Some Stuff to Check Out


“Korea Stuff”:

Fukushima Stuff:


  • Since I’ve been looking into piano rolls today, I’ve been reminded of how interesting Conlon Nancarrow was.The way one of my professors put it, “He married a rich Japanese lady in Mexico City, and so he was able to spend all his time working on music when he wished; but he had few connections with musicians, and so composed most of his work for player pianos.” I don’t know how much of that is a fair representation (the Japanese archaeologist was his third wife, but I see no mention of her being wealthy online, and I don’t know whether he composed for player pianos out of necessity or preference) but one thing is for sure: the man had some interesting ideas about tempo and composition, and he didn’t just write music that was played on player pianos: he composed for the instrument specifically–treating the mechanisms in the player piano as a nonhuman performer whose particular strengths could be exploited in particularly interesting ways. There’s stuff he composed that I doubt any human could actually play, which, of course, is why he came to mind (as I’m trying to think of what player piano music would sound like if composed by posthuman, pseudo-Victorian-era, weird AIbots). Not only that, I heard wild claims that some of the compositions had never actually been notated in sheet music form–instead, being directly punched into the paper. I don’t know how realistic that is, but I suppose it’s possible. Or maybe Nancarrow recorded rolls at a very slow speed, and “overdubbed” multiple lines… I doubt he punched the piano rolls extemporaneously, though he did, we know, hand-punch them.) Anyway, check out Study #21, which is a canon, by the way, and basically insane (in a good way):

  • Also, George Crumb has been on my mind today (Interview | Listen to his music). He is well-known for producing achingly beautiful, if dark, music, but also very graphically unique, evocative, and beautiful scores. There’s a bunch of images online, but this may whet your appetite for more. I believe it’s a movement titled “Spiral Galaxy”:


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