musical philosophy

Today of all days, I am exploring techniques for restoration of old tape recordings. In a very old box of open reel tapes, I found one completely unlabeled tape. It contains a recording of an LP. The tape is half-track, mono. One side is one LP and the other is another. In any case, this gives me a chance to experiment with various restoration tools.

If you even think you know who the Alto Soprano singing this is, let me know! find me at: andrew at Thanks!

restoration_sample , Mono  7.9mB, MP3, 192kbps,  Length 5:56

We have a winner! She is likely to be Bidu Sayao (1900-1994), who was a friend of the composer: Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). The work is
Bachianas brasileiras. It seems likely, due to the age of the source open-reel tape (1955-1965~) that this could be the priemier recording of this work. I am just in amazement. And to think that this tape sat in a box in storage for oh so many years. Thank you Christorpher Purdy! and also, thanks to dear Ray Dawson, a family freind who died so many years ago, and left me many of his tapes. I am most certainly going to listen to them all now.If you have more info – find me at: andrew at

People have been experimenting with computers as creators of music for, what, half a century now? Even so, I think the field is still in its infancy. Music combines all of what makes us human, and computers, so far, are not that great at being human.

About three years ago, I found an application called Pure Data. From that site: it "is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing." And ever since, exploring it has been on the bottom of  my to-do list. Well TODAY I finally started in on it. I got as far as exploring sine wave generators and random numbers. As it happens, this is a fairly sophisticated application. I quickly got some random notes out of the sine wave generator, but decided that it wouldn't be very hard to expand on that. Doing a lot of cut and paste allowed me to get pretty serious with randomization. I was able to randomize the way in which it randomizes, if that makes any sense.

Here's the Pure Data patch file I created, if you have Pure Data, or want to get it and play with this. Have at it!

Here's a sample MP3 of the patch in action:

sample.mp3 Stereo, 3.3MB, MP3, 320kb/s

And here's a screenshot of the Patch. You'll need some of the values, because when you open the patch, the initial max-values don't get stored in the patch, and it doesn't work without them.

Screenshot of the patch I created.

To give you an idea of how much I like this patch, I've been listening to it for about 6 hours now. Hmmm. Perhaps I'm just a little off-center? heh.  Thanks for reading!

Sometimes i will find myself in a public space that is acoustically interesting. It is often a parking garage stairwell or marble building lobby. This time of year is probably the best time to attempt this kind of thing – a small group that just locates themselves in such a space and simply starts singing. I am sure others have done this, and like I said, this time of year, people are likely to be more forgiving (especially if the chorus is good!!) … I would definitely consider being a part of something like this.

This is not exactly on topic but it is content, isn't it?

I often watch a show on Ovation called Iconoclasts. The show takes two well-known people and lets them interact. Once the had Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle. It was beautiful to watch. Ms. Angelou said: "I believe words are things, and I live on them".

Anyway, one episode had Sir Richard Branson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The two of them got along like small children. They actually played and hugged and laughed and wrestled with each other. And I learned that Nelson Mandela started a group called "The Elders". Tutu, Branson, Jimmy Carter and Peter Gabriel are members, among other notable people.

Iconoclasts shows Celebrities in very real, human perspective. It's a wonderful thing.

When I started this blog over two years ago, the first church I wrote about was First Congregational Church in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The Minister of music there is Timothy Edward Smith. For the last two years, I have had the great privilege of singing in his chancel choir.

Smith has had, as nearly all pipe organists have, a dream to create a retreat just for organists. Why would organists need a retreat? A pipe organ is not something that a musician can tuck under her arm and then head for the hills for some quality time with. Most other musicians can do that to one degree or another, and only the luckiest of organists can house a pipe organ at home. Uninterrupted practice at the organ where they work is hard to come by.

Nearly all organists dream of having a retreat all to their own to rehearse, to create, in peace. So does Smith. Fortunately for organists, Smith formed a not-for-profit corporation, and with tax-deductible contributions, began to make this dream a reality. Please visit the website for this project here. I think it is a visionary idea. I think Smith is uniquely gifted with the not only the drive but also the talent it takes to make this vision a reality. I hope you can help, no matter how small your contribution is, or what form it takes. Thanks for checking this out.

There's a short descriptional video on YouTube that you may enjoy.

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