Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Here's an interesting story from NPR about what parts of the brain are involved in musical memory. Once you read through the whole thing it is not quite as interesting as it seemed at first. It looks as if the brain science people have finally noticed what music teachers have long been calling 'motor memory'. This is the kind of memory that keeps your fingers moving to the right place even if your mind wanders. We didn't actually need to have it confirmed since we have been using all along, but thanks anyway brain science people.


It is extremely rare to read any original writing about harmony these days. There are several reasons for this:

  1. There are more drones than interesting harmonies being written
  2. Composers that do have a new take on harmony keep it a trade secret
  3. This is more the age of rhythm than the age of harmony
But  I did just run across a quite original essay on harmony called European Polyphony and Low Tech Brain Hacking. Bear in mind that the essay doesn't seem to have much to do with European polyphony and never quite makes clear what "brain hacking" is and seems confused about much else. But, original, yep.


Let's hear a couple of African musical stars. But I promise you, no monkeys and no bananas here--these are serious musicians. On the left in the video is the Malian guitarist and singer Boubacar “KarKar” TraorĂ© and on the right is Ali Farke TourĂ©, also from Mali. The song is called "Diarabi".

It is amazing how much dignity and expression even very simple music can have.


RG said...

Little Black dress


(this comment may be grafiti)

Bryan Townsend said...

It sounds as if she may have had some voice lessons...