Monday, March 31, 2014

Symphony for Brass by Malcom Arnold

Sir Malcolm Arnold (left) with Denis Egan
on natural trumpets in 1946
Today we listened to Sir Malcom Arnold's Symphony for Brass as recorded by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. The piece was written in 1978 with the PJBE standard instrumentation of four trumpets, one horn, four trombones and one tuba. We discussed some theories of why this instrumentation came about. It may have had something to do with the fact that the PJBE originated as a brass quintet.

Arnold was born in Northampton, England in 1921 and after hearing Louis Armstrong play, he decided to learn the trumpet at age twelve. He attended the Royal College of Music and studied trumpet with Gordon Jacob. In 1957, Arnold won an Academy Award for the music to epic film The Bridge on the River Kwai.

According to Music Academy Online:
Malcolm Arnold moved to Ireland in 1972, where he reveled in the lush scenery and lively Celtic music. Here, however, his behavior became increasingly erratic and, in 1977, his second marriage collapsed and he returned to England, exhausted and unable to work for several years. Significant works eventually emerged during this unhappy period, such as the Trumpet Concerto, Symphony for Brass and the Eighth Symphony.
Oral history of Glyndebourne opera
Oral history of Glyndebourne opera

Here is a link to the book The Odyssey of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble by Donna McDonald available at Editions BIM.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Fourth Marching Band

At the end of the soundtrack for the Pixar animated film, Monsters University is a funky and upbeat tune called "Gospel" by the group March Fourth Marching Band. Check out the sound at this YouTube link.

Like a lot of brass bands we've heard, their group also includes saxes and percussion, but M4 is so much more. They have added elaborate costumes, singers and dancers to create an innovative circus-like atmosphere. Here is a description from their website:
MarchFourth Marching Band (M4 to its fans) is a kaleidoscope of musical and visual energy that inspires dancing in an atmosphere of celebration. Aside from their marching band themed costumes, as well as the 5-piece percussion corps and 6-part brass section, M4 is far from a “marching band” in any traditional sense (though this group of 15-20 has been known to parade down Main Street before taking the stage). M4 is anchored by funky electric bass and has been evolving into a more guitar- and vocal-driven musical experience. The show will take you on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the gypsy camps of eastern Europe to the African jungle by way of Brazil, echoing the deepest grooves of American funk, rock, and jazz then boiling it all together in cinematic fashion with high-stepping stilt-acrobatics and dazzling dancers. This genre-busting, in-your-face experience is not to be missed! What began as a Fat Tuesday party in Portland, OR. on March 4th 2003, has since become one of the nation’s best live touring acts.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Citing Online Sources

All of you did a great job on your recent papers, but I noticed that not all of you knew how to list online sources in your bibliographies. Here is some advice from the Tippie College of Business website article:

Web versions of printed material

Because web sources are time-sensitive, meaning that web content can change day by day, it is important to include the day of retrieval and the URL from which you quoted the material. You include this in a retrieval statement.
The format for online versions of print publications should basically follow the same format as above, meaning if you’re referencing an online book, you should follow the book format with the addition of the retrieval statement. If you’re referencing an online periodical, you should follow the periodical format with the addition of the retrieval statement.
Note that you should not break the Internet address of the link, even if it requires its own line. Very long URLs, such as those that occur when using an online database, can be shortened by removing the retrieval code. (The retrieval code usually consists of a long string of unintelligible letters and numbers following the end point “htm” or “html.” Remove everything that occurs after that point to shorten.)
Author. (Date of Internet Publication—could be more than a year) “Document Title.” Title of Publication. Retrieved on: Date from Full Web Address, starting with http://

Grant, Linda. (January 13, 1997) “Can Fisher Focus Kodak?” Fortune. Retrieved on August 22, 1997 from
The above is just one example of citing online sources. There are more extensive bibliographic guidelines at

Although I asked for double spacing, which allows the grader room for correction, extended quotations should be single-spaced, since we should assume their are no errors in previously published text. Some sources even suggest indenting block quotes to further identify non-original material.

The University of Iowa Libraries has a good online resources at