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George Crumb

George Crumb?s Vox Balaenae , or voice of the whale , is anything but normal. For example , all the musicians must play electrified instruments and wear black masks. According to Crumb , ? The masks , by effacing a sense of human projection , will symbolize the powerful forces of nature (nature dehumanized). Crumb also recommended using deep-blue lighting for the stage in order to enhance the theatrical effect. One has to wonder what kind of music would require such elaborate performance preparations. As expected , the music of Vox Balaenae is as eccentric as the performance preparations. At first view of the score , the viewer is flooded with a flurry of notes and very strange annotation. The first thing that should come to mind is , ?How does Vox Balaenae work?? One idea to keep in mind is the inspiration behind Vox Balaenae. Crumb was ispired to write ?Voice of the Whale? after hearing the sounds of whales singing underwater. Vox Blanaenae represents sounds of nature , rather than therfor I feel that I believe that an analysis of Vox Balaenae should be done from a greater distance with less complex analytical tools. The piece is an overview of the begining of time through the end of time. Crumb makes this very clear by naming each of the variations after archeologial periods of time, Each movement represents a step in the evolutionary process , therfor the musical evolution should be observed and listened to in a similar manner. Crumb very appropiatly chose the form of theme and variation to bring the evolution of nature to music. Theme and variation requires that a theme , such as the Sea Theme , must pass on some element of itself to its variations. This mirrors the idea that at the begining of time there was one single ?thing? , and everything else flowed from it. This was Crumb?s goal, and if you listen to the piece , he achieves it. The observation of the Sea Theme and the first two variations provides...

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