Red Black Window so far

July 17, 2006

This blog called Red Black Window is now over 6 months old. As a ‘dear diary’ exercise I feel compelled, for some strange reason, to look back to see what this project has been for me and where it seems to be going, if anywhere.

The blog started as a sketch pad for my book on Rufus Wainwright. I realized that that was far too limiting, and although I’m a fan, I’m not a fanatic. I have been publishing excerpts from the book and received valuable feedback from my readers. I now have come to the realization that unless I compare my analyses to other songwriters, the Wainwright analyses will mean little. To that end, I will be discussing many more songwriters than I had originally planned on, and less Rufus music. I’ve realized that songs like “The Maker Makes” although effective, offers little to discuss compositionally that Willy Nelson or Hank Williams hasn’t done already. I will be focusing on what it is in this music that is unique. And in discussing his influences, be specific and say “look at this Beatle song; now look at Rufus’s song.”

This is a major change in strategy, but it is a good one I think. So, the blog is continuing to serve as a sketch pad for the book. However, I will keep my blog posts incomplete so as to expand them in the book, and keep open as to the best way of describing music that will be useful to the majority, and not bore the musicians. All this being said, I have an overwhelming number of (music) commissions now on my plate, so active work on the book is pushed to the back burner. The blog keeps the sketching alive.

At UCLA, Mitchell Morris and I received a grant to “rethink” our undergraduate music theory offerings and try to figure out how to interface with music history in a well thought out, coordinated fashion. Whether you know it or not, I’m playing around with ideas for the class and putting them up here first. Next fall, when my sabbatical ends and I return recharged to teaching, I very well may start a category where I talk about my ideas for teaching core music theory. I realize that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll pique your interest by telling you naughty stories or something entertaining.

Annotating videos linked from YouTube is useful for me, and appreciated by some of you who have written me. I have this feeling that at any moment, the whole website could get yanked, and all those posts will have holes in them. But until then, I exercise my right to the fair use of this material in that I am providing you editorial and/or educational information about the clips. As a teacher, I like to introduce my students to as many different kinds of music as I can, and this is only an extension of that. I make no money from this blog whatsoever. My only interest is in exposure to and education about the music I present here.

I feel that I’m a born teacher. I love sharing information with people who want to learn. Being on sabbatical from teaching, I am teaching-deprived. Teaching horny. I can’t help myself.

My “cool people” section offers me a way to introduce interesting people I’ve met or have come across.

I love the bizarre and unusual, so I can’t help but bring these kinds of things to your attention, whether it has to do with music or not.

I walk a fine line in discussing things-sexual, but it’s something I have always done, and if I’m to be honest, I’ll continue. I have no interest in discussing prurient issues or discussing sexual topics that could be offensive to people. However, we are all sexual creatures and pardon me if I celebrate that commonality from time to time.

Not being a Catholic, I never go to confession. I find it more therapeutic to confess to friends, and occasionally, my blog readers. I am at the point in my life that I am looking back at my spiritual research with more and more clarity. I offer “The spirit highway” for those interested in reading about that realm.

Finally, next year I will be going for a significant promotion at UCLA — Professor Step VI — (I am now Professor Step V). It is a career review. My goal is to put as much of the material online, so that the committee that makes this decision can have access to a simple webpage that has links to my work. To date I’ve post my Complete Music for Piano, and Songs by Roger Bourland, with titles of individual movements and recordings. So if you were wondering why I was doing that, now you know.

If you have any comments, please post them here or privately at rogerATbourlanddotcom. Also, if you’v lost your login info and can’t deal with it, just email me what you’d like your name and pswd to be.

Many thanks for your interest,

Roger Bourland

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