Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Up Next: Mandolins? Meyerbeer? Mezzopiano? Morendo?

For what it's worth, today marks the 3-year anniversary for MMmusing. As evidenced by my most recent posts, I really enjoy relatively random connections - thus, whereas originally I gave this blog its name because of my initials (which I commonly use as an e-signature) and the idea of exploring music and meaning, I've been amused to realize that original multi-media creations became defining elements of what I do here, and it's just occurred to me that mashups, often of the meta-variety, have been a mainstay here in the past six months. I also happen to live in a city and state with M initials. MM musing indeed. [Monday, in our weekly Musicianship class, I wrote our performers' names up on a whiteboard, arranged according to what I thought made the most musical sense, only to discover that the final four performers were all females whose names begin with E. The odds of that happening have to be pretty low, so though I have no idea what it means, I loooove when things like that happen.]

While it's true that a graph of my blogging activity over the past three years has a certain downward trajectory, I'm confident that we're not yet headed in the morendo direction. Since this seems like a suitable day for self-promotion, I'll add that I think I've carved out a fairly distinctive niche in the musical blogosphere, particularly due to the multimedia content. I love the idea that thinking about music can so easily be expressed in more than just words - in fact, it would be bizarre if this wasn't the case, and I honestly don't see much of a logical future for books about music that exist only as text on a page.

I'm still hoping for the day when musicians blog via actual musical performance more often - meaning, why shouldn't blog posts regularly incorporate impromptu recording sessions? As a once-upon-a-time cellist, I loved running across these YouTube clips of Joshua Roman just sitting down once a week to record Popper etudes in straight-ahead, unedited, unglamorous settings. He may not call that blogging, but it is a kind of musical web-logging after all. I still remember that wonderful week when Jeremy Denk wrote for seven days about a Bach sarabande, and concluded the project with a homemade recording - in some ways, so much more interesting and direct as a way of expressing something than producing a perfectly edited CD. I can still vividly remember the feeling of sitting and listening to his Bach that first time. And it's definitely worth a re-listen or two. I have tried my hand at piano blogging and need to return to it, though I I hardly think myself Denk; but I don't think he's mashed up as much music as I have.

Anyway, to celebrate the anniversary, here are some of my favorite multi-media posts from three years of multiplying words in ways that often go beyond words...

The Hatto Sonnets

The Rite of Appalachian Spring

J. Peterman sells Schubert

Canon a 2 Tempi

Webern in Mayberry

Mr. Stravinsky's Random Accent Generator

Ambigramming Bach

Carrousel perp├ętuel

Bach's Crab Canon

Chopin's Ghosts

MM's Virtual Singers

The Brittenish Invasion

Classical Vanity

Piano Blogging Bach

An Octave of Octaves

A Taste of 1825

[The first and last are literary links; I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed that little imaginary dialogue of 1825...]

Of course, if you also have a taste for random, then MMmusing's Magical Multimedia Musing Machine is always there for you in the margin.

Finally, it's time to say goodbye to a quirky mainstay of MMmusing. When I first started out, I was so desperate to have content onsite that, in addition to churning out 30-40 posts a month, I posted lists of my favorite movies and the like over in the sidebar. I've always thought one could learn a lot about a person by knowing what movies they like - but, sometimes I squirm when I'm scrolling to a blog article in class and my silly little TV Mt. Rushmore image rolls by. So, I'm archiving all that content here, and will look to reimagine the sidebar in the months ahead.

To close with one last little bit of self-congratulation, another feature I've always liked about my blog is its elegant layout. Blogger isn't the sexiest platform, but I've enjoyed tricking it out in subtle ways; a few of you may remember when my blog looked like this. The Bach Invention wallpaper dates back to my first-ever website from the mid'90's. I still can't bring myself to clutter things up with Google Ads or dozens of little RSS feed icons and the like. I like a nice, clean interface - no blinding light-on-dark texts, not even a live Twitter feed (though you're always welcome to follow me here). I still regret that past content tends to get lost on blogs (who was the last person to think about Jeremy Denk's amazing Sarabande Week?), and I need to buff up the Guide to MMmusing page at the least, if not just build an honest-to-goodness website.

So, look for more posts to come (and not just posts about posts, like this bit of meta-musing) as we enter Year Four. Coming soon, a new series called "Almost too serious..."

2 comments: said...

Magnificent! :-)

Happy Anniversary!


Thanks, Patty. Nice to hear from one of the blogging greats! (BTW, I've been wondering if you had any opinion about this. To me, not having known either piece, it doesn't feel odd, but since I suppose you know and have played "Niobe," I wonder how offputting it is. (I've decided not even to ask Britten what he thinks.)