Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Choral Fundamentals.

Choral singing whether 2 or a thousand if done beautifully demands brain synchronization on so many levels that a chorus is truly one voice.  This is certainly a genetic remnant from tribal societies or even before.  I am convinced that a good chorus hears the same music subconsciously moments before singing their part. Where this music comes from, the conductor, the lead singer, or the "ether" direct from the composer/arranger is at this point unknowable.  There are intelligent people that think that every thought or impulse from everyone living or dead is present in some space that is tuneable by the proper receiving brain, and music lends some credence to this for me, but I still don't believe it.  The music of the composer/arranger is somehow embedded in the score that the chorus can resonate with subconsciously as a group.  The melodies, the rhythms, the harmonies and the tempos are of course simply marks on some holder.  But when performed all come together to recreate the mind of the composer/arranger. 

To a lesser extent all music requires this synchronization but vocalization is so fundamental that it involves most of the brain.  All must be in sync with the composer/arranger   (Brava, Alice Parker) even if not physically present.  

Every good chorus I have sung with, and there have been many, has been an extremely tight social group where all members have liked and respected each other.  Years later they can reunite either individually or as a group and it as if no time has passed. The few outliers don't tend to last long no matter how well they sing.   

Original publication 12/10/16 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Three Levels of Reality.

Sep 6, 2015 -- 9:52PM,  wrote:
In the same respects since our very first example of something that is true and certain is our self/self-awareness.     By what logic would I hop to accept anything else as being more certain or true?

I think this is important because when we attempt to measure our self/self-awareness.   It cannot be found,  it holds no weight and with heavy scrutiny it doesn't even exist.Utiltheo

Cogito, ergo sum. That the external world can influence my thinking is strong evidence that it exists as observed.  The fact that I can affect the external world is additional evidence that I exist if needed.  Solipsism ultimately fails as the external world can affect my thoughts in unpredictable ways and my effects can also be contrary to my intent. 

The external world can be thought of as consisting of three levels of reality that can affect thinking. 

Objective or sentient reality, that which can be observed, measured, and manipulated with physical tools but not directly with the mind with the exception that the mind controls most physical tools that manipulate sentient reality beginning in humans with the hand.   

Mythical reality consists of memes generally consistently understood across cultures and languages.  Mythical memes can strongly dominate thinking if they are introduced early enough in a person's life.  Note that most mythical memes are fairy tales and folklore in language that can be understood by small children and generally are one dimensional good vs. evil, obedience vs. sin, etc.  Nuance and interpretation may come later in life but generally that interpretation only reinforces the meme. Mythical reality is ultimately the creation of humans for the regulation of their cultures(s.) God(s) are frequent memes in mythical reality but all are created by humans commonly in their own image writ large.   

Fictional reality is a tool for manipulating minds, mythical reality and occasionally sentient reality but is more limited than mythical reality in that it is language and culture specific, although the best are translatable across languages and cultures.  Fictional reality normally has an identifiable creator, and includes art and music as well as the written word.  The memes generated by fictional reality can approach mythical memes in power and utility. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Sing a Prayer.

The hard part for theists is admitting they have become the moral source they wanted to worship. In fact, they are now in a position to condemn their god as immoral based on secular principles of human rights. Kwinters

lt is not hard at all.  I know some Catholics and many Jews that for all intents and purposes are atheists.  It was a good Catholic that told me that the "Thy God" of the First Great Commandment is whatever you want Herm to be.  She describes her God as an inner voice that she can converse with as a friend to help her decide what to do in difficult situations.  It is easier to call it "Mary" than Raggedy Ann, because Raggedy Ann actually has a form.  (I did ask.)  Her indoctrination makes Mary the mother of all good things, and as a mother it is easy to transfer that voice inside her head from mom to Mary.

For many of the Jews I know, (a biased sample) God is an ancient guide no longer relavent to the modern world, and is nothing but a word in a prayer.  Comfort food for inner peace.  The Shema, commonly the Deuteronomy 6:4-9, is a centering ritual where G-d and "God's Kingdom" is whatever you want to make of your life. 

I have sung the Shema and Ave Marias, reverently as is mandatory to convey the meaning to believers, and using the interpretation of God from my friends I have no problem as an atheist attaching my own personal meaning to the word.  Mostly Pantheist, APOD is my worship focus, although in the Sierra, the "Range of Light" dominates.  If this makes me a believer, so be it.  I am in good company. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

On Transcendence

(And I'm leery of that word 'transcending' - it's too often an attempt to smuggle nonsense into conversations.) Blü
I find transcendence to be a perfectly good word for the natural ability of the mind to focus on a single task.  Normally physical, athletes and musicians call it the zone, but can be purely mental. The mental state is harder to achieve but can be trained just as the physical state is trained.  The problem is that it can be focused just as well on imaginary things as real ones, so it is important to recognize explicitly the focus of the transcendent state.  The Transcendentalists focused it inward, to discover what it is to live meaningfully as a human, and atheists should acknowledge our debt to their efforts.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Art Music and Beliefs

Opinions on art and music are subjective. You tell me that your taste is better and criticize mine and I will treat you like something that just slithered out from under a rock.

Beliefs are not subjective. They are either true or false. If you criticise one of my beliefs, and do it respectfully, we can have an interesting debate. And, if you were persuasive, you might even change my mind. However, if your idea of debate is to ridicule my beliefs, then I'll treat you like something that just slithered out from under a rock. freespirit

Obviously you don't follow art or music criticism.  There are real standards of what constitutes art and music that are educated opinions that are not subjective at all.  Like beliefs these educated opinions can and do change as new forms get past the shock stage.  But art and music still matter, and only the new forms that comply with the human goals of art and music to educate, stimulate, and move people.   

Opinions about beliefs change more slowly as they are indoctrinated earlier and more intensively than opinions on art and music but change they do.  Sometimes it takes generations to do so as beliefs occupy a more important area of the mind than esthetics.  Social compliance with beliefs is frequently a matter of survival.  Esthetics is more like manners; a group identifier rather than a coercive believe or die.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Winter Holidays

Christmas for me has always been defined by the music. I never much cared for either the religious or the secular hoopla, although the yule traditions were fun, but so secularized that it wasn't until I began to study "other" religions that I came to appreciate the community centric nature of Yuletide.  I celebrated Hannukah with Jewish friends, but as a holiday gathering not as a religious celebration, but they seemed to treat it the same way so I fit right in. 
The whole season came together for me at the Peter, Paul, and Mary Holiday concert in Carnegie Hall complete with a Kosher and not so Kosher wonderful chopped liver provided for all by Mary.  The concert was a wonderful mix of newly composed Hannukah songs arranged for trio and chorus by PP&M's long time arranger Bob DeCormier, Christmas standards, and the Hallelujah Chorus where PP&M joined in with the chorus.  This became a perennial PBS Fundraiser you may have seen almost any holiday if you indulge in PBS.  It really had it all, Hannukah, Christmas, Yule, and Hallelujah.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Um, all of this is just speculative nonsense. You are not an academic JC, and until you do some actual research that is all this is.

Just compare what you make up out of nothing to what actual scholars do.  Your opinion is of no use here.

An academic studies more and more about less and less until hesh knows everything about nothing.   Congratulations.

A dilettante studies a little bit about a lot of things until hesh knows nothing about everything.

Neither is worth much in advancing the knowledge base of humanity. 

A scholar studies in depth a broad range of subjects and finds common themes and messages that help in understanding a topic.  It is speculative but it is not nonsense.  Like all scholarship it is subject to review and criticism, but ad hominem arguments don't really matter.  If you wish to comment on the accuracy of my speculations, or demonstrate that they are incorrect, I would appreciate your academic input assuming it is relevant to the speculation in question. 

Religion has been my area of scholarship for most of my life.  I have studied it from an atheistic bias, which I recognize and account for.  My studies have not been in an Ivory Tower, but in places of worship, scripture and especially music.  You may criticize from any of those points of view.  Your PhD BS is not useful.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Why God(s)

beliefnet thoughtful theist
I don't attempt to show it. You must investigate the possibility yourself, as I'm sure you have and do.  And no, I'm not arguing that if something's not seen then it exists; and I'm not even arguing that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. In the case of God, who is, he can be detected. But not, naturally enough, by those whose preconceptions rule out such a thing.
My problem is not so much finding God, everybody and herm sibling will show you God.  My problem is what to do with them once I have found them.  So far the only use I have found is as inspiration for artists and musicians.  Not trivial, great art and music is always a benefit to humanity no matter who or what it is celebrating.  But as for the Gods themselves, nothing for me. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Arts Make Education Work

No wonder the religitards are trying to kill it.

Note, the term "retard" applied to one who is normally intelligent insults no one else.  Those with mental challenges are not retarded.  They do very well with their native intelligence.

Worth a click.  Tim inherited his father's passion for promoting and teaching the arts.

HAYWARD -- Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins spent Friday at a Hayward elementary school, joining children in a staged reading, singing with the chorus, answering questions and watching students work on computer art projects as he promoted the arts in schools.

His visit was part of Turnaround Arts, a program to improve students' grades and attendance through the arts.

"I am here today because of the importance of arts in education. When I was in school, I went from being a good student in grade school to a struggling student in high school. The arts became a lifeline for me," he said Friday

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recycling Churches

Don't forget performance spaces and restaurants.  I know of a few churches, still conducting services for a handful of parishioners to keep their tax deduction that are prime concert venues.  Others have revamped their service to appeal to the SNBR and basically are run by a minister, a custodian, and a booking agent.  A trend I highly approve of as an Indie performer. 

Many SNBRs like the Sunday Country Club and will support a church that doesn't demand compliance with doctrine and/or bigotry.  On any Church Street you will find several places where you will feel quite comfortable as an atheist (if you like that kind of stuff and can put up with references to the Greater Being.)  They will even host your Celebration of Life and cater the party afterward at very competitive rates compared to a commercial venue. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Music in Religion


I am relatively familiar with Russian Orthodox as well due to my interest in Russian Orthodox music.  The music of religion is particularly useful in understanding the tradition, as it is the major vehicle for the transmission of the emotional basis of the tradition.  One can't really appreciate the terror of the Dies Irae unless one has heard an Italian Requiem.  Either Verdi or Berlioz will impress but many others will do the job.  Then one must go to Mass for the Et Expecto to get back to Jesus.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Alex and Kevin Black - Amazing Grace

Fantastic even for a proud papa and grandpa.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"The Book of Goddesses: Robert Paterson has arrived!!!

Even more spectacular than I anticipated. The idiom of the Goddess believers in the unique idiom of Rob Paterson, is incredibly beautiful and respectful.

Buy it at iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby or wherever but buy it you will be glad you did.

Thanks once again Rob.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Music on a Vuvuzela

Vuvuzela Music FAQWhen people first time try out a vuvuzela, they tend to look at the mouthpiece, see the hole, blow some air into it and surprisedly listen what happens: "pfffff pfffffff..." - nothing! Slowly noticing that this is obviously more than one of those toy party horns, the next they typically do is reading either an instruction sheet (if present) or look for help on vendors websites. And there they usually find something stupid like "Close your lips and blow through them to make them vibrate with a farting noise. Squeeze the mouthpiece against them and BLOOOOOWWWWW as strong as you can..." And after the vase is broken, the wall clock stands still and the last shard of the fallen chandelier has stopped rolling around on floor, you can stop blowing now... ;-) Although that tip may help to toot loudly, it is useless for melody play, thus it is best to forget this for now and try something else. Also the common establishment's claim that one can anyway blow only about 3 different notes on such a short horn only refers to a certain type of very loud signal tones and deserves to be ignored. Claiming that it can't do others is like saying that a skateboard can not be steered because it has no steering wheel. Already millennia ago people played melodies on similar instruments, so let's now try what's possible.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Religion, Music and Art


I have explored the entire realm of seeking called religion and found absolutely nothing useful for living except the music and art that probably have nothing to do with religion except a payday. Religion tries to hijack every basic human need in the service of whatever God is handy and will pay for the privilege. Intelligent and creative people are happy to accept the paycheck, and some of them may believe, but their belief proves nothing but that even intelligent and creative people can be duped by shamans and priests.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Emotional Wounds.

Time and brain chemistry heal all wounds even emotional ones.
I know I’m not physically hurt. Though it feels like I’ve been kicked in the stomach with steel-toed boots, my abdomen isn’t bruised. Spiking cortisol levels are causing my muscles to tense and diverting blood away from my gut, leading to this twisting, gnawing agony that I cannot stop thinking about. I can’t stop crying. I can’t move. I just stare at the ceiling, wondering when, if ever, this pain is going to go away.
Pain is a strong motivator; it is the primary way for our bodies tell us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Our intense aversion to pain causes us to instantly change behavior to ensure we don’t hurt anymore. Since the need to maintain social bonds is crucial to mammalian survival, experiencing pain when they are threatened is an adaptive way to prevent the potential danger of being alone.
Where music comes from, or even why we like and create music, is still a mystery. What we do know is that it has a powerful affect on our brains. Music evokes strong emotions and changes how we perceive the world around us. Simply listening to music causes the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to the brain’s reward system and feelings of happiness. But even more impressive is its affect on pain. Multiple studies have shown that listening to music alters our perception of painful stimuli and strengthens feelings of control. People are able to tolerate pain for longer periods of time when listening to music, and will even rate the severity of the sensation as lower, suggesting that something so simple as a melody has a direct affect on our neural pathways.

Yet people wonder about teen suicides caused by rejection whether religious or social.

The whole blog post is incredible. A must read.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More cool Rob Paterson Work

Rob Patterson: Mallethands. On the wonder and challenges of new music composing, promoting, and performing. Note use of the viola as a solo instrument.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Naive Musical Experience

The 'existence' of gods - Beliefnet

I was, just this morning, a naive listener to the Allegri. I had never heard of it prior to Shirley's suggestion. One of the reasons I used it as a seed for the spirituality thread is that I expect few have listened to it. I had no preconceptions. The Miserere theme is common in liturgical music.

I found it to be as exquisite as Shirley promised, and while the piece lasted less than 10 minutes. I spent much more time than that thinking about it. Looking up Psalm 51, and especially thinking about the meaning of the boy treble solo. I still haven't listened to it again, although I will, as I am still savoring the experience of the music.

I have recently been introduced to the music of a traditional Chinese instrument somewhat like a zither, and am enjoying the experimentation of my wife's son who is learning to play it. He is quite talented as even a naive listener like my self can hear the music he is getting out of the instrument. The music speaks for itself. No indoctrination or prior knowledge is necessary.

Certainly being a musician helps, I do know what to listen for. So I can probably get more out of a first hearing than someone who has not studied music, but I suspect the difference in the effect of a powerful piece is much smaller than one would expect. 'I don't know anything about art but I know what I like.' is not a denigration of ignorance but a celebration of the power of art.

Mozart of God, take your pick

The 'existence' of gods - Beliefnet

I will take Mozart thanks. I can be enchanted any time I wish (and have time) just by mentally recreating that oneness with Mozart or whoever suits my mood at the time. Always fresh, influenced by my present emotional state.

I will take your word for the bliss of God being available at any time. But it sounds boring to me. One of the reasons an afterlife has no appeal for me. I suspect a few minutes in heaven would have me screaming for something interesting to do. I like the variety of Mozart one moment, and Mahler the next, with a little Messiaen thrown in when I really need a challenge. Please note the humanity of the composers. I may not have their compositional skills but I can facilitate the connection of others with Mozart, and celebrate the humanity of us all.

The human connection between the composer, the performer, and the appreciator in one of those magic performances when all are in sync is an transcendent moment, without any God needed to provide the transcendence. I don't even think of the composer as dead even though hesh usually is, the human connection and therefore immortality is still there.

Spirituality and music

The 'existence' of gods - Beliefnet

[Becoming one with the music of Mozart] is called human spirituality. It is available to all. The problem comes when a believer must put God between themselves and Mozart. It then becomes a triangle and you frequently cannot overpower the influence of God to become one with Mozart or at least his music. I will take my spirituality straight up. Uncontaminated by God and that little vuvuzela in the fancy dress in the over decorated balcony. It sounds like you are missing that little vuvuzela in the fancy dress in the over decorated balcony, but even God comes between you and Mozart. Your choice of course. I choose differently.