Last session in our Music Appreciation class, we listened to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony from start to finish. I think it was safe to say that some students had a hard time tuning in for that long, and not just because the coda of the fourth movement carried over two minutes after class was supposed to finish. Perhaps we should adopt the P.D.Q. Bach way of listening to Beethoven. Listen here for a good laugh.
Using Josh Minor’s OSCemote, I recently was able to get an iPhone to work as a controller for my project I’m creating with Max/MSP. The working title of the project is 4Quarters, and I’m hoping to do the first of a series of performance tests November 13th for the upcoming IMAG / Brandeis concert at the CUNY Graduate Center.
The basic idea is to make group music by phone. Many people feel that making music is only for professionals or musicians who can play instruments, but we are virtuosos of many things. Depending on the semantics of what is meant with ‘playing’ and ‘instrument,’ I would expand normative meanings to include all the devices we play or type with. These days a lot of music is made by pressing buttons, and a lot of people who don’t consider themselves musicians are pretty proficient at it. My idea (which is hardly original) is to create instruments out of devices people already play: mobile phones.
Perhaps the difference with this project in comparison to others I have seen is that each user will get a discrete assignment to control a small parameter of the musical experience, and each assignee has the potential can dramatically (or not, if desired) alter the sound.
The buttons I’m pushing on the computer alter the assignments. I only really feature three seperate assignments in this video. More to come…
For some of you, this class is providing you with the opportunity to attend your first concert of classical music. We all know that New York is a great cultural hub and that events are going on around us all the time. Finding a good show might seem overwhelming with all the options. I’d like to list a few links and give some recommendations for finding something good.
I’ve posted a list of a few websites that I have found helpful in finding classical music concerts in New York City: New York Times Music Listings, zvents.com, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Club Freetime.
The Times has several different ways to find a concert. I’d recommend finding their Classical Music Listings, which will point you in the direction of critics picks for excellent performances. Keep in mind that this listing spans several pages, was published at the start of the season (Sept. 7th, 2008), and is meant to give the reader a large overview on what’s going on in the city this season. Listings are categorized by month (this page is where October listings start). If you find something that sounds interesting to you, you’ll need to investigate further to find out dates, times, and venues.
Advantages to this site: critics picks help you find quality performances, great variety of events listed
Disadvantages to this site: requires planning, doesn’t search by price, difficult to navigate
This website functions more like a conventional web browser, showing listings by date according to the category you select. Here’s what came up when I looked under music/classical today. The advantage of this website is that it allows you to find out what’s happening in the city today, meaning that procrastinators can find something good in a hurry.
Advantages to this site: allows searches based on location (including burrows and NJ) or date, site is easy to navigate
Disadvantages to this site: doesn’t search by price, doesn’t specialize in critic reviews (though it has an option for user reviews)
Across Central Park to the west you’ll find Lincoln Center, which is a large complex of concert halls, a theater, the NY Performing Arts Library, and The Julliard School. It is the home to twelve different arts organizations. Since it was built in the 60s, it has been a cultural mecca for many–particularly for worldwide fans of the Metropolitan Opera. The Lincoln Center web site allows one to search for concerts by any of their venues, organizations, or all of them simultaneously. If you are looking for a world-class performance and are willing to spend a little extra (though student discounts are available), I’d highly recommend going to one of these concerts.
Advantages to this site: high quality performances are pretty much guaranteed, easy navigation for events
Disadvantages to this site: limited search, limited range in repertoire, doesn’t offer critics review, ticket prices may be high (Julliard performances are typically free, however)
Similar to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall is a cultural institution with a rich history. Carnegie Hall itself has a reputation as being on of the finest concert halls in the world just in terms of its acoustics. Using the site to find specific pieces is tricky, since listings are shown based on performers. As Carnegie Hall doesn’t host a particular ensemble, it is kind of a revolving door for various performers, ensmebles, and themed series. For instance, this year there is a celebration of Leonard Bernstein, an International Festival of Orchestras, and later in May, Gustav Mahler’s nine Symphonies will be performed in sequence over multiple nights. By highlight will surely be on May 12th, when Pierre Boulez, one of the leading composers and conductors of this past century, conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 6.
Advantages to this site: high quality performances are pretty much guaranteed, diverse repertoire and range of performers
Disadvantages to this site: limited search, site navigation is subpar, doesn’t offer critics reviews, ticket prices may be high
This site lists free concerts, though you have to pay a small fee for access to addresses and venues. If you want to avoid paying a fee after conducting a search, you could probably glean enough info to find the venue via Google. But be warned: some of the listings are free only to members of this site. The scope of concerts (and possibly their quality) is obviously limited to deals, but for some of you this may take precedent.
Advantages to this site: free concerts, easy site navigation.
Disadvantages to this site: limited search (only free concerts), fee for use, possibly lacking in quality