Home Lists

Nielsen SoundScan has released its first report on streaming services in Canada. The data combines streams from YouTube, Rdio, Google Plus, Slacker, Nokia and Xbox. The numbers are pretty small compared to the US, but it’s still early – and with Pandora launching to the select few, these stream total will explode shortly.

Top of the list is “Dark Horse” with Katy Perry featuring Juicy J with 795.8K streams, followed by “Fancy” with Iggy Asalea f/t Charlie XCX at 653.1K. Sia’s “Chandalier” comes in 3rd with 527.9K streams.

The top 100 list reads like a CHR top 100 countdown chart with a few retro cuts in-between, including Survivor’s 1982 hit “Eye of the Tiger” scoring 100.8K spins and placing 94th on the 100 list, Blue Swede’s “Hooked on A Feeling” with 170.5K spins at 39 (from 127) and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’s “Spanish Flea” logging 211.1K streams and jumping 310 to 29 on the chart.

Only two Canadians make the 100 list: “Rude” by Magic! logged 278.9K streams, placing 10th on the list and faux Canadian Robin Thicke (featuring T.I. + Pharrell) ranks 79th with “Blurred Lines registering 114K streams.

SONGS
Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass is being praised for its catchy beat and body positive lyrics such as: “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” and “It’s pretty clear I ain’t no size 2, but I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do”. The song depicts the “ideal” skinny body type as overrated and promotes body acceptance and celebrates men and women of all sizes and shapes.

1 All About That Bass Meghan Trainor
2 Maps Maroon 5
3 Stolen Dance Milky Chance
4 Am I Wrong Nico & Vinz
5 Chandelier Sia
6 Bang Bang Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
7 Stay With Me Sam Smith
8 Hideaway Kiesza
9 Anaconda Nicki Minaj
10 Love Runs Out OneRepublic

ALBUMS
Titled Awesome Mix Vol 1, the soundtrack features heavily throughout the film as a cassette of Seventies rock, pop and soul classics that lead character Star Lord listens to as he journeys through space.

1 Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Various Artists
2 High Noon Arkells
3 1000HP Godsmack
4 Stolen Dance – EP Milky Chance
5 In the Lonely Hour Sam Smith
6 5 Seconds of Summer 5 Seconds of Summer
7 They Want My Soul Spoon
8 x (Deluxe Edition) Ed Sheeran
9 5:01 Tim Hicks
10 TRXYE – EP Troye Sivan

You likely knew Andy Warhol designed album sleeve designs for the iconic Velvet Underground & Nico and their ‘banana’ cover followed by the 1971 Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers ‘zip-fly’ album. But earlier than those two classics, coupled with the concurrent rapid expansion of the record industry and the introduction of the vinyl record, Hi-Fi, and stereophonic recordings, RCA Records hired Warhol, along with another freelance artist, Sid Maurer, to design album covers and promotional materials. Warhol worked with Blue Note for the Kenny Burrell Blue Lights series, the Artie Shaw albums on RCA Victor and the cool 1956 Trombone by Three on Prestige. It might have been a short-term strategy for Warhol, but it set him on a life-long road of music and art that remained deeply cherished by both worlds.

22

132

143

111

77

55

33

88

99

122

166

66

11

44

From Consequence Of Sound:

This year has already seen Jack White produce the fastest pressed-and-released vinyl record ever and score the biggest single-week vinyl sales since 1991. Now he can add “biggest selling vinyl LP of any year since 1994″ to the list.

Billboard reports that with 60,000 copies sold, Lazaretto is not only the highest selling vinyl of the year, but the biggest since Pearl Jam released Vitalogy in 1994. The tricked-out Lazaretto ultra LP alone sold 40,000 copies in just its first week.

For comparison, Arctic Monkey’s AM has the second-biggest sales figure with 29,000 units moved. 2013’s highest seller was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories with 49,000 sold.

Keep in mind that, yes, Soundscan’s vinyl tracking only goes back to 1991.

Alanis Morissette comes back to Canada this summer for a handful of dates, including August 15th at Casino Rama. No stranger to massively-successful albums, she continues a long career releasing well-crafted introspective music meriting contention alongside such huge-selling examples of the form as Carole King’s Tapestry and Adele’s 19 and 21. Let’s take a look at 35 things you oughta know about Alanis.

She has won 16 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.

Jagged Little Pill, released in 1995, has sold more than 33 million units globally.

She has two siblings, including twin brother (12 minutes younger) and fellow musician Wade Morissette.

She appeared on the children’s television show You Can’t Do That on Television for five episodes when she was in elementary school.

Morissette recorded her first demo called “Fate Stay With Me” produced by Lindsay Thomas Morgan at Marigold Studios in Toronto, engineered by Rich Dodson of Canadian classic rock band, The Stampeders.

John Alexander, head of A&R for MCA Records Canada, first heard a demo tape from Morissette in 1983, when she was nine years old. He called it “very promising. Her voice was very strong, and it was remarkable that the tape included some original songs written by her at that age.” However, he decided not to sign her to a record deal because “from an A&R standpoint, I said, ‘What am I going to do with a nine-year-old?’”

In 1991 MCA Records Canada released Morissette’s debut album, Alanis, in Canada only. She was nominated for three 1992 Juno Awards: Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year (which she won), Single of the Year and Best Dance Recording (both for “Too Hot”).

She was the opening act for Vanilla Ice on his To the Extreme Tour in 1991.

In 1992, she released her second album, Now Is the Time, a ballad-driven record that featured less glitzy production than Alanis and contained more thoughtful lyrics. She said of the album, “people could go, ‘Boo, hiss, hiss, this girl’s like another Tiffany or whatever.’ But the way I look at it … people will like your next album if it’s a suck-ass one.”

It sold less than half of her debut. With her two-album deal with MCA Records Canada complete, Morissette was left without a major label contract.

In 1993, after graduating from high school, Morissette moved from Ottawa to Toronto. Her publisher funded part of her development and when she met producer and songwriter Glen Ballard, he believed in her talent enough to let her use his studio. The two wrote and recorded Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, and by the spring of 1995, she had signed a deal with Maverick Records. According to manager Scott Welch every label they had approached had passed on Morissette apart from Maverick.

Los Angeles’ KROQ-FM, an influential Los Angeles modern rock radio station, began playing “You Oughta Know”, the album’s first single, before anyone else.

After the success of “You Oughta Know”, the album’s other hit singles helped send Jagged Little Pill to the top of the charts. “All I Really Want” and “Hand in My Pocket” followed, but the fourth U.S. single, “Ironic”, became Morissette’s biggest hit. “You Learn” and “Head over Feet”, the fifth and sixth singles, respectively, kept Jagged Little Pill (1995) in the top twenty on the Billboard 200 albums chart for more than a year.

The album had charting success worldwide, peaking at number one in her native Canada for 24 weeks (three weeks in late 1995, an unbroken 19-week run in 1996 and two separate weeks later in the year) as well as reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, staying there for 12 non-consecutive weeks. By 2009, the album had sold over 33 million units/copies worldwide, topping the charts in 10 countries, including the UK, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Finland and the Netherlands and even ranking on the top 100 on many countries’ best selling of all time lists. Billboard further ranked the album as the number one Best Selling Pop album of the 1990s.

Jagged Little Pill is the second biggest selling album by a female artist (behind Shania Twain’s Come On Over).

Morissette and the album won six Juno Awards in 1996: Album of the Year, Single of the Year (“You Oughta Know”), Female Vocalist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Best Rock Album. At the 1996 Grammy Awards, she won Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song (both for “You Oughta Know”), Best Rock Album and Album of the Year. In winning Album of the Year, she became the youngest artist in history to win the title at age 21, a record she held for fourteen years until Taylor Swift won album of the year at age 20 for her album Fearless.

Later in 1996, Morissette embarked on an 18-month world tour in support of Jagged Little Pill, beginning in small clubs and ending in large venues. Taylor Hawkins, who later joined the Foo Fighters, was the tour’s drummer.

tumblr_m1eknvfMa11r0mfjho1_500

Morissette was featured as a guest vocalist on Ringo Starr’s cover of “Drift Away” on his 1998 album, Vertical Man, and on the songs “Don’t Drink the Water” and “Spoon” on the Dave Matthews Band album Before These Crowded Streets.

In 1999, Morissette delved into acting again, for the first time since 1993, appearing as God in the Kevin Smith comedy Dogma.

Her fourth album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 469,000 copies—a record, at the time, for the highest first-week sales of an album by a female artist.

The cover image is Alanis’s mouth while laughing and the following text printed over that image that refers to The Eight Precepts of Buddhism.

“We ask you to abide
by the following
moral code upon
the premises.
Please refrain from
killing
stealing
lying
sexual misconduct
taking intoxicants
playing music, singing
please dress respectfully.”

Alanis_Morissette_-_Supposed_Former_Infatuation_Junkie

Morissette herself directed the videos for “Unsent” and “So Pure”, which won, respectively, the MuchMusic Video Award for Best Director and the Juno Award for Video of the Year.

In January 1999, “The Junkie Tour” kicked off, with the concert introduction music was a track from DJ Shadow, entitled “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt”.

In 1999, she released the live acoustic album Alanis Unplugged, featured tracks from her previous two albums alongside four new songs, including “King of Pain”, a cover of The Police song.

In 2001, Morissette was featured with Stephanie McKay on the Tricky song “Excess”, which is on his album Blowback.

Morissette hosted the Juno Awards of 2004 dressed in a bathrobe, which she took off to reveal a flesh-colored bodysuit, a response to the era of censorship in the U.S. caused by Janet Jackson’s breast-reveal incident during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show.

d34b4ab9ba8d4e7a9822

2002′s Under Rug Swept was the first album Morissette had written and produced all on her own.

Production of the album was delayed when Morissette became involved in disputes with executives at Maverick Records after she testified at U.S. Government hearings against artist-unfriendly record contract practices. As she put it, she had to go through lawyers to “have a dialogue with people” and take extended period of time to “have one little thing figured out”.

Morissette released her sixth studio album, So-Called Chaos, in May 2004. She wrote the songs on her own again, and co-produced the album with Tim Thorney and pop music producer John Shanks. Thornley usually works in advertising, and has won a Gemini Award and three Daytime Emmy Awards for the hit show Rolie Polie Olie. He’s also producd jingles for many high-end clients, including FedEx, Sympatico, 7up and the Ford Motor Company.

The lead single, “Everything”, achieved major success on adult top 40 radio in America and was moderately popular elsewhere, particularly in Canada, although it failed to reach the top 40 on the U.S. Hot 100. Because the first line of the song includes the word asshole, American radio stations refused to play it, and the single version was changed to include the word nightmare instead.

Morissette embarked on a U.S. summer tour with long-time friends and fellow Canadians Barenaked Ladies, working with the non-profit environmental organization Reverb. Reverb is a non-profit environmental organization that educates and engages musicians and their fans to promote environmental sustainability. It was founded by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Guster guitarist/vocalist Adam Gardner.

2006 marked the first year in Morissette’s musical career without a single concert appearance showcasing her own songs, with the exception of an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in January when she performed “Wunderkind”.

On April 1, 2007, Morissette released a tongue-in-cheek cover of The Black Eyed Peas’s selection “My Humps”, which she recorded in a slow, mournful voice, accompanied only by a piano. Is now has over 18 million views.

Morissette’s seventh studio album, Flavors of Entanglement, which was produced by Guy Sigsworth, was released in mid-2008. The album’s first single was “Underneath”, a video for which was submitted to the 2007 Elevate Film Festival, the purpose of which festival was to create documentaries, music videos, narratives and shorts regarding subjects to raise the level of human consciousness on the earth.

Morissette has appeared in eight episodes of Weeds, playing Dr. Audra Kitson, a “no-nonsense obstetrician” who treats pregnant main character Nancy Botwin.

Spotify found at least 120,000 playlists titled “Guilty Pleasures” and used some calculations to learn “the top 10 most-streamed tracks the world wants to keep hush-hush,” according to a press release.

1. Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega
2. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – Wham!
3. My Sharona – The Knack
4. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
5. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
6. You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) – Dead Or Alive
7. Who Let The Dogs Out – Baha Men
8. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
9. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
10. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

A few things: Call Me Maybe is awesome, an absolute bull-headed storming hit. If you’re in my car, and this song comes on, you sing it with me.

Nobody is ever going to give up Rick Astley. We;re never going to let him down, or desert him.

Don’t Stop Believin’ is a song that will keep selling, and selling, and selling, likely to connect with listeners 10 or 20 years down the road. Believe that.

Wham is rumoured to be reforming in time for Glastonbury 2015.

Cotton Eyed Joe’s video has them playing instruments, when I still can’t hear anything other than what was programmed using some computer. Still has the power to pack a club dance floor than you would have thought possible.

I’m still waiting for Mambo No. 6.

When I was a kid, my grandfather, who had a blues/jazz bar in Toronto, passed to me a photocopied sheet with the title Reasons Why Radio Won’t Play Your Song. It was probably one of the first pieces of viral I’ve ever seen – no author, no date, no source, nothing except for a funny list of about 20 reasons.

I never forgot about that list throughout my years of working in the music industry. With an exciting extroverted passion for music, Music Directors of radio stations are, no doubt, the gatekeepers to get your song heard on the radio. I’ve spent many a meetings talking to the fine men and women about their roles, and why they love songs, and why they don’t. There’s still only one reason why they would – because it’s great. But that would make for a very short post. I found an extended list at Music Biz Academy that extended the same list to about 60. And that got me thinking – in 2014, how much different would the list look like? What would be added? So, with the help of anonymous MDs, PDs and radio pluggers across North America (you know who you are) and that list to start it off all those years ago, here are now many more reasons why radio won’t play your song.

1. Not for us or our sound
2. No room
3. No label support
4. I want to give record the best shot, so we will have to wait till when we have more room
5. There are no local sales
6. There is national action
7. Considering…
8. I’m watching and waiting
9. It’s the wrong image
10. It’s not modal
11. I need another copy
12. Poor reaction from test marketing it
13. The jocks don’t like it
14. No phone reaction
15. We played the import
16. We’re going to wait and see what the competition does
17. Will wait for the single
18. The record’s not in any kind of stores around here
19. Need approval from head office
20. I like it but the P.D. doesn’t
21. It was vetoed in the music meeting
22. Too hard
23. Too soft
24. It’s wimpy
25. Not as good as their last release
26. It needs to be re-listened to
27. It sounds too EDM-ish
28. It sounds too pop
29. We didn’t get the co-promotion
30. Trade #’s don’t merit airplay
31. Sounds like everything else
32. It’s not a good record
33. I don’t like it
34. The MP3 file wouldn’t play
35. The music file crashed my computer
36. We only play stuff that “rocks“
37. Saving room for when new releases get scheduled
38. Going into the library
39. We already have a female-fronted band on the playlist
40. We want to hear a hook
41. No tip sheet advertising
42. Nothing about it hits me
43. Don’t like the mix
44. Not enough guitar
45. Too many strings
46. Over-produced
47. Under-produced
48. Don’t like the band’s name
49. This song is not consistent with their last release
50. Our listeners won’t be able to relate
51. Too rhythm oriented
52. Send all our jocks copies
53. Can’t play too many singles
54. That music only works in the big markets
55. We’ll wait till more stations play it
56. Not our kind of music
57. Too alternative
58. Not alternative enough
59. Where’s the beat…the BEAT!
60. I’ve misplaced it, but its here somewhere, call me back
61. Our competition got on it first, we have to be different
62. I don’t like the cover
63. We didn’t get a co-presents on their last show
64. Too many vulgar words
65. We’re going for a younger demo
66. We’re going for an older demo
67. We don’t have an MD right now
68. We’re not the right station for this
69. The chorus comes in late
70. The intro is too quiet
71. We have too many song by the featured artist in rotation
72. There’s no release date
73. We missed the release date
74. No radio edit
75. I don’t like the radio edit
76. No campus radio promotion
77. Let’s talk when the tour starts
78. The .wav file was block because of the size
79. The YouSendIt file was blocked by my spam filters
80. There’s no story happening
81. They’re overexposed
82. I’m still waiting on feedback
83. Too much CanCon right now
84. Too much International right now
85. It sounds like something my mom would hate
86. We never received your submission
87. I don’t agree with the political view
88. We’ll play the song next week (they didn’t)
89. I’m watching the charts, it’s not very impressive
90. I’m waiting the charts, it’s pretty impressive
91. Their set at CMJ/SXSW/NXNE/CMW was way too long
92. It’s too country (from a country station)
93. It sounds like karaoke
94. We’re playing too many covers now
95. We love the song and band but have no room
96. The intro is too long
97. The chorus is too long
98. You know what? The whole song is too long (with Stairway To Heaven playing in background)
99. I’ll listen, but no promises
100. We should be playing this song but haven’t played the artist for years
101. I know this doesn’t help but your band has no relevance
102. I can’t take this band seriously until they sell 100,000
103. What are you going to do for ME?
104. Let’s face it, would you be working this song if you weren’t being paid?
105. We can’t play this. He’s/She’s way off-key in the chorus
106. Too much rap in the middle
107. The stations on BDS aren’t on it
108. There’s only one original member left
109. Didn’t the lead singer die?…oh…I thought they broke up
110. They’re only big in the east
111. They’re only big in the west
112. They’re only big in the north
113. I don’t care if they’re big down south
114. You sent us the wrong promo cds
115. We only play established acts
116. Why should I play a band that sounds LIKE Led Zeppelin when I can PLAY Led Zeppelin
117. Their website hasn’t been update in a year
118. It sounds like their last song
119. It sounds so different from their last song
120. We get no calls
121. Ever since they cut their hair….
122. I’m having trouble with DMDS
123. I can’t find my PD. Can you help me find my PD?
124. We’re a talk radio station
125. Sounds too ‘Active Rock’ for us
126. Sounds too Hot AC for us
127. Sounds too ‘Modern Rock’ for us (this, and the above 2 were all the same song!)
128. They don’t sound as good as they do live
129. They suck live
130. It sounds like something my mom would hate
131. Their video on YouTube doesn’t have enough views
132. Nobody’s listening to them on Spotify
133. Not enough Twitter followers
134. Not enough fans on Facebook
135. Didn’t they break up last week?

With thanks to all the MDs and PDs and labels who sent in their amazing stories. We couldn’t work in this business without each other. If you know the original source of the list, or have a great ‘reason’ yourself, please let me know!

On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats shared some of the wonderful wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years. Of course, never fail to make them cry several times during the movie is omitted.

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Launching the Dirt Campaign on Tuesday, Florida Georgia Line are looking to raise $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity, and in the meantime, generating a lot of press about their cause. How can you not love a song with lyrics like “Her blue-eyed summer time smile looks so good that it hurts/(Makes you wanna build a) 10 percent down/White picket fence house on this dirt.” Nice one, guys.

Songs
1 Dirt Florida Georgia Line
2 Stay With Me Sam Smith
3 Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) Iggy Azalea
4 Am I Wrong Nico & Vinz
5 Maps Maroon 5
6 Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea) Ariana Grande
7 Come With Me Now KONGOS
8 Chandelier Sia
9 Love Runs Out OneRepublic
10 Latch (feat. Sam Smith) Disclosure

Singer/songwriter Sia is aiming for her first No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200 chart with her new album “1000 Forms of Fear.” Industry forecasters say the set, which was released on July 8, may sell around 50,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on July 13. Shania Twain makes a rare appearance on the chart, thanks to a record-breaking attendance performance during the Calgary Stampede.

Albums
1 1000 Forms of Fear Sia
2 x Ed Sheeran
3 In the Lonely Hour Sam Smith
4 Ultraviolence Lana Del Rey
5 Stolen Dance – EP Milky Chance
6 Ghost Stories Coldplay
7 Shania Twain: Greatest Hits Shania Twain
8 Native OneRepublic
9 Crash My Party Luke Bryan
10 Don’t Kill the Magic MAGIC!

Eric Hopkins, a percussionist with the Utah Symphony, recently wrote a post on the symphony’s website to explain why playing something that seems as simple as ringing a dinner bell could be so difficult. I mean, it’s no cowbell.  I kid, of course, and like any instrument – when you play it, you have to make the music better, or else you’ll make it worse. You can listen to Eric’s interview with NPR here.

He writes: “Wow, you’ve got the best job in the world! I mean, how hard it can be to play the triangle?” Oh no you didn’t.

I would try to convince you that the triangle is an extremely challenging and complex percussion instrument, the intricacies of which can only be mastered after years of diligent practice. But I’m not. Because that is not exactly the truth.

The truth is that anyone can play the triangle. It is one of the most basic musical instruments. I mean, its name is the shape. You hit a triangle-shaped piece of metal with another piece of metal, and “Ding!” No worries about hitting a wrong note or playing out of tune. You don’t even have to bother with note length; just hit it and you’re done.

But that’s not exactly true either.

The truth is that the triangle is part of a collection of percussion instruments, that together, warrant a profession in which one strives to master the art of performance. Through manipulation of timbre (sound color) and articulation (length), one can start to convey the common musical elements of phrasing, clarity, texture, balance, and finesse, to name a few. This holds true from snare drum and xylophone to tambourine and triangle.

So what makes tasteful triangle playing, if there is such a thing?

Triangle 101

Imagine yourself as the professional triangle player you’ve dreamt of being. To get you started, I’ll lend you my triangle collection. This gives you six triangles to choose from, clips to suspend them from, five pairs of graduated steel beaters, and three pairs of graduated brass beaters.

Now we’ll put you in the orchestra. Since I play with the Utah Symphony, and I happen to be playing triangle on Mahler’s Fifth Symphony this week, that’s what you get to play.

Your To-Do list…

  1. Youtube, Spotify, or tape-deck some recordings of the music and start to get an idea of the tempos, rhythmic challenges, style, and volume of the piece.
  2. Translate the German musical indications that you do not understand.
  3. Listen again, specifically for when to let the triangle ring and when to muffle. Quick muffle, taper muffle, or let vibrate? Make up a short-hand notation for this and mark it in your part.
  4. Decide what triangle(s) to use. Do you want a clear-toned, pristine sounding triangle, or a more shimmery triangle with a bigger overtone spectrum? Or somewhere in between? Articulation or smoothness?
  5. Decide what beaters to use. Stainless steel or the more malleable brass? Heavy or light, and to what degree?
  6. Decide where on the triangle you want to hit, depending on the desired timbre. Dark sound or light sound?
  7. Decide if you want to play that tricky passage in the fifth movement with one hand as normal, or to mount the triangle on a special stand, freeing both hands.
  8. Vibrato or no vibrato?
  9. Now practice along with your favorite recording, then with five others. Do your sounds blend with the orchestra in context, or do you need to make adjustments?
  10.  Get to know the part well enough so that nothing can throw you off (nerves, curve balls from the conductor, etc.).
  11. Practice counting the rests. You don’t play all the time, but you need to know when to play if the music says “Tacet until you play,” which it does in this piece.
  12. Practice your triangle roll. It’s unlike any other percussion instrument technique, and it will be really obvious to the audience if there are hiccups and gaps in that clangy metal noise.
  13. Practice your soft playing. Thierry Fischer, our music director, really likes to exploit soft playing, so make sure you can make that metal-on-metal steel alloy triangle sound really soft and delicate, even under pressure.
  14. Remember, don’t whiff it, or the conductor may stop the orchestra and make you feel really dumb for messing up something as easy as the triangle.
  15. Practice hitting the triangle three times in a row and getting the same sound. Good luck!
  16. Don’t forget to start practicing for next week’s triangle repertoire.
  17. Don’t mess up!