Episode 02: How 'situated' is your ear?

How 'situated' is your ear? What notes are hiding between the keys on your piano? And most importantly, what does the music from Battlestar Galactica have in common with Balinese Gamelan?

In this episode of On That Note, we try and answer these questions and much more.

Join host Graham MacDonald as he sits down with UBC professor and ethnomusicologist Michael Tenzer for a discussion about the different ways we hear, play, and define music (hint: it's all about context!) and how breaking out of our musical bubbles might help us communicate better.


Further Listening/Reading/Watching

Here are the tracks discussed in the episode (Spotify account required for some of them):

And here is some further reading/listening on some of the topics discussed in the episode:

And finally, if you want to really break out of your musical bubble, the Global Jukebox is a great place to explore some unfamiliar and often thrilling music.

Episode 01: What is a ballad?

What is a ballad? You know one when you hear it, right? And yet ballads are weirdly difficult to pin down: Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" is a ballad, but so is Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home." This slipperiness might go some way to explaining why they've maintained their hold on us for the past sixty years. From Elvis’s "Blue Moon" to Drake’s "Marvins Room," we can’t seem to shake our need for a good ballad.

In this episode, we talk to UBC professor and music historian David Metzer about his new book, The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé, and discuss how we define ballads, how they change with the times, and why they continue to grab us.


Further listening

Want to hear more of the music from this episode? Prof. Metzer has put together a playlist of his favourite ballads for your listening pleasure.