Portal:Music/Featured articles

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This is a showcase of all the music-related articles which have featured on the Music Portal. Feel free to suggest an article to be featured on the Music Portal next month.

Albums[edit]

Reign in Blood

Reign in Blood is the third studio album and major label debut by the American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on October 7, 1986, the album was the band's first collaboration with record producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. Reign in Blood was well received by both critics and fans, and was responsible for bringing Slayer to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. Kerrang! magazine described the record as "the heaviest album of all time", and a breakthrough in thrash metal.

Composers[edit]

Rebecca Clarke

Rebecca Helferich Clarke (Friskin) (August 27, 1886–October 13, 1979) was an English classical composer and violist best known for her chamber music featuring the viola. She is considered one of the most important British composers in the interwar period between World War I and World War II; she has also been described as the most distinguished British female composer of her generation.

Though she wrote little, due in part to her ideas about the role of a female composer, her work was recognized for its compositional skill. Most of Clarke's works have yet to be published (or have only recently been published), and her work was largely forgotten after she stopped composing. Scholarship and interest in her work revived when she reached her ninetieth birthday in 1976.

Edward Elgar

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English Romantic composer. Several of his first major orchestral works, including the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, were greeted with acclaim. He also composed oratorios, chamber music, symphonies and instrumental concertos. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

Charles Ives

Charles Edward Ives (October 20, 1874–May 19, 1954) was an American composer of classical music. He is widely regarded as one of the first American classical composers of international significance. Ives's music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Over time, Ives would come to be regarded as one of the "American Originals", a composer working in a uniquely American style, with American folk tunes woven through his music, and a reaching sense of the possibilities in music.

Bradley Joseph

Bradley Joseph (born 1965) is an American composer, arranger, and producer of contemporary instrumental music. His compositions include works for orchestra, quartet, and solo piano, with his musical style ranging from "quietly pensive mood music to a rich orchestration of classical depth and breadth". Active since 1983, he played various instruments in rock bands throughout the Midwest until 1989 when Greek composer Yanni hired him for his next tour after hearing a tape of Joseph's compositions. He was a featured concert keyboardist with Yanni through six major tours and appears in the 1994 multi-platinum album and video, Yanni Live at the Acropolis. In 1994, he released Hear the Masses, featuring many of his Yanni bandmates. This debut was followed by Rapture, an instrumental album recorded with a 50-piece orchestra released on the Narada label in which Joseph wrote and conducted all of the scores. He has since produced numerous CDs/DVDs and piano books under his own record label, Robbins Island Music. His music is also included in multiple various-artist compilation albums, including the 2008 release of The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.

Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer of the Soviet period. He is best known for his satirical opera The Nose, (based on the story by Gogol) and his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, 15 of each. Since his death in 1975, reports about his true personal opinions about life in the USSR have been controversial. While he outwardly conformed with the state and was a public face for state-crafted propaganda, it is now widely known that he deeply disliked the Soviet regime —a view confirmed by his family, by private letters to Isaak Glikman, and the satirical cantata "Anti-formalist Rayok", which ridiculed the "anti-formalism" campaign in Soviet arts and was known only to his closest friends until after his death.

Genres[edit]

Gregorian chant

Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Catholic Church, performed in the Mass and the monastic Office. Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant commissioned by Carolingian rulers, especially Charlemagne. Gregorian chant supplanted or marginalized the other indigenous plainchant traditions of the Christian West to become the official music of the Catholic liturgy. Although Gregorian chant is no longer obligatory, the Catholic Church still officially considers it the music most suitable for worship.

Grunge music

Grunge music (sometimes referred to as the Seattle Sound) is a genre of alternative rock inspired by hardcore punk, heavy metal, and indie rock. Grunge was created in the mid-1980s by bands from Washington state, particularly in the Seattle area.

It became commercially successful in the first half of the 1990s, due mainly to the release of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. The genre is closely associated with Generation X in the US, since the popularity of the genre and usage of the generational term rose simultaneously. Grunge was an early defining musical phenomenon of the 1990s, which distinguished 1990s rock music from that of the 1980s.

Mor lam

Mor lam (Thai/Isan: หมอลำ) is an ancient Lao form of song in Laos and Isan (Northeastern Thailand). Mor lam means expert song, or expert singer, referring to the music or artist respectively. Other romanisations used include mo lam, maw lam, maw lum, moh lam and mhor lum. In Laos, the music is known simply as lam (ລຳ); mor lam (ໝໍລຳ) refers to the singer.

The characteristic feature of lam singing is the use of a flexible melody which is tailored to the tones of the words in the text. Traditionally, the tune was developed by the singer as an interpretation of glawn poems and accompanied primarily by the khene, a free reed mouth organ, but the modern form is most often composed and uses electrified instruments. Contemporary forms of the music are also characterised by quick tempi and rapid delivery, while tempi tend to be slower in traditional forms and in some Lao genres. Some consistent characteristics include strong rhythmic accompaniment, vocal leaps, and a conversational style of singing that can be compared to American rap.

Typically featuring a theme of unrequited love, mor lam also reflects the difficulties of life in rural Isan and Laos, leavened with wry humour. In its heartland performances are an essential part of festivals and ceremonies, while the music has gained a profile outside its native regions thanks to the spread of migrant workers, for whom it remains an important cultural link with home.

Instruments[edit]

Harpsichord

A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when each key is depressed.

As well as the large instrument currently called a harpsichord, the harpsichord family also includes the smaller virginals, the muselar or muselaar virginals and the spinet.

Timpani

Timpani are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl commonly made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a special drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Unlike most drums, they produce a definite pitch when struck. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra in the 17th century. Today, they are used in many types of musical ensembles including concert, marching, and even rock bands.

Timpani is an Italian plural, the singular of which is timpano. This is rarely used in informal English speech, however, as a timpano is typically referred to as simply a drum or a timpani. An alternative spelling, tympani, is occasionally encountered in older English texts. It is derived from the Latin word tympanum, from which the Italian word descends. A musician who plays the timpani is known as a timpanist.

Music of countries and peoples[edit]

Music of Iran

The music of Iran has thousands of years of history dating back to the Neolithic age, as seen in the archeological evidence of Elam, one of the earliest world civilizations, which was located in southwestern Iran. A distinction needs to be made between the science of Music or Musicology which as a branch of mathematics has always been held in high regards in Iran; as opposed to Music performance, (Tarab, Navakhteh, Tasneef, Taraneh or more recently Muzik) which has had an uneasy and often acrimonious relationship with the religious authorities and, in times of religious revival, with society as a whole.

Music of the United States

The music of the United States reflects the country's multicultural population through a diverse array of styles. Rock and roll, hip hop, country, rhythm and blues, and jazz are among the country's most internationally renowned genres. Since the beginning of the 20th century, popular recorded music from the United States has become increasingly known across the world, to the point where some form of American popular music is listened to almost everywhere. The original inhabitants of the United States were the hundreds of Native American tribes, who played the first music in the area. Beginning in the 17th century, immigrants from England, Spain, and France began arriving in large numbers, bringing with them new styles and instruments. African slaves brought their own musical traditions, and each subsequent wave of immigrants also contributed to a sonic melting pot. Long a land of immigrants, the United States has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of Ukrainian, Irish, Scottish, Polish, Mexican and Jewish communities, among others. Many American cities and towns have vibrant local music scenes which, in turn, support a number of regional musical styles.

Musicians and bands[edit]

Concerto delle donne

The concerto delle donne was a group of professional female singers in the late Renaissance court of Ferrara, Italy, renowned for their technical and artistic virtuosity. The ensemble was founded by Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, in 1580 and was active until the court was dissolved in 1597. Giacomo Vincenti, a music publisher, praised the women as "virtuose giovani" (virtuosic youths), echoing the sentiments of contemporaneous diarists and commentators. The concerto delle donne revolutionized the role of women in professional music, and continued the tradition of the Este court as a musical center. Word of the ladies' ensemble spread across Italy, inspiring imitations in the powerful courts of the Medici and Orsini. The founding of the concerto delle donne was the most important event in secular Italian music in the late sixteenth century; the musical innovations established in the court were important in the development of the madrigal, and eventually the seconda pratica.

Miles Davis

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the 20th century. A trumpeter, bandleader and composer, Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development in jazz after World War II. He played on some of the important early bebop records and recorded the first cool jazz records. He was partially responsible for the development of modal jazz, and jazz fusion arose from his work with other musicians in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Free jazz was the only post-war style not significantly influenced by Davis, although some musicians from his bands later pursued this style. His recordings, along with the live performances of his many influential bands, were vital in jazz's acceptance as music with lasting artistic value. A popularizer as well as an innovator, Davis became famous for his languid, melodic style and his laconic, and at times confrontational, personality. As an increasingly well-paid and fashionably-dressed jazz musician, Davis was also a symbol of jazz music's commercial potential.

Davis was late in a line of jazz trumpeters that started with Buddy Bolden and ran through Joe "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie. He has been compared to Duke Ellington as a musical innovator: both were skillful players on their instruments, but were not considered technical virtuosos. Ellington's main strength was as a composer and leader of a large band, while Davis had a talent for drawing together talented musicians in small groups and allowing them space to develop. Many of the major figures in post-war jazz played in one of Davis's groups at some point in their career.

Davis was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in September 2005. In November that same year, it was announced that he would be inducted.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd are an English rock band, noted for progressive compositions, philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, cover art and elaborate live shows. The group is one of rock music's most successful and influential acts, believed to have sold an estimated 73.5 million albums in the U.S. and over 200 million albums worldwide. Pink Floyd enjoyed moderate success in the late 1960s as a psychedelic band led by Syd Barrett. Barrett's erratic behaviour caused his colleagues to replace him with guitarist David Gilmour and the band went on to record several elaborate concept albums, achieving worldwide success with 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon, 1975's Wish You Were Here, 1977's Animals, and 1979's The Wall, among the best-selling, most critically acclaimed, and enduringly popular albums in rock music history.

Musical works[edit]

Cool

"Cool" is a pop song written by Gwen Stefani and Dallas Austin for Stefani's debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby (2004). The song's composition and production was heavily inspired by pop music from the 1980s, and its lyrics chronicle a relationship in which two lovers have separated, but remain "cool" with each other as good friends. "Cool" received praise from pop music critics, and the media have drawn parallels between the song's lyrical content and the romantic relationship that Stefani had with Tony Kanal, a fellow group member of No Doubt.

The song was released as the album's fourth single in mid-2005 (see 2005 in music) and entered the top twenty on the majority of the charts it appeared on. While "Cool" failed to match the success of its predecessor "Hollaback Girl", it reached number one in Canada

Symphony No. 3, Op. 36

Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (Polish: Symfonia pieśni żałosnych), is a symphony in three movements composed by Henryk Górecki in Katowice, Poland, between October and December 1976. The work is indicative of the transition between Górecki's dissonant earlier manner and his more tonal later style.

A solo soprano sings a different Polish text in each of the three movements. The first is a Silesian folk song, the second a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell during World War II, and the third a 15th-century Polish lament of Mary, mother of Jesus. The first and third movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child, and the second movement from that of a child who has lost a parent. The dominant themes of the symphony are motherhood and separation through war.

Exogenesis: Symphony

Exogenesis: Symphony, is a song by English alternative rock band Muse, featured on their 2009 fifth studio album The Resistance. Written by lead vocalist, guitarist and pianist Matthew Bellamy over the course of a number of years, the song is presented as a symphony in three movements entitled "Overture", "Cross-Pollination" and "Redemption" respectively, each occupying a separate track at the end of the album and spanning almost 13 minutes in total.