Notes on Music

Notes on Music is heard throughout the week on KLRE, Classical 90.5, and is written and voiced by Ray Moore.

Ray Moore is Professor Emeritus of Music and former Director of Choral Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Dr. Moore received his Bachelor's degree in music from Texas Tech University, and both his Master's and Doctorate from Columbia University.

Moore has published a book, High Notes and Low, based on his Notes on Music spots. You can purchase the book at And you can learn more about his book in this video:

Bolero by Maurice Ravel

Aug 26, 2014

Bolero by Maurice Ravel is one of his most remembered and popular compositions.

Interestingly, as he was composing the work, Ravel began showing symptoms of frontotemporal dementia, which some say contributed to the extended musical repetitions in the piece.

He underwent a brain operation to correct his condition, but died soon after.

The Common Language of Art

Jul 10, 2014

It’s so very interesting that all of the arts share a common language, although each demonstrates the terms differently.

Music, painting, and dance all refer to such components: line, color, density, dynamics, harmony, form, balance, rhythm, tempo, and texture are just a few characteristics all have in common.

Perhaps that’s why we typically enjoy experiencing more than just one art.

Classical and Rock Music

Jul 10, 2014

Classical music and rock may not be as far apart as one might think.

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor has been “borrowed” by rock musicians at least 38 times; Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee has been recorded at least thirty times by as many rock artists; and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King recorded in at least forty versions. 

The Stars and Stripes Forever

Jul 10, 2014

John Philip Sousa composed The Stars and Stripes Forever on Christmas Day, 1896, and through an act of Congress in 1987 it was made the official National March of the United States.

We hear it at so many patriotic gatherings, and enjoy it greatly.

But did you know it actually has words? It ends: “The red and white and starry blue is freedom’s shield and hope.”

Harp Peelers

Jul 10, 2014

Metal peelers make taking the skin off of fruits and vegetables fairly effortless.

With only a few strokes, one can have the food ready for cooking in no time.

I especially like a harp peeler that has the blade perpendicular to the handle. The musical connection: the frame is a loop that is shaped like the body of a harp.

I don’t believe there are any clarinet peelers, however!

Giant Composers

Jul 10, 2014

Huge choirs, massive orchestras, and great music that spans the heights of human emotion seem larger than life. But actually how tall were the great composers themselves?

Grieg seems to be the shortest at 5’1”; Beethoven was 5’2”, while Chopin was 5’5”; Liszt was 6’. The tallest seems to be Rachmaninoff at 6’6”. 

But they are all giants to me.

A Bird's Voice Box

Jul 10, 2014

We all speak and sing by vibrating vocal cords located in our larynx, or voice box.

A bird’s voice box is called a syrinx, from the Greek for “pan pipes,” and produces sounds without having the vocal cords of mammals.

The sound is produced by vibrations of the walls of the syrinx, which even enable some species of birds, such as parrots, to mimic human speech.


Jul 10, 2014

Contemporary composer Michael Torke is a synesthete, or a person who actually sees colors when listening to pitches or complete compositions.

Following this trait, he has composed Color Music, a suite made up of music that represents specific colors to him.

Included are titles such as “Bright Blue Music”, “Ecstatic Orange”, “Green Music”, and “Purple.” How interesting.

Heitor Villa-Lobos

Jul 10, 2014

Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, has written numerous symphonies, operas, chamber music, and concertos, among other forms, with perhaps Bachianas Brasileiras, his tribute to Bach, being one of the best-known.

However, he wrote one Broadway musical in 1948, Magdalena, which, to that date, was the most expensive show to have been produced on Broadway.

Tragedy and Goats

Jul 10, 2014

The Greek tragedies have provided ample sources for opera.

Indeed, Elektra and King Priam have been the basis for such operas as Wozzeck, Parsifal, Faust, and even Carmen.

It’s interesting that the word “tragedy” derives from tragos, meaning “goat song,” and aeidein, “to sing.”

Scholars indicate that this references a goat being the prize in a singing competition.