Universal property of music discovered

Researchers at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) of the University of Amsterdam have discovered a universal property of musical scales. Until now it was assumed that the only thing scales throughout the world have in common is the octave.

The many hundreds of scales, however, seem to possess a deeper commonality: if their tones are compared in a two- or three-dimensional way by means of a coordinate system, they form convex or star-convex structures. Convex structures are patterns without indentations or holes, such as a circle, square or oval.

GarageBand has found its interface - Robby Grossman

Robby Gorman shares a song he composed in about 2 hours with the iPad 1 running GarageBand:

The song was recorded entirely on a first generation iPad.

It consists of eight virtual tracks: two recorded acoustic guitars, two recorded vocal tracks, two recorded electric guitars, a virtual bass, and a virtual drumkit. All audio tracks were recorded with the iPad’s internal condenser microphone.

I wrote this song for the purpose of trying GarageBand for iPad this evening. I used vocals, guitars and virtual instruments in ways that I believe most people would use them, and I capped the project at two hours.

listen and read more at rob.by

Why Joseph Allen quit touring with The Black Eyed Peas

I chose to leave the Peas in Las Vegas, as they kicked off their recent U.S. leg of the tour. I felt like a lumberjack in the Redwood Forests—-great money, but you’re getting paid to decimate an irreplaceable resource. In my case, it was the higher cortical functioning of every youthful brain behind the barricade. Where the lumberjack gazes out over fields of enormous tree-stumps, I saw arenas packed to the nosebleeds with dancing brain stems. So I retreated as a conscientious objector. This has provided a modicum of inner peace.

Why Americans don’t like jazz

American ears are getting lazier and lazier. It wasn’t so long ago that most people knew how to play a musical instrument or two. Now the vast majority of Americans couldn’t tell the difference between a saxophone and a trumpet. Thanks partially to music videos, music is now a form of visual art. The American culture is so visually dominant that a piece of music without visuals cannot command full attention of the audience. For Americans, music is a background element, a mere side dish to be served with the main course. If they are forced to listen to a piece of instrumental music without any visuals, they don’t know what to do with their eyes, much like the way a nervous speaker standing in front of a large audience struggles to figure out what to do with his hands.


Why you've never really heard the "Moonlight" Sonata

A modern piano is a matter of iron and steel and high-tech and some degree of assembly line. In the days of Beethoven and Schubert, it was a matter of one man or woman (such as the legendary Nannette Streicher) with hammers, saws, planes, and chisels, and there were myriad visions of what a piano could be.

Here's Alfred Brendel playing the beginning of the "Moonlight" about as well as anyone on the ubiquitous modern Steinway.

Compare that to Gayle Martin Henry playing a piano from around 1805 by the Viennese maker Caspar Katholnig.

The sound is startlingly different from a modern piano and takes a while to get used to. These instruments were mostly played in small to medium-size rooms. The sound is intimate; you hear wood and felt and leather. The voicing is varied through the registers rather than the homogenous sound of modern pianos.

Even a physical object can feel less rich, organic, or alive, when industrialized instead of hand crafted.