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April 29, 06

Video Podcast: Tie Your Shoes in 2 Seconds

My new video iPod arrived from my eBay seller. There were some issues with the iPod freezing up when the battery runs low, but i think i managed to clear that up after formatting the iPod's hard drive and reinstalling the latest drivers. Full personal review of the video iPod coming soon, but for now i wanted to post a test video to see how it's distributed via Podcast readers (like Podnova, Odeo, and iTunes).



(Last test, i think...looks like this is working, i'm able now to get a feed through iTunes, after installing a new plugin that allows for video podcasts...yaay!) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

Micro-lessons update

Somehow, in the midst of my insane schedule, i've managed to keep up with regular "micro-lessons" for the kids - short, 5-10 minute lessons at least 2-3 times a week. Eric has been making the fastest progress so far, and today has just started learning his last major scale (F major), as well as the last piece in his lesson book. Congratulations, Eric!!
Paul has even started getting back to his piano lessons (his hiatus was my fault, not his). Much to my relief, he managed to retain most of what we had worked on since we last worked together. For his repertoire, he managed to work through a Beethoven early Bagatelle in just a week! I think the credit to his score reading skills has to come from his clarinet lessons and participation in his middle school band program. Interestingly, when he was given the choice of working on a baroque, classical, or late 19th century Russian composition ("The Chinese Doll" by Vladimir Rebikoff, 1866-1920) for his next piece, he opted for the more "exotic sounding" work. Hm...maybe eventually we should start working on Bartok's "Mikrokosmos"...
Both Eric and Paul have been utilizing their HP TC-1000/Compaq TC-1100 tablet pc's in their piano practicing. I've been making videos of scales for them to practice with, as well as digital ink flashcards to reinforce theory and notation. The videos have been particularly effective as a 'virtual tutor' when i'm not around to help them directly! Maybe over the summer i'll work on videos for all the scales as a free teaching aid...
Kyungmi's starting her piano lessons today too! After my podcast interview with Ghena from PrivateLessons.com, i was inspired to try giving lessons to my wife. She's did great for her first day! We're starting with an easy arrangment of Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz" - had her playing the first phrase portion, hands together, in about 10 minutes. The key thing will be for her to play 5 minutes a day to stay in shape. Should be fun!

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Podcast #8 - PrivateLessons.com, Part 2

In part two of our three part series, Ghena gives us a “behind-the-scenes” look at how PrivateLessons.com works, from both the public and the music teachers’ perspectives. We then spend some time getting to know Ghena, himself an active classical pianist and vocal coach on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, specializing in Russian repertoire.




Musical selections from Ghena's CD "Songs & Dances" - "Steppes All Around", Op. 74, No. 1 by Vladimir Ryabov

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April 28, 06

Podcast #7 - PrivateLessons.com, Part 1

PrivateLessons.com is the nation’s leading online resource for helping students find music teachers in almost every genre and instrument type. Founder and president Ghena Meirson, himself a classical pianist and graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, began the website 10 years ago, and has since transformed the way in which music students of all ages and abilities find compatible teachers, and vice versa.

In this first of a three part podcast series, Ghena explains the concept of PrivateLessons.com.




Musical selections from Ghena's CD "Songs & Dances" - "Lilacs", Op. 21, No. 5 by Sergei Rachmaninoff

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April 27, 06

Tie Your Shoes in 2 Seconds Part 2 - in Slow Motion

Ok, ok, Yvonne's demonstration was just too fast for me to catch, even with the "pause" button!
Luckily, another Curtis violin student - Quan Ge - knew this same technique, and graciously demonstrated it for me very, very slowly. Now i think i can do this...


<A HREF="http://hughsung.com/images/tieshoes2.wmv"></A>


Can't view the clip? Download the player plug-in from Microsoft



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April 26, 06

Tie Your Shoes in 2 Seconds

Curtis Alumni violinist Yvonne Lam was so inspired by my post of the Japanese Shirt-folding technique that she was determined to share her secret for super speedy slipknots. Watch her thumbs carefully - this goes by pretty fast!


<A HREF="http://hughsung.com/images/shoelaces.wmv"></A>


Can't view the clip? Download the player plug-in from Microsoft



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PowerMate Cradle version 2.0

When i learned that Thomas Hampson was serious about purchasing my Fujitsu Stylistic 5010 Tablet PC, i made plans to document the construction of my PowerMate cradle (for future copies). I also decided to try a new design to incorporate Barry's suggestion that i use a router to create an angled edge to provide a more secure base for the PowerMate to press against.
Well, chalk it up to general laziness, but i really didn't feel like lugging out my old Sears router and dealing with the sawdust mess, so i tried to find a pre-fab option at Home Depot. Lo and behold, i think i found a decent solution in the baseboard molding section (within the lumber department). I tried to find the simplest wedge design, and came up with a nice piece that happens to have a rim along the top - perfect for keeping the PowerMate in place.
Click here to view the picture gallery of the Cradle 2.0, which also includes detailed pictures of model 1.0's measurements (i thought about drawing a blueprint diagram, but why bother when you can use a digital camera? Laziness sometimes has its merits when it forces you to come up with a better digital solution - sweet!) One striking difference is in the resulting angle of the PowerMate - the original model has a steeper angle. The other difference is the increased height of version 2.0, requiring a higher "ready position" for the foot - ok if you're seated and wearing dress shoes, not so comfortable if you're standing and/or using bare feet. Version 1.0 may be better for musicians who need to operate the PowerMate from a standing position, as it keeps the PowerMate relatively lower to the floor. I tested out version 2.0 at a trombone masterclass with Joe Alessi last Saturday, and it felt relatively comfortable - final verdict to come after i've played around with this version a few more days.
One other note: i glued on a small square of carpet runner to both my old cradle (now in the possession of Thomas Hampson) and my new one. This works well to keep the cradle from slipping around on a wooden stage.

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Buy to Win: an eBay Story

Well, with Thomas Hampson now the proud owner of my Fujitsu Stylistic 5010 Tablet PC (my backup unit), i found myself back in the market to purchase a new replacement slate tablet pc. Several models caught my eye on eBay, mainly newer versions of the Stylistic (2 versions of the 5032D, with biometric scanners and bluetooth), and initially i was thinking of getting one of those. Then i came across a package deal from someone offering the same older model that i sold to Mr. Hampson (a 5010D) as well as 2 docking stations, extra batteries, extra power adapters, 2 sets of keyboards (one being a compact wireless), and a carrying case that doubles as a portable stand - a pretty amazing deal, especially as that would essentially replenish everything i had just sold, with extras to boot!!

Normally i like to submit bids right before the auctions end, but in this case the auction was scheduled to finish right during a performance of the Ginastera Harp concerto at Curtis. About 40 minutes before the close (and about 5 minutes before i was scheduled to go on stage), i submitted the highest bid i could comfortably offer and hoped for the best.

Things looked good 4 minutes before the end - then, at the last minute, someone else jumped in and overbid me by about $20. It's always frustrating to lose a bid by such a tight margin, and i was wistfully looking over what i had lost...then i carefully re-examined the statistics of the winning bidder. It turns out, the "winner" had just signed on as a member of eBay THAT DAY, and of course had a purchase/seller history of 0. Pretty suspicious looking, especially as tablet pc sellers on eBay lately seem to be suffering from a rash of "Nigerian buyers" that offer obscene amounts of money in exchange for "immediate delivery" - of course, with no actual guarantee that you'd ever see any real money after parting with your valuable computer!

I sent an email to the seller, pointing out my suspicions, and offering to pay the winning bid's price if the deal went south. Turns out my hunch was correct - within a few hours, i had a new message on my eBay inbox offering a "second chance" purchase at my own bid price. I immediately jumped on the offer and submitted my payment via PayPal credit pronto.

There are a few eBay morals to this little story:
  • Always examine the winning bid carefully and don't be afraid to email a counter offer to the seller

  • A good rating on eBay goes a long way to ensuring smooth transactions. I've managed to keep my rating at 100%, mainly due (i think) to my personal practice of paying for my winning items immediately and establishing good lines of communications with the sellers.

  • Always pay with PayPal. I prefer using PayPal's credit line, which ensures that i can recoup my money in case the deal falls through

  • Be patient and congenial - give the seller/buyer the benefit of the doubt (within reason) and maintain good communications throughout the transaction


  • Hopefully the ending will be a happy one - i'll update this once i receive the package.




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    April 25, 06

    Video: Another look at the Japanese Shirt-Folding Technique

    With Spring in the air and summer right around the corner, more T-shirts are bound to be scattered around the house in need of instant folding. This video makes the Japanese instant folding technique a bit easier to understand - finally got the hang of it after watching this about half a dozen times!



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    April 24, 06

    Podcast #6 - Thomas Hampson, Baritone


    Baritone Thomas Hampson is now the proud owner of my old Fujitsu Stylistic 5010 Tablet PC! He stopped by my office last week to look over my tablet pc music setup, and graciously agreed to sit down to an impromptu podcast interview.

    The three main topics we covered were:
  • His love of technology, and his thoughts on how the digital future will affect Classical Music

  • The new Hampsong Foundation - its planned goals and activities

  • His thoughts on contemporary art song


  • Enjoy the podcast!


    File size=11.9 MB
    Running Time=29:55 (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    Video: How to keep band-aids from slipping off your fingers

    This is especially useful for musicians who dare the dangers of the culinary arts...the video is all in Japanese, but easy to understand if you "Nihon-go wakaremasen" (don't speak Japanese):



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    April 22, 06

    Catching my breath...

    Sorry for the sparse posting this morning - there's a lot on my plate waiting to be delivered to the blogosphere, so here's a quick preview of things to come soon:
  • now that my C01U microphone bugs have been effectively ironed out, i have several additional podcasts in the can, with a good deal more scheduled in the weeks ahead. The ease and portability of the microphone is making it easy - almost TOO easy - to invite my friends and colleagues to stop by my office for a chat! The recording is the easy part - the post-production editing is what takes up an enourmous amount of time. Please bear with me as i catch up in my editing suite, as there are some really terrific podcast interviews i can't wait to share with you!

  • i'll be posting pictures and development notes on my Griffin Powermate cradle 2.0. For now, let's just say that Home Depot is an amazing resource for pre-fab wood parts...hope this new version works...

  • soon to come: a video "how-to" series. This is mainly for a special colleague in mind, but feel free to email me any questions you may have - if i can figure out a workable solution, i'll try to make a 'training video' to go with it. Hopefully this will become a helpful resource for Tablet-PC toting musicians.

  • more links and article clippings than i can shake a stick at! i really have to sift through a mountain of great material - i'll try to aim at spreading some of the best stuff daily over the next week or so.

  • gotta get some sleep now...i'll try to wrap up with an extra article either later in the day tomorrow or in the evening...


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    April 21, 06

    Podcast #5 - David Ludwig, Composer - Part 2

    In this podcast episode, we meet composer David Ludwig. To quote David's website:
    Composer David Ludwig's music has been performed internationally by leading musicians of today in some of the world's most prestigious venues. His music has been called "entrancing," and that it "promises to speak for the sorrows of this generation," (Philadelphia Inquirer). It has further gained recognition for its "expressive directness" (The New York Times) and has been noted for "a sense of integrity and security of craftsmanship" (New Jersey Star Ledger). His works have been performed in such major venues in the United States as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, and the Library of Congress, and have been heard in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.




    In this episode, we talk about the maturity process for modern composers, defining one's individuality in an age where "everything has been done", and David's current work at Curtis.

    Music featured in this episode:
  • "Isabella in Venice" from Three Portraits of Isabella (2004) was written after my residency in the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. It’s really a wonderful place you should check out if you haven’t been. I actually was a “resident” there, living in the museum. These short piano works are based on three different portraits of Mrs. Gardner as they reflect stages in her life from youth to old age. You can see the portraits and visit the museum site here (the outer movements are on portraits by Sargent and the middle by Zorn). The piece was written for and premiered by pianist Jeremy Denk.

  • The Catherine Wheel Part III - The Catherine Wheel (2002) was written for oboist Katherine Needleman and was commissioned through Astral Artistic Services. The first performance featured Needleman, Michi Wiancko, violin, Che-Hung Chen, viola, and Clancy Newman, cello. Program notes can be downloaded here.
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    April 20, 06

    Podcast #4 - David Ludwig, Composer - Part 1

    In this podcast episode, we meet composer David Ludwig. To quote David's website:
    Composer David Ludwig's music has been performed internationally by leading musicians of today in some of the world's most prestigious venues. His music has been called "entrancing," and that it "promises to speak for the sorrows of this generation," (Philadelphia Inquirer). It has further gained recognition for its "expressive directness" (The New York Times) and has been noted for "a sense of integrity and security of craftsmanship" (New Jersey Star Ledger). His works have been performed in such major venues in the United States as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, and the Library of Congress, and have been heard in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.




    Music featured in this episode:
  • Concerto for Cello and Orchestra - 1st movement: "Descent" - The Concerto was written for Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos and Jaime Laredo for the VSO’s Seventieth Anniversary concert at the Flynn Center in Burlington.

  • Haiku Catharsis: Night - Haiku Catharsis (2004) was written for the eighth blackbird ensemble and was commissioned by the American Composers Forum and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. It is a set of four miniatures inspired by haiku that represent the seasons.


  • Note: Despite microphone problems (this interview was recorded before i was able to figure out the driver conflict problem with my Samson C01U microphone), i was able to extract most of the recorded audio relatively intact (although the level was set way too low...) My apologies for the background hiss during the spoken portions. Stay tuned for part 2 of the interview! (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    April 19, 06

    Thomas Hampson is a Techie!

    Yesterday i had another conductor rehearsal with Maestro Eschenbach, Tenor Paul Groves, and Baritone Thomas Hampson on Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" (The Song of the Earth). I was warming up before the rehearsal in Hampson's room, and as soon as he entered he made a bee-line for my tablet pc - turns out he's a passionate techie! He immediately recognized my footswitch as being a Griffin PowerMate (impressive!), and seemed really interested in buying a Fujitsu Tablet PC like mine after i gave him a brief demo...pretty cool, even if he is a Mac guy... ;)
    Hampson's interpretation of the Mahler was breathtakingly beautiful...his command of the text is nothing short of visceral. Catch the performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra this weekend if you can! (April 19-21 at the Kimmel Center, and April 22 at Carnegie Hall - see the Philadelphia Orchestra's website for details.)

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    April 18, 06

    Someone's watching from Redmond, Washington...

    My statcounter registered a hit today from Redmond, Washington - from the Microsoft Corp ISP, to be exact. Someone was taking a look at my article on Putting a Tablet PC Together for Musicians, Part 1...
    Boy, it'd be so cool if Bill Gates were checking this site out himself...

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    Review: Philips HN110 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

    My old pair of behind-the-ear noise-cancelling earphones finally died the other day, giving me the perfect excuse to browse the electronics section of my local Target store. I almost opted for the Sony MDRNC6, but i was concerned that the flat earpiece design would allow too much external noise to bleed through.
    The Philips HN110 is a full-size noise-cancelling headphone that completely covers the ears. The noise-cancelling unit is embedded inconspicuously in the right headphone, powered by a single AAA battery. This housing is much better than my older (and now, defunct) Philips design, which had the battery unit in a clunky compartment that dangled off of a not-quite-long-enough cord. Even though this is a full-size design, the headphones fold compactly rather nicely. The headband itself is a nice, weight-saving open design, encased in a smart-looking leather covering. Although you can't really pocket this unless you're wearing an overcoat, it manages to slip into a shoulder bag with less space than you'd expect.
    The noise-cancelling features work very well, in large part i'm sure due to the fact that the full-ear cups do a good job of blocking sound by their design. Once you flip the switch, though, the difference is pretty striking. The headphones are almost deafeningly silent - i'm sure higher end models perform better, but i'm quite happy with the way the Philips keeps the rumble of my daily train commute down to a dampened muffle. Works well enough for me to work on digital audio edits for my podcast series!
    I bought these retail for about $60, but i'm sure you can get this for much less if you purchase them online (i think buy.com has them for about $39 at the time of this writing...) Oh, i forgot to mention: it comes with a plane adapter, a mini stereo plug adapter, and a nice leather drawstring pouch. Battery is thoughtfully included.
    My recommendation: 4 out of 5

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    Atlantic County School District among 100 best for Music Education

    It was heartening to see this article right on the front page of the Atlantic City Press as i was walking to my train yesterday. With federal support dwindling, so much of arts funding for public schools depends on the support of parents and community participation. This is by no means a new situation, but it's great to read how school districts can rise to the challenge of providing great art programs for our children.

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    April 17, 06

    Family Outing at the New Jersey State Aquarium

    We enjoyed a lovely day Saturday, first having some bone-licking ribs for lunch at Famous Dave's BBQ, a new restaurant off of Rt. 70, then spending the rest of the afternoon at the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden (someone needs to clean up the code on that site...) Eric is a budding photographer and took a lovely set of pictures, which you can view here. Timmy contributed a few as well, following after his brother's footsteps (and fighting over his digital video camera!)

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    C01U Microphone Distortion Gremlin Solved

    At the risk of invoking the wrath of the gremlins i've been working so hard to overcome these past two weeks, i think i've finally solved the Samson C01U USB condenser microphone distortion issue once and for all. At issue had been the fact that random distortions would affect the recordings made by the C01U microphone, causing the audio to sound like garbled "robots" (i call it the "Cylon" syndrome - boy, i loved "Battlestar Galactica" as a kid!) It turns out that the free Microphone Preamp Software applet (or, "SoftPre" applet) offered by Samson as a driver for the microphone has been the culprit all along. This was meant to operate as a virtual volume control/mixer for the C01U, but it seems to pose some serious memory buffer problems in its operation. Do NOT download this applet!! (currently version 1.0.19 as of this writing) Instead, simply plug in the microphone and let Windows XP take care of operating the microphone directly. Be sure to have Service Pack 2 installed as the latest update to the operating system. While you won't have the nice graphic volume meter to play around with from Samson, you can still operate the input line levels within the Windows Sound control applet. Full instructions for using the C01U without installing the SoftPre applet can be found here.

    If you've been struggling with the C01U as i have been on a Tablet PC computer, be sure to immediately uninstall the SoftPre applet. You may have to go into the System Hardware Properties to manually uninstall the USB driver for the Samson C01U as well - if i receive any requests for help on this, i'll post another article detailing how to do this.

    So far, 3 out of 3 recordings since Saturday have come up clean (including yesterday's sermon from Church - at last, a working digital copy!!), so here's hoping that this solution finally sticks. (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    April 15, 06

    PowerMate Cradle Update

    In a word: Great!! My improvised wooden doughnut cradle makes the PowerMate so much easier to operate. I used it in performance last night at Curtis, playing the Walton Violin Concerto with Shanshan Yao (post concert picture can be seen in my new Collaborative Concerts gallery - she did a terrific job!). Placing a rubber carpet runner underneath the cradle is mandatory to keep it from slipping around, and also acts as a great sound dampener. As i mentioned in my earlier post, the cradle allows the Powermate to rest at a fixed angle, making it much more ergonomic for the foot to push.
    Earlier in the day, i had another flute student test my first cradle prototype out (she's borrowing my Electrovaya Scribbler 2100 for a competition), and she agreed that this made the Powermate viable now as a footswitch option. That's good to hear, since using a footswitch from a standing position is more difficult than from a seated posture. The Powermate has the added advantages of having being much quieter to operate than the Delcom Footswitch, and having a more stable device driver (the Delcom requires a manual "de-activation" of the driver before removing the footswitch, whereas the Powermate is truly "plug and play" - no need to turn anything on or off when plugging the Powermate in).
    Back to the garage to make some more cradles...

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    April 14, 06

    Make Microtonal Music Day 2006

    Sorry, sorry, i'm a little late to write about the party - just getting around to listening to the posts collected from microtonal composers by Prent Rodgers via cacophonous.org through iTunes (i can't find my iPod...thought i left it on my desk in my office, but it's nowhere to be found...guess i'm going to have to spring for the upcoming Video iPod as soon as it comes out...)
    What is microtonal music? Basically, it involves writing with pitches in between the 12 fixed tones of the Western musical scale (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B). The pitches sound "out of tune" as you can imagine, but i was pleasantly surprised at how expressive - and accessible! - the musical contributions were!
    Microtonality is common in eastern music literature - the Indonesian Gamelan comes immediately to mind as an example. Charles Ives has a fascinating sonata for two pianos, one tuned "normally", the other a quarter tone apart (higher? lower? i'll have to check out the score...).
    As i listen to this podcast compilation, i'm hearing CSound mentioned as a program of choice for microtonal composers. A quick look at the Wikipedia reveals that this is a tremendously powerful C+ based modular program for constructing sounds that can be crafted with infinite creativity. CSound is freely available as Open Source software.
    For a fun, mind-and-ear stretching playlist, check out the Microtonal Podcasts posted on their site http://podcast1024.libsyn.com/.



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    Still chasing down DAW gremlins...

    DAW, btw, stands for Digital Audio Workshop. Still chasing down the gremlins causing the strange distortions with my audio recordings...particularly frustrated today after losing an entire interview with one of our composition students to one of the distortion gremlins...
    i think i'm getting close to finding an optimal setting for the USB microphone and Audacity settings, but i'll need to run a full 60 minute sound test to be sure...most likely the problems are software-based. Once i get this figured out, i'll post my findings. It's amazing to note how much of an engineering mind you have to take on to track down these types of problems; one of the students at Curtis asked me if i took classes in physics after seeing my new handmade Griffin Powermate USB controller "foot pedal cradle" (which, btw, works GREAT) - i had to respond that i missed out on those classes in high school, much to my personal regret... but the same engineering mind applies, i suppose, where one has to test something under various conditions and try both to find a reliable workable solution, as well as try to re-create what goes wrong in order to better understand what to avoid...
    Here's hoping that i can figure this all out before i continue my podcast series...

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    April 13, 06

    Podcast #3 - A Serendipitous Conversation with Nadia Kyne, Flutist

    Nadia Kyne, a flute student here Curtis, always manages to elicit the best conversations during our rehearsals together! In this podcast episode, we talk about Schoenberg, Canadian contemporary composers, and the contemporary music scene at Curtis.




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    A cradle for my Powermate

    I mentioned in an earlier post that the Griffin PowerMate USB controller poses some ergonomic difficulties as a foot switch. Its design necessitates a direct vertical force to accurately trigger a page turn signal - fine for pushing the knob by hand, but somehow not comfortable to do so with a foot. I've learned to adapt by pushing the PowerMate with the ball of my foot instead of the toe, but it's still less than 100% reliable - and for those less practiced, it can be pretty frustrating to get the hang of.
    Meng-Chieh and i were thinking of finding some sort of wedge to angle the PowerMate for a more natural foot action - i was thinking of making a trip to Home Depot to see if they had rubber wedges wide enough and steep enough for the job, but then i thought that any wedge design would need to incorporate guide rails of some sort to keep the PowerMate from slipping around...i must have dreamt up a half dozen crazy designs, but it eventually came down to utter simplicity.
    During my piano practice earlier this evening, i tried putting a thin paperback book under one edge of the PowerMate - just that little bit made a big difference in the comfort of the foot action, so i thought that a simple doughnut design would suffice - hence, my rough wooden "cradle", fashioned from some old scraps of mahogany.
    The design allows the PowerMate to snugly rest at an angle steep enough to keep it from slipping out, yet comfortable enough for the foot to get a much more reliable action. Feels good with bare feet, but i'll have to try it out with dress shoes on a hard wooden floor as opposed to a home carpet - i'll report back on it tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the gallery shots of the cradle from all angles, including my second "cleaner" version - if this thing works, i might spend some time sanding it down, staining it, then applying a coat of polyurethane to make it more "stage presentable"...
    Here's to simplicity!

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    Wines 101: Chateau St. Jean Sonoma 2004 Chardonnay

    I'm not normally that crazy about white wines, but i was really surprised with this one - smooth, not too sweet, not too dry - very well balanced! One of the best whites i can recall tasting - highly recommended!
    My rating = 4 out of 5
    Kyungmi's rating = 4 out of 5

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    April 12, 06

    Picture Gallery finally up and running!

    Thanks to tech support from DreamHost, i finally have my picture gallery up and running! I just posted pictures from my Sarasota recital with Elena, along with some old concert photos and snapshots of my new favorite Belgium Waffle/Coffee Shop, Bonté. More pictures to come - enjoy!

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    Podcast #2 - Meng-Chieh Liu, Pianist - Part 2

    Here is part 2 of my interview with pianist Meng-Chieh Liu.

  • 01:09 Human page turner horror stories

  • 06:11 Working with the Delcom Footswitch for turning digital pages

  • 07:51 Using the Tablet PC horizontally to view multiple pages

  • 09:23 Dealing with the noise of the footswitch on stage

  • 10:19 Scanning music and cleaning it up with Adobe Photoshop

  • 18:35 Future podcasts

  • 19:18 Using technology in Pedagogy

  • 20:18 Digital Recording

  • 21:14 Contemporary Piano Literature project




  • BTW, the "Subscribe to iTunes" icon to the left now sets up a 1-click subscription to this new audio Podcast series via iTunes, as opposed to the previous "computer-read" version of this site. As soon as i find a cool icon, i'll bring back that 1-click subscription feature for the computerized version. As it stands now, iTunes carries both podcast series from this site. Cool! (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    New Hosting Server!

    Adjusting a soundpost - restringing a piano - changing your website's hosting server - three things that you really shouldn't attempt without the expertise of a professional. Well, perhaps that last item isn't quite as bad as the other two, but it was still enough to give me serious pause before making the attempt. I had been with my previous hosting server (Hummingbird Hosting) for several years, and to be honest they've been fine for the most part. Their tech support personnel usually responded within 24 hours or so, and they were really terrific in the very beginning when i was trying to extricate myself from an old Yahoo web account...but somehow, in particular during these past few weeks as i've been revamping my websites, Hummingbird has gotten less and less responsive (one outstanding issue has been emailed back and forth for almost a month, and it's STILL unresolved...) - that and the fact that i've been noticing with growing dismay how feeble my server's memory capacity offerings were, especially since i'm getting serious about audio podcasting (and someday soon, video podcasting), had given me a good cause for the roving eye.
    Fortunately, one of my friends at church who is quite the webmaster himself, gave an enthusiastic thumbs up for his current hosting server, DreamHost.com. With his recommendation in hand, i found their 1-day promotional prices pretty outrageous - outrageously good, that is! Hummingbird offered me 2 Gig - that's 2 without any other digits in tow, mind you - of memory space for ALL of my websites combined. Well, for less money, DreamHost is giving me 30 TIMES that amount, plus insane amounts of bandwidth and tons of features thrown in (not the least of which are upgraded versions of PHP and MySQL)...less money to drive a faster car? I'm there!
    Yadda yadda yadda, great features and all, fine fine fine, but you're still talking about a complex transfer of files and information in as seamless a process as possible...as i just stated, changing hosting servers is never an easy task, and definitely not for the faint of heart. If you're moderately satisfied with your current server and are queasy about negotiating oodles of code, then please stay where you are. If you're into living on the bleeding edge and aren't afraid to watch your site convulse wildly during the transition, then you really should seriously consider working with DreamHost. At the risk of sounding like an infommercial, their tech support was simply outstanding. I'm not saying the process was entirely pain-free, but i'm convinced that these guys made it as smooth as could be done, given my relatively novice level of web-mastering.
    The other saving grace was my blog script - Nucleus CMS (CMS stands for Content Management System). This open-source program does a fantastic job of making database backups and restorations a snap, preserving the entire site perfectly from one host to another.
    Once the summer rolls around, i'll try to write up a new series on setting up websites/blogs for musicians - there's already a plethora of "how to" sites out there, but i'd still like to share my experiences from a relatively non-technical musician's point of view. More and more i'm convinced that every classical musician should have as strong an internet presence as possible.
    For the first time in my years of webmastering and page coding, i can happily recommend my hosting server, at least in terms of setup ease, features, price and tech support. Keep your eyes posted on this site, as i'll try to work out some promotional codes for DreamHost for discounts on service plans.
    Thanks, DreamHost!

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    April 11, 06

    Server Change!

    Hold your horses, folks - i'm in the middle of a server change - so far, so good - i'll be running through the entire site to make sure it's still intact...
    Some links are database-driven, so it'll take me a little while to fix them to adjust to the new server's database...please be patient if you're running into dead spots on the site, i hope to have it all cleaned up by morning... No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    Ghost in the Shell? Gremlins in the Drive?

    I'm still struggling with the C10U USB microphone from Samson - most of the recordings i made throughout last week came out just fine, including (fortunately) the podcast interview with Meng-Chieh, but for some strange reason a few of the recordings later on in the week - including Sunday's sermon again - experienced that strange metallic distortion, breaking in around 30 minutes or so into the recording...admittedly better than my first operation (when the distortion kicked in after only 8 minutes, but that was more likely due to my own error from setting the program to record at 24 bit when the microphone seems only capable of 16 bit operation)...
    Here are some possible theories:
  • Hard drive too defragmented? Not likely, since i run a defragmenter weekly - last run saw the hard drive still quite clean, but let's see if the defragmenter improves performance anyway

  • Not enough free space in the hard drive? Possible factor - the latter recordings experienced the distortion (albeit periodically), whereas the earlier ones seemed to be fine - i'll try dumping out the older recordings to make more room

  • Electrical grounding? I simply can't recall when i had the tablet pc plugged in or not when i did my studio recordings - our Church's electrical outlets are NOT grounded, and this causes a pretty bad buzz throughout our sound system. It's possible that the electricity in my office isn't grounded either - most of the outlets only have 2 prongs (instead of the modern 3). Again, not sure if this is a factor, but worth testing more carefully (i'll try to keep a record of battery vs. plugged in recordings in my private log...)

  • USB extension cable? I read that USB devices weren't supposed to run with cables longer than 10 feet in length - my extension cable does seem to exceed that limit, but after the sermon on Sunday (which experienced the distortion), i tried recording the Sunday School lesson with the same cable setup and it came out completely fine. Huh. Scratch head. Raise eyebrow quizzically. Probably not a factor, but again, something to note in this week's recording log.

  • One difference between the two Sunday recordings was the fact that the tablet pc was plugged in during the (distorted) sermon, as opposed to running on batteries during the Sunday School lesson.

    I'll keep you posted on my efforts to see what's causing these strange distortions. Any engineering minds want to contribute their thoughts to some possible causes here?

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    Bullet-dodging

    Turns out, jury duty was cancelled for me yesterday! Yaay! Actually had a chance to sleep in a bit less fitfully...but the sword of Damocles still hangs over my head, as i'm supposed to call the automated court system sometime after Friday to find out when my civic duty has been rescheduled. We'll cross that bridge when we get there...
    Had the strangest feeling of "playing hooky" - i had emptied the whole day for J.D. (jury duty), and with nothing on the books it was a strange feeling. I actually caved in to my workaholic tendencies and went into the office mid-afternoon to catch up on paperwork...of course, i should have known what a quicksand concept that always ends up becoming...naively thinking i'd only be at my desk for an hour or so, that quickly slipped into a 5 hour stretch...
    To be honest, i actually feel pretty good. That much less work is now facing me this morning, and i can almost see the light at the end of the semester tunnel...

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    10,000 hits and counting

    Yikes, that sounds like the name of a horrible kung-fu film! Actually, it's reason to celebrate for me - seeing the ol' page-o-meter finally break 10,000 yesterday was really exciting for me! Having webmastered sites where breaking 1000 per month was a thrill, this is definitely cause for goosebumps! I know, i know, there are mega-sites out there that hardly break a sweat then 10,000 folks pop through in a single hour, but hey - i'm a grateful guy, so thanks to all of you folks who have taken the time to visit my little corner of the blogosphere!

    Some interesting sites have been gracious enough recently to make mention of this site - they include:
  • The Well-Tempered Blog, written by fellow pianist/piano lover Bart Collins

  • My Other Life, written by Soundtrk, a Canadian student who seems deeply involved in math, physics, and computer sciences, in addition to the piano and singing - she makes me jealous! What a wealth of talent!


  • In a fit of narcissism, i googled myself out of curiosity and came across an old article from CNN - quoting me! Now where did that come from? hahahaha - ah, how quickly i forget some things!

    Once again, my thanks to the first 10,000 hits - may the next 10,000 flow through even faster than the first!

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    April 10, 06

    Podcast Debut! Interview with Pianist Meng-Chieh Liu, Part 1

    Thanks to my new microphone setup, i'm pleased to announce my debut podcast episode, featuring an interview with international pianist Meng-Chieh Liu! Here is a breakdown of the interview:

  • 00:33 - Welcome

  • 02:00 - Meng-Chieh's biography

  • 03:04 - Upcoming projects and performances

  • 07:06 - How he organizes his life

  • 07:37 - His HP iPaq 4705 Pocket PC PDA

  • 08:23 - Old custom-made organizers using ruler and paper

  • 10:26 - Meng-Chieh's first Tablet PC (an Acer)

  • 11:11 - Traveling with Tablet PC's

  • 12:21 - Annotating Digital Music

  • 14:04 - Other organizational issues (finding manuals for gadgets, etc.)

  • 15:59 - Struggles with Paper vs. Digital stuff

  • 17:00 - Banking with Quicken

  • 18:03 - Tablet PC's for Music

  • 18:11 - Meng-Chieh's Acer Tablet PC disaster

  • 19:43 - Experiences with Technology

  • 20:16 - What made it so easy to adapt to the Tablet PC?


  • Let me know what you think - i'm hoping to post more interviews with other musicians, composers, students, and other folks on a variety of topics as time permits. Certainly, if you have any questions or suggestions, i'm all ears! Enjoy!



    p.s. The iTunes subscription button will soon be updated and changed to reflect the two different feeds that will be broadcast from this site - the synthesized "reading" of this text site, and the new "human" audio podcast series. I need to wait until my submissions to the iTunes podcast directory (and others) gets cleared. (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    Jury Duty

    Time for me to do my civic duty today. I had to sit in the jury selection pool for State Court last year, and thought i had a 3 year reprieve from jury duty - but apparently, today's duty is for FEDERAL Court, so that's a different ballgame. Sigh...
    I've put off jury duty for this summons twice because of conflicts with concerts, but despite the insane administrative workload at Curtis, i can't in good conscience dodge the bullet this time...so here's hoping my civic service will be short and sweet. I'll let you know how it goes (without sharing details of the case, naturally...)

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    Ripples in the Net

    Just noticed this post on a blog from the Palm Beach Post's online site - titled, "A handful of classical blogs" by Greg Stepanich. Thanks so much for the mention, Greg, and for the wonderful company my link shares on your article! Check out the post, and check out the other blogs he describes - nice to see Patty on the same page as me! I, too, have been enjoying Jeremy Denk's insightful blog (he's a staple feature on my Bloglines RSS feed reader). i'll be checking out the others as well and adding them to my feeder. I'll also see if i can share some more intersesting links later on this week. It's great to see that the world of Classical Music blogs is alive and vibrant!

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    Wines 101: Bourgogne "Maison Dieu" Pinot Noir 2000

    Caveat: I know NOTHING about wines. Except that i prefer red to white. And that i like Merlots and Cabernets. And that i don't really like the extra sweet stuff, like ports. But every once in a while, i'll have an amazing experience tasting wines i have absolutely no knowledge about, but the tastebuds are definitely singing high praises - i'd like to have more of those experiences more often, instead of the "hm...wine scored a '91', paid a high price, tastes like grassy vinegar, but i guess it's supposed to taste good" experience i get too often...
    Here's my feeble attempt with my Wines 101 posts to get more familiar with the byzantine world of wines. (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    April 08, 06

    Wireless Pedal Gets The Boot

    I'm sorry to say that after two terrifying concerts, i'm officially giving the Musebook SingleNote FP-31 Wireless pedal the boot. It's simply not acceptible to have a pedal only able to turn pages 85-90% of the time. A pedal in a concert performance situation must be fully 100% reliable - there is simply no room for error. I don't get nervous during typical performances, but my horrible pedal experiences gave me flashbacks to my earliest student days when i used to be completely paralyzed with stage fright.
    There may be a number of factors here contributing to the poor performance of Musebook's Wireless Foot pedal: perhaps the RF signal is being reflected adversely by the Steinway piano's cast iron frame and thick wooden soundboard, not to mention the thousands of metal/wood/felt etc. parts that comprise the action? Perhaps there is a memory leak in Adobe Acrobat that causes a software delay in receiving signals from the footpedal? When i have time, i'll try to investigate "what goes wrong" further, but at least for now, there is no way i can afford to put any more of my stage performances at risk.
    The strange thing is, the pedal seemed to work fine within the confines of my studio and other smaller spaces - i wonder if the RF signal gets bounced and amplified by surrounding walls, as most pianos in those types of spaces are situated adjacent to walls.
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    April 07, 06

    24-bit Digital Audio Recording Test: Timmy and the Wonder Pets

    Timmy was kind enough to help me test my new Fast Track Pro USB Microphone Preamp setup by reenacting his favorite TV show, the Wonder Pets (seen on Nickelodeon...the most adorable show i think i've ever seen...)



    <A HREF="http://hughsung.com/images/wonderpets.wmv"></A>


    Can't view the clip? Download the player plug-in from Microsoft

    The audio was recorded at 24 bit resolution directly into Audacity running on my Fujitsu Stylistic Tablet PC, then exported as an MP3 file. The video was shot with my Sony DSC-T7 digital camera, then transferred to a video editing program (Sony's Screenblast Movie Editor), where the camera's audio track was stripped and replaced with the higher quality MP3 file.

    tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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    April 06, 06

    Mobile Digital Recording - M-Audio's USB Fast Track Pro

    The second microphone purchased i had mentioned the other day was actually a microphone pre-amp - the M-Audio USB Fast Track Pro. A pre-amp is essentially a control interface and power supply box for acoustic microphones. The Fast Track Pro has an impressive array of input and output options -


  • dual XLR inputs (XLR is the three-pronged plug for connecting microphones)

  • MIDI interface (for connecting electronic keyboards/MIDI-based instruments)

  • S/PDIF input/output ports (S/PDIF is a high resolution optical interface, found in some higher-end stereo gear)

  • 1/4" headphone outputs (the 1/4" output is the "big" hole for higher quality headphones with larger plugs)

  • phantom power for condenser microphones


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    The 15 minute snowstorm

    Yesterday we had the strangest weather event - as i was driving Timmy to preschool, the sky rapidly grew dark. The wind picked up at a ferocious speed, and at first it seemed like it was raining sideways - then, the snow came in unbelievable sheets, quickly coating everything within a span of 15 minutes. Timmy looked out the car window in wonder and asked, "Is it Christmas time, Daddy?"

    One of those "hard-to-believe" events indeed. As soon as i got home, i came out with the digital camera and snapped a few shots of our poor flowers struggling until this frosty blast. Not to worry, i suppose- within about half an hour, most of the snow had melted away, and was completely gone by midday.

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    April 05, 06

    The next best thing to a clone...

    Lately, my schedule has been really over the top - last night was the latest example where i had a full afternoon of rehearsals, straight into a 5:15 pm recital at Curtis, immediately followed by 3 hours of accompanying violin lessons, then a 2 hour rehearsal with Jeff Khaner for our upcoming recital in May (he brought the most delicious Lo-Mein supreme for dinner...i was absolutely famished when we started at 10 pm...) - wrapping up office work and getting to the car at 12:30 am, home by 1:15 am or so...it's been nearly impossible to keep tabs on my kids' activities in the evenings (had to miss Paul's Spring Orchestra recital at school, sadly...he's been practicing his clarinet so diligently these days). In particular, i really need to keep better tabs on Eric's afterschool activities. Our morning micro-lessons have been pretty consistent overall (Eric is now on A-flat major and nearly finished with his current lesson book), but he could be spending his evening hours better. What's a cyberdad to do?
    What else? Come up with a tech solution!
    Enter the Panasonic RR-US360, a digital recorder that can audio files into a computer. The files are automatically marked with a date and time stamp. The Voice editing software that comes with the recorder also shows the time length of each file. I used the Panasonic at Curtis, actually, to help monitor the practice habits of a particular student who needed extra attention. No way (or at least, no EASY way) to modify the date/time stamps, so it really serves as a great practice monitor when you can't be there in person. After coming home from another late night at work, i can quickly move the recorded files into my tablet pc and listen to how well Eric's been practicing. I can also leave recorded instructions for Eric so that he can hear exactly what he needs to do during his piano practice sessions. Here is an example screenshot of what the voice editing software interface looks like - you can see that i've created individual audio folders for all my kids, as well as the date and time stamps for each file within any given folder.
    The recorder can hold about 8 hours of audio files in a compressed format, and runs off of AAA batteries.
    Even when my crazy schedule keeps me away from home at ridiculous hours, i can still find a way to keep in touch with my kids' studies...at least, until they get that clone of me up and running...

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    Better than coffee...

    I'm so exhausted right now after almost 10 straight hours of playing...then i received this email from Katie. What a pick-me-up! Check out the video she sent me...this will be in lieu of today's regular blog post - i'll be talking more about my OTHER digital microphone system designed for portable recording, as well as how things are shaping up with my C01U USB condenser microphone.
    For now, here's something that's better than coffee for a "wake me up"...

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    April 04, 06

    Mobile Digital Recording - A Tale of Two Mics

    I recently had a couple of situations where i wanted to record a lesson or a rehearsal. My Fujitsu Stylistic has a fairly decent built-in dual microphone setup - dual inputs, one primary, the other designed as a noise-cancelling feature - pretty good for close range speech recording, but as it turns out, pretty lousy when it comes to recording music, particularly from a distance.
    I thought i'd go the cheapo route and try out a computer microphone from Office Depot - goes for about $10, nice design, compact and easy to stow, plugs into the microphone jack (usually located next to the headphone jack on most computers). Well, that was a disaster - sound quality was even worse than the built-in microphone in my tablet pc! Tinny, shrill, kind of like listening to a scratchy phonograph rubbing a rusty tin can - absolutely terrible for any musical recording!
    Lesson so far: cheap computer microphones are only good at one thing - isolating background noise and picking up close range (as in, virtually chewing-the-head-of-the-microphone-range) vocal speech. Fine for internet phone calling. Bad for music.
    Ok, so then i visit my local favorite music tech equipments stores: Guitar Center and Sam Ash. (more) No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    April 03, 06

    Cello Journey - New Video Podcast Series

    I stumbled across this wonderful new series of videos on YouTube.com. Luke Stanley is a cellist who does a wonderful job of presenting video podcasts of music for the cello with friendly commentary and a laid back, down home style of performance. What a great idea! This is a terrific way to introduce folks new to classical music to the beauty of the cello literature. Keep up the great work, Luke!

    (Classical musicians, take note: within the space of 4 days, 6137 people viewed Luke's video on YouTube - i think these cellists are going to lead the new vanguard of internet marketing for classical music!)

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    More Free Sheet Music Sites

    Feel like i've just reeled in a killer catch of shrimp off of the back of a Louisiana trawler next to Forest Gump! Here are some more freebie sites for digital sheet music and other music-related software:

  • Sheet Music Consortium - this is an incredible collaboration between UC Los Angeles, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and Duke University cataloguing historic American sheet music and making it available for viewing - free! - online.

  • Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music 1870-1885 - This resource is provided by the Music Library of Congress. A real treasure trove for early American music buffs!

  • Choral Public Domain Library - an amazing resource for free scores for the choral enthusiast. You can also apparently find text translations and composer info here.

  • www.easybyte.org - Got a wedding to play for? Here's a site that provides some wedding "standards" - the site design is horrible, but they have a fairly decent selection of repertoire. It's kind of a drag having to download the scores one sloooooowww page at a time...but, hey, it's free!

  • ChristmasCarolMusic.org - Free Christmas Carol Sheet Music! Santa's here really early this year!

  • Musica Viva - a sort of "no frills" free music catalogue broken down into various categories. Seems like they have a fairly decent selection, but be warned - their home page says that they just moved to a new server - i was hit with several error messages when i tried to navigate their library. Hopefully they'll have things up and running soon...

  • Mutopia - this is kind of the Project Gutenberg of the online sheet music world. Amazing collection of free scores, created by a free open source music notation program called LilyPond (more on that below). Files are available in a variety of paper sizes in PDF format, as well as in the native Lilypond program. I have to say, Lilypond transfers very nicely to PDF formats - better than Finale, though not quite as nice as Sibelius, but certainly very readable

  • LilyPond, Open Source Music Notation Software - Finale and Sibelius each cost hundreds of dollars - if you're strapped for cash, why not try writing with a free program like LilyPond? If i have time, i'll try downloading a copy sometime to see how it compares with the other notation heavyweights.


  • Looks like this list is really growing - i'll try to make sure my "getting started" series gets updated accordingly. If you know of any others, send me an email!



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    April 01, 06

    No April Fool's Jokes for Me

    Ugh...i take myself way too seriously...totally forgot about Hardy-Har-Har Day today...

    Brian Sacawa's also way too serious for any April Fool's pundits [. . DOT]

    We classical musicians need to lighten up. Seriously. No Trackbacks | Digg this Bookmark this post on del.icio.us. Submit this post on reddit.com. Submit this post on furl.net.l Bookmark this post on Google. Bookmark this post on Yahoo. Add this post to Technorati Favorites Add post text to Rojo Add this to Co.mments Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to Scuttle Add this post to Shadows Add this to Simpy Add this to Spurl Add this to Squidoo Add this to Stumbleupon

    "Making Tracks" - Countdown to Jeff Khaner's Jazz Record's Release!

    Jeff Khaner and i recorded an album of jazz arrangements for flute and piano almost two years ago - it's FINALLY going to see the light of day! Just got this wonderful news yesterday from Avie Records, the fantastic UK-based record company that will be doing the distribution:

    Release dates: UK - Tuesday 30th May 06. US - Monday 26th June 06.

    Tracks will include the following songs:

    1. A Day in the Life of a Fool 3:35
    2. Black Coffee 3:23
    3. Moon River/Claire de lune 2:44
    4. Bewitched 4:27
    5. Nature Boy 4:50
    6. So in love 2:36
    7. Speak softly, Love 4:03
    8. My Funny Valentine 2:53
    9. The Summer Knows 2:44
    10. September Song 2:38
    11. It Might As Well Be Spring 2:32
    12. Shadow of your Smile 2:50
    13. Lady Be Good 1:50
    14. Angel Eyes 3:49
    15. Isn't it Romantic? 3:20
    16. I Cried for You 4:01
    17. Calling You 5:04
    18. Moon River (version 2) 2:20

    Total Running Time 0:59:50

    The dirty little secret is the fact that neither Jeff or i actually play jazz - i actually had to write out all the arrangements! The initial plan was to distribute the sheet music version of my arrangements in conjunction with the album, but that seems to have hit a copyright quagmire...now i have to get to work writing up liner notes for all the songs. No rest for the weary...sigh...

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    Surge in Classical Music Sales on iTunes?

    Check out this article from Monday's edition of the UK-based Guardian Unlimited. Turns out that, as opposed to traditional CD sales of classical music only making up about 4% of total sales, the classical downloads are raking in a whopping 12% of sales on iTunes! Imagine that!
    Another strong argument for the classical music community to wake up and code the digital roses!

    Oh, so you're convinced already? Want to go ahead and sell your album on iTunes? Then read this review by CNet of Simon Higg's $20 Book titled "The Guide To Selling Your Music In The iTunes Music Store." One step that has me pausing a bit is the fact that you can only encode music using software on a - gasp - Mac computer running OS X...hm....might be reason enough for me to consider investing in one of those machines after all...now if only Apple would hurry up and come out with an iTablet PC...

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    More fuel for the Video iPod rumor mill

    Check out this video clip - i don't know about you, but this looks like the real deal to me! Sweet!



    If so, i'm DEFINITELY getting in line to pick up one of these puppies!

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    Welcome!

    Thank you for visiting this site! I hope you'll find this to be a friendly place to learn about and discuss the fascinating technologies available for the Classical Musician. A great place to get started is with the ongoing "Getting Started" series. Remember, the worst questions are the ones you never ask, so feel free to email me!

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