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Nucleus



December 02, 08

Beyond Paper and the launch of my new store!

Working past programming glitches (one of which involved me nearly breaking the entire online storefront from poking around the css templates like a curious cat!), banking and shipping snafus (the shipping option in the store is still a little wonky - as a result, we're putting a flat $7.50 rate for all orders this week), we somehow managed to squeak in the launch of our new store at www.AirTurn.com officially last night.

AirTurn's mission is to create and market technologies that enhance the study, practice, and performance of music. Our first product is something we actually developed ourselves from scratch: a wireless page-turning transmitter, the AT-104!

If you'll recall from my 1st anniversary video, i did a basic overview of Tablet PC's for musicians. One major pitfall was the fact that - at the time - there weren't any really decent page turning pedal options available. The ones i was using at the time were built with noisy reed switches that gave an audible click each time you pressed them, making them difficult to use in recording sessions:

Music Meets Tech #23: Tablet PC's for Musicians


I've been dreaming about decent wireless page turning pedals for quite some time, but the results were disappointing to say the least. I could never have imagined that one day i'd be actually involved in developing my own models!

As regular readers of this blog know, i've been a paperless musician in practice and performance, having used Tablet PC's as my primary music reader/library device for several years now - since 2002, to be exact (yeow! That long already?? My, how time flies!!). During that whole time i've been involved with various quests for the perfect page turning pedal - everything from my old 3-button X-Keys programmable pedal -



- to my clickity Delcom Engineering Pedal -


- to my adventures trying to create Sculpey ramp for the use of a Griffin Powermate as a footswitch! (never was reliable enough to feel 100% comfortable with the Powermate, unfortunately...)



Fun times...fun times...LOL

Here's a quick 1 minute overview of the AT-104 wireless page turning transmitter. The beautiful thing about this device is the fact that it's plug-and-play - no software to install (and carefully program and disengage when not in use, unlike the software needed for the Delcom Engineering pedal - a nightmare to deal with if you ever accidentally removed the USB cable without shutting the driver down first!) and wireless in operation (no need to lug around and uncoil an unsightly cable next to the piano in performance! YES!!):



In addition to its simplicity, the AT-104 is very flexible to configure. You can actually attach a variety of footswitches and pedals, giving you the option to have either a single or double pedal setup for uni or bi-directional page turns. We have an account with Roland to offer 3 types of pedals that can be bundled with the AT-104. You can also see a ">list of compatible pedals from other manufacturers on our website.

If you get a chance, please visit the store! We've developed a whole bunch of resources on the website, ranging from webinars with tutorial videos and screencasts, to a resources page that contains an extensive list of online sheet music vendors (and a TON of open source/free music sites!) More videos and tutorials will be forthcoming soon!


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December 05, 07

A CD First: Recorded as a Composer

A brand new CD has been released by The Kings Chamber Orchestra, titled "String Heaven":



After having recorded over a dozen CD's as pianist, this marks the first project where someone else has recorded an original composition of mine - quite thrilling, i have to say! Gerard Le Feuvre's remarkable improvisatory string orchestra does a beautiful job of presenting a collection of worship songs, such as "Be still for the presence of the Lord" and "Amazing Grace". You can listen to preview tracks and directly purchase the CD at www.kingschamberorchestra.co.uk.

A quick note: the music is all instrumental, sans vocal parts. I wish that the lyrics to these melodies had at least been included in the liner notes, but i imagine that would've added considerably to the production costs. In case you'd like a refresher on what i wrote, here is the link to my previous blog article about the project which includes the lyrics to "How Lovely Shines the Morning Star" by Philipp Nicolai and the link to the free PDF score. And since i'm such a big fan of embedded apps, here is the flash player once again:


Get your own Flash MP3 Player



Enjoy!

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October 22, 07

The Death of Knowledge

i just received word that the beloved online music library , IMSLP.org (International Music Score Library Project), has been shut down by a "cease and desist" order from Universal Edition. This was a unique open-source destination for finding rare scores, available as free PDF downloads. i found this testimony from the site's creator to be particularly moving as one compelling reason why such sites NEED to exist:

"I originally conceived of this project after visiting a certain country a few years ago. In what is one of the largest bookstores there, I discovered less than ten orchestral scores. As a musician and music lover, I find unacceptable the fact that such a wonderful thing as music can be so inaccessible in certain regions of the world. I believe that access to our culture and the Arts is a fundamental right of every human being, and not simply a privilege. Therefore, I had created IMSLP with the intention that music, which is in the public domain, should be freely accessible to every single person."


It is appalling that commercial interests should kill the open dissemination of art when it offers no viable option of its own accord. As another extreme example of the difficulty of getting scores, a violinist friend of mine just came across a hard-to-find copy of Ravel's "Kaddisch" Hebrew melody for Violin and Piano. The 4-page score cost him almost THIRTY-THREE-FREAKIN' DOLLARS. With outrageous prices like these, is it any wonder that classical music scores are becoming hard to find in physical libraries?

The IMSLP Forums are still open - feel free to stop by and express your outrage, condolences, and support.

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October 18, 07

Mailbag Q&A: Digitizing Music Scores

Every once in a while i get these terrific questions from folks who either visit this website or who have seen one of my videos on Blip.tv or YouTube.com. Here's one that gives me an opportunity to summarize some of the technologies that i use on a daily basis as a paperless musician:

Hi,

I'm an amateur pianoplayer and also a computerfreak like you. Some time
ago I also dreamed about playing the notes from a tablet-pc and than I saw
your youtube-Video... It seems, that you already have scanned much music
scores, haven't you? My question: How do you digitize the paper best and
can you send me an pdf-example of that technique (Chopin would be nice...
;-)?

Sincereley, Jakob


Hi Jakob
I'm so glad you came across my YouTube video! Sorry for the delayed response - work has been really crazy for me lately!
There are several ways of getting digitized scores into computers like tablet pc's - the first place would be to check out online vendors like www.EveryNote.com - you can also purchase CD libraries of scores from CD Sheet Music. For examples on the image quality, check out my blog article here:
http://www.hughsung.com/blog/index.php?itemid=20

You can also download a large number of scanned scores from www.imslp.org, an online archive of public domain works. Quality will vary from score to score, but for the most part everything i've downloaded so far has been very legible and representative of the quality you can expect from scanning your own scores.

I've been using a digital document camera scanner, but the model is no longer being manufactured. If i hear of any comparable models that can replace what i've been using, i'll be sure to post an article about it. An option you might want to try is to purchase a copy stand holder for digital cameras and use a digital camera to scan pages by taking pictures of them.
http://www.hughsung.com/blog/index.php?itemid=392

You'll need to have a high resolution digital camera for this operation. A program you might want to use in conjunction with this operation is called Snapter
http://www.snapter.atiz.com/

Early versions of the program were buggy, but i've read that the more recent versions are getting better. Haven't tried the recent version myself yet, as my camera doesn't produce high enough resolutions for the pictures, but i'll be sure to try it once i upgrade my camera.

Hope all this information helps. Feel free to email me if you have any further thoughts or questions.


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September 19, 07

How Lovely Shines the Morning Star



For many years i've worked on setting psalms and hymn texts to new musical settings for congregational worship. All my arrangements have always been completely copyright-free with no recompense required whatsoever - these have been written with the simple hope that Churches today can find musical material that puts its primary emphasis on the richness of Biblical text and great doctrine in a way that everyday folk can approach. I'm not a composer, so i'm highly self-conscious about making any pretenses in trying to be one given my immense respect for those who have dedicated their artistic lives to honing that craft. Nevertheless, it's a thrill to share this rendition of one of my hymn settings by The Kings Chamber Orchestra, directed by cellist extraordinaire Gerard Le Feuvre! This track will be part of a new album by the orchestra to be released in about 2 months' time. For this recording and similar, seek out the Kings Chamber Orchestra at www.kingschamberorchestra.co.uk.


Get your own Flash MP3 Player



The almost-17th century text by Philipp Nicolai is as follows:

How Lovely Shines the Morning Star
Text by Philipp Nicolai, 1599
Music by Hugh Sung


1. How love-ly shines the Morn-ing Star!
The na-tions see and hail a-far
The light in Ju-dah shi-ning
Thou, Da-vid's Son of Ja-cob's race,
My Bride-groom and my King of Grace,
For Thee my heart is pin-ing.
Low-ly, Ho-ly,
Great and glo-rious, Thou vic-tor-ious
Prince of grac-es,
Fill-ing all the heav'n-ly plac-es.

2. Now rich-ly to my wait-ing heart,
O Thou, my God, deign to im-part
The grace of love un-dy-ing.
In Thy blest bod-y let me be,
E'en as the branch is in the tree,
Thy life my life sup-ply-ing.
Sigh-ing, cry-ing,
For the sav-or Of Thy fav-or;
Rest-ing nev-er
Till I rest in Thee for-ev-er.

3. Thou, might-y Fa-ther, in Thy Son
Didst love me ere Thou hadst be-gun
This an-cient world's foun-da-tion.
Thy Son hath made a friend of me,
And when in spi-rit Him I see,
I joy in tri-bu-la-tion.
What bliss is this!
He that liv-eth To me giv-eth
Life for-ev-er;
Noth-ing me from Him can sev-er.


If you'd like to have a free copy of the PDF with the piano score and lead sheet, please visit http://ccpc-pca.com/303500.php for a list of all my worship song arrangements. You can also download it directly from this link.

For a list of my psalm arrangements, please visit http://ccpc-pca.com/303100.php.

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March 12, 07

International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)

This was just posted a few days ago on the Piano World forums - The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) is an amazing free archive of public domain scores set in a Wiki format. In case you're not familiar with Wiki's, they're a type of open website where anyone can contribute or edit articles. All changes are logged and usually subject to approval by the original author or a group of editors. The amazing power of the Wiki comes from the free flow of information and contributions from a large user base.

As of this writing, IMSLP has a collection of 2,255 works. Some notable ones on first glance are a set of piano etudes by Felix Mendelssohn and a Piano Quartet by Gustav Mahler - neat stuff!!

The contemporary music section is small and comes with a large copyright disclaimer to dissuade anyone from posting illegal material (unless the composer is posting him/herself). Hopefully this type of resource will grow to help more contemporary composers gain exposure and better dissemination of their works.

This is the type of resource that depends on the kindness of its community. I hope to pop in from time to time to offer suggestions and wish list items for scores i'd love to see...

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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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