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Classical Music 101 is back! This series is designed to be a non-intimidating, approachable introduction to classical music.

Our last article looked at the history of classical music. We started with the ancient Greeks, and ended with the Renaissance. Western art/concert, or what we call classical music today, started with simple monophonic singing and grew more complex with the introduction polyphony. Early Western music was primarily voice-based. Instruments were sparingly used. Western music didn’t begin to be dominated by instruments until the Renaissance.

Today’s article will take you on a musical journey through the Baroque period. Let’s put on our powdered wigs and get started.

The Baroque Era (1600-1750)

The Baroque period began around 1600, with the first opera. It lasted until Johann Sebastian Bach’s death in 1750.

The word baroque is derived from Portuguese, meaning “irregular” pearl. It was used in the past to describe unflatteringly the music, art and architecture of the 17th and the 18th centuries. Early critics thought that the music, art and architecture from the 1600s and the early 1700s was too ornate. With time, the word “baroque”, which was once a derogatory term, lost its negative connotation.

Baroque music has a big, complex, emotional, and intricate sound, while still being controlled by logic and order. The logic and order in Baroque music formed the basis for modern musical theory and notation.

The Baroque period was also the time when Western music became primarily instrumental. Baroque composers loved the harpsichord. You can be sure that a piece of classical music with a harpsichord is from the Baroque period.

Funny aside: Sir Thomas Beecham was not a fan of harpsichords. He once said that the sound of one sounded like “two skeletons mated on a roof of tin during a storm.” Sir Beecham is a snob.

What is behind the grandeur, ornateness and orderliness in Baroque music? Here are a few things to consider:

The Baroque period was marked by the rise of absolute monarchs, such as King Louis XIV. The centralization of power in a single person led to the demand for art, architecture, and music which could increase the prestige of monarchs and their royal court. Musicians were hired to create music that glorified and enhanced the image of the king.

Second, the Baroque period saw many scientific advancements. Newton discovered that mathematics and laws governed the universe. Musicians started to write pieces of music governed by logic and order.

In response to the Protestant Reformation the Catholic Church launched the Counter-Reformation, which saw music as an effective way to reach souls. In churches, you will see a move away from plainchant to more dramatic and emotional music pieces that are meant to inspire religious awe.

Baroque Era Music: Characteristics

Counterpoint. The technique of counterpoint involves composing melodic lines that are interdependent but independent. Two lines of melody can be played separately, but together they form a rich and complex piece of music. Fugue is a form of music that was developed in the Baroque period and uses counterpoint. This fugue is a great example of counterpoint. It’s a complex piece of music with a lot of texture.

Basso continuo. The basso continuo provides the rhythmic foundation for all of the complexity and variety in a Baroque composition. This is an example of basso continua (in Dutch, the cello and the double bass are the bassocontinuo)

Rhythmic patterns. Baroque music often features a constant driving rhythm. Rhythmic patterns established

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Odds & Ends: July 12, 2024

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A vintage metal box labeled

SABANI Portable Charger 35000mAh Power Bank. The AllTrails app has downloadable maps that I use to navigate during backpacking trips. If you are out in the wilderness for longer than a single day, you will lose your phone battery. And there is nowhere to charge it. Before our last backpacking trip in New Mexico, I purchased this power bank to solve the problem. It worked perfectly. I used it to charge both my iPhone and Apple Watch while we were on vacation. This power bank can charge your iPhone five times and comes with four cables. This charger is not allowed on planes, so it’s best to save it for outdoor trips.

After watching the movie in 2016, we recently watched it as a whole family. The Founder shows how Ray Kroc, played by Micheal Keaton, went from a struggling, middle-aged, Willy Loman-esque salesman to building an international fast food restaurant empire through doggedness, ruthless cunning, and a dose of motivational Norman-Vincent-Peal-esque self-talk. Keaton is fantastic and the best scenes are the tension-filled phone calls between Dick McDonald and Nick Offerman, McDonald’s co-founder who was played by Keaton. Recently, after watching both this film and The Social Network, I have been reflecting on my own business philosophy. It is a paraphrase from the advice George Washington gave in delivering his farewell speech: avoid entangling allies.

Mr. Brightside. You know that I am a Killers die-hard fan. The 20th anniversary is the release of HotFuss by the Killers, which contains some of their biggest hits. One of my favorite songs to use as a PR boost-up for deadlifting is “All These Things That I Have Done”. But the song that has become a cultural touchstone, “Mr. Everyone starts singing Brightside as soon as it is played at any large gathering, such a a party or stadia. What is the appeal of this song over time? Mike Hilleary credits its universal theme of betrayal in romantic relationships and its sing-along structure. Listen to the song after you’ve read the article. Destiny calls you.

John Kay, Obliquity: How to achieve our goals in an indirect way. Although I read the book more than a decade before, its ideas still resonate with me today. In Obliquity economist John Kay argues that indirect methods are more effective than straight-forward paths in achieving big, complex goals. Kay says that adaptability, experimentation and flexibility are more likely to lead to success and happiness than rigid linear strategies. This book is full of interesting ideas.

Quote of the week

He who gives good advice builds with his right hand. He who gives both good counsel and good example builds with his left hand. But he gives admonishment and a bad example and builds with only one hand.

Francis Bacon

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My New Favorite Squat

I have done the barbell squat all my life. This is a great way to build strength in the lower body. I’ve also tried other squats: the front, goblet and belt squats.

This year, I’ve started doing the Hatfield squat. It’s my favorite squat.

This exercise is great. The traditional barbell squat was uncomfortable for me because of my cranky shoulders and knees. After years of frustration, the Hatfield squat made squatting enjoyable and productive after I tried to make barbell squats work for me. Hatfield Squats are also great for increasing quad hypertrophy. This is in line with my fitness goal to get more ripped. It has been a game changer in my training.

The Hatfield squat is a great alternative to barbell squatting.

What is the Hatfield Squat? What are its benefits?

The Hatfield Squat is named after the legendary powerlifter Dr. Fred Hatfield (aka Dr. Squat). It is a variation of a back squat that uses a safety barbell, which looks like an oxyoke.

The safety squat is placed on your back when you perform the Hatfield Squat. Instead of resting your hands on the safety bar, you can place them on an extra barbell or on a set handles placed at navel height on the barbell rack. You keep your hands on the barbell rack support as you lower yourself into the squat. This helps you maintain your balance, and a straight torso.

The Hatfield squat offers some unique benefits because of its increased stability.

Excellent for quad hypertrophy. The Hatfield squat is a great tool if you want to get legs that are as large as tree trunks. The increased stability of the Hatfield squat allows you to overload quads more than with a traditional one. You can focus more on the movement and less on maintaining your balance. This allows you to add weight or reps with greater intensity.

The Hatfield squat is great for squatting with injuries. Hatfield squats have allowed me to squat heavily again, despite niggling injuries I’ve had for years.

The traditional low-bar position made my shoulder pain worse because I suffer from shoulder tendonitis caused by bench pressing. I also struggle with shoulder flexibility despite all the time I spend working to improve it. You don’t need to hold the bar in your hands when doing the Hatfield Squat because you are using a safety bar. This completely relieves your shoulders of stress.

Hatfield squats have also helped me work around a pain behind my knee that I’ve been experiencing since 2020. Pain only occurs during the descent portion of a barbell squat. I have seen an orthopedic surgeon, and had an MRI done. But the source of my pain has not been identified. I think it’s an overuse injury to a tendon. The increased stability from the Hatfield squat, however, allows me to squat heavily and below parallel with no pain behind my knee.

Hatfield squats are also helpful for people with lower back problems. They allow them to squat without aggravating their injury.

Because of the Hatfield squats’ ability to reduce pain, I have also called them “Midlife Man Squats.”

This is an excellent accessory lift to the barbell squat. Hatfield squats don’t need to completely replace the barbell squat. You can also use the Hatfield Squat to supplement your barbell program. You could perform the Hatfield Squat on deadlift day for 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions to increase work capacity and hypertrophy.

You can also use the Hatfield Squat as a way to overload train in order to gain strength and confidence when lifting heavier weights. Do 3 sets of 3 repetitions using weights that are heavier than what you would normally lift with the barbell squat.

Here is a hypothetical program for barbells that incorporates the Hatfield Squat:

Lower Body Day

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Podcast #1,005: A Surprising Solution for Disordered Masculinity

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Media coverage and discussion about the challenges men face in modern times has been extensive. Some solutions have been offered to help men overcome these challenges. Dr. Anthony Bradley’s idea is one of the more unusual ones that you do not hear very often: revitalizing fraternities in college.

Anthony is a professor and research fellow. He wrote Heroic Fraternities, How College Men can Save Universities and America. Anthony gives his opinion on the current state of modern men, the differences between heroic masculinity and disordered masculinity. He also discusses the insight that a writer of the mid-20th century can offer on the different forms of disorder and why so many men choose to resign. Anthony believes that fraternities in college can help develop virtue. We discuss the nobler origins of fraternities and why they have devolved at some universities into organizations that are symbolic of the worst qualities of masculinity. Then we turn to Anthony’s six principled for revitalizing the potential of college fraternities in shaping great men.

Podcast Resources

The Epic Story Behind The Making of The GodfatherAoM podcast #758: The Epic Story behind The GodfatherAnthony’s framework and resources for the course that he teaches about the masculine journey

Anthony Bradley: Connect with him

Anthony’s Website

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