The View from the Bottom of the Heap

A long-haired Charlie Morrow leaning at a table and surrounded by a lot of electronic equipment

The composer faces a future more uncertain than that of anyone, except perhaps the poet. When school days come to an end, the composer mortality rate—not to mention that of their all too perishable idealism—is close to 100 per cent. I am one of the many in that uncertain middle ground trying to survive, pen in hand.

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade? A Notation Software Update

Sibelius 7

There have been big changes in the notation software market in recent years, and a lot of people are confused about what is going on and what the future might hold. So here are a few updates (if not upgrades) from the land of music notation software.

Singing It—Generations in Jazz

Jen Shyu, Fay Victor and Sheila Jordan

What a jazz singer does with a melody is every bit as compositional as an improvised instrumental solo, and not only when those singers are scat singing. Over the course of the next three weeks, three extraordinary jazz vocalists who come from three very different backgrounds and span three generations—Sheila Jordan, Fay Victor, and Jen Shyu—will tell the story of why they sing, what they sing, and perhaps most importantly, why they sing what they sing.

The Opposite of Brain Candy—Decoding Black MIDI


“Black MIDI” refers to the moments in a piece where the notes, if displayed on a traditional two-stave piano score, are so dense that there appears to be just a mass of black noteheads. The increased density of notes also affects the computer, which is sometimes unable to process all of the notes within a particularly complex section. The goal of Black MIDI is to approach this processing failure without actually crossing that line.

Musings on the Media

tv cameras

Composers and performers today look to the media (whatever they think that might be) as a conduit between their art and the general public. As digital media and social networks continue to evolve, both the proximity and the fixed boundaries between creators and the media have been affected.

In search of Musical Integration Between the United States and the Rest of the Americas

A photo of the street sign showing the intersection of Grand Street and Avenue of the Americas with a rusty plaque of the USA on top

Today, across South America, one finds dozens of tourists from all over the world (including many from the United States) who wish to explore the richness of the region. But within the world of notated music, the situation is the opposite. In fact, we can no longer talk about Latin American as a single unit, given the lack of information that exists between its different countries.

En busca de una integración musical entre Estados Unidos y el resto de las Américas

A photo of the street sign showing the intersection of Grand Street and Avenue of the Americas with a rusty plaque of the USA on top

En cualquier lugar de Sudamérica uno se encuentra con decenas de turistas de todo el planeta (incluyendo muchos estadounidenses), que buscan explorar las riquezas de la zona. Ya está claro para ellos que no todo es selvas impenetrables, ni pequeños poblados de madera. Pero en el medio de la música de tradición escrita, también debemos hablar a la inversa. Incluso no podemos hablar de Latinoamérica como una entidad unitaria, ya que existe desinformación entre lo que hace un país y otro.

Digital to Analog: Plug and Play

Advertisement ca. 1899 (via the Library of Congress).

It is the history of music, forever communicating—what, exactly? But forever communicating, nonetheless, even as the message gets hopelessly lost in the translation to music. And it’s not a bug; it’s a feature.

Page 2 of 12712345Last »