Friday, April 29, 2011

Birthplace of Lowell Mason on the Move

The birthplace of Lowell Mason, prominent in early public music education, is literally being moved. The entire house. I love historical preservationists. Read article linked for a picture and more info.

"Birthplace of founder of public music education moved out of harm’s way

The Lowell Mason House, which had been scheduled for demolition, was slowly hauled to a new site in Medfield so it could be preserved. (George Rizer for The Boston Globe)
By James O’Brien

Advocates of historical preservation followed the slow pace of a 300-year-old house on April 19, as the birthplace of Lowell Mason — the founder of American public school music education — was gently transported from a site slated for development to a new spot in town."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Does IQ Really Measure?

andInteresting take on the IQ test. I think most will agree that it's not truly measuring the sum of ones intelligence, but there's always been a strong correlation between IQ test results and later achievement in life. Scientist now think simply the amount of effort one puts forth in the test is indicative of the amount of motivation one has in life in general, yet another reason it correlates to success.


What Does IQ Really Measure? - ScienceNOW:

"Kids who score higher on IQ tests will, on average, go on to do better in conventional measures of success in life: academic achievement, economic success, even greater health, and longevity. Is that because they are more intelligent? Not necessarily. New research concludes that IQ scores are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test. And harnessing that motivation might be as important to later success as so-called native intelligence."

Thought this would be appropriate for TAKS week.

Friday, April 22, 2011

IMSLP: It's a Trap!

According to a post at the International Music Score Library Project Journal (that's a mouthful), the IMSLP had the rug pulled out from under them by the GoDaddy domain company after a legal attack by the Music Publishers Association of the UK:


IMSLP is currently under an extraordinarily underhanded legal attack by the Music Publishers Association of UK (http://mpaonline.org.uk).
The MPA, without notifying us, sent to our domain registrar GoDaddy a bogus DMCA takedown notice.  GoDaddy took the entire IMSLP.ORG domain down.  IMSLP has filed a DMCA counter notice with GoDaddy, however, the DMCA seems to require the registrar to wait no less than 10 days before restoring service.  This means that IMSLP is inaccessible from IMSLP.ORG during this period of time.  We will be working to restore service as soon as possible.
What is the MPA complaining about?  Rachmaninoff’s Bells, which is public domain both in Canada and the USA: [link]. MPA’s claim is entirely bogus.
Workaround:  You can still reach the site by using either petruccilibrary.org or petruccimusiclibrary.org  Note, however, that some links on the site that refer to IMSLP.ORG may be broken; you will have to manually replace IMSLP.ORG with one of the two above domain names manually in the URL bar.

I do think this is a sad day, as the project was, to my knowledge, a unique one. For anyone that doesn't know, the IMSLP was attempting to create a vast library of Public Domain sheet music and scores to substantial works, and make them available for download for the everyday user in a digital format. This was an absolutely amazing website for musicians doing research, as they often had multiple editions of pieces scanned into their libraries, which were vast and contained a multitude of works by a multitude of composers.

I only hope that this legal action is resolved quickly, as the IMSLP was dealing solely in public domain works, which is entirely legal.

---

As an aside, I found their point fascinating: Why is the MPA of the UK (or the US, or any other country for that matter) more willing to push the works of modern composers? Is it simply considered too high risk a venture in a market that leaves little room for wide capital gains, and certainly little reward for failure? I guess they're not willing to speculate in something as subjective as musical taste. But it's true, it is sad that so many companies are hell bent on making a profit off of composers long dead, whose works have long ago entered the public domain. The industry, as it is, is resisting an inevitable change. We may not like it, and it may not be pretty, but it's going to happen. You can either ride the wave, or drown in its undertow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tinnitus

I spoken before about the importance of protecting one's hearing. I have a high notch hearing loss, approximate that of a man in his forties. It's not especially fun. I will say, through being diligent in my ear protection I've managed to minimize any further loss and honestly haven't noticed my hearing loss too much over the past year or so, which gives me hope that it's sort of leveled off. I ought to get back with my audiologist in Midland and get checked again, to find out for sure if I'm right or not. But I haven't made the effort.

All that said, the one reminder I've had that I can't possibly adjust for is Tinnitus. A ringing in the ear in the absence of a corresponding external sound usually associated with hearing loss. For me, it's a very, very high pitch. Because it's so high pitched, it's difficult for me to be certain, however I do believe it's a slightly flat E, but in an extremely high range not reproducible by anything other than electronica.

You know in movies where all of the sound fades away, and suddenly the only thing you hear is one particular conversation or sound that the protagonist is honing in on, because it in some way drives the plot? Throwing in your face the fact that the background noise of the ball/club/etc doesn't matter? Whenever my tinnitus decides to kick in (which isn't too often, thank God), it's a lot like that. Suddenly, one ear starts ringing, and it becomes difficult to focus on anything else. I've yet to have it happen in a rehearsal, and for that I'm thankful. I'm sure it would affect my pitch recognition, if only in a minor fashion. And when it does happen, it's relatively short lived.

But I'm still forced to wonder why hearing protection is glossed over in our text books in this day in age. Particularly with how ubiquitous the ear bud is. (Terrible for your hearing. Be a dork, and wear actual head phones, and you'll save yourself an extra sense for old age!)

However, I do know when my generation gets older, companies that produce products to assist those with failing hearing and going to be very, very rich. And the first person who figures out how to restore true hearing and patents it will be able to retire early. If I were a research scientist, that's where my money would be right now.

Anyway, protect your hearing. You never know what pitch will start distracting you as you try to read blogs late in the evening. It's not fun knowing one of your senses is damaged and statistically, is very, very unlikely to ever recover.

On the upside, if I ever need to tune any extremely high E's in a violin/flute section, I have a decent (if unreliable) reference pitch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0

Composer and Conductor Eric Whitacre is at it again. I mentioned his first virtual choir in my blog here. In it, they sang Lux Aurumque, a piece composed by Eric himself. It was wildly successful, and so far as I know, a unique first.

Well, now he's giving the virtual choir another go around with the piece Sleep. It will premiere on YouTube on April 7th, and I'll be sure to post it when it's available. It will include 2,052 choir members all edited together. In the meantime, here is Mr. Whitacre's TED talk regarding his Virtual Choir 2.0.