Lost in Translation

A photo of an open dictionary

Unlike composing concert music, in film and advertising a composer is tasked with writing music the audience wants, but sometimes that audience has trouble parsing what it wants.

The Opposite of Brain Candy—Decoding Black MIDI

BlackMIDIbanner

“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.

Postcard from Pittsburgh: Contemporary Chamber Music Thrives in the Steel City

A view of the Pittsburgh skyline at night

Pittsburgh has more going on in new music, and the arts in general, than you would expect for its size (around 300,000 people in the city, and 2.4 million in the metro area). This is due in part to a high density of universities with good music programs, but new music events aren’t confined to the academic year. When summer comes and many cities offer little in the way of classical music besides orchestral pops, Pittsburgh has more modern sounds than you can shake a 4th of July sparkler at.

Right Place, Right Time

A cropped still from the IBM commercial for Think Forum - Cloud

Even if it’s a composition that explores elements I find interesting outside of the commercial medium, I sometimes forget it happened. This constant push to be more and more productive makes your attachment to what you’ve written minimal.

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.

Who Counts as an Expert?

Tidal

This is an era that rewards simple explanations, yet telling the often-complex stories of how non-superstar musicians make work while making a living is more important than ever.

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