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Thursday 9 October 2003

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.

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