Michael Scott Cuthbert

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887 reputation
322
bio website trecento.com
location Cambridge, MA
age 37
visits member for 1 year, 4 months
seen 23 hours ago

Associate Professor of Music at MIT writing a book on 14th c. Italian Music. Teach music theory, Medieval and Renaissance Music, Contemporary Music, and Computational Musicology. Developer of the music21 toolkit for Symbolic Music Information Retrieval (http://web.mit.edu/music21/).


Jul
8
comment Why does Fux use F# in his counterpoint to a firmus written in G mixolydian
Looked it up in the original 1725 edition, imslp.org/wiki/Gradus_ad_Parnassum_(Fux,_Johann_Joseph) p. 61 -- it's definitely there in the original. My guess is that since each of the last two Fs move up to G it may have been considered a cross-relation to make the first F-natural and the second F#.
Jun
14
comment The origin of “Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father”
Not sure that's it's too localized to keep as a question -- answers are still getting upvotes.
Apr
7
comment Do the F clef and G clef always reside on the same line?
A common place where someone might encounter the French violin clef is in the Dover (Bach Gesellschaft) edition of the Musical Offering, which uses it for several pieces.
Apr
7
comment Do the F clef and G clef always reside on the same line?
That is the French Violin Clef. The G-soprano clef rests on the third line and is lower than treble clef. More often that clef was written as a C clef on the bottom line.
Apr
7
comment Are there any “etudes for the orchestra”?
I think Kari is right -- I've played in a number of bands with them as a kid, but never orchestras.
Feb
20
comment What is the rhythmic notation for 5/8 the duration of a whole note?
Crumb wanted to innovate on notation and believed (so I gather) that by making a new note value that he hoped would become standard, more people would begin to use quintuple meter and consider it as fundamental to music as duple and triple meter. His notation wasn't a success, but music history is filled with similar examples, some of which worked and we now consider obvious (stem direction according to height), some were standard but disappeared later (custodes telling you the first note of the next line) and many failed.
Dec
29
comment Can the double stop E natural F sharp be played on cello?
Great followup. I totally agree that double stops should be used sparingly and knowingly for their specific effect when there is an alternative of using two players.
Dec
6
comment Do instruments get out of tune when you place them near a radiator?
A wood instrument can crack, not so much from the heat, but from the dryness around the radiator. Avoid if you possibly can. If you can't, make sure that a dampit or other humidity adding device is stored really close by.
Oct
23
comment List of possible trichord/triad names
something seems to not be working the answer is not appearing. View Source to see the list. Or maybe someone can figure out why...
Oct
16
comment Chord progressions ending in “I” at the end of a phrase vs. the beginning of the next
And then today, someone tells me that Bill Caplain's book on phrase discusses this, calling it an "elided" cadence. Not thrilled with the term, because it has other meanings too, but worth noting.
Oct
14
comment Chord progressions ending in “I” at the end of a phrase vs. the beginning of the next
(Not exactly the answer I was looking for, but a great discussion and worth the Accepted check.)
Sep
26
comment Alto singing Tenor
Great answer -- I agree that changing the key is the best solution. But if you have to, you can use those notes or others. The notes that I liked best were "Ab Bb G Ab | Bb - C - | Ab Bb Db C Bb - |" which preserves the contour of the line, which is what untrained listeners focus most on.
Sep
23
comment How would you interpret this chord progression?
Great answer. The A then becomes an upper neighbor tone to the 6/4 chord. Pretty common, as it also gives a bit of V7 flavor to the whole passage. The passage then reduces to a larger-scale expansion of V. Is the passage followed by an e-minor chord later or earlier?
Sep
16
comment How can I find choir sheet music?
I know (hence the last two sentences) and thank you for the clarification -- I was trying to answer the main question about centralized databases for finding music and not so much the side note. To be totally pedantic, IMSLP has CC-licensed music in addition to music in the public domain, but most of that musc is by up and coming composers and not major figures.
Sep
5
comment Chord progressions ending in “I” at the end of a phrase vs. the beginning of the next
No. I should've used the term cadence in my question, but both of the situations I'm referring to are both authentic cadences; their beat position makes them both "masculine" cadences. The difference is the position within their phrases where the cadence takes place.
Aug
20
comment How does one read very loud or very soft dynamic markings (e.g. ffff, ppp)?
It is used often during rehearsals: "clarinets: begin at the triple forte" -- saying "begin at ''forte possibile'' " will not have everyone begin at the same place. Certain composers (Xenakis for instance; band composer Alfred Reed also) definitely make a distinction between fff and ffff. Look at ismir2011.ismir.net/papers/PS3-1.pdf for a count of usage of ppp vs. pppp vs. ppppp vs. pppppp.
Aug
14
comment What are all these symbols in some old sheet music?
The end of line "w"s (called custodes (singular: custos); latin: guard) were very important in earlier music where the clef (esp. C clefs) would change often (preferring clef changes to ledger lines) so that at the end of lines they would help the performer notice the clef change. Nowadays we would use a courtesy clef at the end of the line to point that out. The w at the solo parts serves the same purpose, showing the note that would be played if the part were written an octave up.
Jul
8
comment Does a chord need to include its root?
Some theorists (following Riemann) also view the diminished 7th chord as a dominant-ninth chord with omitted root. Which goes to show that what the root of a chord is is up to the perception of the listener, and it may simply be implied.
May
21
comment Accidentals in First Species Counterpoint
sorry -- flipped the two terms once, but the rest of the explanation was correct.
May
3
comment Are repeated octaves permissable in a fourt part SATB?
Great question -- my students got confused by this every year until I started putting it in bold type on the assignments. Use the term "oblique octaves" instead of successive, since that's a term others use to mean parallel.