Sep 12

Live Clip: “Summertime” (and some musicological musings on Jazz culture)

By Lars Rosager | Moral Philosophy , Music

Textual Chordophonics

September 11, 2020


Greetings! Just taking a second to share a brief clip (below) of a recent rendition of the standard “Summertime.” Apart from offering this bit of music for your listening pleasure and as a way to share some current developments with regard to my skills and knowledge, I thought I might tie in a little cultural context from the era of this tune’s publication with current events. So often one takes a seemingly American classic such as “Summertime” for granted as a representative and wholesome example of popular culture, but this music’s history, as in many other cases, may just change the course of its performers.

I have alluded to this idea in the past (“My Man’s Gone Now”), though now it finds special relevance given a strengthened movement for real racial justice in BLM—strengthened by force and under outrageous duress, a critical and urgent civil-rights issue: George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” (lyrics by DuBose Heyward) is an important reminder of how history has time and again witnessed Black and/or African music [Edited 10/20/2020 from “Black African music.” Thank you, Ayden Isam Bradley for your comments.] brought into a more mainstream and White space (related article from Smithsonian Magazine.) [The intentions behind the original phrasing Black African was to bring awareness to how native African musical stylings might be represented within a Black American musical context. For further reading see The Other Classical Musics: Fifteen Great Traditions, p. 201. Also, as I understand it, Dr. Anthony Brown wrote his dissertation on the transmission of native African drum stylings into Jazz music. I have not gained access to the text, but its author would be a great source for further inquiry.]

The at-times obscured Black and/or African centrality to American Folk Music as a general topic must be brought to the fore. Southern fiddle-tune stylings so often associated with the more politically dominant White cultures owe much to Black musicians. It has been proposed that so quintessentially American an instrument as the steel-string guitar is, at its roots, a cross between the Spanish guitar and the African banjo. Prevalent are the indelible and indispensable contributions of Black and/or African rhythmic sensibility to the regional musics of North and South America, particularly in the US and in Brazil. Should this and other non-Anglo traditions really be treated as such Others? How independent of non-Anglo traditions can American popular music really be, and which are the commonalities with regard to other phases in Western music?

One hopes the popularization (commodification?) of Black and/or African music has not in all cases been malevolent or otherwise an instance of plagiaristic opportunism. The potential inquiries into this topic are many and varied, though one thing is certain: today’s global moral climate invites a more prevalent awareness of the sociology behind Black and/or African music in so far as the latter has shaped the musical tastes of White-European America(s). [I invite you all to contribute discussion on the topic of sociological diversity in Music to the SF State Music Majors Facebook Group.]

Aug 26

Two Compositions in Raga Bhimpalasi

By Lars Rosager | Music

Textual Chordophonics

August 26, 2020

This is another example of a concept discussed previously here on the Textual Chordophonics blog. The slow Dhrupad-style composition links to the fast piece (inspired by campanella guitar technique) through an alignment of each composition’s sam, or downbeat. Thanks!



May 22

Linking Slow and Fast Compositions in Indian Classical Music

By Lars Rosager | Music

While the general framework Alaap-Jor-Jhala guides most styles of Indian Classical Music, and other typical formal devices shape these three sections as well as shaping the development of fixed compositions, the Indian tradition is quite spacious in terms of room for personalization and innovation. This music thrives on spontaneity, but also enjoys the effects of close attention to detail and careful planning.

Here I present some original thinking on how one might move from a slow (vilambit) gat composition into a fast (drut) gat. The crux of the matter is preserving sam, the equivalent of the down beat in Western music. I have exemplified the idea with two compositions in Raga Yaman, and compared the treatment to a rendition of Raga Brindavani Sarang and one of Raga Sindhu Bhairavi. I have explored the concept in Ragas other than Yaman, and would be happy to share my findings.

Apr 08

Campanelle for Modern Guitars: Exercises in C Major, G Major, and D Major

By Lars Rosager | Uncategorized

Campanella technique as it existed on the Italian Baroque guitar has resulted in some confusion when it comes to transcriptions for modern instruments tuned in any non-reentrant manner. The most recent addition to the online store aims at making campanelle a reality on non-reentrant stringed instruments. The exercises in C Major, G Major, and D Major—keys on the flat side of the circle of fifths and those further along the sharp side do not lend themselves to a full treatment—are written for the six-string guitar in standard EADGBE tuning.

Let it be known that these exercises cover much more ground than just being practical for music in C Major, G Major, or D Major. They are applicable in some ways to the Church modes, as well as to the relative minors A Minor, E Minor, and B Minor. Further, the exercises provide good foundation for campanella shapes in other modes and keys (or even atonal or microtonal compositions), though said keys might not be realistic for an exercise spanning the entire gamut of the scale tonic to tonic. The YouTube video shared here was created in an earlier stage of my exploration of modern-guitar campanella. I am glad to have made good on my efforts to bring the exercises to a greater state of completeness and share something of pedagogical value. Thanks very much.

Mar 06

Sample from Upcoming Release

By Lars Rosager | Music

Greetings! This video contains another sample of my current project, a composition for voice guitar dealing with the intertwining of color, season, and human sentiment. The music will be released with an accompanying essay treating some points on the moral philosophy of music education. Text—both set to music and in essay form—and guitar are inspired by some conclusions I have drawn with regard to universalist philosophy and scientifically reasoned spirituality, which are summarized briefly with the following:

    1. Human understands they exist within the scientific laws of the natural world.
    2. Ironically, what sets human apart from animal is the ability to partially defy mortality (i.e., nature), particularly through the quasi-eternity afforded by written language. Also, love and compassion are ways in which human might shun more immediate, “animal” concerns; in sum, human can envision a sort of liberation from science and natural survival, a contrast to item 1.
    3. These two propositions must be examined through scenarios involving a) the individual, b) the two-human dynamic, and c) the collective.

From these points, the essay expounds on how to most responsibly approach music education for various age groups. The musical composition is based on the idea of modulation through the full scope of the circle of fifths. Thank you.

Dec 22

Single Added to Store, Samples Available

By Lars Rosager | News

PictureTextual Chordophonics
December 22, 2019

Owing to the fact that I am currently continuing current work on more longterm recording and writing projects, I have decided to make available some past material now. “Removido” is a brief composition for voice and seven-string guitar, an up-tempo and emotionally charged piece. The mp3 of “Removido” is available through the Store section of this website for $2.00.

In this post, I am offering the five movements of my first guitar sonata, perhaps better titled a sonatina because the movements are rather short. This music is included on Harmony Lives/Melodiboken, among various other styles. The mp3s are available for free download below. Thanks!!!


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Nov 14

Indian Music at Renew Yoga December 4, 2019

By Lars Rosager | Music

On Wednesday December 4, 2019 at 5:30 pm, I will be offering a solo-guitar performance of Raga Yaman as an accompaniment to the regularly scheduled yoga class at Renew Yoga in Petaluma, CA, USA. Admission to the class is $16, which can be paid on arrival at the door.Please enjoy the videos on the left and below! Thank you.

Oct 23

Performance this Friday

By Lars Rosager | News

Picture Textual Chordophonics
October 23, 2019

I’m happy to share news that I will be singing and playing this Friday, October 25, at 6:30 pm at the Petaluma Arts Center. The event is intended to support local artists. Admission is $10.00. For more information, click here. Thanks so much!


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