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April 12, 2012

Music therapy by Oliver Sacks

Such a great video:

September 15, 2012

"Murder of the Crows" by Janet Cardiff

I was lucky enough to attend this exhibition by Janet Cardiff titled "Murder of the Crows" at the Park Avenue Armory. This is a multi-channel sound experience utilizing 98 speakers strategically scattered around the large space. You can either sit or walk around the dark space. A more detailed description about the piece is here.

janetCardiff.jpg

January 12, 2013

"Ten Reasons to Teach Our Children Music" by Alla Aranovskaya (St. Petersburg String Quartet)

By Alla Aranovskaya (St. Petersburg String Quartet); The quartet's performance of "The Following."

A girl is singing “Jingle Bells” out of tune. She clearly does not have a musical ear! And there’s no room for a piano. Grandma lives too far and can’t take the boy “to the music” (a Russian idiom). Moreover, the child simply has no time and is fully scheduled with French classes, Spanish classes, swimming classes, ballet, gymnastics, yoga, chess club, math tutoring…

There’s no way to add music lessons to these children’s schedules!
But there are good reasons to overcome all those obstacles and still teach children music. These reasons should be made clear to today's parents!

1. To play music is to follow tradition. All aristocrats, Russian as well as European, were taught music. To play music is glossy, shiny, and chic. The study of music builds one’s character, stimulates the intelligence, and stirs the soul. Music is the apotheosis of civilization.

Duke Ellington started to play the piano because girls always gather around a guy who plays music. And how about a girl who plays Scott Joplin’s ragtime music?
Attention, parents of brides!

2. Music exercises develop willpower and discipline: one must practice the instrument constantly and regularly—in winter and summer, on weekdays and holidays—almost with the same persistence with which champions train in the gym and at the rink. But, in contrast to sports heroes, piano playing won’t lead to a broken neck or leg, or even a hand.

Attention, strict parents! Music builds character without risk of injury. How great that it’s possible!

3. While making music, children develop mathematical abilities. They think spatially while fingering the right keys. They manipulate abstract musical figures that represent sounds. They memorize musical texts. And they learn that a piece of music is similar to a mathematical theorem in that you cannot subtract anything from it or add anything to it.

It is not a coincidence that Albert Einstein played the violin, and that professors of physics and mathematics at Oxford University comprise 70% of the members of the University music club.

Attention, parents of future mathematicians and engineers! To make music is more pleasant than to solve difficult science problems under the supervision of a tutoring stick.

4. Music and language are twin brothers. They were born one after the other: first, the elder—music, and then, the younger—verbal speech. And they continue to live together in our brains.

Phrases and sentences, commas and periods, question and exclamation points, exist in both music and speech.

People who play and sing also speak and write better, they memorize foreign words more easily, and they learn grammar more quickly. Many famous writers were also music lovers, including Stendhal, Turgenev, Pasternak, Leo Tolstoy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Romain Rolland, all of whom spoke more than one foreign language; and all of these writers recommended the study of music to future polyglots.
Attention, wise parents of future journalists and translators! In the beginning was the Word, but before that was the Sound.

5. Music is structural and hierarchical: major works are divided into smaller parts, which in their turn are divided into smaller themes and fragments consisting of tiny phrases and motifs. Spontaneous understanding of musical hierarchy facilitates understanding computers, which are entirely hierarchical and structured as well.

Psychologists have proved that young musicians who studied with the famous Shinichi Suzuki, even if they were not very successful in developing a musical ear and memory, nevertheless easily surpassed their peers in development of structural thinking.

Attention, pragmatic parents of future IT engineers, systems administrators, and programmers! Music leads straight to the top of computer science careers, and that’s why the Microsoft Corporation prefers workers with musical backgrounds.

6. Music lessons develop social and communication skills. After years of study, a child will become acquainted with the gallant and friendly Mozart, the energetic and athletic Prokofiev, the sophisticated and philosophical Bach, and other very different musical personalities. While playing, a child has to portray these composers and bring to the audience their character, style, emotions, voice, and gestures.

Such children are only one step away from the talent of manager! That’s because for a musician, perhaps the most important skill is to understand people and to use this understanding to manage them.

Attention, ambitious parents of future founders of business empires! Music goes from heart to heart, and the most powerful weapon of a top manager is the disarming smile of a “good guy.”

7. Musicians are tenderhearted and courageous at the same time. According to psychologists, male musicians are as sensual as women, and female musicians are as firm in spirit as men. Music softens manners, but to succeed in music, one must be brave.

Attention, sagacious parents who expect help and support in old age! Children who are involved in music are both sympathetic and patient, and will therefore be more willing to care for their elderly parents when the time comes.

8. Music lessons teach children to turn upon a signal immediately. Musicians are less afraid of that terrible word, “deadline.” In a music school, you can’t postpone an audition or a concert to the next day or week. A musician, like an actor on a stage, learns to be ready, no matter what. A child with such experience won’t fail an important test, won’t fumble an employment interview, and won’t delay preparing an important report.

Attention, anxious parents! Music lessons in childhood mean responsibility and artistry in life.

9. Music classes bring up small “Caesars” who can do many things at once. Music teaches children to navigate in multiple concurrent processes; for example, a sight-reading pianist remembers the past, looks to the future, and controls the present, all at the same time.

Music flows at its own pace, and a sight-reading person can’t be interrupted; he can’t relax or take a break. Similarly, the air-traffic controller, computer operator, or stock broker watches multiple screens, listens to many commands, and communicates via multiple phones simultaneously. Music teaches children to think and live in several directions.

Attention, overworked and tired parents! It will be easier for a child-musician to run on multiple life paths and come in first than it is for you.

10. And finally, music is the best way to succeed in life. Why? See paragraphs 1-9.

No wonder that the musical past is shared by many celebrities:
The first story that Agatha Christie wrote was about why it is difficult to play the piano onstage.

In contrast, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice loves most of all to play in public in her dazzling concert dress.

Bill Clinton is sure that if he had never played saxophone, he would never have become president.

Take a look at successful people in any professional field and ask them whether they were engaged in music as a child, even if it was not for long and without much enthusiasm. Of course they were. And we have given you ten good reasons to follow their inspirational example.

If that’s not enough, perhaps our little closing poem will inspire you to offer your children a musical education:

“You make me work so hard,” he said,
“You’re stuffing music in my head.”
“It’s good for you,” his mom replied.
“I hate to practice!” the young boy cried.
The years went by; the young boy played.
His pastimes changed; the piano stayed.
He went along with mother’s plan,
Until that boy became a man:
A man with music in his heart,
Who learned to love a living art.
~ Lilian Duval

January 25, 2013

Funny video to motherhood/parenthood

This week I attended the WE Festival, and among many topics besides business was work/life balance.

This is hilarious. I wonder what the demographic for people who drive, purchase, rent, lease, own a fiat. I thought I have seen mostly men driving fiats (i.e. designers, architects, etc. -- but this is from my own personal observation from 5 years ago, when I lived in "Car Culture City -- LA). by January 7, 2013, this video received 2 million views [http://www.businessinsider.com/fiats-motherhood-rap-hits-2-million-views-on-youtube-2013-1].

March 11, 2013

Really cool HTML5 website, but WEAR headphones

This HTML5 site incorporates scripts for changing the background. The animation of cat heads seem to be in sync with the beats of the music. Please wear headphones or view in conference room.

Bring In The Cats
http://www.bringinthecats.com/

Open up Firebug to see the code animate.

html5_reference_01.jpg

html5_reference_02.jpg

html5_reference_03.jpg

html5_reference_04.jpg

--
This was a recommendation by colleague and Web Producer, Edwina Hay.

September 24, 2013

Improv Everywhere and Carnegie Hall

This is awesome!

Improv Everywhere, the public art group set up an orchestra on 34th Street, with a vacant stand displaying a message "Conduct Us."

October 15, 2013

New take on Gamification

http://musicexperiment.com

Here is a new take on gamification by MTV and Intel. Users sign up and complete social tasks using to get a chance to win tickets to concerts (public or clandestine). The first concert is Arcade Fire in Los Angeles using Instagram. Other social media outlets include Pinterest, Vine, Shazam etc.

Below are screenshots. If you visit the site, they have some cool javascript ixd patterns:
gamification_eg_01.jpg

gamification_eg_02.jpg


November 2, 2013

"Princess of China" by Rihanna and Coldplay

I just found this clip of "Princess of China," which was released in 2012. The video has a very cinematic with martial arts and manga-like style that packs a lot of visual detail in just over 3 minutes:

--
I found this about the composition (referenced by Wikipedia: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_of_China]). I removed the footnotes, but if you navigate to the page, there are rollovers and bidirectional links. I had no idea there was a sample of Sigur Rós, which is pretty cool.

"Princess of China" draws influence from the music genres of Chinese music, electropop, and R&B. The song starts with a sample of Sigur Rós' "Takk...", which is also featured throughout the song. As noted by Amy Sciarretto of Popcrush, it features a "moody" and heavy synth throughout the duration of the song. The song also prominently features both Martin's and Rihanna's falsetto register, which was praised by multiple critics. Gil Kaufman of MTV News noted that both of the vocalists falsetto's matched each other perfectly, and that Martin's falsetto complimented Rihanna's higher register. Judah Joseph of The Huffington Post gave an explanation of the song's composition as part of his review, writing "The best way to describe the composition behind 'Princess of China' is to compare it to an old-school Zelda Gameboy game's sound effects – but in the best way. The song is epic, Asia-influenced, and it exemplifies the adventurous vibe that comes from an alternative-hip-hop combination." According to the sheet music published on Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song is written in the time signature of common time, and is composed in the key of A minor with a tempo of 84 beats per minute. The song follows a basic sequence of Am7–C–Dm/F–G6 as its chord progression.

I like how Rihanna describes her look as a "gangsta goth geisha." Other visual references by Wikipedia:

Rihanna wearing two different costumes and golden nail guards as she performs a choreography with her arms in front of a background with colorful effects. It contains visual references to various Chinese wuxia films, including Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Zhang Yimou's Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower.

I would also add the book and movie, Memoirs of a Geisha.

More on the synopsis:

The video portrays Chris Martin and Rihanna as lovers with a complicated story. Rihanna is seen imitating a multi-armed goddess in the clip. In one of the scenes Martin and Rihanna are seen kneeling in a desert, with their foreheads touching each other, as they bemoan the loss of their love. The scene then proceeds to be violent as they engage in a sword-fight. The video closes on scenes of Chris Martin seated on a throne watching Rihanna dance with a red coloured drape surrounded by many female dancers kneeling down and men beating the drums. In the video, Rihanna's hair was pinned up with chopsticks and she described her look in the video as "gangsta goth geisha".

I also found this photo of a carved Buddha statue in Leshan, China (Sichuan Province). If you like spicy food, this is the province to discover it.

Leshan-Guanyin-carving-McKay-Savage_sm.jpg
Photo by McKay Savage on this site [http://www.chinatravelca.com/places/leshan/]

August 25, 2014

Event: David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center

Just happened to be at Cynthia Sayer's concert at the David Rubenstein Atrium [http://atrium.lincolncenter.org/index.php/target-free-thursdays]. They have free wi-fi, and I was able to work simultaneously while enjoying great music. She specializes in Banjo music, and was somewhat discovered by Woody Allen.

Cynthia Sayer (Banjo & Vocals)
Bruce Molsky (Fiddle, Banjo & Vocals)
Andy Statman (Mandolin)

target_thursdays_cynthia_sayer.jpg

She will be at the City Winery on tomorrow between 5:00pm-7:30pm, as apart of Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival 2014, 2nd Annual Hot Strings Festival, "located at 155 Varick Street (back parking lot)."

[Jazz Musician]: Duane Holmes

Duane Holmes has been playing jazz and classical improvisations on the platform of Columbus Circle on the A/B/C/D lines. When I used to work for Macmillan Science and Scholarly, formerly Nature Publishing Group, I switched trains from the "1" to the "A" and cut my commute by approximately half, from 35-40 minutes to 15 minutes (i.e. 5 stops at 3 minutes apiece). I would listen to Duane play, and wanted my husband, a music composer to go here him play. Btw, I used to see some high school kids in a Trio play "Careless Whispers" by George Michael -- awesome and talented musicians playing in this station.

Anyway, I have since been taking the "A" in the mornings and able to catch his music again. Sometimes he plays new unique music, or sometimes he plays Carlos Jobim's pieces. I saw the cutest photo... a kid slowly engaged in the keyboard. Duane sort of hinted for him to play, but he didn't bite. Now, you know he's good if a kid is interested.

duane_holmes.jpg

I'm surprised a music agent hasn't discovered this guy. If you are interested, here's his contact info (he's on sound cloud too):
347.290.9977
duane_holmes@rocketmail.com
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington

--

There is so much talent here, it's intimidating. That's how I met my husband. I saw a photo of him playing on one of the "Piano in the Parks" installations (i.e. now "Sing for Hope"), in Long Island City. I have been teaching myself Pachelbel's Canon, some works from the film The Piano [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107822/], and Once. I had been practicing for 6 weeks. I hadn't played for ~20 years, so reading treble and bass clef notes was challenging. I would practice with the right hand, then the left hand, then simultaneously. At the time, I asked my husband what he played, and he said "Baroque." I didn't believe him, but he really did play Baroque. It's like everywhere there is a piano, there are flocks of professional piano players following you. I've seen even kids, ages 10 play Bach.

So if you see those pianos in the future, you better practice, and play in a recital as practice. And whatever you do, do not play the violin in Central Park... I'll save that as another story for another day.

February 16, 2016

Google re-engineered a piano's 88 keys to play just one note

May 17, 2016

Good to see you Duane Holmes!

It was a great but brief reunion at Columbus Circle. Several years back I would take the "A" train to Varick Street, and listen to this talented musician. His music engaged little kids.
duane_holmes_20140825.jpg
These photos were taken in 2014, (view playlist)

And here we are in 2016
duaneHolmes_20160517.png


EVENT
Duane is playing in a jazz band that experiments with fashion and supports a mental health organization June 4, 2016, 419 W. 150th Street, on St. Nicholas.

If you're interested in learning more about the event, please contact him:
347.290.9977
duane_holmes@rocketmail.com
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington

NY PHIL BIENNIAL

I was so lucky to have found this event. I was visiting my old hood, and had to make a pit stop for free WIFI at the Atrium. They have free and discounted concert tickets and lecture talks:
http://atrium.lincolncenter.org/
61 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023
lincolnCenter_IMG_6752.png

I was able to attend the first NY PHIL BIENNIAL: A Player's Guide, where Alan Gilbert hosted conversations with Jennifer Koh, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Hilary Purrington, Christopher Theofanidis, Jay Campbell, Dianne Berkun Menaker, Lisa Bielawa, Colin Jacobsen, John Corigliano


Alan Gilbert is a conductor and violinist. He was in season 9 of Mozart in the Jungle
I just wish my nephew was with me because at 18 months, he loves to conduct. And as a novice conductor, he loves to hear me play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on my violin even though it sounds like fingernails scratching a chalkboard. I guess he's a Mozart fan.

Jennifer Koh shared her experience about a community acquiring a violin for her. She was so thankful. I was grateful to take a photo with her:
lincolnCenter_IMG_6768.png


STEAM Event in NYC

I was lucky to get tickets from NYU to a STEAM event at a public school in Brooklyn.

I gravitated away from the new technologies like Arduino and LittleBits, and found this booth. I was able to experience some of these tools that people used in early 19th and 20th Century. It was a like a tangible museum.

This device reminds me of Google Cardboard:
STEAM_IMG_6896.png

This is what I see in the viewer:
STEAM_IMG_6898.png

Here's a microscope:
STEAM_IMG_6895.png


Here's what someone joked as a Ouija board.
IMG_6919.JPG

But it looks like a mini-printing press or type-plate. It reminds me of a Letterpress class I took at Art Center:
steam_IMG_6935.jpg

See in context:
steam_IMG_6916.jpg


They use these tools for teaching. If interested, here's more information:
The Museum of Interesting Things
Denny Daniel
212.274.8757
Email: dennydanielx@gmail.com
www.museumofinterestingthings.org

Links


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