Our study of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring for 13 Instruments” continues

This month, as we get closer to the end of this unique work, we examine how Aaron Copland incorporates the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” into the climax of this piece.


This month’s ‘guest slot’  We have been fortunate to have some excellent discussions about brain science and music. Dr. Lee Bartel has talked about intra-brain communication being inextricably tied to music. Books by Norman Doidge, Daniel Levitin and others have provided fascinating glimpses into the leading edge of brain research and particularly how music is perceived and processed in the brain. And why we like our music interesting – but only up to a point.

Daniel Levitin proposes the fascinating hypothesis that it is expectation and a need to create patterns that form an important part of our brains’ attempt to understand music, and that the real enjoyment comes when these patterns and expectations are interrupted, creating a mental ‘double-take’ that causes delightful confusion until resolved.

Drawing on these ideas, we will explore some beautiful examples of how this works, including a look at some of Paul McCartney’s songs, and his intuitive genius for taking us along for a ride filled with twists and turns.

The beauty of these ideas is that we intuitively ‘know’ them as musicians, but don’t always know how to employ them. Film composers, in particular, need to know how to control this way of ‘manipulating’ emotion and tension.


NEW ADVENTURES IN LISTENING – Film clips from “On The Waterfront” and “Ryan” are posted on the “Study Materials” page for download. With the sound removed, they can be scored as an exercise, and brough in to “Adventures in Listening” for feedback and analysis. Adventures in Listening is a unique opportunity to get unbiased and honest feedback on your ‘in-progress’ or experimental work from a community of your professional peers. Because it is anonymous, it is a risk-free environment.  Whether you are an emerging composer or an experienced one, and whether your work is for concert or screen, I encourage you to take advantage of this invaluable resource.
Many of you are actively performing musicians or are composers with TV shows or films containing your original scores. If you would like me to mention upcoming concerts or showtimes, please see me during the first hour, and I will make the announcement during “Adventures in Listening”. This way we can get the word out while preserving the relaxed and casual atmosphere that we have created at Toronto Ravel.
We need your helpWe know that Toronto Ravel is viable, but we need to ensure that it is sustainable. There are 2 ways you can help;  First, by spreading the word to your friends, Facebook friends, colleagues, etc., and by passing around the links to our videos – the links are below. Also – you can volunteer a bit of your time and be part of the Ravel team.  We need people who can assist with publicity and promotion to work with Janal Bechtholt in spreading the word.  Please email info@torontoravel.com if you can lend a hand. 
          Promo Video - PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AQN8yoJpDI
          Producer Larry Weinstein talks about Ravel  http://youtu.be/PAsiZJYFeY
See you at Ravel!
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