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The Invention of the Oboe and its Spread through Europe

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the events surrounding the creation of the oboe and its rapid spread throughout Europe during the mid to late seventeenth century. The first section describes similar instruments that existed for thousands of

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the events surrounding the creation of the oboe and its rapid spread throughout Europe during the mid to late seventeenth century. The first section describes similar instruments that existed for thousands of years before the invention of the oboe. The following sections examine reasons and methods for the oboe's invention, as well as possible causes of its migration from its starting place in France to other European countries, as well as many other places around the world. I conclude that the oboe was invented to suit the needs of composers in the court of Louis XIV, and that it was brought to other countries by French performers who left France for many reasons, including to escape from the authority of composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and in some cases to promote French culture in other countries.

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2015-05

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The pedagogical use of improvisation in Western art music

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ABSTRACT

Improvisation, or extemporization, has always played an important role in all

genres of music across the globe. In Western art music alone, improvisation has been used in many settings throughout history, such as composition, public extemporization, and ornamenting existing notated music.

ABSTRACT

Improvisation, or extemporization, has always played an important role in all

genres of music across the globe. In Western art music alone, improvisation has been used in many settings throughout history, such as composition, public extemporization, and ornamenting existing notated music. Why is it then, that improvisation is not an important part in the education of the Western Art Music tradition?

Introducing improvisation to music education develops a more well-rounded musical ability, a firmer understanding of musical concepts, and a clearer insight to the composition of music. To examine this issue, I discuss a number of scientific explorations into the use of improvisation. First, new technology in the study of the brain gives insight into how the brain functions during improvisation. Adding to this evidence, I contextualize the use of improvisation into four scientifically developed educational scenarios based on how humans most effectively learn information and skills. To conclude, the discussion then shifts to simple exercises designed to assist musicians and teachers of any skill level in utilizing improvisation in practicing, lessons, and performance.

To prevent students of music from reaffirming a continuously narrowing viewpoint of music’s creation, cultural implications, and performance, educational systems should make an effort to teach more than just the preparation of increasingly complex scores. Improvisation is not only a solid foundation for understanding the roots of western music’s own musical traditions, but also a gateway to understanding the musical traditions of the world.

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Date Created
2015

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Polypropylene and the Future of the Bassoon

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The dearth of young bassoonists in America can be felt at every level of expertise, whether it be at professional levels where there are fewer qualified bassoonists compared to other woodwinds, or in local communities where interested pupils cannot find

The dearth of young bassoonists in America can be felt at every level of expertise, whether it be at professional levels where there are fewer qualified bassoonists compared to other woodwinds, or in local communities where interested pupils cannot find a teacher to guide them. In order to alleviate this scarcity, we must solve the problem at its root: young bassoonists. There have been many attempts to provide better instructional material for beginner-level bassoonists and to produce better reeds to entice more students to study the bassoon and to sustain their playing beyond the first few years. These attempts, however, fail to address another critical issue: the cost and availability of the bassoon itself.

Most bassoonists in America begin their journey in public school; however, many school music programs cannot afford to purchase bassoons due to their cost. To combat this obstacle, Fox Products produced their first bassoon made of polypropylene—a synthetic material—in 1961 at a relatively low price point. This is an innovation that no other bassoon manufacturer has accomplished. An analysis of sales numbers from major instrument suppliers indicate that these bassoons have been very successful. Their availability has allowed schools to purchase instruments to educate more young bassoonists and, as a result, participant numbers of students in Texas (where public music programs are known for their strength) competing at regional and state competitions have increased over the past fifty years. Fox, through their focus on affordable student bassoons, is revitalizing young students’ interest in playing the bassoon and thus is a major factor in the reversal of the decline of bassoonists in America.

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2017