Posts tagged music

The Grammar of Weird Al

Word nerds haven’t been so excited by a grammar song since way back in the days of School House Rocks’ Conjunction Junction

That said, what to make of Yankovic’s grammar rules? A better grammarian than I would have to answer. Thankfully, there’s one over at Slate.

"[A]pparently Mr. Yankovic is quite a prescriptivist," writes Forrest Wickman. “Let’s examine a few of Yankovic’s Rules of Usage.”

Slight aside: you still won’t convince me to use the Oxford Comma. Let’s agree to disagree. — Michael

Images: Stills from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Word Crimes video. Select to embiggen.

When Beatles Fans Develop Software
Via TUAW.

When Beatles Fans Develop Software

Via TUAW.

Words, Lyrically Speaking
Via Matt Daniels:

Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever.
I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.

So, Aesop Rock is the most verbacious, DMX the least and were Shakespeare penning his stuff nowadays, he’d fall somewhere among the members of Wu-Tang Clan.
Read through for Daniels’ analysis and methodology.
Image: Screenshot, # of Unique Words Used Within an Artist’s First 35,000 Lyrics, by Matt Daniels. Select to embiggen.
H/T: Reddit.

Words, Lyrically Speaking

Via Matt Daniels:

Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever.

I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.

So, Aesop Rock is the most verbacious, DMX the least and were Shakespeare penning his stuff nowadays, he’d fall somewhere among the members of Wu-Tang Clan.

Read through for Daniels’ analysis and methodology.

Image: Screenshot, # of Unique Words Used Within an Artist’s First 35,000 Lyrics, by Matt Daniels. Select to embiggen.

H/T: Reddit.

How to Morph Forrest Gump into Daft Punk

When ad agency Grey London and design studio Us (Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor) came together, they created this stunning ad for The Sunday Times. In total, there are six iconic scenes from art, music, and film, fit into one single steadicam shot.  

From the creators:

This is all about those iconic cultural images that we pin to our walls and stick in our minds. We all have our favourites. Heisenberg, Kraftwerk, and Banksy’s kissing coppers all featured in early scripts, but we wanted to take a snapshot of what’s making the headlines in 2014. Daft Punk winning big at the Grammy’s, The final series of Mad Men, and Tarantino are all over the media right now. These people and their work have left an indelible mark and we’ll probably still be talking about them in ten, twenty maybe even a hundred years years time. The TV spot is a respectful nod to it all.

If you’ve ever seen a steadicam in action, you know how difficult getting everything perfect in one take truly is. If not, see the making of Icons here

Beethoven, Original Punk
Via The Atlantic:

The popular image of [Beethoven] is one of heroism, severity, and backs aching for the lash as musical commandments are delivered from on high. Few works in the history of art are as bracingly intense as a goodly chunk of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, for instance, to say nothing of the late-period string quartets, music that, frankly, the 19th century wasn’t ready for. The opening four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony might as well be a stand-in for the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, such is their uncompromising primacy. Beethoven’s work, as people tend to think of it, is music that just keeps coming at you, an ever-advancing sea that no coast can withstand.
Most of the time, that is. But there was also the occasion when Beethoven, in the midst of a personal—and odd—life crisis, opted to create a work to please madcaps, jesters, and wiseasses alike.
I’m talking about the Eighth Symphony. It’s arguably Beethoven’s most overlooked, coming as it does before the world-beating Ninth, and clocking in at a rapid 26 minutes. It was the last symphony from Beethoven’s middle period, receiving its premiere 200 years ago on February 24, 1814, in Vienna. And it is absolutely bonkers, mad, brave, cheekily pugnacious, punchy, and akin to what Lear’s Fool, Samuel Beckett, and a young Mozart might have come up with if those three ever got together to have a musical bash.

Beethoven’s 8th, 200 years old today.
Read on about his infatuation with a newly created technology called the metronome, deafness and his frustration with his brother’s love affair.

Beethoven, Original Punk

Via The Atlantic:

The popular image of [Beethoven] is one of heroism, severity, and backs aching for the lash as musical commandments are delivered from on high. Few works in the history of art are as bracingly intense as a goodly chunk of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, for instance, to say nothing of the late-period string quartets, music that, frankly, the 19th century wasn’t ready for. The opening four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony might as well be a stand-in for the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, such is their uncompromising primacy. Beethoven’s work, as people tend to think of it, is music that just keeps coming at you, an ever-advancing sea that no coast can withstand.

Most of the time, that is. But there was also the occasion when Beethoven, in the midst of a personal—and odd—life crisis, opted to create a work to please madcaps, jesters, and wiseasses alike.

I’m talking about the Eighth Symphony. It’s arguably Beethoven’s most overlooked, coming as it does before the world-beating Ninth, and clocking in at a rapid 26 minutes. It was the last symphony from Beethoven’s middle period, receiving its premiere 200 years ago on February 24, 1814, in Vienna. And it is absolutely bonkers, mad, brave, cheekily pugnacious, punchy, and akin to what Lear’s Fool, Samuel Beckett, and a young Mozart might have come up with if those three ever got together to have a musical bash.

Beethoven’s 8th, 200 years old today.

Read on about his infatuation with a newly created technology called the metronome, deafness and his frustration with his brother’s love affair.

Princely Hair, 1978 - 2013
By Gary Card via Slate. Select to embiggen.

Princely Hair, 1978 - 2013

By Gary Card via Slate. Select to embiggen.

When Doves Cry

Prince is suing 22 people for $1 million each for linking to bootlegs of his live shows.

Via Spin:

His Purpleness has filed a copyright lawsuit against 22 different users of Facebook and Google’s Blogger platform…

…According to the 21-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco (via Antiquiet), the defendants “engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.” The lawsuit targets Dan Chodera, Karina Jindrova, and 20 anonymous defendants. Chodera and Jindrova allegedly operated a no-longer-online Facebook account that posted a bunch of bootleg Prince videos. The other defendants — “Does” 1 through 20 — are accused of similar infractions, such as pointing to a 1983 Chicago set from WorldofBootleg.blogspot.com.

According to the complaint:

The Defendants rely on either Google’s Blogger platform or Facebook, or both, to accomplish their unlawful activity… Defendants, rather than publishing lawful content to their blogs, typically publish posts that list all the songs performed at a certain Prince live show and then provide a link to a file sharing service where unauthorized copied of the performance can be downloaded. Defendants use their Facebook account to post similar unlawful content directly to their Facebook accounts or to direct users to their blogs, or both.

So, the Blogger and Facebook users aren’t accused of making, uploading or hosting the actual recordings. Instead, the alleged copyright infringement comes from linking to them.

When doves cry, indeed.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music
Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.
These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.
Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music

Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.

These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.

Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

Jay Z’s Most Name-Dropped Products, By Album
Via Vanity Fair. Select to embiggen.

Jay Z’s Most Name-Dropped Products, By Album

Via Vanity Fair. Select to embiggen.

Delia Derbyshire & BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop
Utne Reader:

One of the biggest challenges to appreciating avant-garde culture is accessibility. Often, the art, music, film, or literature is so different from the accepted mainstream that when it stands on its own, most people find it impossible to understand and pointless to try.
But in the 1960s, some avant-garde artists started to find ways to attach innovative and progressive art to the mainstream. One such example was the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which used electronic sounds to create the futuristic soundscapes and themes that punctuated and complemented BBC radio broadcasts of the era. As Frances Morgan points out in the September 2013 issue of Sight & Sound, this helped experimental musicians bypass the critics and directly introduce their forward-thinking music to millions of British radio listeners. As part of the shared cultural experience of listening to the radio, music that was at first considered radical became familiar and eventually even nostalgic for those who grew up with it. 
One of the most notable of the BBC technicians was Delia Derbyshire, who worked in the Workshop from 1960 to 1973. While she compiled more than 260 reel-to-reel tapes of electronic sound compositions over that time.

Derbyshire is well-known for the Doctor Who original theme song. Utne Reader points to a BBC documentary about her called the Sculptress of Sound, which, if you’re interested in the history of the workshop, and in the woman who was a pioneer of (the then male-dominated) electronic music world, you should watch.
Image: Dick Mills and Mark Ayres, two veterans of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop use surviving equipment to revive sounds from the past. (via Paul Townsend)

Delia Derbyshire & BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop

Utne Reader:

One of the biggest challenges to appreciating avant-garde culture is accessibility. Often, the art, music, film, or literature is so different from the accepted mainstream that when it stands on its own, most people find it impossible to understand and pointless to try.

But in the 1960s, some avant-garde artists started to find ways to attach innovative and progressive art to the mainstream. One such example was the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which used electronic sounds to create the futuristic soundscapes and themes that punctuated and complemented BBC radio broadcasts of the era. As Frances Morgan points out in the September 2013 issue of Sight & Sound, this helped experimental musicians bypass the critics and directly introduce their forward-thinking music to millions of British radio listeners. As part of the shared cultural experience of listening to the radio, music that was at first considered radical became familiar and eventually even nostalgic for those who grew up with it. 

One of the most notable of the BBC technicians was Delia Derbyshire, who worked in the Workshop from 1960 to 1973. While she compiled more than 260 reel-to-reel tapes of electronic sound compositions over that time.

Derbyshire is well-known for the Doctor Who original theme song. Utne Reader points to a BBC documentary about her called the Sculptress of Sound, which, if you’re interested in the history of the workshop, and in the woman who was a pioneer of (the then male-dominated) electronic music world, you should watch.

Image: Dick Mills and Mark Ayres, two veterans of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop use surviving equipment to revive sounds from the past. (via Paul Townsend)

Got Rhythm? You Prolly Speak Good

Via the BBC:

Moving in time to a steady beat is closely linked to better language skills, a study suggests.

People who performed better on rhythmic tests also showed enhanced neural responses to speech sounds.

The researchers suggest that practising music could improve other skills, particularly reading.

In the Journal of Neuroscience, the authors argue that rhythm is an integral part of language.

"We know that moving to a steady beat is a fundamental skill not only for music performance but one that has been linked to language skills," said Nina Kraus, of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Key point from Nina Kraus: “In both speech and music, rhythm provides a temporal map with signposts to the most likely locations of meaningful input.”

Video: A fabulous six-year-old bundle of awesome. Run Time ~ 3:15.

nypl:

Sometimes we just feel compelled to share something awesome. A video combining the Beastie Boys and Librarians = Awesome. 

sophiebiblio:

Beastie Boys + Librarians. Yes.

FJP: Librarians just won the Internet. 

What are the Top 100 Grossing Feature Docs of All Time all about?
Stats show that the top 100 documentaries are pretty even when it comes to content and genre. It’s no surprise that biography is slightly in the lead (29/100). These numbers are very significant however, because it shows that there’s no “golden formula” for what documentaries will become box office hits. What matters is the quality of the story you tell and the audience you’re telling it to.—Gabbi 

What are the Top 100 Grossing Feature Docs of All Time all about?

Stats show that the top 100 documentaries are pretty even when it comes to content and genre. It’s no surprise that biography is slightly in the lead (29/100). These numbers are very significant however, because it shows that there’s no “golden formula” for what documentaries will become box office hits. What matters is the quality of the story you tell and the audience you’re telling it to.—Gabbi 

We knew what the people wanted: the same thing the Doors wanted. Freedom.

Ray Manzarek, legendary Doors co-founder and keyboardist, who passed away yesterday. RIP.

Rolling Stone:

Doors co-founder and keyboardist Ray Manzarek died today in Rosenheim, Germany, after a long battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74. 

I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” Doors guitarist Robby Krieger said in a statement.  “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.” 

Manzarek grew up in Chicago, then moved to Los Angeles in 1962 to study film at UCLA. It was there he first met Doors singer Jim Morrison, though they didn’t talk about forming a band until they bumped into each other on a beach in Venice, California, in the summer of 1965 and Morrison told Manzarek that he had been working on some music. “And there it was!” Manzarek wrote in his 1998 biography, Light My Fire. “It dropped quite simply, quite innocently from his lips, but it changed our collective destinies.”

Read on.