemble Disney characters in some way?

WARNING: SPOILERS

George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice = Hans from Frozen

Both Wickham and Hans know how Continue reading

George Orwell’s 1984 and John Cage

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John Cage’s Sonata 12 is what I imagine a child’s larks and a parent’s lullaby would sound like within George Orwell’s 1984.

What would it be like for a parent to sing his or her child to sleep, knowing that that same child will report him or her to the Thought Police at the slightest sign of dissension? What would it be like knowing that your own progeny would more likely than not send you to a swift and horrible death? It is incredible to imagine the mixture of parental love and crippling fear that must be felt for the tiny creature in such circumstances.

When I listen to Cage’s piece, I imagine the beginning and ending to present the parent who is watching his or her child play nearby. The music is playful and lilting as the child frolics around, but at the same time definitely unhinged because that innocence is a façade for something much darker. In the middle, the parent sings the child to sleep with a lullaby and gazes on his or her face that is made to appear so innocuous by sleep.


Can you hear it?

What if the characters from Alice in Wonderland played sports?

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Alice: Obstacle course racing
Just like in Wonderland, she wouldn’t be fazed by anything in her way. Responding to the unexpected without letting it slow you down? Alice has that covered.

The White Rabbit: Track
Because he knows that the faster he runs, the less late he will be.

The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon: Ice dancing
After they danced the lobster quadrille for Alice, they discovered their passion and began to compete.

The Dormouse: Ski jumping
You might not have considered the dormouse as the athletic type. After all, he’s virtually always sleeping. But the truth is that his lethargy has caused him to perfect the art of getting the most out of a single effort. A.K.A. covering as much ground as possible in a single jump.

First Things

What if mermaids wore suspenders?

What if the White Rabbit played an Olympic sport?

What if music could take you on an adventure?

Some things you can expect from this blog:

1)    Mixing and matching book characters and/or settings (EX: What if character from X met character from Y?)

2)    Imagining book characters in new situations

3)    Telling stories to go along with classical music*

And who knows what else.

Let me know if you have any ideas, questions, or anything else you would like discussed on the blog and I’ll do my best to get back to you in a timely way!

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading!

*As a quick note, I don’t pretend that classical music needs an explicit story to be interesting or compelling.  But I do think in many cases hearing stories makes the music easier to understand and enjoy, besides giving it a new and often intriguing interpretation.