Articles on Music

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Illegal downloading has become a free-for-all. Josh Russell

Online pirates may be willing to pay - if the price is right

Data released by Ofcom yesterday show that internet users who illegally download films, music or games actually spend more money on legal downloads than those who always play by the rules. Online piracy…
One in four composers are female, but you wouldn’t guess that by listening to the radio. Image from shutterstock.com

Off key: women composers get a raw deal on play rates

Women make up 25% of the Australian composing population but still get a raw deal when it comes to having their music performed. Emma Ayres, presenter of the breakfast show on Classic FM, recently wrote…
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Are classical music competitions judged on looks?

The headlines The Los Angeles Times: People trust eyes - not ears - when judging musicians Classic FM: Classical singers judged by actions not voice Nature: Musicians’ appearances matter more than their…
British band One Direction has a huge following worldwide. But media criticism of their fans doesn’t respect the knowledge and power they possess. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

That’s what makes them beautiful: why One Direction fans are smarter than you

Over the weekend, rumours have spread that Crazy About One Direction, a documentary on the eponymous boy band broadcast by the UK’s Channel 4, has led to suicides among distraught fans. One thing is certain…
He has a point, you know. Anthony Devlin/PA

Academics should stand with Fry against anti-gay Russia

Stephen Fry’s viral open letter calling for “an absolute ban” on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi over Russia’s controversial new anti-homosexuality laws was a clarion call for activists. But it should…
The Rolling Stones have begun their 50th anniversary tour - stats reveal that their fans’ longevity is just as strong as that of the ageing rockers. EPA/Anthony Devlin

Rock and roll fans won’t fade away

Legendary British band The Rolling Stones have started themselves up for their 50th anniversary tour. Predictably, this has encouraged more replays on vinyl – I doubt it’s on iTunes yet - of that old refrain…
Encouraging live music through initiatives such as the newly-announced National Live Music Office makes good social, cultural and economic sense. shutterstock

Keeping music live: government’s Live Music Office should be welcomed

Federal arts minister Tony Burke this week announced the government’s commitment to setting up a National Live Music Office. Burke said the taskforce will: …partner with governments, local councils, communities…
What’s the best music for a slow stroll, or a pumping powerwalk? There are factors other than tempo to take into account. ejorpin

Music and walking speed – it’s not what you think

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak,” wrote the English poet William Congreve in 1697. These days, we tend to take music’s inherent charms for granted and…
Rapper Kanye West’s new album Yeezus reflects on race and discrimination in present day America. EPA/Ferdy Damman

Yeezus saves: Kanye West, hip hop and the language of slavery

This month, rapper Kanye West’s highly anticipated new album Yeezus was released at perhaps one of the coolest launch events ever. His latest single New Slaves was simultaneously featured on 66 screens…
Over the course of 200 years, music evolved into very distinct styles, each distinguished by melodic interval analysis. Mira (on the wall)

Stuck like a Baroque-n record? Music evolves in noteworthy ways

Think of your favourite piece of music. What aspects of its melody do you really like? Do you prefer a mix of fast and slow notes or an even tempo; do you like listening to low, bass-driven music more…
Musician Courtney Pine might not be able to operate in A&E but his work has some similarities to surgery. Flickr/Richard Kaby

Jazz musicians can teach surgeons how to improvise

What could music and surgery have in common? At first sight, not much. Operations aren’t done on stage in front of a large crowd - and nobody dies after a concert if someone plays a wrong note. As an amateur…
If she wants to be a grandmaster one day, practice will only take her so far, according to new research. Joe Shlabotnik

Sorry, but practice alone does not make perfect

We’ve all heard it before (usually accompanied by repeating hours of music scales or sports drills over and over): Practice makes perfect. But your music teachers and sports coaches were wrong - well…
School music proponents like to big note the effectiveness of such programs, what what evidence of genuine benefit is there? Music image from www.shutterstock.com

Striking a chord: what can music really do for students?

School music is a big fish within the small pond of the Creative Arts curriculum. In lobbying for more space, music advocates often use an array of arguments – some backed by evidence, some not. Many argue…
Live music in Australia has been under renewed threat in recent years over noise and liquor licensing complaints. AAP/Joe Castro

Live music in Australia: offensive noise or good vibrations?

In this week’s news from planet 21st century, the musicians who perform at Playbar, a small venue in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, have been silenced by Sydney’s “offensive noise” laws after…
If someone sold it, and you can hold it, you can pass it on. Michael D. Dunn

Selling MP3s? You should have stuck with CDs

What’s the difference between selling a secondhand music CD and transferring ownership of the same songs bought from iTunes? Not much, you’d think - except one’s illegal, according to a New York court…
If the new Marilyn Manson video showed a young woman disembowelling herself with a large sword because she had lost her lover it would be banned instantly. But this same scene is tolerated nightly in opera house performances of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. EPA/TOR ERIK SCHRODER

“!ti od em edam nataS” … does rock ‘n’ roll really make kids kill themselves?

As Jane Austen probably wanted to say, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good Black Sabbath CD must be in want of a shotgun. We are so encultured to believe that…
There’s loads of evidence that the type of music played affects shoppers’ buying habits. http://www.flickr.com/photos/hopkinsii

The tills are alive with the sound of Muzak

I spent the Christmas of 1988-89 stacking shelves in a liquor store. It paid $2 per hour (a pittance even way back then), and the boss made me mop the floor before vacuuming it, which continues to annoy…
Ronan the sea lion was able to keep a musical beat, even when hearing a song for the first time. American Psychological Association

Dancing seal is first non-human mammal to keep a beat

US scientists have trained a seal to bob its head in time to music, in a study that the researchers say presents the first…
Minami Minegishi, member of Japanese pop group AKB48, made a tearful public apology on AKB48’s YouTube channel. YouTube

AKB48, headshaving and the sexual politics of J-Pop

Japanese pop star Minami Minegashi made headlines worldwide after shaving her head and making an dramatic public apology on Youtube for violating her pop group AKB48’s strict no dating policy. While shocking…

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