Thursday, September 16, 2010

Updates and addenda

Talking Points

The piece for 'cello and 16 strings is finished, clocking in at around 14 minutes. I was asked for 8 to 10. Imagine if I were an elevator operator. 8th floor, please. Here you are, sir or madam. 14th floor.

It ended up not writing itself, so I had to write it.

The title is Talking Points (Right Wing Echo Chamber). I liked both titles, so I punted to the trailing parenthetical thing to get them both in. Given that construction, though, I could just as well call it Talking Points (Put a Ring On It).

The Computer Changed Everything. Again.

In making my long list of analog tools for score production, I somehow left out a big one: correction tape. I remember shopping at stationery stores and the Correction Tape display being a major one — half-line, one-line, two-line, three-line, four-line and five-line, at the very least. I was well-stocked with one-line, two-line, and five-line. One- and two-line tape was used vertically to replace bits of copying that had gotten smudged or inky. Five-line tape was used horizontally to white out whole staves on standard printed music paper — in order to separate instrument families, soloist, give more line for piano leger lines, etc.

Licking it would also make you high. Or possibly ill. But then you wouldn't be able to use it on a score. On the other hand, you wouldn't care.

Incidentally. A pet peeve of mine, non sequiturially. It's leger lines. Leger! Leger! Leger! Not ledger lines. The word means light, or floating off the staff. It doesn't mean it's a place where you put figures and ciphers. And verily I say unto you, I have never, ever used the word cipher in a sentence before this very day. Alas, the stupido spelling has made it into common usage. When I say common usage, I mean stupid usage. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to help stamp out the stupido spelling. Don't let it keep you on the ege, don't go out on a lege, don't hege your bets, don't be a stool pidgeon, and don't call your ledgislator about it, though. End of rant.

For now.

The first example up to the right there is the master of the first page of my violin concerto (yes, © CF Peters) (I wish I were its master, but you know...), lovingly copied by hand by me in 1983. The paper is 24-line green Dayman Music paper, and there is correction tape blotting out some of the lines, and a few mailing labels providing the extra space for instrument names, etc. It is not smudged or dirty, thus you know it was sprayed with fixative, back in the days when we had an ozone layer.

How now? Moody?

A shared fascination with pickles has emerged recently. When I say fascination, I mean we eat them with great relish (not literally), and very much like spicy pickles when they are done right. Rick somehow knows the Rick of Rick's Picks and when I told him I'd gotten Rick's Picks at the local Whole Foods, and that they did not carry their The People's Pickle, he had some of those and some Mean Beans shipped to my work address. I've never had pickles sent to my work address before. Usually we stand around the faculty mailboxes, mumbling as we get the usual ... lecture on an obscure topic in sociology ... please post this announcement of a summer program in Dubrovna ... the benefits office reminds you that the 15th of this month is we love our benefits day ... applications for research funds for quantitative topics are due on the 6th ... pickles ...

Also due to Rick's anecdotal evidence, I went all around Waterbury, Vermont in search of a local pickle called Duffy's Pickles that he'd bought at the Johnson Writers thingie. They are jarred with jalapeños, which interested me to no end. We showed up at the Waterbury Farmer's Market on the one day of the summer that Duffy's didn't have a booth, and we ended up buying a jar from a woman at a booth who was selling sliced lamb sandwiches.

The Duffy's were good. Even on hot dogs. Especially on hot dogs.

In the webcam picture wherein I prove I've received the pickles, I am wearing a Chicago baseball cap given to me by Gusty Thomas. I had to go all the way to Chicago to get it. I also am apparently proving I brushed my teeth.

'tudes and 'ludes

The stage is set for Prélude #2. Possible palindromic titles are coming in at a rate not seen since the title sweepstakes for the left-hand étude. Thankfully, no one has yet suggested Tooth Toot. Because that would be weird. Much better: Oh, Tooth Toot! Ho!

A Slut Was Tooth Toot, Ere Tooth Toot Saw Tulsa.

Beats the hell out of the MIDI

I have just read a draft of I-Chen's dissertation on me. There are copious footnotes, an introductory chapter that charts the history of the piano étude, and a substantial bibliography. It has 171 pages and 324 footnotes. It is encyclopedic with details on all 100 études (100 comes to those who wait), and it is a fascinating read. Even though it is about me. Especially because it is about me.

I have never advised a dissertation that is this long, and my own was 99 pages, including copious musical examples.

Twenty-two years from now, look for the first dissertations on the Rakowski Préludes. They are totally going to kick the études' ass(es).