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Showing posts from November, 2012

Happy Birthday Fred

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Our virtual lives have a tendency to live on. Today my constant social networking stream, which gives me the latest on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn in a single overflowing column in my browser popped up a smiley face from artist Vanessa Monokian to photographer Fred Karrenberg. I don't know why I decided to click on this. I really don't. Normally the stream goes by unread like the running stock market numbers at the bottom of the nightly news show. But I decided to click on the smiley face.

It's been years since I have contacted anyone from my one year studying for an MFA in New Media at Florida International University. I loved the artists and my classmates. I loved the classes and the opportunity to show my video art in Miami. But bills added up and a second MFA seemed less important than taking care of finances.

I remember Fred as the hyperintellegent voice of reason, a genius professor that decided to translate his love of detail into gorgeous, tedious photos…

The Death of Classical Music: Resurrection and Rebirth

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Classical Music Magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Is classical music dead?
With all of the negative press regarding music union contracts, faltering orchestras, cutting of music programs, and the seeming demise of classical music, I would like to offer a different perspective. 

Before we can embark on answering the provocative question "Is classical music dead?" we must first address the very definition of classical music. After all, what is classical music? 

If we exclaimed "All birds are dead!" but are incapable of identifying a penguin or ostrich as members of the bird family, then we have made a false statement based on our own biases about birds. If our definition of birds includes the requirement of flight, then both penguins and ostriches are not considered birds. In the same way, if "classical music" has a very definitive and narrow definition that excludes contemporary forms of media, music, and technology, as well as a limit to specific geograph…

Enigma and Sound Synthesis

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ENIGMA was the first multimedia piece I created using the rendering features of Final Cut Pro to create animation. The electronic music composed was a combination of sound synthesis using Supercollider, distorting my voice through various audio software, SoundHack, and sounds created using the tar, a hand drum.


I altered the sound clips for ENIGMA by dramatically slowing the speed, creating undulating panning patterns, and adding delays and reverb, to create a constant, slowly morphing musical composition.

ENIGMA has traveled extensively, with screenings in Australia, Cuba, and throughout the United States, with thousands of hits on the net through You Tube.

I have to give a special thanks to Dr. Kristine H. Burns at Florida International University for her painstaking help and advice with creating ENIGMA.

7 Music Essays, Opera and the Power of Words

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In high school I wanted to be a professional musician and a writer when I grew up. I remember sending off short stories to several professional publications (and I still have the rejection letters somewhere). Well, I am still not a bestselling author, but I do enjoy writing about music and even the occasional short story.
I recently published several articles on music technology, music education, and Halloween film scores.

The written word has the means to express ideas that are only felt in music. Combined they can create an incredible powerful force. Maybe that is why I felt compelled to write Libertaria: The Virtual Opera. Opera is the quintessential dramatic form combining music and words. Not only does the audience feel the strains of music ripping at their soul, the words provide a new level that invades their mental space as they absorb sight and sound, creating the nearly perfect art form.

Recent articles include:
New Music Box Article about Digital Music and Collaboration
The S…

Opera Updates: Libertaria Sci-Fi Novel, Free Opera DVDs, Animation Updates

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The modern opera Libertaria: The Virtual Opera is currently in the animation production phase after over a year in music production. The opera cast members, including the diverse talents of Matthew Meadows, Kate Sikora, Perry Cook, and Gretchen Suarez-Peña are wrapping up the final numbers for  Libertaria

For those interested in listening and supporting this innovative sci-fi modern opera, you can download a free copy of the Libertaria Instrumental Albumat Bandcamp.

Join the almost ten thousand visitors who have checked out free digital copies of opera scores and sketches at Scribd:  http://www.scribd.com/3rdmillennium

As part of the exciting launch of Libertaria in 2013, I am writing the full sci-fi novel version of the screenplay to be released through Amazon Kindle. This exciting movie companion book for the animated modern opera will give an inside look into the exciting world of Libertaria. Covering the back stories of opera characters like Lucinde, Simeon, and Gabe, the companion…

Valley of the Shadow: Stop Motion Animation

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Valley of the Shadow was my first complete piece using stop motion animation. The short follows the misadventures of a pink alien and his three eyeballs. The entire movie was completed during spring break in my dorm living area. My roommate was gone for the weekend, and I transformed the living area into a mini-set. Using a large piece of plywood that was leftover from hurricane season, I used trick angles to make the small 3x4 seem like an entire alien universe.
English: The animation disc with a clay animated chick. Intended as a free icon to represent Wikipedia's coverage of Stop motion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most of the materials were bought at the dollar store. The goop was this nasty $1 hair gel that nearly poisoned me with its noxious fumes. After nearly passing out, I realized that I had to use it on a limited basis and could not leave the jars unopened on my table! The trees are plastic spoons I burned on my stove, and the eyeballs are marbles covered in goop and pink …

Jazzing it up in Lawton, Oklahoma

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A 5-string banjo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Had a great time tonight jamming on the congas with the Cameron University/Lawton Community Jazz Band. We played some favorites at the Country-Jazz Fusion Festival held tonight at Cameron University. But the highlight of the night was the toe-tapping alt-folk fusion of The Blackberry Bushes. Their fun tunes combined the best of country, bluegrass, jazz, and even some classical into an energetic and enjoyable listening experience for all.

The Blackberry Bushes website describes the band's music this way: 

The Blackberry Bushes Stringband has that rare magic that allows them to artfully fuse sounds from many genres into a bluegrass instrumentation that retains distinct threads of sonic color. This is a daredevil sound that is delicate,bold, and like their thorny namesake, rooted and growing, growing, growing.

CHECK OUT MORE ABOUT THE BLACKBERRY BUSHES AT: 
http://theblackberrybushes.com/media/music/listen/
It's been a fun week for perfor…

How to Write Spooky Halloween Horror Music!

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Halloween, while not the first slasher film, was the first major box office success in the genre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)This Halloween I had an opportunity to write two fun articles on composing freaky Halloween music. The first focuses on improvisation and the ways that you can use improvisation to create scary film music and gives step-by-step examples of a short scary sound track. Included are tips on creating dramatic effects and logistical issues like timecode.

Enjoy great Halloween film music examples from Psycho, Halloween, and other haunted favorites in the second Halloween film music article at Easy Ear Training.

You can find both Halloween articles (And and a fun free Halloween download) here: www.easyeartraining.com

Have a Happy (and Musical) Halloween!

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