Musical interlude

Just a few music videos that caught my ear recently.

Tim and Myles Thompson will be at Winfield this year.

Probably as painless an introduction to twelve-tone music as you’ll ever find. I’m less enthused by the philosophy, though — Josh calls it “rank nominalism.”

I experimented with some highly-simplified twelve tone techniques some years back. The results were not pretty. For the morbidly curious, “Twelve Toes” was probably the least unsuccessful.

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.