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Arguably the most important alternative guitarist of the 1990s, Kurt Cobain (1967–94) was born in Aberdeen, Washington. His parents divorced when he was seven, which had a traumatic effect on Cobain, tainting the remainder of his life. From an early age, he showed a keen interest in music, singing along to Beatles’ songs on the ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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1900–50, German A precocious compositional talent, Weill’s early operatic works Der Protagonist (‘The Protagonist’, 1926) and Der Zar lässt sich photographieren (‘The Tsar has his Photograph Taken’, 1928) strengthened his resolve to invent a style of music theatre that used the finest playwrights and dancers. In 1927, he collaborated with writer Bertolt Brecht on Mahagonny Songspiel, and ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘Rise and Fall of the city of Mahagonny’ Composed: 1927–29 Premiered: 1930, Leipzig Libretto by Bertolt Brecht Act I Leokadja Begbick, Trinity Moses and Fatty, all wanted by the police, found Mahagonny. They recruit men in search of whisky, gambling and women to join them in the ‘city of gold’. Jenny’s price, thirty bucks, ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Composed: 1928 Premiered: 1928, Berlin Book by Bertolt Brecht, from a translation by Elisabeth Hauptmann after John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera Prologue The Ballad Singer sings the ‘Ballad of Mack the Knife’. Act I Peachum controls the begging business in London. His wife’s description of their daughter Polly’s lover, ‘the Captain’, fits the notorious gang leader Macheath (Mack ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Koort Vil) 1900–50 German/American composer Weill was influenced by his teacher Busoni, by Stravinsky and by the ideal of Zeitoper (opera on contemporary subjects and themes). In his early, successful stage pieces, including Der Protagonist (‘The Protagonist’, 1926) and Royal Palace (1927), he soon moved towards a style, related to jazz and cabaret, that made him ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Jörd’-ji Koor-tag) b. 1926 Hungarian composer Kurtág’s music is unusual for the depth and intensity with which it addresses human concerns. He has never been interested in forging new musical paths and often revisits familiar territory. The one abiding concern of his work is to strip away everything that is inessential structurally or emotionally (Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Vocal/instrumental group, 1989–2002) Hole formed in LA with Eric Erlandson (guitar), Jill Emery (bass) and Caroline Rue (drums). As lead singer, Courtney Love was an arresting presence delivering lyrics whose concerns raged from sleaze to sex. Early singles and debut album Pretty On The Inside (1991) won UK and US followings. By Live Through This (1994) Love’s husband, ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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Back in June 2003 I had the rare pleasure of interviewing Nick Mason face-to-face for what proved to be an abortive feature for the Financial Times. The interview was conducted at his Ten Tenths offices in Kings Cross, London, and as I waited to be ushered into his presence, I took time to admire one of his original ...

Source: Pink Floyd Revealed, by Ian Shirley
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Alternative-rock guitarist Joey Santiago (b. 1965) was born in Manila, Philippines, to a wealthy family, who emigrated to the United States when President Marcos declared martial law. The family eventually settled in Massachusetts. Joey first played guitar at the age of nine, becoming a fan of Seventies punk and David Bowie. At the University of Massachusetts, ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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Nels Cline (b. 1956) was born in Los Angeles. He first came to prominence in the 1980s playing jazz, often with his identical twin brother, drummer Alex Cline. Cline has worked with many notable musicians in alternative rock, including Mike Watt, Thurston Moore and Wilco, of which he became a full-time member in 2004. Cline appears ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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One of the most influential acts of the 1990s, Nirvana formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987 when Kurt Kobain (1967–94, guitar, vocals), Krist Novoselic (born 16 May 1965, bass) and Chad Channing cemented the line-up of Nirvana. Signed by Seattle’s growing Sub Pop label their first single was a cover version of The Shocking Blue’s ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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Alternative experimental guitarist Thurston Moore (b. 1958) was born in Coral Gables, Florida. Inspired by New York’s punk and new-wave scene, Moore moved to the city in 1977. While playing in a band called The Coachmen, he met Lee Ranaldo, an art student and member of Glenn Branca’s avant-garde guitar orchestra. Moore assembled a band with bassist ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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With lyrics written minutes before they were recorded and the most ramshackle production imagineable, Nirvana’s 1989 debut album Bleach didn’t sound like the work of a group capable of toppling MTV’s fixation with hairspray rock; nor did its initial sales of around 15,000 copies. But that’s exactly what the trio from Aberdeen, Washington, went on to achieve. ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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West-coast city Seattle was the unanticipated epicentre of 1990s music as grunge, the biggest ‘back to basics’ movement since punk, shook traditional American rock – Nirvana was to enjoy iconic status for a spell until Kurt Cobain’s death. In the UK, the dance-rock of The Stone Roses, a holdover from the late 1980s, put Manchester briefly ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
1630 Words Read More

The banjo is a plucked stringed instrument with a circular body and fretted neck. Its roots lie in the French and British colonies of Africa, where instruments made from a hollowed-out gourd covered with animal skin, bamboo neck and catgut strings were popular. Particularly associated with celebrations and dancing, these instruments went by various names including banza and ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...

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Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

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