End of another week... almost

Yes, the week before my paper is due is nearing its end. This means my paper is due next Friday. Holy poo.

I've been immersing myself in Verdi's Macbeth opera this week (my paper topic)... I finally obtained a score, thanks to Jeannette and the Tulane library, and re-listening (again) today has opened up the whole thing for me. I'm seeing recurring themes and keys all over the place that have significance to the drama, and I'm thinking like such a theorist. It's fantastic. My paper has a Shakespearean slant, though, so I'm trying to relate everything back to a comparison with the "original" play; mostly I'm accomplishing this through talking about the characterizations, so themes and keys during certain characters' arias are certainly relevant. It's especially interesting to look at what Verdi left out; later in his career, he was much less concerned with obeying conventions, but he wrote Macbeth early in his career before he had the guts to strike out on his own. He was still revolutionizing opera in terms of fusing music and drama, just not quite to the degree that he did later. I love this class.

Speaking of loving classes, my Schenker class today was the best ever! First of all, we had a mini lecture recital from a flautist in the class; for her presentation, she endeavored to make a "Schenkerian" performance of a solo flute piece, and it was cool to see an application of the theory that actually worked for someone and helped her interpret the piece. After she did her thing, Jeannette gave a fabulous presentation on Schenker's application (or not) to early music; see, Schenker didn't think much of music before 1600, but several of his followers have tried to make his the all-encompassing theory and apply it to pre-tonal music anyway. Her presentation was very thought-provoking (especially for me, since I read through it for her before class, so I got extra time to think about it), and it opened up a real can of worms for our class discussion thereafter. It really was the best class we've had in there, so I was thrilled that my prof let it go on as long as he did. It did remind me of something one of my Queens professors said once: "Trying to lead a discussion with you guys is like herding cats. You just dart off in every direction possible." Luckily, we argued professionally and I found myself with a great deal to think about in terms of theories in general. Should we try to have one theory that works for all music, or is that impossible? (I tend to think it's impossible, but it's interesting to consider.) Okay, I lost all the non-musicians a while back... sorry about that. I'm having a great close to the semester, which will be crowned in the last week by my qualifying exam in theory. Woohoo! The theory professors are going to devise an exam tailored to me that will cover the things I should have learned in my theory classes thus far, just to make sure I'm learning and retaining and will be able to be a successful doctoral student. It's all very exciting. I like tests that are well-prepared, and I know these guys are going to come up with one I'll enjoy... as long as nothing they pick to challenge me is too challenging!

Okay, time to stop listening to iTunes and go finish dinner preparations... I've made some pasta sauce which will be quite good, but I need to cook the bread and the pasta now... then I must finish my Verdi homework for tomorrow (yes, I have homework to do in the class in addition to crafting my paper). My life thereafter, at least until next Friday, will be devoted almost solely to Macbeth. It was nice knowing all of you.




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