“Instrumachines”

Great new term for the tools used by DJ’s who have been working very hard to add real-time performing to their performances.

But pushing a button 30 times in 30 minutes versus pushing it 30,000 times in 30 minutes, presents an order-of-magnitude difference that you can feel in your bones. It’s the difference between playing a piano, and playing a CD.

via Bryan Kim’s excellent music tech blog.

▶ The end of the symphony orchestra.

Must-read piece by Michelle Jones on the biggest problem in music ed. today.

Universities are slow to change. The bureaucrats and academians (yes, I made up this word) are not as open-minded as one would think. They want to protect their jobs more than they care about the students that merely pass through their halls. It’s self-preservation for them. By creating more graduates, they increase their numbers and tenure. Since only a tiny minority of the music school graduates land the coveted symphony jobs, those that don’t usually end up doing a career not in their chosen field, or end up teaching themselves. Universities expand to meet the demands of the higher population of students going to college, and they expand the departments where people want to major. Since most universities only want professors who have masters or doctoral degrees, those who have these credentials get the jobs. Those who usually have these credentials also were a product of the same university system where the goal is to get and keep their job. Many of the university professors that I have encountered throughout the past twenty-plus years have not had to create their own businesses and make a living as freelance musicians. They have had the regular job of teaching as their “fall-back” and have not been forced to make the same decisions that today’s students face.

She also includes a handy list of suggestions that will surely (but not hopefully) fall on deaf ears. Among my obvious favorites on the list:

6. All music students should learn about recording arts. I’m not asking that each musician learn every detail of a mixing board, but rather to understand the specific microphone placement and recording of their chosen instrument(s). Most musicians will have some experience with recording during their lifetime, especially if they are submitting a recorded audition for a symphony orchestra.

7. In addition to learning about recording arts, all music students should learn how to play to a click track/pre-recorded track. This is especially helpful to have some experience with this, as many of the jobs that require a symphony are film and television studios.

8. All music students should learn how to amplify their instruments electronically. They should learn the difference between pickups and microphones, wired and wireless, amps and speakers, direct-input boxes and pre-amps, etc. More and more of today’s jobs include specific amplification of instruments for live settings and large venues.

How long before our generation is allowed into the universities to start making these important changes? Five years? Ten years? Will we have much of a classical music industry by then?

That moment when imperfection is perfect

Great over-thorough analysis of the first two measures of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream by Nick Jaworski.

“Striking” does not mean “bad”. Far from it, I find it strangely compelling. Clearly, there are two guitar parts playing simultaneously – each guitar individually panned (placed) into the left and right ears. It’s the guitar in the right ear that lags behind.

I’m totally a sucker for this kind of writing.  Be sure to check out Nick’s other project, Leading Notes.  Nick gets it, and he’s a big voice for our cause.

“For Five Years, no one cared about it, no one was interested”

Astounding details to be found in Joseph Flatley’s essay on Dubstep over at The Verge.

Essentially, it’s pop.

To paraphrase Nick Lowe, it’s now music for now people.

Or, as Skrillex told the crowd at the Grammy Awards: “I guess there’s no formula or format any more. We can do whatever we want.”

Also has great details for the gearheads too:

Another popular trick is to take a MIDI track (MIDI containing no audio itself; it is basically a sequence of parameters such as velocity, pitch, note length, etc. that can be used to “play” any electronic instrument with MIDI input or any soft synth that understands MIDI commands) and connect it to two, four, or half a dozen or more instruments: mid-range lead synths, phased pads, samplers with growling electric punk rock bass samples and deep, dubby, low end bass samples. Everything moves together, the bass line doing double duty as a melodic line, while everything pulses and undulates sort of (but not entirely) out of sync with everything else. On the dancefloor, this isn’t a listening experience — it’s a whole body experience.

Required reading.

Luke Dubois – Vertical Music

This is sonically and technically amazing stuff.  It’s like a Paulstretch creation done live by real musicians in real time.  Or maybe it’s like being in Inception and hearing what’s happening one dream higher.   This is a 4.5 minute piece, slowed down (due to being filmed at 300fps). I’m guessing to get the sound quality to be equally high when time stretched he recorded either at (above?) 192kHz/48bit or one of those DSD recorders that go at around 5mHz/1bit.

(edit: it was actually time stretched using Michael Klingbeil’s SPEAR) – I wonder if it’s even possible to record fast enough to get this type of effect?

Either way, amazing stuff: