Archive for March, 2010


Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Debussy is a classic impressionist artist in the sense that he broke away from the traditions of older musicians like Hadyn, Mozart, Beethoven, and even Berlioz.  His style is unique because it doesn’t seem to follow any rules or traditions like Sonata form.  However, contrary to many assumptions, there have been studies of Debussy’s music that pose theories that his music does indeed follow rules, but they are mathematical.  Roy Howat was a prominent figure in studying Debussy’s work and discovering patterns of the golden ratio and Fibonacci’s sequence in several of Debussy’s songs.  Howat argues that since Debussy would always be in touch with artists of other professions like painters, architects, etc. it was extremely likely that he came across the golden ratio and Fibonacci’s sequence.  Furthermore, Debussy loved all art work and even praised other forms of art more than music itself so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Debussy would have tried to imitate paintings or sketches utilizing the golden ratio in his music.  An example of Debussy using the Fibonacci is in the song La Mer where the 55 bar introduction is broken into 5 sections that are 21, 8 , 8, 5, and 13 bars in length.  In Debussy’s La cathedrale engloutie, Howat argues that Debussy made changes to the music in between the final manuscript and the printed edition.  These changes instruct for the music at bars 7-12 and 22-83 to be played twice as fast as the remainder, creating a golden proportion.  As remarkable as these findings are, Howat has been unable to find golden ratios in Debussy’s later works and there are no sketches or calculations that Debussy made to show evidence of the golden ration and Fibonacci sequence.

Symphonie Fantastique Mvt. 4

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Symphonie Fantastique Mvt. 4

Symphonie Fantastique is arguably Berloiz’s most famous piece due to how different this composition is from other pieces before and after its time in the cassical genre.  Accompanied with the music is a program that depicts a story (Berlioz’s story) that the music follows.  Movement 4 of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique impressed me the most out of the movements not only because of the unusual irony but also because of how personable it is.  Berlioz does a superb job of lining up the summary of this movement with the music which made it incredibly easy for me to understand what Berlioz was actually thinking when he wrote this movement.  Although I have never taken opium, the music gives me a pretty good idea of what would happen if I did because most of this movement is in chaos.  The irony of the chaos is that it is set to a march, which are normally pieces that follow a strict set of rules showing no chaos.  This movement shows fleeting moments of order and brighter melodies common in marches, however these melodies are always overshadowed by horrible visions in this artist’s dream.  No matter how chaotic the piece gets, the bass drum can always be heard in the background keeping step as the artist dreams about marching to his death.  The greatest asset of this movement is how realistic the instruments Berlioz uses can be with what actions are going on in the story, especially at the end.  I could clearly tell when the guillotine fell killing the artist and the somewhat of a fanfare that follow to simulate the cheering of a crowd.  I believe this movement highlights Berlioz’s genius and what kind of a composer he is better than any other movement in this symphony.

030710 Rethinking the Chinese Developmental Miracle QQC

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Quote:  “By the end of the 1980s, Taiwan had become the second largest trading partner and investor for mainland China.”  (59)

Comment & Question:

This quote, or statistic rather, left me sort of confused about the relationship between Taiwan and China.  Not having a lot of background with the subject (truth be told, before this class, I had no idea the two countries were at all related), I was under the impression that there was tension between the two.  I was googling the topic a few weeks ago because it interested me and some of the things I remember reading were that China refuses to be a partners with countries that recognize the legitimacy of the Taiwan government, especially when it comes to the term ‘China’ in world organizations like the WHO.  So I’m left wondering why China would want to be involved in so much trade and foreign investments with Taiwan in the 80s.  Wouldn’t that be recognizing the legitimacy of Taiwan, at the very least by giving them importing and exporting power that generate revenue for Taiwan’s businesses?  Do they consider this type of trade domestic and assume Taiwan will soon be returned to mainland China, therefore, the economic gains of Taiwan will benefit China in the future?  It sounds strange to me that they would want to give Taiwan any kind of financial strength since a weaker Taiwan would more inclined to welcome a reunion with the mainland.