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Barbara Froman's Blog

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This is a digression. I was planning to go right to structure, but couldn't without discussing character first, and its musical equivalent. The flute solo in my last post, Syrinx, illustrated not only parts, patterns, and structure, but also character. We can think of it as a monologue, written...
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And within those small spaces? As a piece of music develops and heads to its conclusion, what about the bits and pieces that fill them, the patterns that emerge and develop into other patterns that make the work interesting and coherent? Brahms's Intermezzo Op. 117 No. 1 is built on very slim...
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Since readers of text are also interpreters, writers, like musicians and performers, need that perfect blend of instinct—both informed and natural—and craft to create work that arouses and sustains interest, while accurately conveying their aesthetic and goals for the piece. In my last post, I...
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Unlike prose, which is immediately accessible to anyone who can read, music is immediately accessible only to those with specialized skills: performers. They are the ones who read, interpret, and realize it, bring the symbols to life for an audience. But in order for performers to do that,...
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What comes to mind when you see the title Tango? Do you think of the dance? Its melancholy airs of mystery? Its teasing sensuality?  Do you think of its straightforward beat beneath a tune with displaced accents, or syncopation? Before the music begins, and lines are punctuated by silence,...
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...before I continue. Musicians spend a hefty amount of their education studying music's nitty gritty—history, performance practice, orchestration, and, of course, theory, which encompasses methodologies from Harmonic to Schenkerian analysis. And I'm not going to discuss any of that here. The...
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I used to make my Creative Writing students listen to music, analytically. It never fazed me that they lacked the training and vocabulary required for in-depth analysis; I just wanted them to use their ears. I wanted them to describe what they heard with the vocabulary they had. Of course, one...
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...with a book—lines unwritten, lines rewritten, characters drawn, characters redrawn, characters abandoned, pages discarded, chapters filed, files embedded in other files for future reference.... You get the picture. This oeuvre from Hell has had fourteen titles and more plots, sub-plots,...
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Last week I caught an interview with Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, the directors of the new documentary, A Place at the Table, on The Daily Show. As hunger and homelessness are of great concern to me, I knew I had to plug this important film. Read more and see the trailer here.
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We have new neighbors in back of us. We haven't met them yet, but we've seen the tops of their heads from our yards, and we've heard their dog at all times of the day and night. We've watched their children aim for clouds on their swings, and marked time by the step-by-step erection of a playhouse...
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Van Cliburn died last week. Howard Reich, music critic for the Chicago Tribune and author of the book, Van Cliburn, wrote a wonderful tribute to the late pianist in Sunday's paper. For those who are unfamiliar with Cliburn's artistry, or those who just want to hear him play again, here is a...
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This is an especially timely post given the U.S. Military's decision this year to open combat posts for women. Many thanks to Cyndee Schaffer, co-author of MOLLIE'S WAR, for providing it.  How many of us remember childhood taunts shouting "Your mama wore combat boots" when we were in...
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Writer and filmmaker Victoria M. Johnson invited me to write a guest post for her blog's new series, Creative Spaces. I hope you'll check it out!
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I blame it all on the Super Bowl power outage. What to do during that agonizingly long half time?  The popcorn was waiting, the battery on my iPod was running down. We'd read the Sunday paper, I'd done all the puzzles. I wasn't going to open a book when the game could resume at any time,...
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