Tag Archives: music

mutual tuning-in.

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pat metheny, side-eye tour, orchestra hall, detroit, michigan

detroit symphony orchestra paradise jazz series

october 2021

amazing experience

We’re all familiar with the sense of wonder and joy we experience when we hear a song or piece of music we love, but there’s something even more magical about hearing that song performed live. Although many artists offered streamed performances online during the pandemic, these didn’t quite leave us with the same enchanted feelings as concerts. So what makes live music different? Columbia associate music professor Mariusz Kozak explains why live music is so powerful.

Live music allows us to experience what philosopher Alfred Schütz called a “mutual tuning-in.” This term refers to the phenomenon where we experience the passage of time and emotions with others. This is part of the reason humans need social interaction to thrive. When we attend a concert, we’re experiencing the tone of the music—fast, slow, happy, sad—with others around us. This creates a sense of intimacy with the crowd around us. This is also why research shows that babies who are bounced in time to music with an adult display more altruism towards that person.

This pleasurable effect gained from synchronizing with those around us is what makes live music and dance so powerful. Although most people probably relate to this feeling when remembering their favorite concert, this feeling is not limited to conventional music. It can also be experienced through collective visual synchronization. In the deaf community, facial gestures and movements are to convey emotions in music performance. The collective interpretation of the emotions behind these facial gestures also promotes a sense of unity.

The Blackfeet in North America use the same word to refer to music, dance, and ceremony, indicating the essential role of gathering to fully appreciate the benefits of music. Close friends can even experience this synchronization when walking or talking together.

Experiencing music in the presence of others cultivates a feeling of unity and empathy within us which exceeds anything we could experience by ourselves. As we head back to in-person concerts and relish this feeling once again, know that the true power of the music you’re hearing might not come from the artist, but in fact your fellow concert goers.

– Mariusz Kozak, Associate Professor of Music and Music Theory, Columbia University

 

sing for your dinner.

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i found this picture of these knives and really wanted to know more. their story is fascinating.

Knives with musical notes on the blades are known as notation knives. A notation is the written version of a physical process, such as the sound of music. Once it is written down it can be preserved and recreated.  Sung at four different levels.They are the four parts Superius (Soprano) Countratenor (Alto), Tenor, and Bassus (Bass) to be sung simultaneously as in a hymn.

These knives are etched with notations expressing gratitude for a meal. On one side of the blade the inscription translates as, ‘The blessing of the table. May the three-in-one bless that which we are about to eat’, to be sung before the meal is taken. On the other side the notation gives thanks after the meal: ‘The saying of grace. We give thanks to you God for your generosity’. The point of the knife allows meat or bread to be skewered and offered to a fellow diner. Notation knives are extremely rare.

The interesting history of notation knives is explained here on YouTube and the music has been gloriously performed toward the end of the video. It’s only 5 minutes long . Well worth the time! https://youtu.be/-mai-7WUbBo

 

 

“those who wish to sing, always find a song.”

-swedish proverb

 

credits: Victoria and Albert Museum, AHRC, Flora Dennis, University of Sussex

hidden life radio.

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listen….

Silent tree activity, like photosynthesis and the absorption and evaporation of water, produces a small voltage in the leaves. In a bid to encourage people to think more carefully about their local tree canopy, sound designer and musician Skooby Laposky has found a way to convert that tree activity into music.

By connecting a solar-powered sensor to the leaves of three local trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Laposky was able to measure the micro voltage of all that invisible tree activity, assign a key and note range to the changes in that electric activity, and essentially turn the tree’s everyday biological processes into an ethereal piece of ambient music.

You can check out the tree music yourself by listening to the Hidden Life Radio—Laposky’s art project—which aims to increase awareness of trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the city’s disappearing canopy by creating a musical “voice” for the trees.

The project features the musical sounds of three Cambridge trees: a honey locust, a red oak, and an 80-year-old copper beech tree, all located outside the Cambridge Public Library. Each tree has a solar-powered biodata sonification kit installed on one of its branches that measures the tree’s hidden activities and translates it into music.

According to WBUR, between 2009 and 2014, Cambridge was losing about 16.4 acres of canopy annually, which is a huge loss considering that tree canopies are crucial to cities,  cooling them down during the summer, reducing air pollutino, sucking up carbon, and providing mental health benefits.

Laposky hopes that people will tune into Hidden Life Radio and spend time listening to the trees whose music occurs in real-time and is affected by the weather. Some days they might be silent, especially when it hasn’t rained for several days and they’re dehydrated. The project will end in November, when the leaves will drop — a “natural cycle for the project to end,” Laposky says, “when there aren’t any leaves to connect to anymore.”

 

 “in a cool solitude of trees

where leaves and birds a music spin,

mind that was weary is at ease,

new rhythms in the soul begin.”

-william kean seymour

source credits: Kristin Toussaint, The Optimist Daily, WBUR Radio

the music of spiders.

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spider music

The humble spider has always been well represented in the musical world, from Ziggy Stardust to the Who and Wilco. For too long, though, we’ve refused to let them relate their experiences to us more directly. That’s now changed, thanks to the work of scientists who are turning spiders’ vibration-based perceptions into music.

Vice recently profiled the work of MIT engineering professor Markus Buehler, who leads a team that’s working to translate web vibrations into sounds we can actually hear. The project uses “the physics of spiderwebs to assign audible tones to a given string’s unique tension and vibration” through a process called data sonification.

The resulting models can be explored through virtual reality software or listened to via examples recorded by Buehler and his collaborator Tomas Saraceno. The music created by manipulating the models is incredible—an eerie approximation of how spiders understand their environments.

Buehler says that the project’s goal is both to “expand how we generate sound in music and how we compose music” and to practically demonstrate how “for something like a spider, there’s a whole different way of experiencing the world.”

“Researchers say the project could eventually be used to reverse engineer spiders’ reality and communicate with the arachnids,” Vice explains, somewhat ominously. Buehler elaborates, saying that he’s planning to play AI-generated spider sounds to the creatures and “gauge [their] reactions.”

For more on Markus Buehler And The Spiders From Earth, read the full article.

 

“is there anything more beautiful and protective than the simple complexity of a spider’s web?”

-e.b. white, Charlotte’s Web

 

 

 

source credits: Reid McCarter, Michelle Bender, Vice

life is a mix tape.

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Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape, has died at home in the Netherlands, at the age of 94, his family has confirmed to CNN.  An estimated 200 billion cassette tapes have been sold worldwide, according to Philips, the company he began working for in 1952. Ottens also supervised the team that developed the compact disc (CD). Ottens was described by Olga Coolen, director of the Philips Museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as an “extraordinary man who loved technology.”

Ottens cut a block of wood that would fit into the side of his jacket pocket to find an ideal size for the new carrier. The block became the model after which the first portable cassette recorder was made, said Philips. Remarkably, his wooden prototype was later lost when used to prop up his jack while changing a flat tire.

In 1963, the development of the cassette and the playback device had done so well that they were presented at the Internationale Funkausstellung, a trade exhibition for audio products in Berlin. Guests from Japan were inspired by his invention and the cassette was quickly copied by Japanese manufacturers into a different format and sold onto the Japanese market. The cassette recorder was a huge hit around the world, but particularly with young people in the 1960s – 1980s.

The device helped capture iconic sounds, according to Philips, as recounted by Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, who wrote in his 2010 autobiography “Life”: “I wrote the song ‘Satisfaction’ in my sleep. I didn’t know at all that I had recorded it, the song only exists thank God to the little Philips cassette recorder. I looked at it in the morning — I knew I had put a new tape in the night before — but it was at the very end. Apparently, I had recorded something. I rewound and then ‘Satisfaction’ sounded … and then 40 minutes of snoring.”

In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of the cassette tape, a special exhibition was created to honor Ottens’ work at the Philips Museum. The first-ever cassette recorder still lies on display as “a testimony to his foresight and innovation,” Coolen, in a statement to CNN, added that his extraordinary inventions had “humble beginnings.”

“life is a mix tape.”

-author unknown

what songs would be on the mix tape of your life?”

 

story credit: CNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


dark side of the moon.

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sitting

in total darkness

 absolute silence

very slowly

one by one

notes

chords

pinpoints of light 

pierced the air

  sitting in my seat 

48 years ago

in detroit

pink floyd

unfolded their new album

dark side of the moon 

right before my eyes and ears

in real time

playing full out

the crowd

mesmerized 

just taking it all in

vibrating

then roaring in appreciation

one of my most memorable live concert experiences ever.

 

“it was like being in the eye of a hurricane. you’d wake up in a concert and think – wow how did i get here?”

-john lennon

 

48 years ago Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon.

It remained in the US charts from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history.

 

album cover photo: harvest records

keeping joy alive.

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Krewe of Red Beans Hire a Mardi Gras Artist
new orleans mardi gras home – photo credit: ryan hodgson-rigsbee

 “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist,” the latest altruistic endeavor from Krewe of Red Beans, is a grassroots effort that aims to transform 40 Orleans Parish homes into Mardi Gras floats, putting laid-off artists back to work and inspiring the city along the way.

The project is the brainchild of artist and float designer Caroline Thomas. The idea for “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” came to her after several people asked her to decorate their homes. Thinking there might be an opportunity to put the whole industry back to work, Thomas approached Krewe of Red Beans and Feed the Second Line founder Devin De Wulf.

poetic.

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last weekend

at the 44th annual ann arbor folk festival

 5 live streamed hours on saturday night

every kind of music and performance

big and small

i once again

heard beautiful poems played

by my favorite pianist

george winston

whose song ‘thanksgiving’ i heard for the very first time

many years ago on the radio while on a road trip to toronto

having no idea who it was or what the song was

 being very moved by it

not knowing if i’d ever hear it again

  serendipity stepped in

when driving back home

with a windham hill artists’ compilation cd

an unexpected gift from my host

on which he was a featured artist playing that very song.

“music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”

-pablo casals