Tag Archives: Wagner

A new unit of time: The Wagner

Share Button

After a full evening of writing music, I am proposing a new unit of time. The Wagner (abbreviation Wg). One Wagner is equal to one thousand minutes, approximately the length of the entire Ring Cycle. Here are some useful conversions:

1 day = 1.4 Wagners

1 year = 511.35 Wagners

1 minute = 1 milliWagner (1 mWg)

This unit will be particularly useful for superficially evaluating the works of other composers:

The entire works of Anton Webern can be contained on about 6 compact discs with a total running time of 36 centiWagners.

Or making us composers feel crappy about our own productivity:

After sitting at the piano for the entire evening, I realized that I was only able to compose about .5 milliWagners of usable music. Furthermore, my maximum rate of composition rarely breaks the 1 mWg/h mark.

Anyone know anyone over at ISO?

One Response to A new unit of time: The Wagner

  1. Delightful!

    So by logical extension, 255.675 Wagners (Wg) = 1 Friedman unit (fU)

Leave a reply

More #Operaplotting

Instead of working on my own opera I seem to be spending the night trying to summarize other operas in under 130 characters. Hmmm… Maybe in a few years people will be trying to summarize Failing That in under 130 characters. Assuming I’m finished in a few years. Here’s the latest batch: La Boheme “OMG,Continue Reading

2 Responses to More #Operaplotting

  1. Andy Mayo says:


    Do we shiver in anticipation or dread when she takes her clothes off? And is it less horrifying than the head of John the Baptist?

  2. […] Mich Nicht | Wie es auch ausgehen mag Music Vs Theatre – Easily Digestible Opera Chunks | More #Operaplotting | It’s Time To Admit That I Have A Problem | How To Write An #Operaplot Vancouver Opera Blog […]

Leave a reply

Is opera kid’s stuff? Or just silly?

A friend of mine commented on Facebook that “the bulk of [his] generation’s exposure to classical music has been through Looney Toon cartoons.” ¬†Upon reflection, I think he’s absolutely right. A quick search shows that listverse has already compiled the “Top Ten Uses of Classical Music in Classic Cartoons” list for us. And who doContinue Reading

5 Responses to Is opera kid’s stuff? Or just silly?

  1. Peter says:

    Wow, my daughter (and son now) watch Wonder Pets at the grandparents. At first it really annoyed me, because of what you mentioned. But now I sort of appreciate the style it uses to communicate to the youngins. So much so, that we borrowed the CD from the library. It’s a frequent request now.

  2. Natalie says:

    I used to use “What’s Opera Doc” as a teaching tool for the college music appreciation classes I taught. It was the easiest way to explain the form of Grand Opera in 6 minutes (instead of 4 hours). It is an absolute piece of genious, that little 6 minute cartoon.

    I wonder about this idea of the need to repeat oneself textually to go with music. Because certainly there is plenty of musical theater (including modern opera) that does NOT do this. It was, of course, the style in previous eras (good lord how many Handel arias have I sung that are 7 minutes long and only have 3 LINES of text????) — but did the music demand it or was that a stylistic choice, a convention? The arias were used as a vehicle for showing off the voice as an instrument, more than for progressing the plot of the opera, it would seem. Were they really TRYING to be theatrical in those moments?

  3. Brian Rosen says:

    I think you’re exactly right, and I’m starting to write out a post about how later styles of opera tried to get around this repetition thing. But the more I think about it, the repetition thing may not be endemic to the music. Did Mozart do a lot of it?

    It may just be that we’ve heard the “What’s Opera Doc” so often that the silly repetition has lodged into our collective minds as that “thing that opera does.” And since most Americans have never heard an opera in a language they understand, they have no idea whether or not opera actually does that.

  4. Eph says:

    I’m no expert on opera as a whole, but I don’t think Puccini repeats lines all that often. And he uses arias to advance the drama and develop characters. One of my favorite examples is “Dovunque al mondo” from Madama Butterfly. I particularly love the fact that Pinkerton interrupts his aria to offer his guest a drink (“Milk Punch, o Whisky?”)

  5. Brian Rosen says:

    Eph, absolutely. Puccini has a much more modern approach to theater. Remember, Madama Butterfly is a 20th century opera (1904)! Wagner composed over half of the Ring cycle in the 1850s, before Tristan even.

Leave a reply