Articles on Music

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A studio group portrait of the Fisk University Jubilee singers. James Wallace Black/American Missionary Association

The power of a song in a strange land

Spirituals were created out of the experience of enslaved people in the US. They weren't songs of anger – but of an abiding belief in the victory of good over evil.
Randy Newman and Hildur Guðnadóttir have been nominated for their scores for ‘Marriage Story’ and ‘Joker,’ respectively. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Hildur Guðnadóttir: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The secret to the success of two Oscar-nominated scores

In 'Joker' and 'Marriage Story,' sometimes the absence of sound can pack as much of a punch as dramatic music.
Prince performs at Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub in August 1983. Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

How Minneapolis made Prince

Prince was a musical genius, but he didn't come of age in a vacuum. A human geographer explains how Minneapolis' unique musical culture nurtured and inspired the budding star.
Beyoncé arrives at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating “China: Through the Looking Glass” on May 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

10 years of Beyoncé: A decade ‘causing all this conversation’

From a quiet start to cultural dominance, Beyoncé's work over the last decade is groundbreaking. But it is also filled with questions and contradictions.
The guitar man. ‘The chords reached a crescendo as the Casspir drowned the song in its passing,’ says the photographer of taking the shot. © Photo courtesy John Liebenberg

Pop culture: restoring Namibia’s forgotten resistance music

An archive project is restoring the secret history of Namibia's resistance music culture from the 1950s to the late 1980s -- suppressed and censored during apartheid but now touring the world.
A fan carries a copy of ‘Abbey Road’ as he traverses the infamous crosswalk that appears on the album’s cover. AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The Beatles’ revolutionary use of recording technology in ‘Abbey Road’

As the album celebrates its 50th anniversary, an expert in sound recording details how the band deployed stereo and synthesizers to put a unique artistic stamp on this iconic album.
For many older people, today’s music goes in one ear and out the other. Shutterstock.com/photograph.kiev

Why do old people hate new music?

Music doesn't get objectively worse over time. So why do older generations scoff at each new top 40 hit?
The conductor’s role is to communicate with the performers and their audience. Their role is part artistic, part mathematical. Shutterstock

Explainer: what exactly do musical conductors do?

A conductor's role is about communication with performers and their audience. They do so using eye contact, dress, and of course, the fabled waving of the arms.

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