The Traditional Practice of the Japanese Geisha

Japanese-geisha

Japanese geishas, referred to as “geiko” (pronounced “gay-ko”) first appeared 300 years ago during the Edo period, an era when Japan was closed to the rest of the world allowing its indigenous culture to flourish. There were once 80,000 geisha but that number has dropped to just 1000 during the modern day. It takes 5 long years to become a geisha, this time spent with no smartphone, no romantic relationships, and only 2 days off per month. Geishas undergo lessons in music and dance as well as tea making and etiquette. All food and lodging is provided by the geisha training institution so that students become completely and totally immersed within the geisha lifestyle. Geishas wear white masks of makeup as symbolism that what is concealed is more desirable than that which is revealed. Pink is painted onto the earlobes as a way to hide embarrassment from blushing, and bare skin is left in a “W” or “V” shape upon the back of the neck to accentuate the neck which is considered highly beautiful, sexual, and erotic in Japanese culture. Geishas are only supposed to entertain their client with highly cultured activities, and the profession is not supposed to be associated with sexual interaction

The First Musician to Routinely Break Their Instrument on Stage

Franz-Liszt19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt created the modern concept of the single musician concert as prior to this, a single musician (e.g. pianist, violinist, flautist etc.) had never played an entire concert by themselves. Liszt often broke his pianos on stage due to his vigorous style of play, making him the first musician to routinely destroy their own instrument while performing, a full century prior to the rock artists of the 1960’s onward

The Origin of Film Scores and the Drama They Add to Cinema

Hans-Zimmer

In the early days of film, soundtracks were implemented to cover up the noise of the film protector as it played film. As time progressed however, movie scores became more and more crucial to the pacing, tensing, and emotion of films (e.g. 1997’s Titanic with Celine Dion singing The Heart Does Go On). Max Steiner’s score for King Kong in 1933 was a watershed moment for cinema as it introduced orchestral music into film for the first time. King Kong demonstrated for the first time that music could be leveraged to add drama or comedy to a scene

The Original Color of Ballet Shoes

ballet-slippers

Ballet shoes and tights were originally created only in pink in an attempt to match the skin color of ballerinas who wore the apparel. Because ballerinas now run the gamut of a wide array of skin tone, hue, and color, bronze and brown ballerina slippers have become available. Prior to this, ballerinas would commonly use makeup and other aids to color their shoes

18th Century Crowd Wrangling During Theatrical Shows

18th-century-theater

18th century music would often open with a strong fanfare of a few short notes, as there was no electricity during this period and therefore theater show lights could not be dimmed down to signal the beginning of a theatrical show. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart particularly enjoyed using this technique as he felt it was a robust way to open his symphonies. During the 18th century, it was not uncommon for people to chat and drink during a performance, even moving between seats if they saw somebody they knew so that a conversation could be started

Traditional Operatic Theater

opera-theater

Despite common belief, not everyone who attended operas during the 18th century spoke Italian which is and was the language of most operas. Because of this, operatic actions became highly exaggerated over the evolution of the artform to act as a kind of subtitle to fill in the blanks. Patrons were also provided small booklets with the entire opera in print, much the same as a modern day screenplay script so that they could follow along in the event that they became lost