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On Thursday I spontaneously joined the local community choir for two songs, just outside the Britannia Center. It was great! The songs were taught in a call-and-response fashion, and everybody was very welcoming.
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Gustavo Lacerda said...

I doubt the Doppler effect in your throat could be strong enough to be noticeable. For the first frequency doubling (octave), you'd need the sound source to be moving at half the speed of sound (i.e. v = 1/2 c). To triple the frequency (i.e. lambda = 3), you'd need it to move at 2/3 the speed of sound. In general, 1/lambda = 1-v/c, or v = c (1 - 1/lambda).

If we take the minimal noticeable change to be 20 cents (where 1200 is an octave), lambda = 1220/1200 = 61/60.
Thus v = c (1/61) = 1/61*340m/s ~= 5.57 m/s .

I don't think throats reach that speed when they vibrate.

I found that post by googling for Doppler effect + vibrato, because it's a cool idea.
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Stolen from this comment:

What an awesome idea to think about!

Constrained languages make it easier to standardize communication (think semantic web vs. the free web), minimizing errors of interpretation. A familiar movie-plot-structure or song-rhythm tends to put the viewer at ease and confident. At this point, it's easy to switch into "flow"y automatic mode, focusing on the higher-level structure (i.e. the meaning rather than the words). By constantly demanding your attention (though not necessarily your focus), the task puts you in a trance-like state of consciousness.

This is kinda like how driving on a highway can be relaxing.

When the medium is free-form (at least in the time dimension), one's attention is free to shift around, and one is free to spend time on complex planning, etc... it is precisely this freedom that makes anxiety possible.

I would like to look at frontal lobe activation in structured vs unstructured tasks. If my hypothesis is correct (more frontal activation in unstructured tasks), this would explain autistic impairment in the latter.


Bluegrass seems like a very constrained form. Maybe this is my bias, since it's a style I know very well.

To test this hypothesis using information theory, I would try to show that the relevant features can be compressed quite efficiently.

If we had an MDL program for generating any tune over the space of bluegrass tunes (generating only the relevant features, let's say the kind of information that is in a MIDI file), the input necessary to generate any given tune would be rather small.
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I decided to host a jam tonight at 8pm.

If you'd like to play with, please email or call 412-728-3176, and I'll give you directions.

As a good musical anarchist, I am not imposing any structure on this. We'll just have to see what happens.

Be ready to improvise, and see how it works out.


Aug. 8th, 2006 10:38 pm
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WikiTeX's music language is LilyPond, which looks very much like the RightThing. ... and I don't care much for sheet-music.

There is also a conversion program called abc2ly.

AFAICT, it's got everything become the open standard.
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The Distorted Tunes Test (via [ profile] patrissimo) is probably useful in music cognition research.

I got 26/26, unsurprisingly. I'd probably have some trouble with a rhythm test, though.

I've met people who call themselves tone deaf. I wonder how they would score here. So maybe people who can't sing in key aren't being reckless: maybe they just have bad pitch perception.
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There are not enough Google hits on the analogy between "changing vocal registers" and "changing gears" (please prove me wrong!). I think good singers can blend them seemlessly, but I'm not sure.

My vocal range is approximately the same as the range of my classical guitar. I have a distinct "chest voice", "head voice" and falsetto.

Further, I can produce qualities that I would call "nasality", "breathiness" and "screaminess". I would like to understand how they are produced physically...

Tangent: have you ever considered that onomotopoeias should be related to your mouth configuration? e.g. physical systems that produce "ffff" sounds are probably similar to what happens in your mouth when you pronounce the voiceless labiodental [f].
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I'm running the trial version of SmartMusic. It's a very simple, and very cool idea.

Unfortunately, not all of their accompaniment features are that intelligent. For example, if you "wait-for notes" (marked as blue), then the accompaniment stops playing until it hears you play the note.

But because it doesn't trust you by default, it drags the song behind. I estimate the lag to be about 0.1s, which is a significant annoyance. This should be really easy to fix: just keep playing normally until the program knows for sure that a mistake has been made (i.e. it should take the lag into account). Humans normally trust the soloist to perform correctly, and if they didn't, the song would drag, just like it does with SmartMusic.

I do have to admire their beat induction, though, if only because I've never seen this before: the accompaniment follows the soloist's tempo rather well: it tested this myself by playing faster. The only problem are the "wait-for" notes: I guess the solution is to disable them.

I also suspect that it's not easy to add your own MIDI file, even after you buy the product.
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I've recently learned "Sailor's Hornpipe". The whole tune reminds me of the Popeye tune other than "Popeye, the Sailor Man". Some parts of it remind me of the Brandenburg concerto.
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The Alexander Technique deals with how we use ourselves as we perform
the many different activities of our lives. During the first couple of years
of life we used ourselves beautifully. This photograph (from Michael Gelb's
excellent introductory book Body Learning) is a nice illustration of the
natural integrity of the head, neck and back that we had as young children.

As we continue through life most of us acquire a variety of habits of misuse:
habits of tension that interfere with the good use with which we started. Some
of these habits originate in the unconscious imitation of the posture, carriage
and movement of others around us. Most people also develop habitual
responses to the many forms of stimuli encountered daily which can involve
unnecessary tension (such as tensing the neck and back when rushing or
tightening arms and shoulders while working at the computer). Poor posture
and pain in the neck, back and shoulders often result from the cumulative
effect of these habitual patterns and our lack of awareness of how we're using
ourselves as we're going about our lives.

Lessons in the Alexander Technique provide the means to restore the good use
with which we began our lives. During a lesson the teacher instructs the pupil,
both verbally and with gentle hands-on guidance, to learn how to perform such daily
activities as standing, sitting, bending and walking with greater and greater ease,
balance and poise. With each lesson the pupil's awareness grows along with
the ability to unlearn existing habits of tension and prevent the formation of new ones.

Less is more
Just as most things function better and last longer if they're well taken care of,
so do humans. By knowing how to perform the activities of personal and
professional life with appropriate effort and tension, people typically find that
they're able to do more with greater ease and less strain.

I've sometimes wondered why I would get unnecessarily strained playing an instrument. Actually, coming to think of it (and trying it), I see that fiddle (violin) is an uncomfortable instrument to play, especially when you do it fast. Maybe I'm just suffering from a lack of classical training.
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I'd like to get some intelligent accompaniment software, to help me practice my solos. As you probably know, the accompaniment in play-along CDs lead rather than follow. So I want a system that can detect my rhythm through a microphone, and accompanies me properly.

Any tips, anyone?
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Theorem: "mandolin chords shapes" is isomorphic to "guitar chord shapes (lower 4 strings)"
Constructively, let f(c) = reverse(c).

For example,
E = (0,2,2,1,0,0) :

---o---|---|---   G# 3
---|---o---|---   E  1
---|---o---|---   B  5
---|---|---|---   E  1

becomes E = (1,2,2,0):
===|===|===|===   E  1
===|===o===|===   B  5
===|===o===|===   E  1
===o===|===|===   G# 3 

Let's start with the low E-string:
c[1] is the finger placement on the low-E string
then f(c)[4] plays the same note (under octave equivalence), since the mandolin's 4th string is an E.

Likewise, for all i, c[i] plays the same note on the guitar (under octave equivalence) as f(c)[5-i] plays in the mandolin. This is because while the guitar is starting from the low-E and going up in fourths, the mandolin is starting from the high-E and coming down in fifths. Since fourths and fifths are octave-complements of each other, that means that the difference between the guitar-note and mandolin-note will remain the same after each iteration (under octave equivalence). Since the difference was 0 to start with, then it remains 0. Do note that the absolute difference becomes one octave smaller at each step.

(It kinda bothers me that properly formalizing the math is so much work. I think mathematical language needs to be redesigned by good software engineers.)

I think one important reason to call this an "isomorphism" instead of "bijection" is that there are relations between chords that are preserved. For example, if you know that to go from an E to an E7, you let go of one finger...

E7 = (0,2,0,1,0,0) :

---o---|---|--- G# 3
---|---|---|--- D  7
---|---o---|--- B  5
---|---|---|--- E  1

you can do the same on the mandolin.

E7 = (1,0,2,0):
===|===|===|=== E  1
===|===o===|=== B  5
===|===|===|=== D  7
===o===|===|=== G# 3

In fact, you have lots of relations between chords like this one, that are all preserved under this simple isomorphism. Another obvious one is transposition (i.e. move the bar in bar chords, NB: all chords are bar chords).

Trying this for all basic guitar chords (i.e. non-bar): C, D, E, G, A... a problem appears: If you try to translate A into the mandolin, it won't sound right. This is because there is no 3rd degree present in the lower 4 strings. One possible fix is to play an F# on the D string, which corresponds to a non-standard A chord on the guitar.
Similarly, when translating a D from the guitar, you should play the low-E string: i.e. you should play D/F#.

Credits to Thorne, who playing mandolin for the first time, said that the mandolin was like a guitar backwards. I thought that he was playing a left-handed mandolin, but then I knew what he meant.
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Hit Song Science applies machine learning to predict whether a given song will be a hit. Rudi is not impressed. My take: evaluation, evaluation, evaluation!
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When I go running, my breathing follows different rhythms, the most complex of which follows a 32-beat, 8-bar pattern (4 beats-per-bar). It feels so natural, and I don't even consciously count. I think this means I'm a musical person. Do *you* follow rhythms when you work out?

Today, I felt the road pollution even more, and breathed through my mouth a bit. I need to do something about this nose of mine. My shins complained a bit: I think I need to take it easy on them.
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Some Google searches give some unexpectedly interesting results

Applying SIENA: An illustrative analysis of the co-evolution of adolescents’ friendship networks, taste in music, and alcohol consumption

Jodi L. Pearson and Stephen J. Dollinger - Music preference correlates of Jungian types

The purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship between personality and music preferences, using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It was hypothesized that the sensing–intuition dimension would correlate with overall musical enjoyment. Thus, as compared with those participants who scored toward the sensing end, we expected high scorers (intuition end) to endorse more musical styles, particularly classical music, as well as to have greater musical training and involvement. This hypothesis was tested and confirmed with a sample of 104 undergraduates. Moreover, extraversion also correlated with overall musical interest, particularly for popular/rock music. Finally, thinking–feeling correlated with liking for country and western music. Whereas past research has conceptualized music preferences in terms of approach to or avoidance of stimulation, these findings support the notion of cultural involvement as a personality dimension.
Individual weights indicated that intuition predicted liking of jazz/soul/folk (0.36, P<0.001) and classical music (0.27, P<0.05). Extraverts enjoyed popular/rock music more than introverts (introversion WEIGHT=−0.34, P<0.05). Those scoring toward the feeling end of TF were more likely to endorse country-western music than those scoring toward the thinking end (=0.27, P<0.01).
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Goodbye, Vassar.

Nashville (Tennessee), USA - Veteran fiddler, Vassar Clements, died at his home August 16th at 8:25 am (Central time), according to his daughter Midge. Clements had been suffering from lung cancer. He was 77.

Vassar Clements was described as the Father of Hillbilly Jazz. His work encompassed multiple genres, including country, bluegrass, Western swing, jazz, rock, blues and classical.

He was one the world's most versatile fiddle players. His career began at a very early age. His phenomenal ability to virtually play any kind of music (bluegrass, country, pop, rock, jazz and swing) garnered him various awards, including five Grammy nominations and a track record that involves multitudes of recording performances.


Dude... I should have heard this earlier. It's been more than a month already. I found out browsing the Wikipedia.

I never had a chance to meet him or see him play... he was probably the most versatile fiddler ever, above Darol Anger and Mark O' Connor. Although such comparisons are, of course, futile.
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This is me, today, performing
one-take, guitar & voice - Faded Love. For whom, you ask? For you guys, of course. But please do criticize!

I usually think of my voice as 100% in tune. But recording myself, I hear imperfections.

This is my own adaptation of the tune I learned first-hand from bluegrass players at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge.
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I'm constantly playing music in my head, mostly Bluegrass, Celtic or other happy catchy tunes. Often, I'll hum it.

This was recently brought to my attention by my housemate's girlfriend, who said it was keeping her up (she must be more sensitive than me!). I was completely unaware of my vocalization, and didn't imagine that hear it could bother anyone (I'm aware that I do it, but not when I'm doing it). Now I have to consciously monitor myself.

I think this is more pronounced in the early mornings and at night. Sometimes I wake up singing... maybe it's related to feeling lazy. Or is it a way of distracting myself from the real world?
It is especially common when I'm thinking, programming (although not too hard).
Repetitive (rhythmic?) things, like cycling, put me in the mood for the music to start playing in my head.
Maybe this music is what keeps my attention inside my head. But why would I try to focus my attention inside my head?

I also think this is strongly correlated to jiggling my legs restlessly. But if I'm watching TV, I won't hum or hear music.

What sucks is when you hate the tune, but it's stuck playing in your head. But this is not often the case.

When does "hearing music" become hallucination?
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I like music of all kinds, as long as it has a melody. (see here for descriptions of my main musical aesthetics)
I specifically do not like electronic dance music (house, drum&bass, etc), hiphop, or anything with a loud repetitive bass (particularly because bass sounds don't get blocked by my windows).

Why is it that clubs only tend to play the latter? Whatever happened to the folk song? Can we blame the 80s?

Anyway, once in a while my neighbours have a street party, which is meant as a party for kids. But all they play is this shit electronic music.

They say a good way to prevent juveline delinquency is to leave draaiorgels around playing. It works like insect repellant. I, OTOH, *love* draaiorgels (especially when they play ragtime tunes), and would love to have one to jam with, especially if I could give it a little computer-intelligence (making it a sort of intelligent accompanist).
gusl: (Default)

melodic minds


I am an amateur musician who likes to improvise, play musical games. Rhythm and harmony are essential of course, but to me music must have a beautiful or interesting melody. I like happy, simple music, childish even.

Bluegrass, Ragtime, Dixieland, Swing, World Music, Polka, Gypsy, Celtic, Brazilian, Latin, Classic Rock.
Bill Monroe, Béla Fleck, David Grisman, Bob Wills, Hot Club of France, Jacob do Bandolim, Mozart, Bach, Chopin, The Beatles

Fiddle: can perform
Sing: can perform
Guitar: basic
Piano: basic
5-String Banjo, finger-picking style: very beginner

Languages: English, Dutch, Portuguese.

you / your band:

Identify with some of these styles.

Can accompany me on a string instrument: guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, cello, bass. (I can accompany you too)


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