Internships

IMSLP is pleased to announce that we are currently accepting internship applications from motivated risk-takers!   Our interns work directly with our department leaders in order to gain experience in operations management, project development, technology (web development), and marketing.

Please email internships@imslp.org if you are interested in more information.

Open Minds

Almost ten years ago, IMSLP started with a passion of giving the world access to music. We believe that all people, no matter their background, should have the chance to connect with one of the greatest treasures of humanity. Now that IMSLP has over 300,000 music scores and recordings, we would like to extend this philosophy even further.

Open Minds, an IMSLP exclusive video series, stems from the idea that positive change can happen as simply as a single conversation between two people. Through this conversation, we would like to bring together the music and arts communities. We would like to inspire collaboration instead of competition, enthusiasm over envy, and patience over provocation. Together, we hope to address and solve problems concerning art, and build a foundation of ideas upon which we can establish a sustainable system of arts education available for all people.

On behalf of IMSLP, I would like to invite you to join this conversation. We are forever grateful for the adventurous, curious, and willing community of the IMLSP project. The time has come for us to once again join forces and start along a new path. We ask that you approach this video series with an open mind, and see it as all works of art – a work in progress. We welcome your constructive feedback, and hope that you will join us in becoming a positive force of change through the arts. In the words of Leopold Stokowski, “do better.”

Nicholas Lewis

Community Outreach Leader of IMSLPhttp://https://youtu.be/-Y2m4fprv1A

Why We Study Music

First pops concert at Cascades Park.
First pops concert at Cascades Park.

What does it take to create a great performance?  Fighting against trains, humidity, and buckets of rain, the Florida State University Philharmonia Orchestra performed its first ever out doors pops concert tonight.   Instead of being discouraged by the circumstances, the musicians – led by Dr. Alexander Jiménez – engaged with each other to create one of the most emotional, fun, and meaningful performance in which I’ve ever had the privilege of being involved.   Here are some thoughts from audience members and performers:

“Only a symphony orchestra could get people dancing in a conga line in the rain. Congratulations, UPO, on a concert that reminded me why I study music. Bravo!” ~ Will Whitehead (Violist and Music Education Major)

“Super loud train… conga line… and a giant rain storm, but that didn’t stop us. This is definitely a orchestra performance I’ll never forget.” ~ Dasha Gilmore (Violinist and Bassoonist)

“Rain or shine, train horns or not, with or without active conga lines (proud to say there WAS in fact a conga line at one point, however), UPO can brave it all” ~ Siera Condon (Cellist)

“Well from the pouring rain to the freight train going by and even a conga line, that will be a concert I will never forget!!!! So much fun!!!!!!!!” ~ Ben Maynard (Violinist)

In 2008, the average age of the classical concert goer was 49.  Unfortunately, I would not be surprised if now – 7 years later – the average age were 56.  I often wonder why, but the stigma about classical performances tells the story: people believe that classical music is elitist, expensive, and boring.

I say that that this concert proves, yet again, that music is fundamental and exciting.  If more universities could engage with each other in making music this way, the performance culture could “restore” to a new Golden Age.  A Golden Age that so desperately needs to begin now.  A Golden Age that must trickle down from the musicians of our generation.  It is in our hands now, and the University Philharmonia sincerely thanks Dr. Alexander Jiménez  (music director) and Patricia Flowers (Dean of the College of Music) for creating such a special atmosphere where we can all together engage and inspire the community at large.

Review: University Symphony Concert (FSU)

By Nicholas D. Lewis

I do not often write reviews about performances or musicians, but I attended a concert this evening that forces me to break the mold.  The Florida State University Symphony , lead by Alexander Jimenez, is comprised of the most passionate student musicians I have ever had the privilege of seeing.  This is an ensemble that rehearses almost every day, but always play in a way that makes me believe I am hearing the music for the first time.

Lawrence Quinnett performed the fiendishly difficult third piano concerto by Rachmaninov with technical wizardry that was only surpassed by sensitivity.  The way that Lawrence communicated with conductor, the orchestra,  and the audience made me feel involved with every sound.  This outstanding pianist combines all the different elements of music to create a convincing  and passionate performance.

I challenge all musicians to approach a piece of music as though they are seeing it for the first time.  Rehearsals are necessary, but these students prove that the work does not need to diminish inspiration and freshness.  I reject the belief that classical music dying, it is only passion and creativity that seems to be dying. The art is in the hand of young people now.  Take this as a challenge to have an open mind.

Nigerian Church Music: Reform

By Segun Akinfenwa

Unlike the early years of worship in the Church of Nigeria, where each music setting – Canticles, Psalms, Chants, Hymns, Versicles and Responses – has a different part, the present day way of worship is not so. My experience playing in the Anglican church in the Nigerian city of Ibadan summed up the problem. I was teaching our choir the canticle, psalm and chant in preparation for a visit to the Diocesan Bishop for annual anniversary. One of my choristers approached me and asked, “Why must we sing this ‘ORIN ARO’ on a day like this” ORIN ARO – Yoruba language meaning “Mourning song”.

CANTICLES

A Canticle (from the Latin Canticulum) is a hymn-psalm or other song of praise. In the Church of England, morning and evening prayers according to the Book of Common Prayer were extensively used in Canticles.

At the Morning Prayer

  • Venite (Psalm 95)
  • Te Deum (not biblical) or Benedicite (Daniel 3 :57 -88 on the Aporcypha)
  • Benedictus (Luke 1 : 68 – 79) or Jubilate Deo (Psalm 100)

At evening prayer

  • Magnificat (Luke 1: 46 – 55) or Cantate Domino (Psalm 98)
  • Nunc Dimittis (Luke2 : 29 – 32) or Deus Misereatur (Psalm 67)

CHANT

Chant (from French Chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds often on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants can range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures. These often include a great deal repetition of musical sub-phrases, such as great Responsories and Offertories of Gregorian chant.

PSALMS

In early Temple worship, the psalms occupied a central place in temple liturgy. For example: there is an appropriate psalm for each day of the week. Day 1 (Ps. 24), Day 2 (Ps.48), Day 3 (Ps. 82), Day 4 (Ps. 93), Day 5 (Ps. 81), Day 6 (Ps. 93) and on Sabbath.

The book of all 150 psalms was compiled over a long period of time, and its present form was well established after the exile and the rebuilding of the Temple. In the early church, chanting of Psalms remained central to worship.

The 16th Century Reformation

The 16th century reformation in England brought sweeping changes into the form of worship in the church. The principal of which was the compression of daily worship into services. Mattins and Evensong.

Mattins was based on the Roman Mattins of Salisbury Cathedral – the Sarum rite. Its canticles were VENITE (Ps. 95), the Te Deum, the Benedictus – Zechriah’s song found in Luke’s gospel chapter 1, sometimes the Quicumque vult (The Athanasian creed), which was a part of prime, Jubilate Deo (Ps. 100), Benedicib Omnia Opera.

The evening song canticles were the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis (The song of Simeon in Luke’s Gospel chapter 2).

John Merbecke in 1550 published his book of common prayer, noted and provided simple music for the ordinary texts for communion, and for the Versicles and Responses, psalms, canticles and prayers of Mattins and Evensong.

From the 150 psalms of David, various chants have been composed by several composers throughout the ages. These chants reflect the moods and themes of the psalms. There are:

Psalm of exultation – Ps 8

Psalms of thanksgiving – Ps 9, 136

Psalm of adoration – Ps 19

Psalm of penitence – Ps 51

Psalm of deliverance – Ps 20

Psalms of praise – Ps 148 and 150

There is no situation in life that does not have a corresponding psalm.

In the Book of Common Prayer, there is a psalm for each day, Mattins and Evensong, and for each psalm day, there are appropriate chants. Very many composers have worked tirelessly through the ages.

For example: F.A.G. Ouseley, George A. Macfarren, Edward J. Hopkins, Joseph Sarnby, T.A. Walmisley, James Ture, g. J. Elvey, C.V. Stanford, John Foster, George Thalben-Ball, Henry Purcell, John Wesley, S.S. Wesley, S. Mathews, J.J. Ransome-Kuti, T.K.E Philips, Fela Sowande, Ayo Bankole and Olaolu Omideyi can be included in this list.

Influence of Psalms, Chant and Canticles in early church worship in Nigeria

The influence of psalms, Chant and canticles for early churches for worshipping was so great that any service (Mattins, evensong e.t.c) without chants and canticles was not considered complete. At first, the chants and canticles were usually performed in English language; this is because most of the services were conducted mainly in English, but the emergence of the “Doyen of Nigerian music” T. K. E. Phillips, was very instrumental in worships across the Yoruba nation.

Phillips wrote several chants in four part polyphony to sing various psalms of David in Yoruba language. Some psalms are chanted, while others are set as choral anthems for the choir only, to sing. The combination of these, no doubt brings God’s glory

Emergence of Contemporary Churches

The emergence of contemporary churches has greatly influenced the way of worship in Anglican Communion and other orthodox churches in Nigeria. The dwindling nature of musically inclined priest (This is a topic for another day) in the church of Nigeria has also impacted negatively.

Chants and Canticles are now being replaced with short choruses, ideally, Chant cannot play the role of the hymn, and choruses cannot replace the spiritual role of canticles and psalms in sacred worship.

All of this music plays a different role in the worship, but this understanding is getting lost gradually, and what is alarming now is that the “Contemporary churches” are embracing the idea of chanting during sacred worship.

Now is the time to go back to the days when Psalms, chants and Canticles were much part of worship in the service for glorifying God.

Nigerian Church Music: Reform

Segun Akinfenwa

Unlike the early years of worship in the Church of Nigeria, where each music setting – Canticles, Psalms, Chants, Hymns, Versicles and Responses – has a different part, the present day way of worship is not so. My experience playing in the Anglican church in the Nigerian city of Ibadan summed up the problem. I was teaching our choir the canticle, psalm and chant in preparation for a visit to the Diocesan Bishop for annual anniversary. One of my choristers approached me and asked, “Why must we sing this ‘ORIN ARO’ on a day like this” ORIN ARO – Yoruba language meaning “Mourning song”.

CANTICLES

A Canticle (from the Latin Canticulum) is a hymn-psalm or other song of praise. In the Church of England, morning and evening prayers according to the Book of Common Prayer were extensively used in Canticles.

At the Morning Prayer

  • Venite (Psalm 95)
  • Te Deum (not biblical) or Benedicite (Daniel 3 :57 -88 on the Aporcypha)
  • Benedictus (Luke 1 : 68 – 79) or Jubilate Deo (Psalm 100)

At evening prayer

  • Magnificat (Luke 1: 46 – 55) or Cantate Domino (Psalm 98)
  • Nunc Dimittis (Luke2 : 29 – 32) or Deus Misereatur (Psalm 67)

CHANT

Chant (from French Chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds often on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants can range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures. These often include a great deal repetition of musical sub-phrases, such as great Responsories and Offertories of Gregorian chant.

PSALMS

In early Temple worship, the psalms occupied a central place in temple liturgy. For example, there is an appropriate psalm for each day of the week. Day 1 (Ps. 24), Day 2 (Ps.48), Day 3 (Ps. 82), Day 4 (Ps. 93), Day 5 (Ps. 81), Day 6 (Ps. 93) and on Sabbath.

The book of all 150 psalms was compiled over a long period of time, and its present form was well established after the exile and the rebuilding of the Temple. In the early church, chanting of Psalms remained central to worship.

The 16th Century Reformation

The 16th century reformation in England brought sweeping changes into the form of worship in the church. The principal of which was the compression of daily worship into services. Mattins and Evensong.

Mattins was based on the Roman Mattins of Salisbury Cathedral – the Sarum rite. Its canticles were VENITE (Ps. 95), the Te Deum, the Benedictus – Zechriah’s song found in Luke’s gospel chapter 1, sometimes the Quicumque vult (The Athanasian creed), which was a part of prime, Jubilate Deo (Ps. 100), Benedicib Omnia Opera.

The evening song canticles were the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis (The song of Simeon in Luke’s Gospel chapter 2).

John Merbecke in 1550 published his book of common prayer, noted and provided simple music for the ordinary texts for communion, and for the Versicles and Responses, psalms, canticles and prayers of Mattins and Evensong.

From the 150 psalms of David, various chants have been composed by several composers throughout the ages. These chants reflect the moods and themes of the psalms. There are:

Psalm of exultation – Ps 8

Psalms of thanksgiving – Ps 9, 136

Psalm of adoration – Ps 19

Psalm of penitence – Ps 51

Psalm of deliverance – Ps 20

Psalms of praise – Ps 148 and 150

There is no situation in life that does not have a corresponding psalm.

In the Book of Common Prayer, there is a psalm for each day, Mattins and Evensong, and for each psalm day, there are appropriate chants. Very many composers have worked tirelessly through the ages.

For example: F.A.G. Ouseley, George A. Macfarren, Edward J. Hopkins, Joseph Sarnby, T.A. Walmisley, James Ture, g. J. Elvey, C.V. Stanford, John Foster, George Thalben-Ball, Henry Purcell, John Wesley, S.S. Wesley, S. Mathews, J.J. Ransome-Kuti, T.K.E Philips, Fela Sowande, Ayo Bankole and Olaolu Omideyi can be included in this list.

Influence of Psalms, Chant and Canticles in early church worship in Nigeria

The influence of psalms, Chant and canticles for early churches for worshipping was so great that any service (Mattins, evensong e.t.c) without chants and canticles was not considered complete. At first, the chants and canticles were usually performed in English language; this is because most of the services were conducted mainly in English, but the emergence of the “Doyen of Nigerian music” T. K. E. Phillips, was very instrumental in worships across the Yoruba nation.

Phillips wrote several chants in four part polyphony to sing various psalms of David in Yoruba language. Some psalms are chanted, while others are set as choral anthems for the choir only, to sing. The combination of these, no doubt brings God’s glory

Emergence of Contemporary Churches

The emergence of contemporary churches has greatly influenced the way of worship in Anglican Communion and other orthodox churches in Nigeria. The dwindling nature of musically inclined priest (This is a topic for another day) in the church of Nigeria has also impacted negatively.

Chants and Canticles are now being replaced with short choruses, ideally, Chant cannot play the role of the hymn, and choruses cannot replace the spiritual role of canticles and psalms in sacred worship.

All of this music plays a different role in the worship, but this understanding is getting lost gradually, and what is alarming now is that the “Contemporary churches” are embracing the idea of chanting during sacred worship.

Now is the time to go back to the days when Psalms, chants and Canticles were much part of worship in the service for glorifying God.

Brief Note: Axiomatic Approach to Theory

Let me be clear.  Music theory is an insular academic discipline, but things are getting better as the topics get more rigorously codified and generally accepted in academia.  But no one knows better than us music theorists the extent of the problem that persists in the traditional paradigm.  Imprecise language causes disagreements among theorists over the most rudimentary topics. At a more advanced level, the lack of an axiomatic approach to analysis leaves students and professionals to the judgement of their own opinions.

And opinions are dangerous.  Dangerous because they are not the result of rigorous proof, which can only be achieved through a set of axiomatic principles from which all propositions can be ultimately forged.  This is what music theorists should think about in today’s day and age.

I have.  For a year and a half.  And I am only a little closer than I was when I began.  I cannot divulge the details of the project.  But for those of you who have read my notes before, there can make no mistake.  The approach is probably – somehow – related to contour.

Musical Villain Series: Recordings

This Musical Villain Series is not an outlet to castigate performers or composers.  My assertions are not so narrow in scope; indeed an equally culpable perpetrator is the collective unit known as “recording technology”.  The fact that I like recordings and that I use recordings almost every day does not take away from the idea that it is ultimately the advent of recording technology that in part led to the downfall of artistry in music during the later half of the 20th century.

During the 1950s, major strides were made in terms of the quality of sound that could be replicated. Recordings sounded clearer, captured more of the tone produced by musical instruments, carried more accurate pitch, and ran for longer times. It also started to become cheaper to produce multiple takes for a recording, as well as to edit what had already been recorded. Audio engineers, whose line of work had flourished since the 1930s or even earlier, could now tweak recordings to a further extent than ever before. The perfectionist mindset that arose naturally from this new and improved technology led in turn to a kind of obsession among performers with their own perfection. Any passage that contained a mistake could now be re-recorded and spliced together with the rest of the performance, producing a seamless, flawless recording.  By now, this has been routine for decades. But it would be natural to wish to go even further and actually be able to play a piece of music flawlessly every time. Practically any performer with a recording contract would be expected to have immaculate accuracy, and anyone hoping to gain any kind of prominence would need to aspire to it. Therefore, because of the sharp increase in recording quality in the mid-20th century, the uppermost level of the classical performance culture shifted its emphasis to technique over all else.

Musical Villain Series: Did Stravinsky Ruin Music?

Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky (ca.1920s-1930)

Nicholas D. Lewis

I am not one to cast aspersions, but we should be honest with ourselves: today’s performance culture has been sterilized.  Seventy or eighty years ago, the performance culture was defined by liberal interpretations and individualism.  Now, the creativity involved in the music process has largely been stifled; what appears on the page has a higher value than the ideas of the performer.  As a result, it is difficult to tell performers apart as they often strive to sound the same. Somebody or something must be the catalyst for this decline, and the arguments I’ve heard are large-scale conflations and wholly conjecture.  I am therefore writing a set of five short and blunt articles that offer a candid look at the cause of this sepulchral situation.

The first person to be held culpable is Igor Stravinsky.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy’s compositions. In fact, I spent a whole summer
compiling a catalog of his works. But his skill as a composer does not negate his blameworthiness as a musician. It is not a dubious exaggeration to claim that Stravinsky may be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century in terms of both composition and musicality. In the late 1930s, Stravinsky was a frequent lecturer at Harvard University, and he was also publishing a fair number of essays on music in various magazines and journals. A significant portion of these essays and lectures dealt with the relationship between the composer and the performer, and the position that Stravinsky held was that it was a ‘crime against the composer’ for performers to take the interpretation of a piece of music into their own hands. In other words, every instrumentalist must obey exactly what is on the printed page; anything else represents an impurification of the composer’s intentions. Stravinsky drove this dogma home so potently and forcefully that many academics were won to his side. Since those same academics were the ones who would most directly influence student musicians through teaching, this mindset over time became institutionalized.