The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music education: What do the Olympics and classical music have in common – and what sets them far apart?

August 5, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

It’s Sunday.

That means more weekend ahead of us – and, for millions or even billions of people around, more watching the London Olympic Games ahead of us.

Some past posts have recently explored parallels between athleticism at the Olympics and athleticism in classical music.

Yesterday I also posted a “Deceptive Cadence” quiz by NPR that allowed people to match Olympic sports to classical music and characters in it.

But another fascinating blog about the London Olympics is by one of the most intelligent and original or creative bloggers about classical music: the virtuoso and prize-winning British pianist Stephen Hough.

Hough writes about every thing, from tips about playing ht epiano and his current concert tours to religion and politics.

But he recently wrote an extremely interesting post in which he discussed surface parallels to the Olympic Games, but also deeper differences — especially when it comes to competitiveness and notions of “winning.”

Below is a link to his blog in The Guardian about the Olympic Games. Enjoy what he says—and be sure to read the many informative comments form his readers:

And let The Ear and Hough know what you think of what he says by leaving a remarl in the COMMENT section.

Classical music: Take NPR’s Olympics Quiz. Can you match the right piece of classical music or the right character in classical music to the right Olympic sport?

August 4, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s the weekend again.

This summer and at the time of this summer, that means there will be a lot of Olympic watching of the London Olympics on the TV and over the Internet.

In keeping with that reality and with the spirit of the competition, NPR’s always creative “Deceptive Cadence” blog has once again come up with an original approach: A quiz (also called a Quizzler) that allows readers — and listeners — to match the right piece of classical music or the right character in classical music with the right Olympic sport.

As an Armchair Olympian, can you score a Bullseye or two?

It reminds The Ear of the kind of clever teasers and questions you hear during the intermission Opera Quizzes on the live radio broadcasts by the Metropolitan Opera.

Here is a link:

It is short enough that you can even do it during a break or an ad.

So enjoy! And please send in any other suggestions of questions and answers that you might have for a similar quiz to the COMMENT section.

NPR might even use your suggestion in Version 2.0 next weekend – when the Olympic Games this summer come to an end – or in four years.

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