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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000118.txt from 2005/05

From: "Wes Kilpatrick" <whkilpatrick@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] Possible racist views in music titles (was: Rubank Method: not all by Voxman)
Date: Fri, 06 May 2005 13:14:25 -0400

Perhaps I am ignorant on this point but does this possibly interpret to
Black Dance and possibly not a racist remark. Also on the point of being
embarrassed by history. Are we to either erase history or ignore it just
because we do not agree with it now? The whole point of learning history in
the first place is to learn from the mistakes of the past. It happened!
Learn from it, don't live in it.

Wes
----- Original Message -----
From: "dnleeson" <dnleeson@-----.net>
To: <klarinet@-----.org>
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 12:31 PM
Subject: RE: [kl] Possible racist views in music titles (was: Rubank Method:
not all by Voxman)

> Margaret has brought up an interesting point in her note about
> the Rubank methods. It is one on which I have thought for a long
> time and her opening up of the topic allows me to comment on it.
>
> One of the things that Margaret points out is that a duet in the
> first Rubank book has the title "Danse Negre," or "Negro dance."
> And the problem with titles like that is that you either keep
> them, change them, or stop playing the music to avoid a
> perpetuation of a time in American history that continues to
> embarass us more and more and cultural maturity changes our
> society almost from minute to minute.
>
> I'm not really beating up on that particular title but rather a
> broader issues of facing up to racism in music or music titles.
> It is not an overwhelming issue, but it is not non trivial
> either.
>
> For example, Millard Filmore (of "Lassus Trombone" infamy, and
> which is a very vulgar picture of black America in their "happy,
> happy, watermelon eating days") wrote titles that are so awful
> that the works can no longer be performed. This is indepenedent
> of whether or not they are good music. The one that comes to
> mind (and forgive me, I have to be explicit) is his band
> composition entitled "Nigger Fricassee." When I played with
> Keith Brion and the New Sousa Band, he happened to mention that
> one as an example of music that simply cannot be performed under
> the original title, and, except for inventing a new title (which
> is a questionable practice) cannot be played at all.
>
> There are productions of Magic Flute in which the character
> Monastotos is painted green instead of black to avoid the racist
> view of the part. In fact, the text of the opera reads (when
> Papageno meets him for the first time), "Well, there are black
> birds in the world, so why should there not be black men?" But
> the fact of Monastostos' negritude is not the issue as much as it
> is the slimy nature of his character; i.e., not much differnt in
> effect that Stepp'n-Fetchit's portrayals in the 30's and 40's.
>
> In the case of "Dance Negre," would "African/American Dance" do?
> I think not. It is not only clumsy but unsuited to a performance
> outside of the United States. (Are there African/Englishman in
> London? Are there African/Italians in Rome?) Would "Black Man's
> Dance" do? I also think not. If it is possible to measure these
> things, it's worse than "Dance Negre."
>
> In the case of "Pictures at An Exhibition," the orchestral
> version of "Samuel Goldenburg and Schmuyle" has, to me at least,
> always been an embarassment to play. It's whining, nagging music
> is so very much a negative thought picture of the two men, even
> though program notes wash that out when they write about the
> movement. But our role, when we play, is talent in playing, not
> in asserting issues of political correctness. Or is that wrong?
>
> I pose all these points because some of them need to be
> confronted. When we see explicitly racist movies of the 30s (and
> even earlier silent film racism), we view Hollywood at a time
> when they were both ignorant and uncaring about what they were
> doing. Lord knows that Al Jolson, dressed in blackface and
> singing "Mammy" would be hooted off the stage today.
>
> I wonder if anything even bordering an ethic cleansing of music
> would be an enormous overkill for what may be only a very small
> problem. But if Margaret thinks that one of the reasons not to
> use Rubank 1 is the title of a small duet, that is the kind of
> thing that a publisher would take very seriously.
>
> It's not as easy a problem as it looks, but it may not be worth
> the solving.
>
> Dan Leeson
> DNLeeson@-----.net
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Margaret Thornhill [mailto:clarinetstudio@-----.net]
> Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 8:37 AM
> To: klarinet@-----.org
> Subject: [kl] Rubank Method: not all by Voxman
>
>
> Adam wrote:
>>> The Rubank methods, in my opinion, go much too fast for a rank
> musical
>>> beginner.
>
> Yes, for woodwind-specific reasons that are solved in part by
> books like
> Galper's and mine, such as developing a fine legato in the
> chalumeau before
> moving up.
>
> Chuck wrote:
>> If it goes too fast perhaps one should slow down and thoroughly
> learn each
>> line. Mr. Voxman knew exactly what he was writing in the 30's.
>>
>
> Fond memories aside, the Rubank books I have in my library (NEW)
> are still
> edited by:
> (Beginning) Nilo Hovey and (Intermediate--1936) J.E. Skornicka
> and Robert
> Miller.
> It is the advanced books that were edited by H. Voxman.
>
> The first two books are in desperate need of revision.
>
> Some small examples of why:
>
> Virtually all the melodic material in the Intermediate book is in
> the form
> of duets. The worst are by Skornicka. Others are by the
> violinist, Mazas
> (source of many of the Rose Etudes) including one actually called
> "Danse
> Negre."
>
> In a book with fewer than 50 pages, at least five are devoted to
> trills and
> grace notes, the darlings of the 19th century.(Klose also puts a
> disproportionate, by modern standards, emphasis on
> ornamentation.) How often
> does a 7th grade player ever hear a "triple grace note" (read
> that, "turn")
> let alone need to have one ready to improvise?
>
> There are useful technical studies in a variety of keys. There
> is an
> emphasis on developing staccato and velocity, which the player
> may or may
> not be ready for.
>
> If an intermediate student already has this, I let him use the
> scale studies
> and fingering chart and cut to the chase by giving him other
> things like the
> wonderful 60 Rambles (which sadly, are also starting to seem a
> little dated)
> the Hite books, the Eric Simon pieces, Voxman's own duets (which
> are fine)
> and as much melodic material of all types as he is willing to
> buy. A good
> one that came to me recently is the Australian, Mark Walton's "66
> Great
> Tunes."
>
> Margaret Thornhill
>
> http://home.comcast.net/~clarinetstudio/
>
>
>
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