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ACDA-Minnesota Interest Session

Posted by on November 17, 2018. 0 comments

Today I presented an interest session titled “Latin American Choral Music” about… yes: Latin American choral music. Clearly, I am not the best at coming up with creative session titles. For anyone that may find it useful, here are the slides I shows and the two handouts. Unfortunately, I gave the presentation without any notes, so I don’t have more to share.

Score samples

Handout and Spanish diction guide

Slides and videos

Behold, the Katzenklavier!

Posted by on August 7, 2009. 2 comments

[The cats] be arranged in a row with their tails stretched behind them. And a keyboard fitted out with sharpened nails would be set over them. The struck cats would provide the sound. A fugue played on this instrument–when the ill person is so placed that he cannot miss the expression on their faces and the play of these animals–must bring Lot’s wife herself from her fixed state into conscious awareness.

Imagine a piano.

Remove all the strings and replace them with cats.

Arrange the cats in a chromatic scale.

When you press a key, a pin hits the designated cat.

Behold, the Katzenklavier!

This is the kind of thing

This is the kind of thing people did for entertainment before television and the internet.

Created in the 17th century by Athanasius Kircher, this instrument was invented with the initial purpose of waking up catatonic patients. It was actually built and used for entertainment purposes.

Here’s the Wikipedia page. Follow the references at the bottom of the page for additional information on this crazy contraption.

Updates start on monday.

Posted by on November 1, 2008. 0 comments

We just got a new computer! Updates start on monday again.

A short break.

Posted by on October 30, 2008. 0 comments

My computer decided to have a complete system malfunction that included smoke, sparks and weird stuff all over the place. It is beyond repair. So, while I get a new machine, I’ll have to take a short break from updating this place.

Don’t buy a stupid Compaq, they are terrible.

The Presidential Candidates and the Arts.

Posted by on October 21, 2008. 2 comments

I’ve been following the American elections very closely. Here in Mexico, a lot depends on what happens in the United States. I was also raised in the USA and lived almost half of my life there, so a lot of it is curiosity. From a professional point of view, I am very interested in the candidates’ stance on the arts. I live in the border states here in Mexico, and there is a lot of artistic and cultural exchange between both countries; a lot of shared projects.

In any case, I found this site. It compares Obama’s and McCain’s record on the arts. Make sure that you click on the specific policies and speeches linked in that document. As a music teacher and artist, it is important to see how each candidate might affect your work and job opportunities.

Uninformed opinion.

Posted by on September 11, 2008. 2 comments

The great irony of the information age is that uninformed opinion has gained a status that it never had before, being widely available to the public. It used to be that a newspaper, magazine or the evening news had a professional academic or journalistic work done behind them. Now, with the Internet, no matter what you believe, you can do a Google search and find someone that agrees with you, even if what you believe is completely unproven and contradicts reality in every way. People can find validation of their own ignorance everywhere.

The same goes for music. It used to be that to get heard by other people, you had to work very hard. These days anyone can tape himself playing the theme from Rach 3, upload the video to YouTube and get 800 comments with half of them saying “OMG, that song is sooo beuutiful!!!!11”.

I do believe that the great benefits of being able to communicate freely outweigh the spread of ignorance.

Given the volume of uninformed opinion out there, it is important to know who is writing that article you read. Perspective is very important. In that sense, I really recommend that you take a quick look at the “About the Author” page, and a quick listen in the “Recordings” page. Most of the things I write on this website are my opinion, and are derived from my own experience, my teachers and my own search into things that I find fascinating. I am still learning every day, and I welcome any suggestions or discussion you may have on these subjects.

I hope you enjoy this website. In the title it says “for the discussion of life and music”. I really hope this site sparks a lot of it.


Posted by on August 18, 2008. 4 comments

Welcome to Allegro Molto.