Just incredible math

Miscellaneous musical notes:

My financial situation has improved from desperate to merely uncomfortable, and I’ve been able to finally make a few purchases that I’ve had in mind for years. For instance, I now have a grand piano. More precisely, I have a mathematical model of a grand piano in my laptop, Modartt’s Pianoteq. It’s no substitute for the real thing, of course, but I don’t have the space for a full-size grand, let alone the cash. Pianoteq sounds pretty good, and it’s much more “alive” than any sample-based instrument I’ve played. Add a pinch of reverb, and it would take a very sensitive ear to tell that it’s not an actual physical piano in a recording. If you have a velocity-sensitive MIDI keyboard handy, download the demo and try it yourself.

Because it’s not based on samples, the software requires surprisingly little disc space. Pianoteq is only 20 megabytes large. In comparison, Synthology’s Ivory II Italian Grand takes 28 gigabytes, and EastWest’s Bösendorfer gobbles 87. (They also need 7200 RPM disc drives, which means they won’t run on my humble laptop, where I need them. ((On top of that, they both require you to by an “iLok” key, a goddam miserable expletive-deleted dongle, and that is a deal-killer. (Q. What is the purpose of digital rights management? A. To punish the legitimate user.) I daresay that these are wonderful instruments, but I ain’t touching them.))) Physical-modeling synths such as Pianoteq do make heavy demands on the processor, but my laptop handles the load easily.


I’ve been considering finally buying one of the major notation packages, either Finale or Sibelius. I don’t need the full, all-the-bells-and-whistles versions, which is fortunate, because I don’t have the funds. However, the affordable intermediate version of each can be installed on only one computer, which is inconvenient. I think I’ll see how well MuseScore works.


I see that Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (did I spell that correctly? Yes) has been licensed. I’m a little surprised. Although I enjoyed the first several episodes, I never did finish watching it, and I don’t recall that it was exceptionally good or particularly popular.

However, it does feature a good Yuki Kajiura opening song.


Josh, who prefers J.K. Rowling to Margaret Atwood, finds echoes of Kierkegaard in Talking Heads.

2 thoughts on “Just incredible math”

  1. I had the same response to Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (dang, what a tongue twister, just call it BKI for short) – it seemed good, but I got distracted and never got more than three to six episodes into it. Part of the problem is that it’s an alternate-history of the period, and assumes a deep familiarity with the politics and events, so that you can see what they’re doing with it. I have like a Japanese third-grader’s knowledge of the end of the Bakufu, and I got quickly lost in BKI. Felt like I needed a cheat sheet.

Comments are closed.