fluent in mumble is moving

Yes, it's true. This blog, which has been well-used at its BlogSpot location, is making the leap to the WordPress platform, and I'm moving on up to local hosting! (Ooh! Ahh!) That means I don't have to rely on Blogger's, well, reliability, for better or for worse. It also means I get to tackle problems by myself.

The BlogSpot blog will remain in its place for the moment, but it will not be updated in the foreseeable future. Please update your links to the new, improved fluent in mumble:

Blog URL: http://gratemedia.com/fluentinmumble
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/gratemedia/fluentinmumble


music philosophy, part 1

As I was speaking with a fellow musician today (he is the teacher in whose classroom I am student teaching), we got onto the subject of jazz. I mentioned that I can't stand to listen to a jazz station for long periods. This got us into a good conversation about modern music and what gives good music its "edge." I have a few philosophical points to share on this:

  1. All music comes from somewhere. It may be an outgrowth of the culture from which it springs. It may be a facsimile of what the musicians have heard before. Music has origins, from a child playing chopsticks to the newest punk rock band. If you analyzed every musical influence which has brushed past my ears, you could probably identify where every good musical idea I've had was used by somebody before me. Real musicians steal. No, I take that back. Real musicians take existing elements and organize them into a recognizable, effective form. Isn't that what God did when creating the world?

  2. The best music is organic. I don't mean that it's free from pesticides and genetic modification. I mean that the best music has a refined human element. Various software tries to emulate human musical performance, and some do a good job. But the best music is felt not only by the audience, but by the performer in the very act. It contains human characteristics (like trademark imperfections) that make it real. The best music is never played the same twice, because the right interpretation for the moment is determined by the venue and the audience and what the musicians had for dinner. Little things that seem inconsequential change the performance immensely for musicians who are willing to follow the natural unfolding of music.

  3. Good musicians are becoming fewer in the world. Why? Attention span, for one. How many children have the drive to practice an instrument daily? How many adults? I see a critical difference between this generation and the generation of our parents: mediocre music no longer requires musicians. Before the technology of the 90s and beyond put a studio within the grasp of any bozo with a synthesizer, making music required live musicians. There were, of course, recordings, but they were made with live musicians as well. Now, musicianship has become novel. It is one thing to play Guitar Hero and quite another to be a musician. But disturbingly, many of us under 30 devote significantly more time to video games than to any real skill-building activity.


new women's trio arrangement

I suppose I've never been a huge fan of women's trio literature. I was in a children's choir, so I've sung quite a few SSA pieces, but I love the fuller sound and increased chord options available with only one additional part. But some type of bug must have bitten me the other night, and thus I arranged Father in Heaven for SSA women's voices. I'm really happy with the result. Get the sheet music at http://gratemusic.com/songs/Father_in_Heaven.html


some songs are just . . . unfortunate

I hate to restart my participation in this blog with something so tragic, but I have found something that must be shared.

I am somewhat a connoisseur of bad music. Whether it's poorly written, ill-conceived, or just plain annoying, I have a love-hate relationship with songs that make me cry for non-sentimental reasons.

To introduce today's installment, I have to say that there is nothing funny about any disease. I believe that it's generally good when people are healthy (unless those people are trying to destroy freedom and justice). I am sad when people are sick.

Glaucoma is a serious problem. The people at the World Glaucoma Association think so, too. They deal with it all the time. Apparently, one of the ways they have decided to fight Glaucoma is by writing and distributing a hymn about it. As a hymnist myself, I was interested, so I downloaded the WMA file and had a listen. Let me just say wow. I have never heard a song like it. I hesitate to say this, but after listening to the Glaucoma hymn, I'm not positive whether the author was for or against the disease.

You can read the lyrics and download the song through this site. You have to click on the little yellow "Glaucoma Hymn" link at the bottom right.

Again, wow.