:::N. Korea, Propaganda, and Reaction:::

05/21/2010

As the Korean fleet sank, North Korea became the center of the issue. Korean government suspect that North Korea inflicted the damage by torpedo. It is unclear about the exact mean of the explosion. One of the major Korean newspaper proposed an idea of ‘suicide torpedo,’ which is to raise awareness to the people. (I translated all the pictures)

It is a method of propaganda, which is to be spread with the intention of influencing people’s opinions. I found it related to the governmental control in Huxley’s novel, Brave New World.  However, Korean ‘netizens’ found it impossible, and saw how ridiculous such idea was. As a result, numerous parodies started to come out to mock the newspaper company. It is as Huxley satirizes the future world. Careful that the target of the criticism is the newspaper, not the Korean marine…

This diagram is showing how a North Korean soldier targets the ship by throwing the torpedo. The torpedo then creates daps as it reaches to the target, which is impossible. Korean netizen argues by saying ‘니들만 상상력 있냐?,’ meaning that the idea of ‘suicide torpedo’ is pure imagination.

The second parody is the ‘tube’ torpedo. This idea comes from African culture, where the people hunt down animals by shooting the poisonous pins by blowing the tube. In this picture, the soldier actually blows the torpedo with a tiny tube. I found it funny how people make fun of the newspaper by creative ideas.

Picture above illustrates how a golf professional hits a tee shot to reach the torpedo to the target. I think the bomb will explode by the swing. I got an impression that how Korean people are creative and unbounded with their ideas.

This is the parody named cricket torpedo… People mock how nonsensical the idea of ‘suicide torpedo’ by comparing to such an absurd thought.

Picture above is the parody of the game Starcraft. Many Koreans enjoy this game, so they do get what it means. I Apologize for the ones who are not aware of this game.

I was struck dumb when I first saw this. This is a reference to a famous Brazilian soccer player, Roberto Carlos.

This picture replaced the bomb with the soccer ball. I was surprised how this netizen drew the free kick with great accuracy.

The last picture for this post is from Japanese Pokemon. The illustrator used Ash, the main character, and Pikachu, the trademark. He showed how Pikachu will reach to the ship swiftly on the water, carrying a torpedo.

Watching these pictures, I was dumbfounded and utterly amused. However, I was also reassured that the ‘New World’ by Huxley is unlikely to exist at least in Korea; Korean people are ‘overly’ educated and don’t seem to get influenced as easily as people Huxley showed.

Picture citation:”조선일보의 인간어뢰…” Naver. Kbk1441, 26 Apr. 2010. Web. 21 May 2010. <http://blog.naver.com/kbk1441?Redirect=Log&logNo=100104295801&gt;.


:::Polonaise Op.53 No.6:::

05/18/2010

Polonaise is originally a stately, march-like Polish dance, primarily a promenade by couples. Frederic Chopin is born in Poland, and he wanted to write some patriotic music pieces. This blog post is about Polonaise op.53, no.6 written in A flat major maestoso. I really like how the music is ‘brave’ and spiritual. It is also interesting how Chopin can compose such a peaceful music as Nocturne and such a courageous piece.

First video is by legendary pianist, Vladimir Horowitz, who is no longer living. Second video is by a young pianist, Lang Lang. The emotion I get from these videos are extremely difficult. Just compare the time: 5 and 7 minutes.

The point starts by a bold octave of E flat. Then, the right hand have the passage of half-notes. Even though the notes tend to get loud, it is important to keep the voice small. With repeating notes, the famous theme melody appears, and I really like the confidant, yet beautiful flow. The left hand is very uncomfortable, since the scale is too big. This piece is especially difficult for the people with small hands. You also have to be careful not to overflow your emotion, and control the feeling. Music may become too disorganized. After the rapid scale, the theme melody reappears more furiously. Even though the notes are similar, the mood of the music is quite different, and have a ‘grand’ feeling.

After the melody ends, the new passage is introduced, and it is very rhythmical. Even though the music becomes very different from the beginning, Chopin surprisingly returns to the key melody after a trill. It was especially surprising when I heard this piece for the first time. The section ends with rich and full chord, and it seems that every agony and pain are gone…

From A flat major, music suddenly changes its tone to E major. A flat is same note as G sharp, and Chopin used the chord of G sharp-B-E-G sharp. The primary note do not change, but there is clear difference from the beginning if you listen carefully. The hardest part of this piece is the left hand octaves. Even though the pianists above play them mindlessly, it is very difficult how the low notes have potential to get loud, yet the melody is in right hand, and the sound should be small. In this sense, appearance may be deceiving, I think. This pattern repeats, and then the rhythm of long-short-short appears, even though they are played in fast pace. Soft melody is played, and it reminds me of a water flowing naturally. The tone seems to get disturbed, and at last, the magnanimous theme melody reappears suddenly. It is Chopin’s genius how the reappearance of the theme is so natural and pleasant to hear.

The piece ends with grand finale. This music gives me a sense of relief.


Nocturne op.9 no.2

05/14/2010

Nocturne is a gentle piece of classical music. How did the name originated? Nocturne is from nocturnal, which means happening in or active during the night, or relating to the night (Cambridge). Chopin wrote numerous nocturnes, and Liszt’s Liebestraume is also a nocturne. This post is about nocturne op.9, no.2, which is written in E flat major, andante.

The music is overall peaceful and sweet. Even thou crescendo and decrescendo indicate the volume, tempo usually also ‘sways’ by the different volume of sound. The music starts to decrease, and gets even smaller by poco ritardando, and the sound should be both small, yet expressive. As the music develops, the notes get more complex, and the main melody comes back after series of chords. Even though the music seems repetitive, there are some variations into, such as 4:3 ratio in poco ritardando. As the music reaches to the denouement, new melody is introduced, with 8:3 ratio between right and left hand. Climax is marked by right hand octaves and left hand bases in fortissimo. Right hand solo cadenza appears, and then the music concludes in pianissimo. Even though ‘nocturnal’ can remind about horror and evil as Dracula, I think this music is more of a lullaby with a mild passages.


Mephisto Walzer no.1-Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke

05/11/2010

Waltz refers to a musical piece with three beats in a bar written for dance. Each measure contains three beats, strong-weak-weak. This is the overall trend of this kind of music. Waltz is known to many people by Frederic Chopin. This post will talk about Mephisto Waltz by Franz Liszt (I feel I have preference towards Liszt). Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke refers to the dance in the village inn. As like with other Liszt’s works, this piece is also very difficult to play, and requires considerably big hands.

The piece starts with the repeated hitting of low E, and there is an accent in the first beat by the ornament D-sharp. The notes develop to complete interval of E, B, F sharp, D, and A. This is not very harmonic, and contributes to the eerie mood of the music. Since the left hand reaches from E to the F sharp of the next octave, the one who cannot comfortably press should unfortunately give up the F sharp. The music then settles down, and the mood goes up slowly. The interchanging octaves between left and right hand are very confusing. A chill solo is played in marcatissimo, which is feeling of march. After the arpeggios of B and E, the melody that truly resembles a waltz is played in A major. The chord shifts at the end from A to F sharp minor, and suddenly to A flat major.

Delicately, each hands quickly plays two notes, and then glides down. The right hand seems to be very active yet light in the tone. The ongoing right hand scale-like passage is not a normal scale nor half-noted scale. For the left hand, in second and third beat, the two bottom notes of the chord are same, and only the top note of the chord moves by half note. After a frightening pause, a glissando, or literally gliding, moves from low B to high E. Left and right hand should be in harmony (match each other) to play without troublesome noises. This kind of pattern repeats in different tone, or D flat major. After furious firing of octaves, the cheerful melody in the beginning reappears.

The joyful passage decreases with intensity, and enters the phase of un poco meno mosso, or slowing down one step. Melodies are in mainly half notes. The pattern of heavy-light arpeggio repeats and there is a long (relatively to the tempo of this piece) rest of four measures. Delicate passage of right hand declines, going up and down. When this pattern ends, the piece enters the poco allegro e rubato, or little bit fast with freedom. The left hand arpeggio is unique, seems to be harmonic or not. The music reenters the un poco meno mosso, and the melody is constant, with extremely difficult right hand passage.

In piu mosso, or faster than before, the melody is mainly played by the left hand bases, and the right hand becomes busy. After a while, the music makes a preparation to enter the furious coda, with strenuous octaves. Coda is in presto, or really fast. While the left hand plays chords, the right hand plays two octaves in one beat. ‘Crazy’ right hand jumping appears, and this performer of the video above gets in a lot of trouble. Climax is by the rapid right hand arpeggios with minor tone left hand chords. The climax ends by the declining right hand passage. After quite flow of melody, extremely rapid ending is played, concluding this wild waltz in A major.


Rhapsody and Ballad

03/31/2010

I noticed how people think rhapsody and ballad are genre that are newly introduced in nowadays music. However, rhapsody and ballad are genres originated from classical music. Rhapsody is a type of music that is free in structure and often has strong personal feelings of a composer. Ballad in nowadays are mainly love song, but in classical time ballad, or ballade was type of music that is poetic or tells story.

Video above is Hungarian Rhapsody no.12 by Franz Liszt. Below one is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which is today’s popular music. Even though one is instrumental and one is lyrical, you can notice how the two pieces are similar. As a Romantic music, Hungarian Rhapsody has no formal composition, but rather free in the style of the music. Starting from c sharp minor, it goes to E major, then repeat c sharp minor, and ends with splendid D flat major. I am sure you are familiar with the melody in 5:57 from the video. In Bohemian rhapsody, the mood of the beginning is despair, and the solo part is lyrical. Choral passage of Bohemian rhapsody is followed, and then climax is marked by E flat major, including lyrics as “Oh~~ baby~~~” Bohemian rhapsody is written totally free, and the song reveals the emotion of the artists a lot. What do the similarities tell? Modern rhapsody is developed from Classical rhapsody.

The video right above is Chopin’s ballade. There are too much ballads in today’s music, and I cannot think up a representative of typical ballad. Unlike rhapsody, ballade and ballad do not share much similarities. Chopin’s ballade is not a love song; rather it is poetic and often melancholy in its mood. Most of the modern ballads are focused on love, and have sweet and bright melodies. Then where did the term ‘ballad’ come from? Both ballades and ballad might have derived from ballares, or French dance song in medieval time. I think it is interesting how both ballades and ballad are from same terminology, yet so different in terms of music.


Deuxieme Scherzo

03/25/2010

In classical era, scherzo means ‘joke,’ and inserted in middle of sonata or symphony. However, Frederic Chopin composed scherzo in his style, and this post is about the second scherzo. It is b flat minor, and start out with presto, or very fast.

Beginning is sotto voce, or in small sound. Then, sudden burst comes out and soon repeats the very beginning. Another burst comes in A flat major, and then repeats the beginning. A while after, c minor chords are played, and D flat major is introduced. After descending scale in poco ritardando (bit slower), smooth melody is played in con anima, or with anima. Left hand broken chords are played in sempre legato (continuously smooth). Melody is played two times, and mood changes with C flat chord, with sempre piu crescendo (keeping increasing). The section is ended in lowest and highest D flat, and this is repeated once more, with few changes.

Next section is in A major, in sostenuto (keeping the note long enough) and sotto voce. After b minor melody, C sharp and G sharp are played ascending in delicatissimo, or delicately. After the repeated melody, C sharp is carefully pressed in slentando (slowing in pace), introducing new passage of espressivo, or having facial expression. Left bases are played in legato. After C sharp minor passage, it is changed to E major after poco ritardando and then a tempo (in orignial tempo, in this case, presto). E major passage is in leggiero (lightly), and increases by poco crescendo, piu crescendo, and piu crescendo ed animato. After the passage ends in E, the A major melody is repeated, until the next E major passage.

Then, the arpeggios are played furiously, leading to g minor in agitato, or intense. The rhythm is played in g minor, d minor, and then to E flat minor, ending in E major. Violent progress is made, and descend furiously to the b flat minor. In sempre con fuoco (constantly energetically), right hand plays the new melody while the left hand has descending b flat minor scales in octaves. However, as the piece goes, the intensity of music is decreased by sempre diminuendo (constantly decreasing), and e calando (getting weaker). The passage disappears in smorzando e retardando, or disappearing with slowing down.

After the disappearance of previous passage, the very first beginning is repeated, until the rapid arpeggio in D flat major. It suddenly goes transition to A major, and then develops into D flat major. Last part of the piece is played in piu mosso, or faster than before. In the scale of A-A-B flat-B flat-B-B-C, the music goes stretto e crescendo, or with gradually increasing speed and loudness. Right hand have descending arpeggio, while the left hand plays the melody in marcato (highlighting individual notes). Music goes toward the end in sempre piu mosso, and marks the grand finale with D flat major chord.

I think the music is attractive in its large scale, and how the overall trend is shifted from b flat minor to D flat major. I feel the music has splendor, and also the softness in parts of the music.


A Love Dream

03/23/2010

Also referred as Liebestraume, this piece is one of the Nocturne that Franz Liszt composed. The piece is in A flat major, with a unique 6/4 beat. For this piece, I would like to have two performances; Romantic musics can have different interpretation, and such differences get extreme especially for works by Liszt. I noticed a lot of differences after listening to these musicians.

Tempo for this piece is poco allegro, con affetto, meaning a bit fast, with ‘loving emotion.’ Melody of E flat- C- C- C is played with dolce cantando, or softly singing. It is interesting how the A flat major piece does not have A flat in the melody until the end of the section. The theme melody is played again with little variation, and then the key of the music changes. With poco crescendo ed agitato (little increasing and spirit), the piece procedes to C major, a minor, E major, c sharp minor. After crescendo robusto, fermata of unusual F flat is held, descending to fermata of G. Mood seems to get intense, but soon settled, leading to the new section.

In piu animato, con espressione, standing for with more liveliness and having ‘facial emotion,’ theme melody is played in B major, but developed. After the melody is played again, B major turns to C major, and in sempre stringendo (increasing in speed), new melody is introduced. Flow is by C major, f minor, C major, a minor, and then E major with the emotional theme melody. Melody is played twice, and E major is shifted to A flat major, the tonic of the original music. Another melody is introduced with appasionato assai (extreme passion), and marks the high G octaves, followed by descending octave scales in rinforzando, or increasing in volume (unique how decreasing scale have increasing voice). Climax is marked by the chord, F, G, B flat, D flat, F (from low to high note), and decreasing half notes are played. This relaxing part goes leggiero, or lightly, and dies out for the last part.

In Tempo primo, the theme melody in A flat major is played again in dolce armonioso (softly, harmonious). As the melody changes, the piece slowly goes into poco a poco ritenuto (a bit and bit of slowing). After piu smorzando e ritardando, or more disappearing and slowing, the piece has several harmonic chords, and have a peaceful end with a fermata.

I think as Traumerei by Schumann, the piece is peaceful, emotional, and extremely charming…