Happy 4th: The Star Spangled Banner

“Let every nation k4th of Julynow, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

~ John F. Kennedy 

 

10 pieces of classical music everyone should know

classical-musicAre you the kind of person who appreciates multiple genres of music?

Being familiar with the classics in any genre is a factor in one’s overall cultural awareness. In jazz, there’s Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight.” In country, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” In R&B, everyone should know Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” is a hip-hop classic; Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” is one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

Classical music is a tougher nut to crack, not only because it has centuries of history behind it, but also because it seems classical music lovers belong to an exclusive club, throwing around terms like partita, singspiel and von Karajan.

For the classical curious, cutting through the mystique may be a challenge, but we’re here to help. Don’t be that person who says their favourite piece of classical music is Phantom of the Opera. Get to know the following works, and build your classical music foundation.


Learn about the 10 pieces of classical music everyone should know from CBC Music.

Thursday’s Thought

Zander

“Art is about rearranging us, creating surprising juxtapositions, emotional openings, startling presences, flight paths to the eternal.”

- Ben Zander

The Acoustic Guitar

Created in the 1500s, the guitar is one of the most prominent instruments in history.acoustic-guitar

10 astonishing ways music affects your brain

colored keysThere’s a reason Bach was sent on the Voyager mission out of our solar system––music is one of (if not the) greatest creations of humankind. Modern psychology explains some of the effects music has on your brain. Here are some:

Singing together brings us together

Since music is often a social activity, making it together can help bring us together.

A study of almost one thousand Finnish pupils who took part in extended music classes, found they reported higher satisfaction at school in almost every area, even those not related to the music classes themselves (Eerola & Eerola, 2013)

Explaining the results, the lead researcher Päivi-Sisko Eerola, said:

“Singing in a choir and ensemble performance are popular activities at extended music classes. Other studies have established that people find it very satisfying to synchronize with one another. That increases affiliation within the group and may even make people like each other more than before.”

And

Babies are born to dance!

Infants as young as five-months-old respond rhythmically to music and seem to find it more interesting than speech.

In a study by Zentner and Eerola (2010), the babies spontaneously danced to all different types of music, and those that were most in time also smiled the most.

Maybe music really is in our genes!

See the full article at PsyBlog.

Friday Inspiration

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” Wayne W. DyerDyer quote

What Goes Around – Keeps Coming Around: Vinyl to Vinyl

There’s something about the sound of a vinyl record that can’t be beat. Today’s infographic informs us that vinyl sales have increased 17.7% since 2011. And I have to say, I don’t really know people who buy CDs anymore, what everybody really wants is records. There’s something ritualistic about putting on a record that might satisfy people as much as the actual music does. In high school I practically lived at my best friend’s house, who also happened to be my neighbor, and every time it rained we would put on Bridge over Troubled Water, by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, and listened to all of its vinyl-ly goodness, paired with raindrops. If we had done this with a CD, I don’t think the end result would have been the same.

There’s quite a bit of novelty and nostalgia wrapped up in record players themselves, and I think a lot of people are catching onto this. Whether it’s their sound–a kind gravelly and familiar heaviness in many cases–that makes us happy, or the attractiveness of the record player itself. What’s old is cool again–we’ve expressed this with vintage clothes, styles, and interests, and we’re now expressing this in the way we listen to music.

Check out today’s infographic for the low-down on vinyl records. I will leave you now with a quote from the great book High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby. “What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?” [Via]

vinylsales

14 Creative Ways to Hang Art

hanging artArt wall feeling a little ho-hum? Try one of these 14 fresh, creative ideas and give your walls a new lease on life. From art that creeps around the corners to unique matting ideas, backdrops and even a pulley system, perhaps one of these art arrangements from around Houzz will inspire a change in your own home. One tip for all: Lay out your arrangement on the floor and snap a picture of it before committing — it will save you a lot of nail holes!

 

Remodeling, decorating, and more ∨From a designer chair and desk to bulletin boards and credenza, create your dream home office.
Search for fun bar stools, clocks, sectional sofas and storage chests to spice up your basement.

Semi-Subterranean Digs: Modern Take on Native Pit Houses

Modernism meets traditional environmental systems in this elegant dwelling seemingly sliced into the ground around it, drawing on geothermal advantages without forcing its residents entirely underground.

Dubbed the Edgeland Residence, this project by Bercy Chen Studio rehabilitates an existing brownfield site and “takes advantage of the earth’s mass to maintain thermal comfort throughout the year”with an “insulative green roof and a 7‐foot excavation‐ gaining benefits from the earth’s mass to help it stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.”

The residence is composed of two primary volumes on either side of an artificial void – one side for daytime activities (living, cooking and so forth) and the other for nighttime (sleeping), oriented based on the trajectory of the sun through the sky.

Beyond bringing back an historic American architectural typology based on passive systems, the project also renews the local ecology: “Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center collaborated to reintroduce over 40 native species of plants and wildflowers to the Edgeland House green roof and site, serving to help protect the local ecosystem.”

Contemporary systems extend tradition and environmentalism, including an “integrated hydronic HVAC system” that combine “hydronic heating and a green roof for maximum energy efficiency.”