Stock Characters You Can Hear in Classical Music

butler stock character

“In the old times, when it was still of some use to wish for the thing one wanted, there lived a king whose daughters were all handsome, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun himself, who has seen so much, wondered at her beauty each time he shone over her.”

-The Frog Prince

In many stories, there are stock characters: the evil stepmother, the beautiful queen, the creepy vampire, the clever detective (and of course, the butler did it!) … There may always be variations, and characters may not always be explicitly transparent as stock characters, but they’re Continue reading

A Choose Your Own Adventure Story with Classical Music

Jane Eyre book music

A large part of this blog is imagining books and characters in different pieces of classical music. But for any one Classical Music Story there are so many others that could be imagined within the music, even using the same book or characters!

And so Classical Music Stories: Choose Your Own Adventure Remix was born.

How it works: each segment of this approximately 4-minute piece of music is imagined to relate to a different part of the story (in this case, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre). Start reading at the very beginning (0:00) and on until the first juncture where you can choose what Rochester does next. Then it’s as simple as continuing to make choices and following the story and music until the end! You can either listen to the music while reading, pause the music in between sections when you have to make a decision, or listen to the music first all the way through and follow the story in a second listen-through. The choice (once again) is yours!

Enjoy! Continue reading

Suspense in Classical Music (and Books!)

suspense books and music

“But Mr. Tate said, “This court will come to order,” in a voice that rang with authority, and the heads below us jerked up. Mr. Tate left the room and returned with Tom Robinson. He steered Tom to his place beside Atticus, and stood there. Judge Taylor had roused himself to sudden alertness and was sitting up straight, looking at the empty jury box.”

-To Kill a Mockingbird

Suspense is obviously in horror stories (“No! Don’t open that door!!!”) but it’s also all over the other books we read whenever we find ourselves holding our breath to Continue reading

The Who’s Tommy: A Rock Opera (As Experienced by an Assistant Director)

Tommyalbumcover.jpg

Last week Northwestern University saw its last performance of a concert production of The Who’s Tommy and I was fortunate enough to be able to serve as the assistant director for the incredible Geoff Button. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the rock band The Who released a concept album in 1969 called “Tommy” which was later made into a musical (or rock opera if you will). It’s a story about a young boy (Tommy) who witnesses the murder of his mother’s lover by his parents after his father returns unexpectedly from war. Although his mother turns him away from the fight he sees everything through a mirror, and when Continue reading

Hyperbole in Literature…and Classical Music!

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“The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting `Off with his head!’ or `Off with her head!’ about once in a minute.” —Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 A man wearing a top hat in a crowded Continue reading