WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

What Makes It Great: Classical Music And Beyond With Rob Kapilow

What if a pop singer suddenly stopped mid-beat and explained precisely which notes she had just sung, and why they sound good? Perhaps you don't need to know why a hit song works, but one man's exuberant commentary could prove you've never listened--really listened--to even the most familiar tunes. Rob Kapilow has been classical music's ambassador for nearly two decades, and he's game to take on all genres---jazz, rap, country--even the Kojo theme song.

Videos: Inside The Studio

Composer, conductor and commentator Robert Kapilow breaks down the musical elements and ideas behind the Kojo Show theme song, spotlighting what makes it a great piece. Kapilow credits composer Igor Stravinsky with saying that all composition comes down to a balance between unity and variety. "Too much repetition leads to boredom, but too much variety leads to chaos. And this theme is a perfect balance of unity and variety," Kapilow added. All great art at some point undermines the very world it has created, and Kapilow says the theme accomplishes this task.

Kapilow identifies what makes several well-known song introductions so great. Kapilow reviewed "Symphony No. 5" by Beethoven, Eminem's "Sing For The Moment," Handel's "Messiah" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles. He says anything that's considered great art changes our sense of what's possible in the universe.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show Theme Song: What Makes It Great?

Rob Kapilow deconstructs the Kojo Show theme song, describing it as a fantastic journey. He highlights the burst of attention-grabbing saxophone notes at the beginning, its incredibly fast notes throughout and an almost free rhythm as the song sizzles to its end.

Music That Makes You Go 'Hmmmm'

Kapilow explores the idea of "things that make you go hmmmm," which he describes as musical experiences that resonate with you and make you listen actively.

Green Eggs And Ham, An Opera

Kapilow composed a musical score based on the classic children's book by Dr. Seuss, "Green Eggs and Ham."

NPR

'Game Of Thrones' Finale Sunday Caps A Season Of Satisfaction

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says HBO's most popular series soared this year with plots that moved beyond George R.R. Martin's published books.
NPR

With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the fat in milk chocolate by running it through an electric field. The result is healthier, but is it tastier?
WAMU 88.5

Analysis Of The Last Supreme Court Decisions Of The Term

Supreme Court decisions are expected soon on issues that include access to abortion and limits on executive power: Analysis of major decisions at the end of the term and the impact of a vacant seat on the court.

NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.