Friday, November 30, 2007

FriPod: Psalm 100

I've been neglecting many things lately, including this blog. So to get back into things, I'm using Anne-Carolyn's meme as my FriPod.

MEME Rules:

1. Put your iTunes/ music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Find a bit of lyrics from the song that matches the question.

*I'm altering this slightly, allowing me to skip music that doesn't have any lyrics (either performed or implied).

1. If someone says ‘Is this OK?’ you say?
"Why Are You Ladies Staying - Hark I Hear Some Dancing" by Thomas Weelkes, performed by American Brass Quintet.
Run apace and greet them/And with your garlands greet them.

2. What would best describe your personality?
"Als Nurenberg Belagert War" from Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg by Wagner.
I don't see any connection.

3. What do you like in a guy?
"Mario! Mario! Mario!... son qui" from Tosca by Puccini:
Um, a painting cavalier? A rebel? Let's go with artistic and socially active.

4. How do you feel today?
"Who am I?" from Les Miserables:
My soul belongs to God, I know I made that bargain long ago He gave me hope when hope was gone He gave me strength to journey on

5. What is your life’s purpose?
"Crux fidelis" from St. Luke's Passion by Penderecki.
Faithful cross, above all other, the one noble tree.

6. What is your motto?
"Tenderly", Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong:
The evening breeze caressed the trees tenderly The trembling trees embraced the breeze tenderly

7. What do your friends think of you?
"Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit" from Deutsches Requiem by Brahms:
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. [...]As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you.

8. What do you think of your parents?
"I Get Ideas", Louis Armstrong:
I want to hold you

This is the only part that seems appropriate.

9. What do you think about very often?
"Rose of the Rio Grande", Ivie Anderson:
Happy little bride and bridegroom [...]
I've got your loveness planned.

10. What does 2+2=
"Rompe Sprezza" by Scarlotti, performed by Wynton Marsalis and Kathleen Battle:
I can't find a translation, but this song is about a woman who callously breaks hearts. That's math for you.

11. What do you think of your best friend?
"Singt dem Herren, alle Stimmen" from The Creation by Haydn:
give thanks

12. What do you think of the person you like?
"Kommt, Ihr Töchter, Helft Mir Klagen" from St. Matthew's Passion by Bach:
Just like a lamb

13. What is your life story?
"My Life", Billy Joel:
They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place / Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else / Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space / Either way it's okay, you wake up with yourself

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?
"An Die Turen Will Ich Schleichen" by Schumann, performed by Keenlyside.
quiet and humble will I stand

15. What do you think when you see the person you like?
"Ladies Night", Kool & the Gang:
You dance, you smile, the guys go wild

16. What do your parents think of you?
"Into the West", Annie Lennox (Return of the King soundtrack):
Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face? Soon you will see. All of your fears will pass away. Safe in my arms, you’re only sleeping.

17. What will you dance to at your wedding?
"Serenity (A Unison Chant) by Charles Ives, performed by Susan Graham:
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.

18. What will they play at your funeral?
"Somebody Loves Me" by George Gershwin, performed by Ella Fitzgerald.
Somebody loves me, I wonder who, Maybe it's you.

19. What is your hobby/interest?
"Goody Goody" by Johnny Mercer, performed by Ella Fitzgerald:
So you lie awake just singing the blues all night, goody goody!
And you found that loves a barrell of dynamite!

20. What is your biggest secret?
"And He shall purify" from the Messiah by Handel:
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an
offering in righteousness.

That I've become religious? Not really a secret, but I don't evangelize to students or friends either. That my theology is more Jewish than Christian, though I label myself an Episcopalian? Not really a big secret either. And I'm not going to write my biggest secret here, that's why it's called a secret!

21. What do you think of your friends?
"Warum wollt ihr erschrecken?" from the Christmas Oratorio by Bach:
Instead be moved with gladness

I wish the best of them, try to support them in my flawed ways, am thankful of their support.

22. What should you post this as?
"Psalm 100" by Charles Ives, performed by San Francisco Symphony Chorus.
Shout for Joy

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for:
  • my family
  • my friends
  • music
  • nature
  • God
  • the ability to love
  • the ability to feel pain
  • my career
  • my students
  • my counselors
  • funny movies
  • cute pets
  • laughter
  • good food
  • honesty
  • time's healing powers
  • knowing when it's time to go to bed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Now that's Interdisciplinary

I've been off at the SMT conference, complete with end-of-conference cold that has dropped my voice a diatessaron and killed any desire to blog. So I'm easing back into blogging with this celebration of science and music melded into a thing of beauty.

(I blame Mind Hacks.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nerding out

Yesterday I revealed my extensive knowledge of Star Trek to my students, reaffirming my nerd status. Right now I'm looking through the program for the Society for Music Theory annual conference, so I can make plans as to which papers I want to hear. That is already a little nerdy, but I'm also getting excited about some of the papers, ramping up my pocket-protector status. The plenary session will be really good, "Issues in Music Cognition." One of my dissertation advisors, Betsy Marvin, is chairing this session with Carol Krumhansl, Fred Lerdahl, Laurel Trainor, and David Huron. And right before this session the Music Cognition Interest Group is meeting to discuss Justin London's theory of meter.

So, where should I go to eat while in Baltimore? And any concerts happening there on Friday or Saturday evening (especially Saturday, there's no papers that night)?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birthday news

As is usual, my birthday is celebrated as a national holiday today (tomorrow in terms of bank and government vacation). The Packers are giving me a present by kicking the hated Vikings behinds (20-0 right now). The DePauw football team gave me an early present by capturing the Monon Bell in a very exciting game (missed extra point balanced by a 2 point conversion, interception on the Wabash 4, first-down conversion on 4th and 2, game-winning field goal as time runs out). And I've been enjoying cards, presents, and well-wishes from family, friends, and students. It is a little bittersweet, turning 38 as I'm newly single. I've decided to have my midlife crisis a touch early, yearning for a Wii.

Oh, and so much for aiming for a wide audience:
cash advance

Update: And I've officially reached the 100,000 viewers mark on my birthday! The viewer who made the milestone at 6:41 pm (ET) was from Austin, Texas. This person was looking for "journal articles does warming up your voice effect the pitch of your voice girls chiors[sic]". I'm guessing my blog was disappointing to this person, but a view is a view. Now to see if the Colts will give me another present. My kids gave me cold weather running gear: long-sleeved shirt, hat, gloves and socks. The socks aren't specifically cold weather, but they are specific running socks, a step up from my cotton footies that could've started eating up my feet with the longer distances I'm running. I look forward to trying out the new gear tomorrow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

FriPod: After

1. "After Antietam" from the Glory soundtrack by James Horner. Boy's choir over military music, a combination of hope and sorrow about a Pyrrhic victory. Right now I'm trying to avoid these kinds of victories.

2. "After the Thrill is Gone" by the Eagles on Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 2. I like this album, but this song is not one of my favorites. A little too country, though the vocal harmonies are nice. I'd replace "thrill" with other words, but I grok the sentiment.

3. "After You've Gone" by Creamer and Layton, performed by Roy Eldridge on Little Jazz. Rather cheery for the title, though perhaps it can teach me to rediscover joy. The lyrics focus on a vengeful schadenfreude, which I understand but am trying not to emphasize. Amazon MP3.

4. "After the War" from Different Trains by Steve Reich, performed by Kronos Quartet. Hypnotic, though some of the taped spoken words are too fuzzy in timbre. Slow change, nuances that are easy to miss, uncertain if we are going somewhere or where that destination might be. Just like life. Amazon MP3.

5. "The Night After" by Spang A Lang. This is a rock group of fellow Lawrence alums based in Minneapolis in the 90s. The synth sounds are a little dated, and the lead vocals are a touch too husky for my taste. "Time is damaging" not a refrain to which I want to subscribe.

6. "Sometime Later ... And After" by Bob Levy, on Did You Ever Cross Over To Sneden's? Rather abstract for a jazz album, but it fits Bob's persona. He knows what comes after. Turmoil, fear, anger, lost and alone, but found by others who understand.

7. Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy, performed by (a) Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, (b) Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I was doing a search for "apres" and this came up, even though it is really about an afternoon than being after something else. But it does capture many of the right emotions in a beautiful and sensual way. Amazon MP3.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hearing space

Today I read two things that converged.

Stewart, L. and Walsh, V. (2007) "Music perception: sounds lost in space," Current Biology 17/20, R892-3.
A recent study of spatial processing in amusia makes a controversial claim that such musical deficits may be understood in terms of a problem in the representation of space. If such a link is demonstrated to be causal, it would challenge the prevailing view that deficits in amusia are specific to the musical or even the auditory domain.
Lahiri, N. and Duncan, JS. (2007) "The Mozart effect: encore," Epilepsy Behavior 11/1, 152-3.

We admitted for assessment a 56-year-old gentleman who had experienced gelastic seizures (laughing fits) since shortly after birth. He developed complex partial seizures during his teenage years and secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures in his midthirties...

It was agreed that he should be admitted for reassessment of his condition and to determine whether further surgical intervention could be of benefit.

A few months prior to his admission, he learned that Mozart's music had been used, with some success, to enhance spatiotemporal reasoning. He therefore began to listen to Mozart for an average of 45 min a day. He did not listen to one particular piece of music.

Before he began listening to Mozart, he was having gelastic seizures with intense laughter, in association with altered perception and experiential phenomena, at a frequency of five or six per day, as well as secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures at an average frequency of seven per month. Electroencephalography revealed some evidence of right hemisphere involvement during the seizures that lasted 15–30 s. Seizures also were associated with a brief rise in heart rate.

Within days of starting to listen to Mozart regularly, he noticed a difference in the pattern of his seizures. In the 3 months during which he had listened to Mozart, he did not have any secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures. He continued to have five gelastic seizures a day, but these manifested as simply a brief smile (5–9 s), which he could disguise in the presence of others; in addition, the altered perception and experiential phenomena ceased. [via Mind Hacks]

Both of these studies emphasize the connection between the abilities of music perception and spatial reasoning. Certainly we use plenty of words about space when describing music: high vs. low notes, fast vs. slow tempo, linear motion, etc. Could it be that these ideas arise from our processing of music through the spatial reasoning portions of the brain?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Shameless Self promotion

Ronnie Pejril, whose sound installation at Quarry Sounds was really cool, shot some video of various parts of Quarry Sounds with his phone and posted them on YouTube. Here is his shot of me, though the audio is very faint:

I was up on a cliff overlooking the quarry, while people strolled below on the various paths. I'm told my sound carried over quite a distance, so I hope it wasn't too annoying to the other musicians. As you can see from the video, it was rather difficult for the attendees to actually see me.

In other news, my tenure and promotion has been recommended by the School of Music Personnel Committee. Now it moves up to the University Committee on Faculty.

Beware the kutchy!

A student just came to my door asking if I knew the name or history of the music always associated with snake charming, especially in cartoons. I didn't, but a quick Google search turned up this web page full of historical information. (The page also automatically starts playing a MIDI version of the song, so beware.) The first five notes may be from an authentic Algerian/Arabian song called "Kradoutja" that was popular in France in the 1600s. This was then transmitted along as the beginning of an 1857 French song called "Echos du Temps Passé". In 1893 Sol Bloom, the entertainment director of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, claims to have improvised the current version for a press briefing to introduce an exhibit at the Exposition called "A Street in Cairo." Perhaps he heard it from musicians imported for the Expo. He didn't copyright the music, so several other composers wrote their own versions, the surviving copyrighted version is "The Streets of Cairo" by James Thornton. The web page also includes various sightings of the melody, from cartoons to They Might Be Giants. The research and web page was done by Shira, a belly dancer in Iowa City. And, coincidentally enough, I and my kids saw belly dancers yesterday at Art Attack, the children's event of DePauw's Art Fest with a wide variety of activities and performances. I think belly dancers are out to conquer the world.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I've become ambient!

This week is DePauw's ArtFest, which has a new topic every year. This year's topic is Art and the Environment. Some things make perfect sense with this topic, like the decorated community bikes to encourage all of the community to bike rather than drive cars. Other events do not fit the topic at all, such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's concert. In fact, the School of Music often has difficulty crafting performances that fit the year's topic well. But tomorrow I will be taking part in a performance that definitely fits Art and the Environment. DePauw has a beautiful Nature Park, which used to be a working quarry. One of my colleagues, Nicole Brockmann, has designed a 30-minute walking tour within the park, with musical performances planted along the way. The tour, called Quarry Sounds, ends at the new Prindle Institute of Ethics, where string ensembles will perform during a reception. Here is a Google Map that Nicole created with the tour and performers labeled. Click on the points or the labels to get more details. Most of the performers are students at the School of Music, but my meager efforts on the cornetto will be matched by faculty members Ronnie Pejril (ambient sound installation) and Gabriel Crouch (singing with students in a chamber group). I'm looking forward to this. The leaves are in full color change right now, and the weather has been gorgeous (brisk but very sunny).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Retuning: Social bookmarks

I've tinkered around to add social bookmarks to each post for Digg,, Reddit, Slashdot, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Let me know if said modifications cause problems with viewing the blog, or if the bookmark links don't work. Also, do you use these types of bookmarks regularly? If so, which ones? I'm on Facebook, but hadn't thought to promote my blog there beyond putting my url on my profile page.