A Minute with Miles

News & Music Stations: Mon-Fri, 6:43 am and 8:43 am

How did the piano get its name? Why can’t you “reach” a crescendo? Who invented opera—and why—and how do you pronounce “Handel”? These and countless other classical music questions are answered on South Carolina Public Radio’s A Minute with Miles. Hosted by longtime NPR commentator Miles Hoffman, the segments inform and entertain as they provide illuminating 60-second flights through the world of classical music. (Photo: Mary Noble Ours)

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A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

The harpsichord, the keyboard workhorse of the Baroque period, is an instrument with a problem:  varying the touch on the keys has absolutely no effect on volume or tone quality.  Depress a key gently or pound on it, it doesn’t matter — the note will sound the same. 

Atonal Music

Oct 12, 2017
A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Atonal music is music that isn’t written in a key, music that doesn’t follow the traditional rules of harmony. But although the term “atonal” tells us what a piece isn’t, it doesn’t tell us what it is. Many different styles and musical languages, whether harsh or lush, cool or intense, simple or complex can be described as atonal.

Serenade

Oct 11, 2017
A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Serenade is one of those musical terms that has meant many different things at many different times. The term itself comes from the Italian sereno, which is from the Latin serenus, which means “serene.”


The Clarinet

Oct 10, 2017
A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

The clarinet was the last of the principal woodwind instruments to join the orchestra. The modern clarinet evolved from earlier forms in the early 1700's—later than the modern oboe, bassoon, and flute—and it wasn’t until late in the century that orchestral composers included the clarinet in their scores with any regularity.

A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

 Atonality and dissonance are often linked in listeners’ minds, but they’re not the same thing. Dissonance, from the Latin words for “sounding” and “apart,” is the simultaneous sounding of two or more notes to produce a clashing, or unpleasant effect. Its opposite is consonance, a pleasing sound, a “sounding together.”

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