Category The Song

Classical music

As a student of composition, I am often asked, “what type of music do you write?” Typically I just say, “concert music,” meaning that I’m not a singer-songwriter and don’t write music for movies and video games. This usually leaves people perplexed, though. The music they’re accustomed to hearing in a concert hall is by […]

Variations on a Theme: Musicality and Mutability in Wordsworth and Christina Rossetti

Variations on a Theme: Musicality and Mutability in Wordsworth and Christina Rossetti   Mutability By William Wordsworth From low to high doth dissolution climb, And sink from high to low, along a scale Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail; A musical but melancholy chime, Which they can hear who meddle not with crime, […]

Humans Can’t Convey Emotion

In a recent group lesson, the composition professor asked the presenting student if music could convey emotion. The student replied, “No. Music is perceived by individuals as a series of consonances and dissonances, to which he or she may have an emotional response based on their psychological makeup, but it cannot convey emotion.” ”Yeah, exactly,” […]

Caged in: in discussion with the 20th century’s guru of music and life

Reading John Cage leads one to question the purpose behind any musical pursuits, particularly composition. “And what is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of paradox: a purposelessness or a purposeless play.” On first reading, Cage has […]

Requiescant in pace: four requiems for the month of November

Since Mozart wrote his unfinished Requiem Mass in 1791, the trend of writing multi-movement works for the dead has only increased in popularity among composers. Though Mozart wrote his final opus for use in the Mass, over time, as the Church began to discourage the use of things theatrical and operatic in the liturgy and […]

Sonnet I – Jacob T. Reilly

I previously posted my most recent sonnet, Sonnet XXXV (I suppose 9 months ago isn’t very “recent,” but nonetheless it is the last sonnet I have written). Below is my first sonnet, and really the first poem I ever wrote. Written for my wife almost 5 years ago, my best friend and now brother-in-law, John […]

What’s being said about music: Part 1

I’d like to begin by thanking Dom for inviting me to write for the Dormitory. If I could introduce myself briefly, my name is John Henderson, and I am currently working on my Masters of Music in composition at The Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. 
In my few years of studying music in a university setting, I’ve […]