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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Musical Forensics

I remember a music theory professor once telling my class that more text had been devoted to the "Tristan chord" (first chord of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde) than any other chord in the history of music. If that's true, then I suppose a close second would be the opening chord in The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night

So, a mathematician from Dalhousie University has provided a definitive answer to the question, What's the opening chord in "Hard Day's Night"? (via Marginal Revolution).


Monday, February 23, 2009

Cowboy magic is in the air

The sounds of yodels, western fiddle tunes and comical singing cowboys will soon fill the chambers of Enmax Hall. That’s right, folks, if you haven’t already heard, America’s favorite cowboys are riding their way into Edmonton for a special concert with the ESO. Riders in the Sky are bringing their wacky, whimsical humor and western wit to the Winspear stage for one night only, Monday, March 16!

Here are some interesting Riders facts for you to lasso:
- Appearances: 5,440 (one every other day for 30 years)
- Counties visited: 763
- Yodels per appearance: 7.6
- Albums recorded: 35
- Unjustly overlooked albums: 26
- Times they’ve said “It’s the Cowboy Way!”: 31,002
- Times they’ve been asked “Where’s Woody?”: 43,444

Riders in the Sky earned a Grammy award in 2001 for Toy Story 2’s Woody’s Roundup.

For over 30 years, the Riders have been “bringing good beef to hungry people”… and we all know how much Albertans love their beef! Whet your appetite for wholesome skit-and-song family entertainment and join us as we ride the Happy Trail right on into the sunset.

Hoedown your way to the Winspear Centre Box Office and get your tickets today! Tickets for this ESO special presentation range from $20 - $65 (agency fees apply).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New bloggers and a special concert this Friday

I'd like to welcome some new authors to the ESO blog - emra, marcus and Pamela. We've seen a posting from emra already, and I'm sure the other new members will also have some interesting contributions soon - but no pressure, right?!

This Friday (February 20), the ESO is offering a special morning performance at 10 AM that explores the Shapes and Shades of Music. Essentially, if you want to learn more about musical form and how a composer composes, this is an awesome opportunity to learn from some pretty knowledgeable musicians - Bill Eddins, Gary Kulesha and Jon Kimura Parker will all be on hand. There are those that have the view that, well, ignorance is bliss, but I really believe that most people gain a deeper appreciation and greater understanding of a performance with even a bit of education.  Tickets ($10 plus service charges) are available through the Winspear Box Office at 780-428-1414.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Starving" Artists

You’ve heard of the “starving artist?” Well, it’s a reality in Canada according to a new report from Hill Strategies:

There are lots of us: The cultural sector overall has about 609,000 workers, twice as many workers as the forestry sector and double the workers at Canadian banks!

And yet, a typical artist in Canada earns less than half the typical earnings of all Canadian workers. 62% of artists earn less than $20,000 in a year. Ouch.

We are better educated: 39% of artists have a university degree as compared to 21% in the general work force. The university educated artists do better than the artists with a high school diploma, but they still earn less than half of the salary of an average worker with a comparable degree.

And it’s getter worse. Between 1990 and 2005, the earnings of artists decreased by 11%.

I dread the day that all the talented and enthusiastic teenagers have to go into dull, soulless jobs and quit their music, poetry, painting, dancing, acting. We all lose on that day. So do we need more government funding? I personally don’t think that’s the best solution. Do we need to increase our ticket prices? No, that will only discourage people from consuming the arts.

The future may look bleak from a salary perspective, but I would be very interested in reading a report that grades the happiness and satisfaction levels of artists and non-artists.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Canadian Tenors: May 4

The Canadian Tenors join the ESO on May 4, 2009. Here's a clip from CBC Newsworld that was filmed last December. Tickets go on sale February 13!