Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Musical Instrument Sampling

     This is not a researched statistic but I only say it to make a point:  99% of the fascination people have with technology involves a very narrow list of technological break-throughs.  Mainly the "gadgets" involve areas of little mental effort but produce maximum emotional satisfaction.  Some examples include personal networking websites, cell phones, violent or otherwise video games that push the limits of decency beyond decency; to name just a few.

    For that 1% of the population that actually enjoy a challenge in the mix of "gadgets" we have this genre of software that has been around for a long time- musical instrument sampling.  You cannot fully appreciate the perception and precision of the human ear until you try to imitate a traditional acoustic instrument.  Now people can be easily fooled and easily satisfied and that is fine but to carry things to the Nth degree in such a way that even an educated ear can be satisfied is an accomplishment.  Read the endorsement in the image above.

     This may be an over simplification of what Synthogy does but what we have here in Synthogy is a product that allows you to play a piano from a computer connected to a midi keyboard.  For the price of their software, your home computer, and a nice weighted 88 key midi keyboard from Sam's Club (Yamaha console about $800) you can play piano music that is imperceptable from handmade concert pianos that may cost more than your house, if you had to buy one.

     Go to their website, click on 'demo' or 'download' and begin playing mp3 files over your mp3 player using your best headphones or plug the player directly into your home theater system.  Play the demo of Bosendorfer Imperial Grand, Steinway, or the demos of the 10' Fazioli Italian piano.  There are uprights too that create a very sweet and charming sound.  But look you can possess the equivalent sound of a half million dollars worth of pianos for far less the price.  I know it takes skill, practice, and brains to play a keyboard but oh there is so much more personal satisfaction from this than text messaging a joke to a friend who always laughs.  This stuff is a dream come true for piano player wannabes like me.  

     Let me circle back to one of my first points and that is the incredible amazing  ability for the human ear to distinguish sound.  Combine that with realizing that in a typical acoustic piano there is an interplay of harmonics in the struck string and the neighboring strings that you may not even be aware of.  You may not be aware that a Fazioli uses agraffe stringing but you will know that the sweet charm of a Bosendorfer is different from the Fazioli but you won't know why but you know.  Synthogy has captured it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Kid's These Days

Excuse me while I go a little crazy. Several things have happened in the last couple of days that piled up to be life's pressures. To handle pressure I turn to humor. Yesterday there seemed to be a huge outbreak of kids on little shiney scooters. There were teens doing tricks off the outdoor choir stage. I caught a kid going down the hall on a scooter like Satan ordered him to. He was in a daze of some sort and I had to holler twice "Hey this is God's house you can't ride your scooter in here!" Meanwhile a contractor discovered a hopeless amount of rotten boards and loose shingles on my roof. Estimates are from 10 to 13 thousand dollars. My youngest daughter explained that her Ipod screen was broken and another student had one for $125 that "we" could buy. Oldest daughter calls hours later explaining that her Volvo air conditioner wasn't working and that she had to drive her roommate to Melbourne for the weekend and her roommate was real sensitive about temperature.

For some reason a bunch of scripts started composing in my head as I walk around on campus , with my sprained back, that I call "old man scripts". For example-

"Why when I was your age I had nothing but a stick and wad of chewing gum and I was happy for it. I went to bed at night and put my gum on the bed post. When I got up I grabbed my stick and the gum off the bedpost and started my day and had more fun than you can imagine. When I went to college I threw away my wad of gum and celebrated life with nothing but a black and white TV set and a thumb to get a ride to school. And I was glad for it! You vermin are spoiled rotten brats all of you." Then I pick up my hickory ax handle and chase them around a bit.

"Why when I was your age all my mamma could afford us for Christmas was a bag of M&M's and I thought I'd landed on easy street. I ate one M&M per week until they were gone. You kids are spoiled rotten brats expecting MacFlurries every night after school. No imagination on how to have fun. All I had was a empty pinto bean can and a wooden stick and I was glad fer it. All my friends in my neighborhood thought I was rich. When it snowed I took my shoes off when I walked to school so that when I got to school I wouldn't track in any water I was so considerate. You kids destroy everything! Git outta here with that contraption. (Chase kids around with a cane at about 1mph. ) The music your band is playing sounds like racoons during mating season. When I was young we didn't have 5,000 watts of amplifiers and expensive guitars. You know what I had? I had a chewing gum wrapper that I put over the comb from my back pocket and my buddy had rubber band he put across his mouth and plucked. That was our music and the church felt blessed to hear 'Amazing Grace' ."

Maybe I'm going crazy under the pressure but I just put a couple stacks of chairs in a closet and moved a table back to a room where the deacons had a meeting last night. Looking down on a cabinet I see a magazine for deacons entitled "Deacon". It had a wealthy model looking, perfect man on the cover with a perfect complexion so that spawned another "old man script".

"Deacon's these days got ta have their own magazine to know what to do. Spoilt brats!. Why when I was deacon we wore our feed store caps and had 2 days growth of beard. We had nothing but the word of gawd and a skillet (no need for a stick because we have to be nice) and we fed widows in their distress out of thin air and took orphans fishing with nothing but a string a hook and a worm and they were glad for it! Deacon hah! Put your Izod shirt away and get busy and scrub floors you buncha spoiled 30 somethings old brats." (proceed to race around the room at 1mph hour smacking men with a dirty, worn bible).

Goodbye Paul Harvey I'm going to miss your stable and moral reporting. Perhaps we will meet in the next life.