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May 09, 2009



Alright, I'll play!

Whenever I have to work with something complex I have to run through it first and highlight headers, sections, amended text, etc. in different colors and sizes, in order to get a visual feel for the thing.

The only time I have to do that is for patent claims, where mapping helps a lot. But then I usually only work with documents up to 50 pages or so.

it amazes that people can follow an entire symphonic score, chopped up into a gazillion pages -- and yet it's not that rare a skill.

It really isn't, but like a lot of things in music, it is one of those savant-like skills. For some it is easy. For others it simply is not. Still, following a piano score is not that hard.

I don't even know the plots of some them, which is even better.

To quote that high-brow critic, Joe Bob Briggs, most of them have little plot to get in the way of the action. Or the spectacle, as it were. Clearly the Wagnerians disagree.

Comparing versions of the Toccata and Fugue is like comparing versions of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony -- well worn, well known, and with many great performances. Karajan? 1962 or 1977? Kleiber? Father or son? Toscanini? Klemperer? Reiner? Solti? Others? Same with the Beethoven piano sonatas -- I must have 20 different artists playing various ones (though I think Richter's Hammerklavier is outstanding).

Psychoacoustics is a fascinating field, one that you touch on in a couple of ways. I never found the sound of headphones to be particularly convincing: they just sounded (and still do) wrong to me. You need the cues from the room as delayed sound to make it "real." For headphones that can be done with binaural recordings, but few are recorded that way, since they work on headphones only. That's not the major market.

The observation that you need one "real" instrument to make something not sound artificial is interesting. I don't understand fully, since no one would accuse the Who or Zeppelin (for example) of being anything other than synthetic, what with the amplification and distortion and other sound tricks. I don't think that's what he had in mind.

On the perfect pitch thing, it used to drive me nuts when I had to transpose or play an instrument in a different key. I was a good trumpet player back in the day, and the usual instrument is in B flat. Many orchestra parts are written in C, or E flat, and you have to transpose them on the fly before you knew them. It sure was hard when I would see the note, hear it, and then have to move it mentally to hit the right tone.

It was even worse when I actually played a C or D or E flat horn. The note said this, but the instrument wanted to play that. Damned confusing until you got used to it.

Oh, and I identified the youtube piece with the score before the music started. I pulled it off the score.


In any event I'm signing off. I have an early plane to catch tomorrow morning.


Oops! I meant Gillels, not Richter for the Hammerklavier.


JM Hanes

Fresh Air:

It probably was! I googled Biggs and the Medinah Temple and came up with this 98-99 winter newsletter from the Chicago-Midwest chapter of the Organ Historical Society, which just happened to have an "E. Power Biggs Fellowship Committee." Starting on page 6 there's 2 page history, followed by a description of the organ itself -- which takes another 2 1/2 pages to list pipes and pedals, etc.

That must have beaten headphones all hollow. Could you feel the the vibrations in your bones?



I realize that but Harriman is the one who got the Bush family into the business and the Dems are forever talking about the Bush/Saudi business arrangement and claiming that the Bushies are under the influence of the Saudis. Dillon got the Kennedy clan into the business there.

Steve W from Ford

We need a fund to hire a lawyer to represent Khalid Sheik Mohammad in a lawsuit against Pelosi for torture and violations of human rights. After all we now know that she and the Democrats briefed were the only ones with the necessary intent needed to actually commit the crime of torture. Not only have they admitted that they knew "torture" was going to be committed before the c"crime" they actively encouraged it and funded the CIA to allow it. They are the only people who have admitted that they knew it was torture all along and so had intent and yet chose to put political expediency above basic human rights. Heck, maybe we can get that Spanish magistrate to order their arrest.
I say hoist them high on their own petard. I'll kick in the first $1,000. How about you?

JM Hanes


I can read music and can follow choral music or a piano score well enough, but it's definitely reading, not hearing it on the page in the way you seem to be describing it.

I sing around the house a lot, no specific songs, just something that sounds typically French, or German or eastern European, using "words" that sound like they're in the appropriate language but really mean absolutely nothing -- all completely disconnected from mental notation of any kind. One of the things I really enjoy is to take whatever melodic line comes along and then start trying not to sing the next obvious/logical/natural note, but to land on one that doesn't flow from the one before at all, just to see where the thing goes. I'd be curious to know if you can do something like that without seeing the notes in your mind as you go.

rhymin' simon

Maybe we should have them start looking for the jobs that the $787 billion stimulus package were supposed to create. They could start looking under the TARP. Hopefully some John Galt's will do a FOIA at Andrew Cuomo's office to find out how much Steve Rattner's Quadrangle got for managing NYS pension funds and what were the return on investments were.

Obama's pendng trip to the Mideast demonstrates the nature of politics. You have to have a starawman to blame for your failed policies. In the Middle East the strawman is Israel while in the US it is George Bush and anyone willing to defend him or oppose Obama like Rush Limbaugh.

It is interesting that two of Obama's attempts to divert attention from bad economic figures have boomeranged. The AIG bonus ensnared Dodd while the tortured torture meme has crippled Pelosi.

And in a bit of irony Jane Harman who was exposed in the NSA wiretap witth AIPAC is coming out smelling like a rose in comparison to Nancy. Harman opposed the waterboarding in which Goss attended and then Goss signs off on bugging her. While Nancy is asleep at the wheel or getting some more botox treatment. You get the feeling that some odf the careerists who are adults have had enough with all the childishness that has been going on.

What is truly disturbing is that the left is using the South African apatheid ploy against Israel and unfortunately there is no one in this administration to tell it to stop or they are in effect approving of it.

Fresh Air


Yeah, the bass stops were like a freight train parked behind the stage. There isn't much glass in the building, which was built like a bunker with an amphitheater in the middle, but what little there was rattled during the concert.

I remember Biggs giving a speech at the beginning about how they hoped to save the temple and the organ, but that if they failed it would be the last organ recital ever held there. It was.

The only good part about the Bloomies takeover is that the city made them restore the onion domes to the roof. So now instead of the Shriner's Circus, you go there for an electric wok.


Isn't it amazing that none of our "cutting edge" comedians has figured out yet that a skit on the complete stupidity of Jay Rockefeller and Nancy Pelosi attending a Waterboarding (EIT) briefing, would be comedy gold and would make immediately make their reputations. It is a topic so ripe for satirizing that it basically screams out for coverage, yet all that our hip, with-it comedians can come up with is lame limes about Rush Limbaugh, ala President Obama. I haven't seen Saturday Night Live or any similar BS shows for ages, and no wonder why. When did they become such politically correct, gutless mouth organs for the new overlords of conventional wisdom?


The baroque organ of the 17th and 18th centuries was the cutting edge of technology,only the best musicians were allowed to play them.Since they were housed in churches the musicians had to be of good character. A lot of the Marxist atheist drug addicts of today wouldn't have go near one of the big church organs.
There is controversy concerning Bach's authorship of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor since is is dissimilar to any other composition b Bach.
Another little conundrum,was Baroque music played with inegalite,was it played with a "swing"?


You're right, JMH! It was E. Power Biggs I was thinking of, too. Virgil was good, yet I couldn't find his "Back Organ Favorites" on Amazon for some reason. Here's the CD with the best Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor I've heard, maybe it's the same version you mentioned. Thanks for the reminder! I'll have to pull that old CD out and listen to it next time I'm alone in a darkened room.


Er, it doesn't really say "Back" on the CD.


Steve and daddy have both conjured up some great satrire. Do you suppose I should twist the editor's arm to let me have a regular feature called If Anyone Out There's Writing Political Satire And offer up weekly suggestions in it?
(Actually the Onion and Iowahawk to name two examples do it better than I could.)


Since we're talking about music...

I had the BEST time last night in the second coolest bar in America per Esquire magazine.

My sister is getting married next month, and we had a party for her at Earnestine and Hazel's on South Main in Memphis.

E&H's was a dope filled brothel and gambling den from the fifties to the early nineties. It was the hangout for all the great Memphis Blues men, from Bobby Blue Bland to Albert King. They have made lots of movies and music videos there over the years.

The lady who runs it, Karen, is a Memphis treasure. She told me that once years ago some fool tried to rob the place, and Albert King, dressed in his old starched overalls, stood up, pulled out his 45 and started blasting away at the guy.

Great time, and greatest jukebox in America.


And MayBee Thank You Thank You Thank You for that Link. I was on the road and off line yesterday...


Obama's pendng trip to the Mideast demonstrates the nature of politics.

Reaction to "Obama's pendng trip to the Mideast demonstrates" he is going to have to grovel more.

Obama embracing and legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood: Obama aims to keep Arab world divided
Charlie (Colorado)

So the flashing graphics didn't do it for me, since it trivialized those portions that are important to me. It simply looses too much information, and *rich* information that is readily available from the score.

That's interesting. I'm a mild synesthete, and what strikes me is how much that looks like the music "looks" to me. I agree that reading the score along with it is fun — although as a vocalist I'm not as used to multiple voices — but then not everyone reads music.

Charlie (Colorado)

That must have beaten headphones all hollow. Could you feel the the vibrations in your bones?

What's really amazing is a polyphonic organ; there's a wonderful one in Freiburg im Breisgau, where I used to live. Now you have pipes in front of you and behind you, and the music includes the reverberation and delay of the room....

Charlie (Colorado)

Great time, and greatest jukebox in America.

Oh jeez, you're killing me. I've got to get another gig with FedEx.


"how much that looks like the music "looks" to me"

That "animation" is how a midi editor presents the score. It is not impossible to edit midi in the notation window, but it's quicker and easier in the graphic window.

Danube of Thought

St. John's was founded as a prep school in 1696. It received its charter as a college in 1784.


So Pelosi has appeared in Iraq of all places stressing the need for good intelligence as US troops withdraw.


I wonder if the trip is connected to this discussion ?

Was she expecting to see "waterboarding" while visiting ?


verner- you're welcome.
And your party sounds like a blast!


I knew Danny Pearl. He was a very nice man. This is my connection to all of this, and I really despise people like Nancy Pelosi, and Barak Obama, and Jay Rockerfeller because frankly Danny was a happy little liberal guy out there trying to make the world a little better place through journalism. This in retrospect was not a good choice, I wish he's of stayed in The Ottoman Empire. I really, really hate these people.


"he'd" The Ottoman Empire was a band.

JM Hanes


"There is controversy concerning Bach's authorship of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor since is is dissimilar to any other composition b Bach."

Well, there are two notes in it that don't sound right to me. :-) And it does take him three tries to end the thing (the opposite of false starts?).

"Another little conundrum,was Baroque music played with inegalite,was it played with a "swing"?

When people start mucking around with it, something gets lost in the translation, but on the other hand, I really prefer it played with modern instruments. I've always wondered what a musical world that stopped at the baroque would feel like. Our responsiveness to everything that came after that, and our drive to push limits and experiment cannot uniquely modern. So where was it, or how did it express itself, before we were us?

Extraneus: I have that album too! From the picture on the front, maybe that was the same recording as the YouTube I posted last night, and I just didn't recognize it coming out of my computer speakers....

Charlie: I have definitely got to upgrade to surround sound!


"It is not impossible to edit midi in the notation window, but it's quicker and easier in the graphic window."

That's really interesting. I felt like I was "reading" the music in something of the sense that DrJ described it, for the first time. It was amazing what a difference the spacial representation, the coloring, and eliminating the split staves made. All the shorthand and the notations about how you play it seem like a big loss though.


Donald, you seemed a lovely person to me, too, and his horrible death is always seared in my consciousness.


Oh MayBee it was. Memphis Blues, Soul Burgers, wine, all my siblings in one place along with many of the people I love the most in the world. Hard to top.

A very happy time.

Donald, so good of you to remind us of Danny Pearl. And the most disgusting thing about all this mess is the democrat party making the monster who butchered him into some kind of persecuted martyr to demonstrate the evil nature of our country and demonize it's citizens. I hate them too.


He was Clarice, funny as heck also, not to mention a rocking violinist (Which goes against everything I stand for). I'm cleaning up my language for you because you've never addressed me and you're nice too.


The doubt as to the Toccata and Fugue in D minor is part stylistic.Bach never wrote anything else similar.The other area was that the Fugue isn't up to Bach's usual standard,he was a master of counterpoint,fugue and canon.
One of the uncertainties about "inegalite" comes from contemporary manuscripts and the fact that some of the Dances in the Suite swing like the clappers.

Go on,try a bit of Baroque.


If he'd been my friend, Donald, I'm certain that like you I'd miss him terribly all the rest of my life. He seems to have been sweetness and light.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

JMH and CHACO: I am with you on the graphic representation of the Toccata and Fugue. The graphic notation seems more intuitive that the score to me. Being able to visualize on a vertical line the actual relationship of each note (rather than working out holds, whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes (along with dots) and their counterpart rests), is easier for me.

Although I can read piano, choral and orchestral scores, I mostly learn music by ear. For me, the graph plus the sound would make a new piece much easier to learn.

My first organ recording was Biggs, and it was all Bach, including the D Minor T&F. It also had a Bach transcription of a Vivaldi and the little G Minor Fugue. I thought Biggs' style cleaner and less showy than Fox. Another organist I really like is Ton Koopman.


You can hear London Baroque for free here:


And, no, I cannot read music for the simple reason that much as i love music I am unable to hold even a few notes in my head. I think my piano teacher did handsprings when I finally gave it up.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

LOL Clarice. You mean you didn't love those recitals?


"E&H's was a dope filled brothel and gambling den from the fifties to the early nineties."

Gone down hill since then?


Pachelbel's Canon. This has produced more pop milionaires than most othe chord sequences in history ,except the twelve bar and the I VI II V7 sequences.


IV V VI is no slouch either


Hey, boris, good point on the midi editor. I used Sonar since the early days of midi (used to be Cakewalk after Voyetra folded, though I haven't used it much lately, unfortunately), but that's a high-end enough program that you can edit in a classical score view, adding all the notes, dotted or whatever, sustanuto, cresendo, glassando, ornaments, etc., etc., etc. Still, when you hear someting wrong on playback, the graphical view seems a lot easier to use to catch it than standard notation.

I see from Wiki that someone patented the graphical notitation in 1839!


More of an interrupted cadence.


Jim, I was meant to be a prima ballerina and those lessons kept me from achieving my dream..you betcha.


I was meant to be a prima ballerina too. Damn Mother effn Nature....


"E&H's was a dope filled brothel and gambling den from the fifties to the early nineties."

Dont tell Bill Clinton, he will be pissed he missed the party...

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet


No interest in ballet here:>) But I always thought piano was best played without much practice. Little did I know that anyone any good practices hours per day. I thought I had no talent because I couldn't play e.g. a Mozart sonata after hearing it one time through. It wasn't that my mom or my teacher didn't inform me that I had to practice if I wanted to play better. It was my (then undiagnosed) ADHD -- plus baseball, football and radio shows like The Lone Ranger were IMO a better use of my time.


You were supposed to practice?!?!?!?


"You were supposed to practice?!?!?!?"

Don't tell Allen Iverson


" I thought I had no talent because I couldn't play e.g. a Mozart sonata after hearing it one time through."

You couldn't? Mozart could,anybodies sonata!


Donald, thanks for your words re: Danny Pearl. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. He sounds like the nicest guy. It seems the left was as cavalier about it then as they are now. I really despise those people.


I danced for 15 years and gave it up after the ballet master at the ABT in NY (during a summer training stint there) told me I'd never make it no matter how good I was cause my boobs were too big and suggested I get a boob job (reduction) or try Vegas... well that was the 70s and I was not about to go wear some 25 lb fruited headdress with a thong and a cutout jeweled bra... besides most of Vegas back then was trashy as hell and alot of the dancers were moonlighting as hookers. His comments dashed my childhood dreams, but I was not about to consider surgery... I used to do trade shows and catalogs and those puppies helped me pay the bills.


Do you suppose Rahm gave up the notion for the same reason, Stephanie?


I'd imagine he had some issues in the other direction... male dancers usually wear a "size up" in dance belts (ego ya know), but there is no reasonable "size up" from peanut shell without the fear of the padding dislodging.... Male dancers need to look manly... Rahm, epic fail.


Stephanie, I'm sure Ted Turner was attracted to you for other reasons than your puppies.

I've heard he's not an animal lover....


US officials responded with massive diplomatic pressure, publicly accusing Pakistan of “abdicating” to the Taleban.

Behind the scenes, they also threatened to launch missile attacks on Swat and to withhold — or at least attach strict conditions to — billions of dollars in military and civilian aid. Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee approved an initial package of $1 billion (£665 million), including $400 million for improving Pakistani forces’ counter-insurgency abilities and $600 million for education and democratic reforms.

It's dated yesterday, so it must be Obama pressuring a poor 3rd world country

JM Hanes


I didn't mean to imply that I don't care for Baroque music, because I do! When I was growing up, my eldest sister got the piano, and my middle sister took the violin, leaving me with the flute -- which meant Telemann, of course. My own collection is pretty weak on the vocal end, but it takes up a pretty big chunk of my CD jukebox. I'm not really sure what you mean by "inegalite" though. Are you talking about relative tempo choices?

The part of North Carolina I live in is interesting from a Baroque perspective. It was originally settled by Moravians who migrated south from Pennsylvania. Even though this was really the colonial outback, every young person was expected to learn an instrument, and relatives back home in Germany would send them the latest from composers like Bach. The Moravian Music Foundation here has one of the 3 or 4 most extraordinary collections of period sheet music in the U.S., and the restored Moravian village of Old Salem has one of the oldest organs in the country, which was recently restored to use.


I'm having a great time with lost.fm! Many thanks.


It was great to see Cheney doubling down this weekend on Face the Nation.

He's seen the memos, he knows what's in them.

And the fact that we have not seen them tells me they are explosive.

clariceCheers and smooches, daddy.

JMH--you're welcome--it's a wonderful site I think.


It was, verner.


Is the Republican Party a Cult?

This feature caught my attention.

"The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities)."


Let's see how many poster children for redemptive self-awareness marinate at this location.


In one version, she says she simply was not informed that any waterboarding was under way. In another version, she says she learned about the waterboarding not at the 2002 meeting but in 2003, when one of her staffers attended a briefing for Rep. Jane Harman on the subject.

Consider this idea ... they are all true and Pelosi has lost her mind.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

Thanks for the link, Clarice. I ought to get a years worth of listening on I tunes in the seven day trial.

With just Bach, Handel, Haydn Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms alone.


What seven day trial? I listen to it all the time on the radio versions..It has every sort of music and valuable information about each piece and artist and genre..

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