31.10.13

Black MIDI



"A group of musicians use MIDI files to create compositions that feature staggering numbers of notes. They're calling this kind of music "black MIDI", which basically means that when you look at the music in the form of standard notation, it looks like almost solid black:



Blackers take these MIDI files and run them through software such as Synesthesia, which is kind of an educational version of Guitar Hero for the piano, and bills itself as "piano for everyone".
That version of Bad Apple, using 4.6 million midi notes, is by a notable blacker who goes by the name TheSuperMarioBros2; as you might infer from the name and the choice of song, video game music plays a big role in the black MIDI scene."

Sources:
- The Impossible Music of Black MIDI by Michael Connor (rhizome.org)
- Impossible Music Wiki

Also check out:
- Tutti esecutori!


28.10.13

Bach BWV 1011 - 995






"Bach made his arrangement of the fifth cello suite (BWV 1011/995) with apparent haste.. There is a suggestion that the dedicatee, M. Schouster, identified recently as a book-dealer in Leipzig, may have encouraged Bach to create a saleable version of a piece which he had written about ten years earlier. The first page is neat and properly spaced, with carefully formed note-heads and stems. Looking at the end of the tres viste section of the Prelude and the Bourée, the writing is more typical of a rough copy. He wrote note-names to clarify messy bass notes. Compared to the finished copy of Anna Magdalena’s BWV 1011, BWV 995 seems like a sketch. If he were serious about writing with the lute in mind and preparing it for subsequent adjustment or intabulation, we would expect his handwriting to reflect it. Just because he has written “pour la Luth” at the top of the page, we need not conclude that he has done it with any conviction. If Bach set out to write real lute music, and not keyboard music with annotation, he might have done better than BWV 995. This version may have been the beginning of that process. As it stands, BWV 995 is a stab at arranging an earlier work for the lute, but it is not lute music."


Source: classicalguitarcanada


25.10.13

How did ancient Greek music sound?



"The epitaph of Seikilos" performed by Newcastle University's David Creese

"It is often forgotten that the writings at the root of Western literature - the epics of Homer, the love-poems of Sappho, the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides - were all, originally, music. Dating from around 750 to 400 BC, they were composed to be sung in whole or part to the accompaniment of the lyre, reed-pipes, and percussion instruments.
New revelations about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient documents inscribed with a vocal notation devised around 450 BC, consisting of alphabetic letters and signs placed above the vowels of the Greek words. The notation gives an accurate indication of relative pitch: letter A at the top of the scale, for instance, represents a musical note a fifth higher than N halfway down the alphabet. Absolute pitch can be worked out from the vocal ranges required to sing the surviving tunes. While the documents, found on stone in Greece and papyrus in Egypt, have long been known to classicists - some were published as early as 1581 - in recent decades they have been augmented by new finds. Dating from around 300 BC to 300 AD, these fragments offer us a clearer view than ever before of the music of ancient Greece.
Instrumental practices that derive from ancient Greek traditions still survive in areas of Sardinia and Turkey, and give us an insight into the sounds and techniques that created the experience of music in ancient times.
The earliest musical document that survives preserves a few bars of sung music from a play, Orestes by the fifth-century BC tragedian Euripides. It may even be music Euripides himself wrote. Music of this period used subtle intervals such as quarter-tones. We also find that the melody doesn't conform to the word pitches at all. Euripides was a notoriously avant-garde composer, and this indicates one of the ways in which his music was heard to be wildly modern: it violated the long-held norms of Greek folk singing by neglecting word-pitch. However, we can recognise that Euripides adopted another principle. The words "I lament" and "I beseech" are set to a falling, mournful-sounding cadence; and when the singer says "my heart leaps wildly", the melody leaps as well. This was ancient Greek soundtrack music."

P. Yale CtYBR inv. 4510.
Hear a rendition of the 2 songs by Christopher Brunelle,
Asst. Professor of Classics at Vanderbilt University.
Song A and Song B. (Quicktime needed)

Sources:
- Armand D'Angour
- io9
- William A. Johnson 1
- William A. Johnson 2
- William A. Johnson 3
- Ancient Greek Music, a new technical history by Stefan Hagel

24.10.13

Informational Ocean & Cultural Filters



Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
 
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
"The 20th century was about audiovisual material, our memory of the 20th century is heavily audiovisual, but our sense of the 21st century is going to be a different kind of audiovisual… archiving is not going to be so much about what we can bring in, but about what to exclude."

Source: openculture

22.10.13

Doctor Who 1963 - 2013



Per il 50esimo anniversario della serie più incredibile di sempre, un episodio celebrativo dal titolo Day of the Doctor sarà trasmesso il 23 novembre 2013 in 75 paesi, in Italia su Rai4.

Il making of della sigla anni '80, spiegato da un vintage sound designer della BBC:


La stessa mitica sigla nei vari arrangiamenti dalle origini ai giorni nostri:


La mia incarnazione preferita del dottore è quella di Christopher Eccleston (Nono Dottore), la prima stagione della nuova serie (2005). Memorabile l'episodio 2, La Fine del Mondo, in cui il Dottore porta Rose cinque miliardi di anni avanti nel futuro su una stazione spaziale (Piattaforma 5) orbitante intorno alla Terra, dove si attende la distruzione del pianeta per via dell'espansione del Sole. Per celebrare l'antico pianeta, l'ultimo essere umano puro (Lady Cassandra, sottoposta a così tante operazioni chirurgiche da aver completamente mutato la sua immagine) propone agli ospiti convenuti da tutto l'universo l'ascolto di 2 'ballate classiche della terra': Tempted Love dei Soft Cell e Toxic di Britney Spears. Capolavoro.

21.10.13

L'homme qui ment




Directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Music & Sound Design by Michel Fano

"Michel Fano est un musicien, compositeur de musique sérielle, écrivain, cinéaste, il développe l'idée de continuum sonore inspirée par celle de partition sonore du compositeur Edgard Varèse. 
Né le 9 décembre 1929 à Paris, Michel Fano poursuit des études musicales classiques au Conservatoire où il est l’élève d’Olivier Messiaen et l’ami de Pierre Boulez. 
À la fin des années 50, Fano se lie avec le romancier Alain Robbe-Grillet et coproduit Hiroshima mon amour (1959), L'Année dernière à Marienbad (1961), tous deux réalisés par Alain Resnais. 
Sa collaboration avec Alain Robbe-Grillet, lui permet de mettre au point et d'appliquer sa conception du sonore au cinéma, donc de tout ce qui est audible dans un film. Cet ensemble, ce "total sonore (1963)", s'organise au sein d'une partition sonore. Rejoignant par là son idée de développer de nouvelles formes d'écoute, l'union des sons instrumentaux, de la voix, et du son naturaliste ne formant plus qu’un seul ensemble sonore indissociable, Michel Fano amène le spectateur à s'interroger sur l'action du sonore sur l'ensemble du phénomène filmique, images et récit. 
En s'appuyant sur son savoir-faire de musicien, Michel Fano mène une carrière d’ingénieur et de monteur son au cinéma."

9.10.13

Paul Galbraith plays Nocturnal by Britten



One of the seminal works of the 20th century performed by Paul Galbraith on a 8-string guitar played like a cello. "Nocturnal after John Dowland Op. 70" composed in 1963 by English composer Benjamin Britten was written for guitarist Julian Bream. It is a strange set of variations in reverse, that is, the theme only appears at the very end.

3.10.13

1955 RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer


"This huge and unwieldy system was controlled by a punched paper roll, similar to a player piano roll. A keyboard was used to punch the roll (Olson has his finger on it). Each note had to be individually described by a number of parameters (frequency, volume, envelope, etc.) The output was fed to disk recording machines, which stored the results on lacquer-coated disks. One of these can be seen at the left in the above photo."

RCA Synth feature, with mp3 audio samples from four 45 RPM extended-play disks

2.10.13

The Musicolateur



"The Musicolateur is a formidable musical creation learning tool. It promotes the development of imagination, openness and interaction. The Musicolateur is very intuitive and transparent. It requires no prior traditional musical training."