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Rules of Engagement

In Wieland Hoban’s composition “Hora’ot Pticha Be’esh (Rules of Engagement I),” from 2013-14, we hear distorted microtones, low glissandi, plucking, instrumental squealing. This music accompanies testimony by a Sergeant First Class in the Armored Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, in the winter of 2008-9. The soldier speaks in […]

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Simon Said

Simon Rattle grits his teeth and flares his nostrils. He raises his silver eyebrows, opens his mouth in vowel shapes, closes his eyes again in an ecstatic expression, bounces his baton off the air. These are his ways of expressing how the music makes him feel. They are also the tics that bother some of […]

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Schism Symphony

In my adopted home of Berlin, it’s possible to cycle past the Konzerthaus, the Staatsoper, the Komische Oper and the Philharmonie in the space of around 10 minutes, 15 if you’re pedaling flaneur-style. On a warm weekend, tourists drift down Unter den Linden, a large boulevard leading to the Brandenburg Gate, like schools of fish; […]

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Cheap Luxury

There are some events that are embarrassing to be seen at; then there are others where you are embarrassed for the other people who show up. Events such as “BraVo,” the awards ceremony for international pop music and classical art, which took place for the first time in early March in Moscow, and whose name […]

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Tonefoil Hat Finale

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 7/5/2018 Get started with Tonefoil Hat here. I’m giving up. The last time I made any progress with David Lucas Burge’s Perfect Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse was June 12—almost a month ago. My ear training practice sessions now end after […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 3

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 4/26/2018 Listen to Episode 1 of Tonefoil Hat here.Listen to Episode 2 of Tonefoil Hat here. Masterclass 6 of David Lucas Burge’s Perfect Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse starts much the same as the previous five: with chatter. He tells me […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 4

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 5/10/2018 Get started with Tonefoil Hat here. The writer writes a sentence. He reads back what he wrote. He fixes a redundancy, then he writes another sentence. He changes that sentence, too; maybe adds a rhythmic nuance. He puts something […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 5

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 5/31/2018 Get started with Tonefoil Hat here. In a 2016 New Yorker article, Patrick Radden Keefe reported on a unit of the London Metropolitan Police he termed “super-recognizers.” These police officers have the ability to see a face once and […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 2

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · TITLE IMAGE INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 4/12/2018 Listen to Episode 1 of Tonefoil Hat here. “Music satisfies the heart, leading us back to the Self, to the silence within. It is hard to hang on to negative emotions when we sing and dance with our 100%. […]

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Tonefoil Hat

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image Internet Archive (Public Domain) · Date 3/29/2018 I’m a musician and I have bad ears. In my ear training course in college, my teacher would play intervals on the piano. Going in a circle, he would point at the students and ask us to identify them. […]