Lovely Day

Not only was it a Wednesday, a relatively happy day during the week, since I don’t have too many stressful classes, but the weather was so nice that it felt like home. I could walk around with only a shirt and light swearer and feel nice.

I gave my presentation about tuning during class today. It was a bit of a disaster. Aaron said it was ok and that people were just scared of math, but I think maybe he was just being nice. Nobody knows what it means to be out of tune. I said, “out of tune notes beat. Beating is out of tune. the paino beats, so therefore it is out of tune.” I didn’t help that I was showing them a Pythagorean Tuning Lattice. That lattice has really nice fifths, fourths and octaves and horrible thirds, so it’s very very similar to Equal Temperment. I was on the way to talking about 5 limit intonation (which has wonderful thirds), when I played an example of the 7th and said, “that’s a terrible 7th.” and then I said something about how it didn’t matter that thirds were terrible because they weren’t considered consonant. And then the ethno types wanted to argue with me about consonance and dissonance. The ancient greeks thought it was consonant!! No, only string players would have used this tuning because it’s horribly out of tune. No, it’s in tune according to what they thought. Tuning is culturally constructed!
tuning is based on the overtone series. It is not socially constructed because it is centered around a physical fact. some notes are out of tune. the piano is out of tune and you’re wrong, because not everything is culturally constructed.
uh yeah

the to-do list of doom

old items

  • pedagogy things is done, now i need to write a syllabus for an intro to harmony class, due in 2 weeks
  • i now owe six instrument definitions, and i’ve done none of them.
  • still the world’s most clueless TA. I think we might be doing a realization of I am Sitting in a Room
  • I’m on the ITS comittee of the OtherMinds Board now. they didn’t ask me to run for secretary. (If you are a potential donor and want to go to a party wihtout me, let me know, and I’ll get you onto the list)
  • listened to Krystalnacht by John Zorn. Too many issues on top of the piece to say much about it, really. If you try to look at it abstractly and not as a programatic work, some of the tracks do not stand up on their own. the second track could never have been written about a non-programatic topic.
  • so, this morning, i thought i should put the JJICalc on Aaron’s computer before I left for school, to see if it would be loud enough. the program wouldn’t run. I ran out the door and charged off to school. got to the bike rack and realized that I left my keys sitting on my porch railing. Went back for my keys. Went back to school, now late for class and printed my handouts. Walked late into class. at the break went to try to find a key to the room where the Mac Truck is kept, so I could grab a laptop from it. the secretaries say that it’s very strictly against the rules and this is exactly why the mac truck is kept locked (and why grad students don’t get keys). then they let me have one anyway and it runs JJICalc just fine. The problem is that I compiled the calc on a new version of java and some macs are running older version of java and apparently there’s no backwards compatibility. I need to compile the program on an old machine so that it can run on other old machines. Write once, compile everywhere.
  • Haven’t touched OSC, but my perl script can get themes off of moo objects
  • emailed music prof about Joan of Arc mystery play. this prof doesn’t send prompt replies, so i may have to drop the research.
  • I’m going to analyze Turtle Dreams by Meredith Monk for my composition seminar. I don’t know if a score exists. Neely seems to think that a score is unnecessary.
  • The five minute piece is for piano. It’s started. Only god knows when it’s due.
  • none of the other composers know what’s going on either

new things

  • Must read inch-thick handout about Stravinsky by next wednesday
  • Aaron has organized a house concert where all the composition students will present five minutes worth of stuff. I must figure out what to do, as it is this saturday, I don’t think I can make people learn my SolReSol duet
  • Must return overdue library books and enquire as to the status of the books that i requested via inter-library loan
  • Must find and speak with a bell maker, but first, must find out how to find and speak with a bell maker.


didn’t do any work all weekend and slept in today and now i’m behind behind behind. a mountain of stuff is about to fall on me.

I can’t get supercollider to record my stupid sound samples. all the time spent on that is wasted
Just talked to a second year masters guy who talked about how his relationship of 8 years completely fell apart while he went to wesleyan last year because they were seperated and he was too busy to call frequently or write frequently and they became completely estranged. this was during gamelan. i’m blaming this conversation for why i cannot play any of the music. weeks of practcing and i have not gotten better. i still get lost all the time. i have no idea how to play the instrument i was on tonight. it’s only the first piece of music that he gave us. i should have done intro gamelan instead.

To do

  • attend a class on medival monastic architecture and then write up a report on the pedagological methods employed by the teacher. (class is 9:00-10:20. paper is due at 5:00)
  • write an instrument definition for supercollider and mail it to TA (due asap. class is at noon)
  • I have no idea what i should have prepared for the class I TA tomorrow. I haven’t done any of the reading in ages. I don’t know what I’m supossed to be doing. Maybe my job as a TA is too look decorative so that the students beleive that the tution must be worth it. that class is at 2:30
  • 8:30 PM must call in the OtherMinds Board Meeting
  • Must listen to enough John Zorn to be able to talk intelligently about it (due for class 9:00 AM wed)
  • Need sound samples and handouts for 15 minute talk on just intonation also due for 9:00 am wed class. think i will have to generate them very slowly in the CFA lab with some program that the undergrads in my TA class thing are taking. I actually have no idea how to use the software, but somehow I’ve been giving them advice on it. No wonder the TA-A is more popular than I am.
  • midterm SuperCollider project is due sometime in the future. need to be able to have SC talk to MOO. For this I need to open an OSC socket in perl. OSC support for Perl is alpha. documentation does not exist.
  • Must talk to early music prof about Joan of Arc mystery play. Must find out if written music exists before fall break
  • compositon seminar wants to know what major work i’m going to analyze. i have no idea. can it be a really old work?
  • Compositon seminar may also require that I have to write a five minute piece. For what instruments? due when?
  • what the heck else is due for that class? I’m so confused. i think an avelanche is looming overhead. the syllabus is no help. I must corner other composers and get the to explain.

i’m supossed to be sleeping right now so i get up on time to look at slides of medival ruins.

Second Day of Classes

Today, I learned that composers were considered part of the intelligensia in Russia and ought to be considered so today. I heard it from a professor, so it must be true. He also said “socialism” when he meant “totalitarian communism.” In brief, people are innovators and part of a tradition. They are individuals and members of a community. They have roots to an area and they travel. In the 19th century, folk music arose organically from peasent communities and wasn’t written by anyone. Music written by people was impure and folk music was pure, but music could become pure if enough peasents sang it and it became modified over time from it’s original form. So said Bartok.



student: you think it’s cold out, don’t you?
me: yes


I activated my ATM card, fixed my rear bike wheel, turned in my proof of measels vaccination, got answers on my tax paperwork (filing as “single.” damn the feds.), filled out all my outstanding paperwork aside from course registration and then went to the grad office to turn it all in. I swear I spent an hour in the grad office. I brought Xena with me. Xena is so cute! Xena can run in circles! Would I like a cookie? Would Xena like a cookie? Xena looks just like some other dog that would love to play with Xena! Xena! Xena! Xena!
Xena may get tied up outside next time I need to go to the grad office, although the running in circles did her good and I did get to eat some cookies.
I need to call the heating oil company and the DSL provider.

Fun things in the mail

I got a nifty package from Jean. It has her books of poetry, a peace flag and some postcards and stuff. I didn’t get a chance to examine it as lesiurely as I would have likd, as I was in the grad office. I’m looking forward to hanging the peace flag (my neighbor has a gigantic American flag) and to reading the poetry.

My computer keyboard has not come in the mail. I despair of ever seeing it again.
It’s cold here.

Tuning, Bass, Gigs, etc

Since last I typed . . .

I digitized that tape of Tennis Roberts first gig. There’s about 40 minutes of music, but on most of it, the guitars are inaudible. Apparently, the guitar players are shy. Anyway, I’m hoping to be able to pull out more guitar by EQing up the mid range and high end. And then maybe mix in a bit of reverb throughout to hide any artifacts. Maybe this will make it sound worse. I dunno. I tried recording our last practice, with the idea of getting a better demo tape, but mitch saw ProTools running and was inspired to start shouting/sining “happy elves” for several minutes.
I called Tammy about her fretless bass after the gig, because it’s such a great bass. Tammy called back and gave the bass to me. Not sold. Gave. Wow. She said that she wasn’t using it and I was, and so I should have it.
Several weeks ago, I lent a Moog Taurus II “brain” to Zeppie, since I wasn’t using it and I thought he might dig it. He called me back and asked to buy it and I didn’t get back to him. I had been thinking that I could sell it to him and use the cash for a fretless bass (since they’re worth about the same). But I don’t need to buy a bass now and I wasn’t using the Moog and he is, so I think that I’m karmatically obligated to pass the economic benefits of Tammy’s generosity along. I like the idea of musical instruments being traded around in an extra-capitalists, semi-anarchist system of use-based ownership.
I spent a few days trying to figure out why the Java Just Intonation Calculator didn’t make sounds, before I figured out that the answe is to ctrl-click it (equal to a right button mouse click). Unfortunately, this were days actively spent going through the code and futzing with it. So, throwing good time after bad, I added a piano keyboard interface to the program. It’s beta software, released in May of 2000, but folks I suspect were college students. I’m thinking of taking over the project, since they seem to have abandoned it, as it is pretty buggy and has . . . um . . . unusual design principles employed in it. All the heavy lifting is done, I would just do a little redesign and fix problems with layout, GUI, sound, file IO, and object oriented-ness. In the mean time, if you want a GUI piano keyboard add-on, send me email.
Christi wants me to take up the standup bass. She’s inspired by the bassist in Glass Beads and wants me to be equally hip and talented. I suggested that I should just get more tatoos to more closley resemble a professional bassist, but she insisted, so I’m making inquiries into renting a doublebass. Best Music rents them, but with a three month minimum, and I’ll be leaving in two. Forrest’s Music says that the instument is complicated and I’ll want a real symphony-type teacher, not just cheesy lessons in the back of a music store. Perhaps this will all come together this summer.
Speaking of tatoos, Christi says that I should not get an anarchist symbol tatooed on my arm. Nor should I get a small portrait of Che. I didn’t ask about a hammer and sickle. A peace sign is ok, as is a bass clef. These aren’t ultimatiums, but Christi is wiser than I am about body modification. If it were not for her wisdom, I might have gone ahead with plans for a Tazmanian Devil tatoo, that I wanted when I was young and foolish. I would have had to pay royalties for the image to AOL Time Warner. But are Che protraits just a passing fad or a leftist symbol that will stand the test of time?
Jerry Brown’s warehouse is for sale. I think I will try to get a tour of it.
I had practice today with the flute band. Tomorrow, I’m going to 100% memorize everything. And tommorrow is a recption or concert or something for Chen Yi that I failed to RSVP for, but will try to buy tickets for anyway. If that doesn’t work, there’s a protest against Clear Channel in front of thier building at the same time, which I could play tuba at. So my todo list is: get Chen Yi tix, memorize bass parts, find double bass, get tatoos, (maybe) get haircut, write Ratio class for the JJICalc.
Friday, the flute band travels to Eugene for a gig. My first with them. And it’s the first time that I’ve been paid to perform music not composed by me since 1994.
There’s not much else going on around here. Christi’s foot is still broken. The dog is scared of the dark and doesn’t want to go outside at night. Christi is reading a bio of Virginia Woolf. I just read Terrorism and War by Howard Zinn and am currently reading a book of shoirt stories by Phillip K Dick and a nonfiction called Trotskyism After Trotsky. Sometimes I stumble through the Just Intonation Primer and I’ve ordered a book on Smalltalk from Powells, as I continue to try to figure out SuperCollider, the music programming language of choice at Wesleyan. My strategy of late has been to install SuperCollider on computers that other people use, in the hope that those people will start programming in it and share information with me. I put it on Christi’s laptop and the imac that Tiffany uses, but have had no luck so far. Tonight, I tried putting it on Mitch’s computer, but there is a syntax error in some file, so it won’t compile. Alas. Goodnight.

to do

  • Research women composers for Women’s Philharmonic
    Not started
    Due in one week
  • Write symphony
    First thirty seconds written
    Due on March 14th
  • Women’s Phil database of doom
    oh my god. i am not thinking about this right now.
  • Move mp3s to so as to set up a replacement page for now defunct page
    I’m going to go do this right now
  • Email professer at east coast school about studying there
    I need to do this asap, but i think i should fix my mp3 page first
  • Set up biodiesel domain
  • Find cheep computers and software for Christi’s non profit
  • Halt impending middle eastern war and replace US with a Socialist Soviet Republic

busy busy busy

Status Update

  1. Mills College Application – due Feb 1st – status: first draft
  2. Woodwind dectet for Bowling Green – postmark deadline Feb 3rd – status: trainwreck after one minute, thirty seconds
  3. Women’s Phil database of doom – due 2 weeks – status: not started
  4. women’s phil research for composer biographies – due 2 weeks – status: not started

arg! I’m doomed!
I don’t have enough energy for all of this. why did i agree to all these projects?
there’s also a call for tapes for “radio” music in Taos. That actually pays the top three tapes. God knows what radio-specific things would have to be. Prolly compressed with stuff only in certain audio ranges. Loud, noisy stuff.
And the airwaves thingee is not going to write itself.
If I want to do an installation in seattle, the proposal needs to get written soon.
My name got on a list for doing a radio show for Minnesota Public Radio. I can certainly make time for that, it would be awesome. It might actually pay too, which is better than things have been. Apparently a lot of ex-dot-commies have been working on stuff for no money, living off of savings, or whatever. So I’m not the only not-slacking slacker, which is good.
I still don’t have enough energy, tho. I’m going back to bed. Maybe I can have a few more hours of that oh-so-restful dream where my mom screams at me about getting crappy medical care.