Cecil Taylor was an American pianist and poet. Classically trained, Taylor is generally acknowledged as having been one of the pioneers of free jazz. His music is characterized by an extremely energetic, physical approach, producing complex improvised sounds, frequently involving tone clusters and intricate polyrhythms. His piano technique has been likened to percussion, for example described as “eighty-eight tuned drums” (referring to the number of keys on a standard piano). He has also been described as “like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings”.
Jacques Higelin was a French pop singer who rose to prominence in the early 1970s. Early in his career, many of Higelin’s songs were effectively blacklisted from French radio because of his controversial left wing political beliefs, and his association with socialist groups.
Marcus Belgrave (1936 – 2015) was a jazz trumpet player from Detroit, born in Chester, Pennsylvania. He recorded with a variety of famous musicians, bandleaders, and record labels since the 1950s.
His “space jazz” composition “Space Odyssey”, originally released on Gemini II (1974) was included on the anthology Universal Sounds of America (1995) and was reprised on The Detroit Experiment (2003, above).
… I like paintings you can listen to, music for the deaf and drawings for the blind. I like playing with medium specificity.
In this charming film, various musical notes set up the sheet music to get ready for a performance of The Blue Danube Waltz. However, a sole note is missing. It turns out the note (a red-faced “High Note”) is drunk upon staggering out of the sheet music to “Little Brown Jug“, and the irritated conductor chases after him to put him back in his place so the waltz can continue as planned. Eventually, the rogue note is put back into place, but when the performance starts again, it has disappeared again, along with the rest of the sheet music. The composer then discovers that all the notes have gone into the “Little Brown Jug” to get drunk.
This film entered my head as visual music, although it is less so than the music visualization of Fantasia (1940), of which Oskar Fischinger‘s interpretation of J. S. Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is online here.
I woke up with this song in my head.
If you haven’t seen the film already, please do.
The locations, the music are worth the price of the admission. And your time.
“The Beatitudes“ is world music classic #885
At the same time it illustrates something non-existent, an impossible object, like music for the deaf or for people who are tone deaf. The aural experience has been synaesthetically translated in a visual experience.
Listen to this drawing, it seems to say.
I am reminded of the dictum by Walter Pater: “all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” And of medium specificity.
That is not quite true. People were paying attention but afterwards everyone forgot.
But … What exactly are we looking at?
The first piece of silent music.
829 songs (six years in the making; i.e. compiling) account for about fifty hours of music. When finished, the list will feature more than 58 hours of music. The average song length in my calculations is three minutes and a half.