So, tomorrow (Thursday) is my last day in Spartanburg Five. It’s been a long, strange trip, and it’s weird to think that this part of my career is over. It seems only fitting that I go out with an appropriate playlist. But what to include? I think I’ll skip the obvious “Take this Job and … Continue reading Retirement Playlist
Today the Greenville Chorale Chamber Ensemble presents its winter concert at Furman’s Daniel Chapel. The program is entitled “Music for the Soul”, and the music was chosen to be both soothing and uplifting. We start the concert with Gabriel Faure’s Requiem as the major work on the piece. I’ve performed this piece several times, and … Continue reading Music for the Soul
As my friend Duck Hunter pointed out on his blog, not only is it football season, but it’s also marching band season. The Furman Band has really been sounding good the last several years, and this year continues this trend.
Of course, we’ve taken more interest in the band the past several years since the son and daughter of our friends Alan and Mary have been in the band. Joshua graduated last year, but Caitlin still has a couple of years to go. So, we’ve been following the band’s repertoire closer than usual. Continue reading “Marching Band Season”
Videographer Valdas Katovas recorded our spring concert, a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and Greenville Chorale. This video is the entire fourth movement. You can occasionally see me on the front row of the Chorale, next to the tympani and behind the trombones. Beethoven No 9 from Valdas Kotovas on … Continue reading Beethoven’s Ninth Video
Joy, thou beauteous godly lighting,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent’ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!
Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom stern divide;
Every man becomes a brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.
Be embrac’d, ye millions yonder!
Take this kiss throughout the world!
Brothers—o’er the stars unfurl’d
Must reside a loving father.
–Friedrich Schiller, 1786
Last night the Greenville Chorale joined forces with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The 9th is one of my favorite pieces, and I’ve had the privilege to perform it once before. Last night’s performance, though was one of the most stirring I’ve ever experienced.
For the Chorale, the piece came together fairly quickly. Many of us were familiar with the music, but also the chorus doesn’t sing that much in the concert. We’re only there for the last half of the last movement of the piece – about 20 minutes worth. Bing Vick often let us out of rehearsals early, which was a nice change of pace.
However, that is a VERY challenging 20 minutes. First there is the range. The piece is written at the extreme upper vocal range for all parts. I can’t think of another piece that has the basses singing a high F as many times and as long as this one does. Then there was the tempo set by Maestro Tchivzhel – fast, then blindingly fast. We had to squeeze a mouthful of German syllables into such a fast pace that I don’t think any of us got all of the words correct, even in the final performance. Oh, yeah, they had to be on the right pitches and at the right dynamic, too. It was a bear. Continue reading “O Freunde, nicht diese Töne”
Dolby is currently touring the country in his “Time Capsule Tour.” The show features lots of steam-punk kitsch, and a mocked up “time capsule” in which visitors can leave a “30 second message for the future” (basically a webcam uploading to YouTube.) The time capsule is a mini camper tricked out with steam-punk accoutrements.
Sunday afternoon the Greenville Chorale Chamber Ensemble presented its annual concert at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The concert was entitled “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space” and featured sacred music by contemporary composers. The pairing of music with venue was well-planned, and somewhat modeled the liturgy that might be followed in a traditional service.
Saturday morning we had our dress rehearsal in the cathedral, and I brought along my camera to get a few shots of the interior. I started with exterior shots…
…then moved to the interior to photograph the stunning mosaics above the altar.
The phrase “effects processor” is a catch-all term that refers to just about any way that sound is manipulated before its amplified, recorded, etc. This could be as basic as adding reverberation to make it sound like your in a large auditorium instead of a small recording studio, or as complex as auto-tuning, looping, or otherwise radically altering the sound.
Effects devices typically took two forms. There were rack-mounted devices that controlled EQ, compression, reverb, delay, etc. Then there were performance devices. These were usually geared toward guitarists, and included the Fuzz, WahWah, Flanger, and distortion peddles. Now a whole range of effects peddles can be found. Rack-mounted effects are still important in studio work, but most of those effects can now be found on performance devices themselves, such as keyboards, etc.
Effects apps for iOS seem to look more like performance level devices, and this makes sense. The portability of the device makes it a great alternative if you needs some quick effects and don’t want to lug all your gear with you. If you’re doing a jam session or just practicing, these are great. I’m not sure how it would work in a studio setting, though. Continue reading “iPad as Effects Processor”
A couple of years ago I purchased a little Akai LPK25 keyboard. I was exploring MIDI sequencing and notation input on mobile devices such like my netbook, and was looking for a quick input device. I was sorely disappointed in what was available inexpensively, and I never seemed to be able to get the keyboard to work with either my netbook or my laptop. The keyboard sat on the edge of my desk for months, unused.
When I got the iPad one of the first apps I found was Garage Band. It was cool, but the virtual keyboard on the device just didn’t seem natural for playing. I missed raised black notes.
I had purchased the camera connection kit for the iPad, and found out from several online forums that the USB connector in the camera kit would work connect the LPK to the IPad. This started my first serious delvings into using the iPad as a digital audio workstation, or DAW. I’ve now had a chance to work with several DAW apps. Here’s a quick rundown with my impressions. Continue reading “iPad as DAW”
I figured that before I dive into the musical capabilities of the iPad, it might not hurt to define some of these terms and acronyms that I’m tossing around. As with any field, electronic music has its own jargon that can be quite confusing. These are roughly in order of how frequently I’ll be using the terms over the next several posts. I don’t pretend to be an expert, and will probably get some of this wrong, but here goes…
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) – MIDI was developed as a communications protocol in the late 1970’s, early 1980’s. It allows musical keyboards to control other keyboards and devices such as computers, etc.
Even though it was developed thirty years ago, MIDI is still very much in use. Back in the day when computers didn’t have much memory, MIDI was also a very efficient way to create complex compositions. A computer or external sequencer only had to record key-on/key-off, pitch, and duration data. The actual sounds were produced by the external keyboards or sound modules. Other capabilities were added to the protocol, such as the ability to detect velocity, or how hard a key is pressed, and the ability to control various settings on instruments such as sustain, and to trigger events such as changing lighting, changing settings, etc. You could also play multiple keyboards from one controller keyboard, creating thick sounds and tonalities from multiple instruments.
MIDI has 16 different channels, and different instruments can be assigned to various channels. On most keyboards you will find a MIDI in, out, and through port. On many modern keyboards the MIDI signal is now transmitted through a USB port. Continue reading “Electronic Music Primer”