music

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Recording “To Shiver the Sky”

Posted by on 31 May 2020 | Tagged as: aviation, culture, music, personal, travel

The conductor beat out a measure. A rich orchestra sound flowed from 80 headphones into 80 heads. With a sound like an earthquake’s rumble overlaid with angelic choirs, 80 voices sang out: “Una Volta che Avrai…“. And I was sitting 10 metres in front of them. Wow.

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Two musicians, violating social distancing

Posted by on 31 Mar 2020 | Tagged as: community, music

I was annoyed! Today I caught two musicians together. They were violating social distancing. I heard them counting: one was saying “1 2 3, 1 2 3,”…; the other, “1 2 3 4 5, 1 2 3 4 5,”… Actually, their “1”s landed together, so it sounded more like “ONE two twothree fourthree five ONE…”. Anyhow, we all need to be virus police these days, so I confronted them — from a safe distance, of course. “Hey!”, I said, “There’s a pandemic. Don’t be so close together! It’s unsafe.” “No worries”, the musicians replied, “we have two meters between us.”

In which Jim and Ducky appear in the Venice Biennale

Posted by on 30 Sep 2019 | Tagged as: culture, music, travel

A most extraordinary thing happened last Saturday: Ducky Sherwood and I appeared in the Venice Biennale! We were a (tiny) part of Sun & Sea [Marina], an “opera-performance” by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė, at the Lithuania Pavilion. This work won them the Golden Lion award for Best National Participation. I have been a devoted amateur opera singer for nearly 25 years. I am delighted to join in this performance, in my little comprimario role. It is an unlikely addition to my résumé. Continue Reading »

Macbeth

Posted by on 30 Jun 2019 | Tagged as: community, culture, music, personal, Vancouver

I’m going to be in an opera! I am in the chorus of Heroic Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth on Friday 5. July and Saturday 6. July in Vancouver. It will be a marvelous show. The singers are powerful and exciting, the direction is incisive, the costumes are lavish.

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Good Godless Grief Songs

Posted by on 31 May 2019 | Tagged as: community, culture, music

I am on the lookout for good songs to sing at bad times. I want songs of grief and loss, suitable for amateur musicians like me to sing at funerals and memorial services, that do not mention gods, creators, heaven, or other fables. I am looking for “Good Godless Grief Songs”.

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CD storage and the 25cm x 15cm box

Posted by on 30 Sep 2017 | Tagged as: culture, music, robobait

I guess I’m exactly the right age to have this problem: hundreds of liner notes from CD albums, stripped from their jewel cases and also CD boxed-sets and many different CD gatefold cases. If I were any younger, I’d be subscribing to some music streaming service, or downloading pirated albums as MP3 files. If I were any older, I’d be building elaborate shelf units to store the hundreds of intact jewel cases, and keeping a multi-disc CD player running to play the music.  But here I am, old enough to buy CDs as a way to pay the artists for their work, but young enough to want to rip the CDs into music files, upload them to a file server, and play them via computer or from my smartphone.

All of this leaves me with a problem: having put the ripped CDs onto nice compact 100-disc spindles, where do I put the liner notes and booklets so that I have access to them if I want ?  I can throw out the regular or the 2-disc jewel cases, because those are generic. But the artwork is indispensable.  On the other hand, I don’t need to keep it out on a open shelf to browse. It’s fine for me to put it away, and retrieve it only when I need it.  And now I am happy to report a solution: a box, of just the right size to hold liner notes or CD box-sets or gatefold cases efficiently, easily available from shipping materials suppliers, and very affordably priced. I post this in the hopes of helping some else who is trying to solve the same problem. Continue Reading »

Requirements for comparing digital scores

Posted by on 30 Jun 2016 | Tagged as: culture, Keyboard Philharmonic, meetings and conferences, music

Back in May, as part of the Music Encoding 2016 conference in Montreal, we had a discussion about comparing digital scores. Just as you can compare text files, and get a concise statement of differences, we brainstormed about requirements for comparing music scores at the notation level. This blog post is a record of that discussion.

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Encoding Music at Music Encoding Conference 2016

Posted by on 31 May 2016 | Tagged as: Canada, Keyboard Philharmonic, meetings and conferences, music

A couple of weeks ago the Music Encoding Conference 2016 was held at McGill University, Montréal, Canada. I attended on behalf of the Keyboard Philharmonic project. I was like a kid in a candy store: so many people with so much experience in representing music notation digitally, so many interesting talks, so much friendliness. I also had the temerity to hold, despite my first-time status, a workshop on the first day of the conference: “Encoding Music at Music Encoding”, where we would follow the Keyboard Philharmonic process to encode a short score. The goal was to release it to the public domain by the end of the conference. Here is how we did.

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Recruiting people, and structuring their work

Posted by on 30 Apr 2016 | Tagged as: culture, Keyboard Philharmonic, music

The Keyboard Philharmonic overview mentions that one focus of the project is to be “a vehicle for recruiting people and structuring their work for useful results”. There are reasons why this focus is important.  Continue Reading »

A 21st century container for music scores

Posted by on 31 Oct 2015 | Tagged as: culture, Keyboard Philharmonic, music

A music score is an information product. The printed book is a proven, well-understood container for information products. It is also a 16th-century technology approach. In the 21st century, we have a new container for music scores: the symbolically encoded, software-accessible digital file. The exciting task of our time is to explore how to move the music score into this new container, preserving the connection to our cultural heritage and our artistic tradition of music creativity, while transcending the limitations of the 500-year-old container technology.

I see the Keyboard Philharmonic project as providing an important bridge, to move the fine musical works of the classical music and opera tradition into their new home in the 21st century.

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