Mark Foley

Music commentator

Mark Foley is Assistant Professor of Double Bass and Electric Bass, and Principal Double Bass in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

He has been a featured soloist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. He also has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Heidelberg Castle Opera Festival, the Binghamton Symphony, the Minnesota Opera and also performs extensively as a jazz artist.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Musical Space: Start Your Own Band

Playing music is a skill that can be exercised and enjoyed for an entire lifetime. In other words, music is the ideal hobby.

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Commentary
7:02 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Musical Space: Hip Hop

Sampling in Hip-Hop reached its height in the late 80s and early 90s. The legality of using samples from someone else’s song was vague; a lot of djs risked being sued, and ended up doing amazing things by putting together quotations of wildly different familiar music.

Four examples of samples that ended up being used by the band De La Soul:

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Commentary
1:21 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Musical Space: Why Street Music Is So Important

Unidentified multi-instrumentalist busking at Bumbershoot, a music and arts festival held every Labor Day weekend in Seattle, Wash.
Credit Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

Street music has probably been around as long as there have been streets.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Musical Space: Stravinsky, Star Trek and a Musical Revolution

Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary ballet The Rite of Spring was premiered 100 years ago this May.

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Commentary
7:47 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Musical Space: How John Hammond Shaped American Pop Music

(L to R) Lonnie Johnson, Chris Albertson, John H. Hammond, Elmer Snowden
Credit Wikimedia Commons

You might not have heard of John Hammond, but in terms of cultural significance he was arguably the world’s most influential record producer.

At the beginning of his career in the 1930s, largely because of his deep convictions about racial equality and civil rights, Hammond helped shape the the jazz scene.

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Commentary
9:53 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Musical Space: The Loudness War

The Ultimate Collection is a limited edition box set by recording artist Michael Jackson.

Makers of pop music have always engineered their songs to sound big and loud. Motown records, for instance, have a legendary, huge sound. Sometimes, though, loudness can be overdone, and this problem seems to be getting worse.

The technology behind this is a device called a compressor. Its job is to keep a volume level consistent. This is great when you want, say, a vocalist to remain audible above the other instruments.

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Commentary
8:14 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Musical Space: How Beck Is Getting Us To Rethink Recorded Music

Beck's newest release is an anti-CD, not a recording at all, but a well-packaged collection of songs published in sheet music form.

For two decades now, Beck Hansen has been keeping his music fresh and compelling by never letting it be defined by genre or convention. He gets his listeners to rethink pop formulas by deconstructing, combining and transcending them. Every release by Beck is different from the last one; previous albums have merged and reexamined rock, hip-hop, latin and folk styles. With his latest release, Song Reader, Beck has outdone himself.

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Commentary
8:24 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Musical Space: Why You Can't Sing 'Happy Birthday' Anytime, Anywhere

Credit freakgirl / flickr

“Happy Birthday to You” is one of the best known songs in the world, but one rarely hears it in a movie or on TV.

There is a monetary reason for this: “Happy Birthday To You” is copyright protected, and to use it can cost a producer as much as $30,000.

It is incredible to me that the song is not in the public domain, but this is one of those strange stories born at the intersection of popular music and copyright law.


The tune was written for a song "Good Morning to All" in 1893 by Louisville kindergarten teachers Patty and Mildred Hill.

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Commentary
7:57 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Musical Space: Merch

An array of Split Lip Rayfield T-shirts that have been for sale through the years.
Credit Split Lip Rayfield

Now that CDs aren’t making money, more of a musician's income is from selling "merch" - merchandise: T-shirts, stickers, guitar picks, etc.

Merch might not be the main part of a band’s revenue stream, but I think it has become a bigger part of the musical experience since the beginning of the digital age.

Merch is essential for the true fan. An MP3 is a transitory and abstract thing; a concert T-shirt on the other hand is tangible and enduring.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Musical Space: John Cage

John Cage was one of the most influential and revolutionary composers of the 20th Century.

John Cage, one of the most influential and revolutionary composers of the 20th Century, was born almost exactly 100 years ago. He was very well schooled as a composer, but it seems as though his mission was to reject nearly every compositional technique he was taught, and instead push the boundaries, even the very definition of music. His results were, to say the least, interesting.

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