Streams

John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Toroidal activation patterns of tonal space. Wait. What?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Last summer, I began working on a documentary film about an Iranian mystic and musician named Ostad Elahi. A number of neuroscientists have taken note of Elahi's music and the way he intended it to act upon a person's state of consciousness, and it seems that this man's mystical ...

Read More

Comment

Gimme More Greed

Friday, February 27, 2009

Philosophers, spiritual leaders, and economists can all debate the topic of "greed" - is it the root of all sins, as St. Paul once wrote, or is it simply a form of self-interest, and therefore a part of our biological imperative to self-preservation? What's wrong with wanting it all, and ...

Read More

Comment

Why the Indies Are Singing "Take A Chance On Me"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When ABBA sang "Take A Chance On Me," it was clearly a piece of light, romantic fluff. Today, it's a business proposition. As musicians look for new business models (you might've heard rumors that the old business model ain't working so well anymore), some are going straight to the fans ...

Read More

Comment

Chris Brown and Rihanna: An Old, Sad story

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The story of Chris Brown's alleged assault of a woman -- a woman that many believe to be his girlfriend, the the even more popular singer Rihanna -- may be news, but it's not new. Sadly, musicians are as prone to domestic abuse as anyone else. James Brown's treatment of ...

Read More

Comments [1]

the (changing?) face of American composers

Monday, February 23, 2009

The American Music Center's survey of composers is a typical good news/bad news affair. Most composers described themselves as working more now than ever before, yet the average income is only $45,000 - which might not be too bad in lots of places, but for the composers concentrated in ...

Read More

Comment

Musical Gluttony - Not Always What It Seems To Be

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last week, we started our series on the Seven Deadly Sins in music with the #1 sin on the sin charts: Lust. That was an easy one - it's hard to imagine any body of songs in any style that doesn't contain a few songs, at least, about gettin' ...

Read More

Comment

Oscar's smackdown

Thursday, February 19, 2009

As so often happens, this year's nominations for the Academy Awards are full of "what were they thinking" moments. For me, the biggest oversight is in the nominations for best original score, where Carter Burwell's music for In Bruges didn't get a nod, despite being so integral to the ...

Read More

Comment

Touring the New Alice Tully Hall

Thursday, February 19, 2009

For two years and $159 million, Alice Tully Hall has undergone a complete renovation. The new Tully has towering glass walls that open onto the corner of 65th street and Broadway. The interior is simple and intimate, and includes an adjustable stage that can be extended or contracted.

The concert hall ...

Comment

Meet the New Hall, Same as the Old Hall

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alice Tully Hall is in exactly the same place as it always was; the renovation was unable to change the "footprint" of the hall within the larger building, or to move walls or even seats. These restrictions make the changes that have been made all the more impressive. The vaguely ...

Read More

Comment

Morrissey Matters

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I was a little concerned that today's Smackdown, about the singer known simply as Morrissey, might be one of those 'small circle of friends' kinda things. Interesting to fans of his band The Smiths and no one else ...

Read More

Comment

Why lust rocks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. It's also great for shaking your butt. And so, we begin our mini-series on music inspired by the 7 Deadly Sins with the first and most fun of them - lust.

Strangely, I don't hear a whole lot of lust in ...

Read More

Comment

Another one - oops, make that two - bite the dust.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So in short order, we learn that Sirius XM satellite radio is going to file for bankruptcy, and that Muzak, the company whose very name has become a generic word for insipid background music, has already filed for bankruptcy.

I won't miss either one. I just don't spend enough ...

Read More

Comment

Do the arts need/deserve a stimulus package too?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Class in violin instruction under the direction of the WPA Federal Music Project in New York City, 1936. Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

Class in violin instruction under the direction of the WPA Federal Music Project in New York ...

Read More

Comment

Top 10 Reasons To Like Lists

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No, I'm not really going to do a top 10 list about top 10 lists. For one thing, I can't think of 10 good reasons to do these lists. But I can think of one: I know they're silly, but music lists serve the same purpose as sports lists - ...

Read More

Comment

Some random thoughts about the Grammys

Monday, February 09, 2009

By now we all know the recording academy voters are a very conservative bunch. So it's no use crying over who got robbed and who got a statue they didn't deserve. But the academy did try to put on a good show last night - even at the expense of ...

Read More

Comments [1]

You Got Rhythm, You Got Music...

Friday, February 06, 2009

We sometimes talk about the music has being almost magical – because we can feel how it affects us and yet it’s so hard to pin down how or why. But for the earliest humans, music must have seemed magical for much more practical reasons. A group of prehistoric men ...

Read More

Comment

The album that changed my life... and eventually led me here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Our question today seems an easy one - name the album that changed your life. Many music fans have songs and records that forever changed them, and the more rabid the fan, the more likely it is that there IS in fact one recording that stands out. I've always loved ...

Read More

Comment

Is "Songsmith" another sign of the apocalypse?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

You almost have to feel sorry for Microsoft. (Wow. There's a sentence I never thought anyone would write. Key word is 'almost' though...) Here they are, developing a fun piece of software that will allow anyone with a PC to sing a melody into their computer and have it turned ...

Read More

Comment

Where have all the haters gone?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

You know how these Smackdowns work - someone says an artist or a trend or a new gizmo is great, and someone else says it's crap. At least, that's how it's supposed to work. This being public radio, people come in here and start to think they have to be ...

Read More

Comments [8]