Tag Archives: Goodall

Stuff Too Cool to Keep to Myself #1

28 Nov

My Lady likes to watch BBC documentary programs.  A while back we ran into Howard Goodall‘s Big Bangs (http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Goodalls-Big-Bangs-Goodall/dp/B0017HEY98), which details the five major advances that musician and music historian Howard Goodall believes enabled Western music to virtually swamp all other musical traditions. I’m not going to go into detail, because Mr. Goodall does it so much better, but I will note that two of them would simply never have occurred to me, because nobody told me about them.

The first Big Bang is Notation. I knew that musical notation is important. What I didn’t know is that the western musical tradition is the only one to develop such a sophisticated method of writing down music.

The Second Big Bang is Equal Temperament. This you simply have to watch Mr. Goodall’s explanation of.  I know that it is the reason that modern Western music has so much range and power that medieval music seems to lack.  I can’t explain it in any way that won’t muddle you until you watch Mr. Goodall.  And nobody even mentioned it to me in school.

There are three more. I highly recommend the DVD.