Fall in Love with Music Episode Descriptions

GMM Caricature - ColorEpisode One – Our Musical Focus immediately challenges viewers to become aware of the difference between hearing and listening.  Using Movement 3 of the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta by Bela Bartok, viewers are invited to become ‘insiders’ in the ways of composers and to notice details right from the start!

Episode Two – Why Aren’t We Listening?  is an often humorous look at the distractions and cultural influences in our society that actually train us not to listen. Viewers get to actually practice not listening and have several opportunities to carefully focus their auditory faculty on the series ‘theme music’ by Mendelssohn and the music of Bartok, but from a different vantage point.

Episode Three – Is This Music?  In this episode, the importance of having an open mind as a listener is explored.  Viewers are encouraged to make a preliminary list of the basic ingredients or elements of music as they give their undivided attention to brief musical excerpts that include Gregorian Chant, medieval composer Benart de Ventadorn, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Bartok and Paul Desmond.  Open-mindedness in musical taste is ‘put to the test’ with the electronic music of Morton Subotnick.

Episode Four – The Elements Of Music presents viewers with a definitive list of musical elements on which a perceptive listener can focus as music is performed.  The musical examples of Episode Three are revisited, as well as music not previously presented, to emphasize and flesh out these concepts.  The music of Morton Subotnick concludes the episode – noting the presence of all of the elements of music in the excerpt presented.

Episode Five – How Listening Affects Us  Why do we feel so emotionally affected by certain moments in a musical composition…to the point of getting goose bumps or even to the point of tears?  Humorously, this episode begins with ‘Brain Day’ on the Fall in Love with Music set. ‘Effective Surprise’ is demonstrated with a short, tonal Bartok piano composition.   The importance of developing flexibility as a listener is emphasized by exploring a fugue by Handel.  ‘Tension and Release,’ as a desired musical outcome from a composer’s perspective and its effect on the listener, is illustrated with the enthralling orchestral music of Rachmaninoff.

Episode Six – Paragraphs Without Words introduces the idea that perceptive listeners learn to absorb larger segments of musical information – similar to paragraphs in written and spoken language. The music of jazz composer Thelonious Monk is first played by Maestro Maull and then by the Dan Crisci Quartet to illustrate this aspect of listening. Later, Maestro Maull plays music by Robert Schumann to further stress the importance of noticing larger musical ‘paragraphs’ or sections, and demonstrating ‘program music’ as opposed to ‘abstract music.’ The episode ends with a challenge to recognize a familiar melody ‘hidden’ in a Mozart composition.

Episode Seven – Leave It To Beethoven The beautiful acoustical environment of Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University is the setting for the final two episodes. Following a complete performance of the movement, members of the Amphion String Quartet and Maestro Maull begin applying concepts learned in previous episodes to Movement 4 of Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 18, No. 3 in D Major.The exposition of this sonata form movement is explored in detail.  Beethoven’s sense of humor, very apparent in this movement, is mirrored by Maestro Maull.

Episode Eight – Putting It All Together Beethoven’s darker side is contrasted with his sense of humor in the development of  Movement 4 of his String Quartet Opus 18, No. 3.  A number of previously presented musical devices such as sequence are revisited, as found in the Beethoven movement.  An explanation of sonata form’s ternary components – exposition/development/recapitulation – is intrinsic to this episode.  After the coda or special ending is briefly investigated, the Amphion String Quartet again performs non-stop – as a culmination activity –  Movement 4 of Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 18, No. 3 in D Major.  On screen graphics help keep the viewers aurally focused in the music itself.