Waiting for ‘Zappa’

I suppose most people, these days, know of Frank Zappa, though probably not too many have heard his music. My first introduction to Frank Zappa’s music came many years ago with his 1977 double-album, Zappa In New York. The opening number was his take on the theme of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat, exploring the same … More Waiting for ‘Zappa’

And the musical litigation continues

Hot on the heels of the court ruling that a descending minor-scale motif in Katy Perry’s song ‘Dark Horse’ infringed a descending minor-scale motif in somebody else’s, comes news of another threatened lawsuit, this time involving Lady Gaga’s song ‘Shallow’. Allegedly this ripped off a three-note progression from a song by an unknown artist whose … More And the musical litigation continues

Katy Perry, Flame and the magic four-chord progression

I’ve been a bit puzzled by the copyright suit that ended the other week in the US. According to the news reports, pop-star Katy Perry’s 2013 hit ‘Dark Horse’ copied a 2008 song featuring Christian rapper Flame, ‘Joyful Noise’. After a four-year court battle, a jury agreed and Perry, her co-authors and her label were … More Katy Perry, Flame and the magic four-chord progression

If I don’t like it, the artist is stupid… right?

When I was a kid, proper musicians were defined as those qualified in and able to play ‘classical’ music, meaning stuff written in Europe from about the time of Bach through to the early twentieth century, after which music ceased (apparently) to require any competence or talent on the part of composer or performer. All … More If I don’t like it, the artist is stupid… right?

Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

1. Ernest Eldridge’s monster Fiat, Mephistopheles Back in 1923, British racing legend Ernest Eldridge bought an old Fiat racing car cheap after it had ‘blown’ a couple of cylinders at Brooklands. He lengthened the chassis and installed a 21.5 litre aero-engine developing 350 hp, driving the rear wheels by chain. He promptly broke the standing-start … More Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

Why classical music snobbery doesn’t cut it today

When I was growing up the definition of music was simple: it was anything composed from about 1650 up to about 1910 involving orchestras, opera singers, pianos and similar instruments. And the definition of a musician was somebody who could perform this stuff. One of the conceits poured over me on that basis was that … More Why classical music snobbery doesn’t cut it today