Monday, December 23, 2013

MMerry Christmas!

My "12 Composers of Christmas" first debuted online in 2005 as a family Christmas card. (It even got a brief mention on a Boston Globe blog.) It made it to Youtube in 2007 and now I've finally updated it with some vocals. Perhaps someday I'll  make a more sophisticated choral arrangement, but for this year, I used my own in-house chorus to do the job - and a charming job they do:

I know Christmas is barely more than a day away, but maybe we can maybe this thing go viral. It's up to you.

For other MMmusing Christmas specials, check out last year's postSleigh Ride of the Valkyries, Sleigh Ride in a Fast Machine, the Vertical Christmas Medley, Trippin' with Chestnuts...sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. Or something.

MMerry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Canons Away!

I hope this isn't how I got out as a blogger for 2013 (by the way, I'm on sabbatical in the spring, so expect much more blogging), but for lack of a better intro, here's something I thought of and did.

I was thinking about a possible upcoming performance of Pachelbel's Canon, and it occurred to me that, with more than 3 violinists on hand, the canon could easily be more than a 3-parter. After all, in addition to being a very nicely designed strict canon, this overexposed work also features a basso ostinato structure, which basically means any two measures of the violin line can go with any other two measures - more or less - as every cellist knows. In theory, since the basso ostinato line occurs 28 times while the violins are playing, you could have 28 separate violin entries (resulting in a 29-voice texture), which would lead to quite a D Major soup.

I decided, for various reasons, to be reasonable (?) and limit myself to 12 violins. Here's what that sounds like. [If you don't seen an embedded player, try this]

I settled on 12 in part because it's a nice round number, 4x the original, but inevitably, I quickly came to realize that 12 offers one other cool possibility, which is to put each of the 12 violin parts in its own key. And so, here you go:

[Again, if there's no visible player there, try this.]  Now, hopefully I'll come up with something more in the holiday spirit before 2013 departs...