Sunday, December 28, 2008

You're not likely to see tubas doing this

OK, first of all, simply assembling this thing must have taken a very long time.

(too much time)

(Silent) Monks Hallelujah

Sorry, I've been out of town for a while.
Here's a good one from YouTube.

Remember these monks have taken a vow of silence.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Ol' Smackdown in New York

Dave Finlayson has posted recently on his new blog about Gilbert Kaplan, who recently conducted Mahler's 2nd with NYPO.

I'm not familiar with Kaplan's conducting but I've had to endure too many podium frauds over the years.

Here's the link.

Here's my own cynical rule about conductors

Of every 1000 conductors, 900 are completely useless.
The ensemble would sound better if they walked away.

Of the remaining 100, 90 are mediocre at best.
At least they don't do serious damage and will be bailed out by most ensembles.

Of the remaining 10, 9 are good at their jobs.
They actually make the group sound better.

That last one is excellent.
A pleasure and an inspiration.

So, in your next rehearsal, ask yourself, "What about this one? In the 900, the 90, the 9, or the one."

Realize, you may go your whole life and never have the chance to work with "the one."

My Christmas wish: that you get to work with "the one" in a good orchestra.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Rubber Band Rubato

Back to the subject of rubato (about which I put up a post in July called "Wheel Rubato.")

I've thought of another way to look at it.

Take this example of the cadenza from Morceau Symphonique..

Being a cadenza, it should have some freedom. But still, 16th's should sound like 16th's, 8th's should like 8th's and so on.

In other words, the beat can change but the subdivisions of the beat should still make sense.

An analogy occurred to me. Suppose you took a large rubber band and made evenly spaced vertical marks on it. Or maybe your marks could graphically represent the spacing of quarter notes, half notes and so on.

Then, stretch the rubber band and look at your marks.

The rhythmic pattern is consistent over a time frame that is stretched.

...sort of like the perception of time as you fall into a black hole.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Etude Finder

I heard a good quote from Ted Turner, "Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Work Hard and Advertise."

For the most part, I'm pretty good at the first three (especially now that my kid has to be at school at 7:30!). I'm not so great at the advertising part.

Here's something I put up on my website and didn't really announce. Why? I wanted to proof it and make sure there were no mistakes.

Well, I didn't proof it so IF you find mistakes, email me with something like, "HA! You messed up!"

What is it? Well, try it out and you'll see. There are lots of ways it could be improved. The original database (part of my doctoral dissertation) had other categories..things like "Building the Low Range" "Wide leaps in the High Range" "Double Tonguing" etc.

OK, here's another topic to consider...matching etudes with solo lit and orchestral excerpts. Something like this "If you're working on La Gazza Ladra (or the David Concertino), you might practice the following 4 etudes to help..."

So, here it is...

Special thanks to my computer whiz son, William, for writing the javascript code that makes this work. I sorta kinda understand it, but it's almost over my head.