The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Well-Tempered Ear surpasses one million hits. What’s next? And what piece of music should be played to celebrate?

June 12, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

Sometime on Tuesday night, around 10:45 p.m. CDT, The Well-Tempered Ear blog surpassed one million hits. It happened just three months short of its five-year anniversary.

Writing the daily blog has been a long and sometimes difficult haul for The Ear, and I want to thank all the readers and subscribers who supported it, as well as the many individual and group musicians who have provided me with so much material.

the ear

So I offer a heart-felt THANK YOU, to all of you, and especially to Ralph Russo (below), the cultural arts director at the Wisconsin Union Theater who originally encouraged me to undertake the blog. Its success has surprised us all.

ralph russo seated

One million hits mark a milestone.

Here are some related statistics:

Since Aug. 21, 2009, there have been 1,791 posts –- usually one a day, occasionally more than one if a big news flash happened.

There have been 5,543 comments, most of them from readers.

The filters at the hosting site have protected the blog from 239,834 spam emails and spam-like links.

But the biggest things to note are that Madison’s musical scene has grown and that I have other things waiting for me to do, things that I want to do.

I’m not sure what comes next. But I do feel a need to change some things.

To be honest, it seems that non-local stories often draw more traffic than local events, event though the local events take more work.

Yet as a former Madison journalist, I still feel a loyalty to local musical events and to the community. But as the local scene gets busier and busier, I find it taxing to keep up. Everyone thinks they merit coverage—and the local media often do not oblige, even in a city that is so rich with culture and especially classical music. (Below is the University of Wisconsin-Madison Pro Arte Quartet playing in Mills Hall.)

Pro Arte with Brian Hsu

But perhaps the biggest difference is that I also feel a need to move on to other different activities, including different kinds of writing.

What form the blog will take in the future I am still not sure of.

I expect I will do more aggregating as Google, Yahoo and Bing and other big search engines do –- that is, referring or linking readers to stories on other websites and blogs. (Below is the Madison Symphony Orchestra conducted by John DeMain.)

John DeMain and MSO from the stage Greg Anderson

I also expect that I will try to write shorter pieces -– to head in the direction of Tweeting, if you will, in which I take away from a concert just one or two important thoughts or impressions.

There may be more guest bloggers who write stories, both previews and reviews.

I expect photos may also play a bigger role.

And finally, the frequency of postings may be cut back — no longer daily but several times a week.

Who knows? I may even venture into other areas –- maybe poems or short stories about music as well as profiles, Q&As and brief reviews of live and recorded music and CDs. (Below is the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and conductor Andrew Sewell.)

WCO lobby


Most of all, I would like to know what you, my readers and sources, would like to see in the way of changes for the blog. What do you find most valuable? How would you like to see The Well-Tempered Ear evolve?

And what piece of music do you think should be played or listened to in order to mark one million hits? Leave a reply or comment with a YouTube link.

The Ear wants to hear.



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