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Muti conducted at Milan's La Scala (19 years)-- also the London and Vienna Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra. He's a regular guest conductor at the Berlin and New York Philharmonics and Carnegie Hall.

Eliane Elias
Eliane Elias: powerhouse pianist, vocalist, and composer. Her album "Something for You" is a tribute to Bill Evans.


"Music is enough for a lifetime--
but a lifetime is not enough for music."
- Sergei Rachmaninoff

The function of music 
is to release us from
the tyranny of conscious thought.


When "blindfold tests" were popular among jazz critics, record aficionados, and self-styled experts, there were arguments, confusions, debates (and bets) regarding the identity of the performing artists. Duke Ellington shook his head and summed up the situation by saying "If it sounds good, it is good."
Amen to that.

Thelonious Sphere Monk

"Those who want to know what sound goes into my music should come to New York and open their ears."
- Thelonious Monk


Musical instrument extraordinaire:
Here you can see the rythym exgravaganza slated for the Smithsonion Museum? It was a collaborative project of the Music Conservatory and the School of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Students spent six years to set up the alignment, calibration, tuning and computer-generated programs. Many off-beat materials were used in the construction, includinge pvc pipes from irrigation equipment.
You have to see and hear this. Turn on your speakers!

go to Instrument Extraordinaire


Lincoln Center. Photo: David Lamb.

Lincoln Center is the world's largest performing arts center-- home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, New York City Ballet, and the Met.

go to Lincoln Center

go to Jazz at Lincon Center


Darcy James Argue
What's the future sound?
One clue may be Darcy James Argue, 33. His 18-piece steampunk big band, "Secret Society," has captured the hearts of music critics for it's breakthrough sound. No genre atrophy here; no same'ole same'ole. His sound calls for new neuron connectivity.
"Infernal Machine" is his debut recording on the intriguing New Amsterdam label. Newsweek's Seth Colter Walls raved, calling Argue a musical free-thinker with 'wholly original inventions.' New York Times said "Jazz great of tomorrow," and New York's Time Out: called him "The one to watch." 


go to Argue on MySpace


"Play every note as if
your life depended on it."
- Charlie Haden

Neuroscientists Iversen and Patel.

Our Sound Minds

The study of music and the brain is yielding answers. Researcher Aniruddh Patal says: "Humans are the only species to spontaneously synchronize their movements with music and rhythm.

"We’re trying to understand what special aspect of the brain allows it to hear a beat in sound and how the process can shed light on the complex interaction of the sensory and motor systems."

How are our auditory and motor systems coupled?

Rhythm is not just found in music. It’s coherent in all our motions– in speech, walking, dance or any other physical movement.

John Iversen, who is working with Patel at The Neuroscience Institute, says: "Understanding how the brain processes rhythm to aid motion could lead to expanding treatments of Parkinson’s and other movement disorders."

Frequency-tagging is conducted with the aid of a MEG brain scanner, which records how humans perceive the ‘beat’ in music. MEG is the smart way to say  magnetoencephalography.


Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock snagged the Grammy for album of the year. After 40 years of transforming album work, it's about time. We know that the "best album" category is often chosen as a corrective for shortcomings in the past. Jazz is long overdue for that. And Herbie's the man.
The prize went to  "River: The Joni Letters,"  with Joni Mitchell songs sung by Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, and others-- an album of modest sales compared with nominees with millions more.
For a progressive pianist and composer of the first order his Grammy may be a histrory-minded celebration of his role in the 'album culture.' Hancock is also an Oscar winner for the best original score for "Round Midnight."

go to Herbie Hancock

go watch Herbie Hancock play Watermelon Man


The Local Community Radio Act is a must for musicians. Learn more:

go to Free Press Music

go track legislation


Every great hall shapes its distinct sound. Performers and audiences hear it-- feel it.

The Palace of Music in Barcelona was built for singers.

The Sound of Venue
Some of the greatest sounding halls were built in the 19th century when engineering techniques were in their infancy. There was virtually no practical scientific knowledge of acoustics. Many argue that we've been backsliding ever since, despite our sophisticated sound technology.
Standards of Excellence
Devotees of  symphony orchestras know a full sound when they hear it. And they often agree with acoustics pros when rating concert halls. A list of favored sites usually includes Grosser Musikvereinssall (Vienna, 1870), Gewandhaus (Leipzig, Germany, 1885), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, 1895), and Symphony Hall in Boston (1900).
Each of these halls has a great resident orchestra. All were built from standard construction materials of their day, and their interiors share roughly the same aspect and proportions.
Why do these halls surpass those of more recent vintage? That question has been asked for a hundred years--  and the answers have brought us full circle to where we were a century ago.

Meyerson Symphony Hall, Dallas.

Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.

more on Disney Conert Hall

Bright or mellow?
Your choice.
Our ears are accustomed to hearing the everyday mix of radiated and reflected sound. Radiated sound from the primary source sets the volume level– and we're not really aware of reflected volume.

At a concert we are quieter, calmer, and concentrated-- so our perception of subtleties is higher. For the sound to seem natural, the proportion of the two volume levels needs to be lowered.

If the equalization of a hall is correct, sound from the stage will reach the audience in the same volume relationship, without distortion.

Sounds radiates differently, depending on vibrations. Lower vibrations radiate almost equally in all directions. Higher vibration frequencies radiate directly in a straight line.

Ideally, a concert hall is designed so that high frequencies coming from reflective surfaces are subdued– thus mellowing the sound.A hall’s characteristic acoustic is determined by the first reflection of a radiated sound. If the volume of the reflected sound is loud enough to be perceived by the listener, there is reverberation– which is always a problem.

In ‘bright’ halls, hard accents and biting attacks sound overly harsh and stringent, and musicians have to ‘tamp down’ to be listenable. In ‘mellow’ halls, musicians are able to play full out for a big tone in a wide range of dynamics.The pertinent factor is time. The interval between the arrival of sound and it’s bounce is a function of the size and shape of a hall.

Size and Shape

It would be great if acoustical engineers could measure the time interval between the first arrival of direct sounds and the next few arrivals of reflected sounds, with their volume levels. But it’s impossible to establish a single reflection time because audience members sit at different distances from the reflective surface of ceilings, side walls, back walls, and the wall behind the performers. And the arrival of reflected sounds are so close together they can’t be registered separately. On paper, the result is a blur.

Sound science can only go so far. When architects and acoustic pros team up, the synthesis of their disciplines, historical knowledge, detailed models, computer simulations, and hunches fill the gap of imperfect testing.


Acoustic testing chamber.
Anechoic chambers isolate external sound. The idea is to create an echo-free space with minimum reflected sound and reverberation.
(say an-a-KOE-ik)

In 1951, composer John Cage entered Harvard's anechoic chamber. He expected to hear nothing. Instead he heard what he believed to be the sound of his own bloodflow and nervous system. The experience inspired his composition, 4'33".

Pioneer chamber at McIntosh

Anechoic chambers are used for designing recording studios, testing audio equipment, and other sound-analysis purposes, such as testing hearing aids.

TDK anechoic chamber

Rock Bands carry their sounds with them. Amplified electronic instruments will trump a hall's natural acoustics.


Diana Krall / Mrs. Elvis Costello

"If I fell under the spell of your call I would be caught in the undertow. So you see, I've got to say No No; all or nothing at all."
It's the last verse in the Lawrence/Altman tune from 1939, and a keeper in Krall's repertoire. Well, she had to say yes to Elvis (they were married in December '03) and, happily, she has not been pulled out to sea.

more on Diana Krall

go to Diana Krall


Pianist Bill Charlap

The complete musician. 
Breathtaking soloist and renowned vocal accompanist also has a great trio. His latest CD release  is "Bill Charlap Plays George Gershwin." Listen and learn, and say SHAR-lap.

go to Bill Charlap

more on Bill Charlap

more on Charlap's Trio


Enter Accujazz, the world's only multi-channel mainstream jazz radio statiion. It really delivers. Click and listen.

go to Accujazz


Science and music share a common language of vibrations
Ancient cultures understood this and modern physics is filling in the blanks.

more on ancient vibrations


"If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music."
- Gustav Mahler

When the lights dimmed
at the Carlyle.

Bobby Short (1924-2005)

Anyone who knows the delight of a cabaret knows that the Carlyle Hotel on New York City’s Upper East Side houses the gem– that paneled room of murals wherein the elegant Bobby Short sat at the Baldwin grand and sang his heart out for 35 years.

more on Bobby Short

go to Bobby Short interview on NPR


Symphony conductor Joseph Eger merges Physics and Music.

Symphony conductor Joseph Eger's Notes on Music, Physics, and Social Change:

more on "Einstein's Violin"

Violinist Albert Einstein.



The Acoustical Society of America keeps an inventory of sounds-- from whales to fire ants to cellos.

go to ASA sounds


Pandora is a personal internet radio choice.
It's the end result of the hugely ambitious Music Genome Project which classified all known music into hundreds fo specific dynamic categories and artists. You'll find your music here.

go to Pandora

go to the Music Genome Project


Amy Winehouse
British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse won 5 grammies for "Rehab" and topped the UK album charts with "Back to Black." She died of a drug overdose in July 2011.

go to Amy Winehouse


Illustration: Thomas Ehretsmann

David Bowie triumphs with "The Next Day," an album that reflects back and charges into the future with "The Stars Are Out Tonight."

go to Bowie in The Rolling Stone



An astonishing history of the 20th century as told through its music:
Alex Ross is an award-winning music critic and author of "The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century" and "Listen to This."
Both demonstrate such a sweeping knowledge, insight, and passion that his books are not just exciting for a music lover to read, but have become instant classics in music and cultural history. 
From a critic for The Economist: "He has an almost uncanny gift for putting music into words." Geoff Dyer, in his New York Times Review, wrote "Ross enables us to listen more hearingly."
Ross is also generous with his readers in sharing external links. Here are two that you will find nowhere else.

go to Glossary of Music Vocabulary

go to Access to Music Critics and Music Sites



Demise of CDs.

The descent of the compact disc has been swift. Tower, Borders, Virgin, and other music chains have shut down, iTunes is now the world’s biggest music retailer, and streaming services like Spotify are on the rise.

Digital sales first outstripped CD sales in 2011. Accelerated discount pricing for discs continues to push down profits. (Plus, practically speaking, there’s a common aversion to scratches and cracks in the damnable euphemistically-called ‘jewel cases.’)

A major label executive says "We’re not in the CD business– we’re in the music business. Anyone still betting their future on the CD aspect of the business is toast."

Some regional and local retailers are ‘hanging in.’ The California chain Amoeba Music still sells hard copies to customers who don’t see the point of paying a dollar for a song or a single cut of an album in mid-air.

Older music fans are still filling out their collections of physical objects. Walmart and Target are restoring floor space for CD displays. And there’s still a market for deluxe versions of hits with bonus tracks or DVDs on Amazon.

But the overall assessment is that there’s no more than three to five years left in the CD market after which they will spend their ‘retirement’ as collectors' items, nudging over the 45's and LPs.


Anthony Smith, keyboard wizard and composer-lyricist phenom.

Anthony Smith's jam band, Trunk Fulla Funk, owns its rock'n soul groove. In "Life As We Know It," Smith wrote, arranged, and mixed all 13 tracks-- giving the piece a searing, rhapsodic cohesiveness.

Walt Williams, on lead vocals, is reminiscent of the sweetness of early Stevie Wonder-- but with a knowing street angst. The album's title comes straight from the musicians' stories. Lyrics are deep and searing-- expressing the dreams and energies of a working, traveling musician in an often tuned-out nation.

Smith's dazzling keyboard artistry is heard on acoustic piano, the Hammond B-3, Fender Rhodes, Werlitzer, and the Korg M-3 and MS-2000. He's way past a triple treat.

go to Anthony Smith


Lyrical photography of Jatin Kampani

"Jazz is a spirit. It is freedom. It is reality put into musical form. It will never leave until this planet leaves."
- Sonny Rollins

"It's the hidden things, the subconscious that lies in the body and lets you know. You feel this; you play this."
- Ornette Coleman


Carnegie Hall's program "Music Explore" is for 1st and 2nd graders. The kids have an opportunity to visit the hall for exposure to the world of artists. They sing songs, learn about instruments and are immersed in the pleasure of music. Someone in the group may be one of tomorrows great artists.


Bands in the post-hardcore underground in the 80's and 90's were LOUD. Few players wore earplugs. Thundering loudness amped up adreneline. Extreme volume was macho even though ears were roasting from the decibels. Equally dramatic was the feedback which could induce near-emesis.
Pat Mahoney, drummer for LCD Soundsystems says that his surrounds were so loud and his ears so fatigued that he began to feel as if his auditory nerves were 'snow blind.' Through the cacophany he couldn't identify the sounds.
Now these musicians must be wary of stumbling because of the deranged whorls of plumbing in their ears that govern balance.
There is nothing to hear-- except a continually ringing tone. And when they try to speak over it, they have to  shout to hear themselves. When they're in a crowded room they shout to be heard.
Guitarist Jon Fine says he "gave his ears to rock and roll," although he accepts the physical penalty without complaint.  Sometime he cranks up the volumne to hear music--- and hopes that nothing too bad will happen.

go to protect hearing


Rock off?
Conert attendance is dropping, ticket prices are dipping, and artists are cancelling shows.
'Live Nation,' the world's largest show promoter, controls 40 of the nation's amphitheaters-- with each holding about 20 thousand fans. What a bummer when the place is less than half full. Competitor 'AEG Live' specializes in indoor arena shows, and it too is finding it harder to fill the house.
Since a big piece of revenue goes to performers, promoters typically jack up the price of parking, food, and drinks to make ends meet. Reasonable prices and terrific venues are the way to go. Anything less will finish off business.
In the world of I-Phones, I-Tunes, YouTube, Bluetooth, Twitter, and a dazzling array of local bands, the big promoters can no longer sit back and take success for granted.


Conductor Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein's legacy and reputation have only grown since his death. Carnegie Hall recently honored him with a festival: "Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds." His children have donated his composing studio to Indiana University, where it will be recreated.
Music lovers around the world are celebrating the 90th anniversary of his birth. The Joy of Music lives on.

go to schedule of events

more on Lenny Bernstein


Remembering John Lennon:
"Sometimes you wonder, I mean really wonder. I know we make our own reality, and we always have a choice, but how much is preordained? Is there always a fork in the road, and are there two preordained paths that are eqully preordained?
"There could be hundreds of paths where one could go this way or that way-- there's a choice, and it's very strange sometimes."
- John Lennon,
December 5,1980 interview with Jonathan Cott of Rolling Stone.

go to Rolling Stone and listen to the interview


Wynton Marsalis: musician, educator, and activist.
The arts are revenue-and job-generating dynamos. They deserve more recognition and support.
As Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis is a vital force in boosting public support of the arts. His keynote speeches often have more notes than words-- for he mixes text and trumpet to elucidate the collective treasure of our music.
In a recent lecture entitled "The Ballad of American Arts," he told how "arts make us into one people, to teach us who we are." He illustrated key points with his quintet. The next day he testified before Congress to lobby arts appropriations.

more: transcript of Wynton Marsalis speech "The Ballad of American Arts"

go to Wynton Marsalis


Suntory Hall, Tokyo. Click to enlarge.

Virtual tours of concert halls:

more on the sound of venue


Jazz Heritage Center in San Francisco.
Rebirth of the Cool
San Fraincisco has a new Historic Jazz Preservation District-- and, after 20 years of struggle, a Jazz Heritage Center with a "Lush Life Gallery" of art, a screening room, and a jazz history center. Executive Director Peter Fitzsimmons says "We're celebrating the past but we're advocating the future of jazz." It's in a multi-use complex at the corner of Fillmore and Eddy in a 13-story building with condos, underground parking, Yoshi's Jazz Club, and the Blue Mirror restaurant. Lots of sparkle and pizzazz.

go to Jazz Heritage Center

go to Yoshi's jazz club

What are the words to that song?
You can search song lyrics by title, artist, and lyricist. Type in the title and  lyricist and search "lyrics." Odds are you'll find those words.

Beethoven on You-Tube

go to Appassionata, 3d movement by Claudio Arrau

go to Symphony No.9, Herbert von Karajan, conductor

go to Triple Concerto for violin, cello, and piano: Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Daniel Barenboim

Lyricist-singer Sara Tavares

Portuguese guitarist, singer, and songwriter Sara Tavares is rocking Europe with her zizomba. Use OUR LINKS  to sample tunes from Africa, the Middle East, Oceania, South America, Asia, and points in between. Listen to dozens of genres from A (aboriginal) to Z (zydeco).
Enjoy the world's music!

go to Global Music

go to World Connections

go to World Music at National Geographic



The nitty-gritty of acoustics:  

A pianist strikes a key and sound radiates in all directions. The shortest path leads to the listener’s ear. The first reflected sound bounces from piano to wall to ear like the trajectory of a billiard ball a fraction of a second later.

The ideal time delay for that reflected wave is about .025 second after the direct hit. That delay, multiplied by the speed of sound in air (eleven-hundred feet a second) says that the detour to the wall should add an extra 27 feet to the wave's path. This helps to figure the ideal size of a concert hall.

The immediacy of sound to the listener is enhanced when the nearest reflecting surfaces are close by. (Balconies often offer the best seats in the house because they're closer to the ceiling.) 

Any delay above a tenth of a second is perceived as an echo. The best fullness-of-sound experience for a listener is to receive many reflections at very short term intervals from all directions.


Philip Glass

Composer Philip Glass travels to soak up the sounds of music. His recent symphony was inspired by the music of the Toltec people of central Mexico. The piece lasts a mere 30 minutes, a short 'sit' compared to his five-hour "Einstein on the Beach."

more on Philip Glass

"I want to lose myself more and more in the bliss of the music. Not only do I benefit from the intoxication, but the audience resonates with their own bliss. In this way, the music wakes us all to who we really are."
- Kenny Werner

"Only art and science
give us intimations
and hopes . . .
of a higher life."
- Ludwig Van Beethoven  
"You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it."
- Duke Ellington


Great Performers

Donald Fagen

Fagen doesn't quit. His new album "Morph the Cat" puts him back in the Steely Dan groove. Amen to that. We need his good vibes now more than ever.

go to Nightfly Trilogy

go to BBC review

From the Boston Globe: Steely Dan's detached cool still plays well. "Supreme cool is an ineffable quality. But you know it when you see it, or hear it, and Steely Dan -- a.k.a. singer-keyboardist Donald Fagen, guitarist Walter Becker, and, this time out, 10 sublime servants of a singular legacy -- had it in spades during a sharply focused two-hour performance." 


High-powered Quintet

Pianist and Former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, is a prominent amatuer musician and performs with her chamber group at least twice a month. From left: Soye Kim, Joshua Klein, Robert Battey, and Lawrence Wallace.


House of Blues in Chicago

The Blues  moved from the fields of Louisiana to Congo Square in New Orleans (now called Armstrong Park). Then the music traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, and up the Illinois River to Chicago, where it settled into its northern outpost and found its home. In Chi town the great blues bands play with grit.

The House of Blues venue sits next to the corncob building at the Chicago River and serves up Cajun. When local bands let loose it’s as real as it gets. Try to catch "Skip Towne & the Greyhounds."

Skip Towne and the Greyhounds' ROAD WORKS LIVE

go to hear Skip Towne


Birds tweeting? Glass breaking? Foghorn? Maynot be music to your ears-- but, you can search the web for hundreds of sounds.

go to Find Sounds


Enjoy jazz festivals?


Riccardo Muti  is music director and conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which he led to open the 2013 season of Carnegie Hall with Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana."
His thoughts on conducting:
"Because you are in front of fantastic musicians they know exactly what you're doing.
"They have their own ideas about the interpretation, so the conductor has to bring the musicians to his ideas-- not necessarily convincing them that it is the only possible idea or the only good idea-- but that this is one possible idea so convincing that-- they can follow you."
The Italian conductor mastered Latin and Greek in university; his musical trajectory was from violin to piano to conductor. He was music director of the Milan Symphony at La  Scala for nineteen years.


go to Muti interview on Charlie Rose

go to Muti on Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" on YouTube

go to Riccardo Muti site

Chicago Symphony Hall

go to Chicago Symphony Orchestra

go to listen and watch Muti in Chicago


Sonny in his 'zone.'

Theodore Walter Rollins, aka Sonny Rollins, aka Colossus, has been thrilling audiences for more than six decades. His musical evolution is the story of 20th century jazz, and beyond. He was named a Kennedy Center Honoree on his 81st birthday. It's about time.

Barack Obama awards the National Medal of Arts to Sonny Rollins.

Thank you Sonny,
The sound of Sonny Rollins' tenor sax is known around the world-- live and recorded. Sometimes he takes a break from performing to rethink and rewind, then returns to center stage recharged with wise nuance. Personal and musical growth are as one.
He makes huge demands on himself and has always been a striver. Never on automatic, he goes deep into majesty. When he becomes profoundly immersed in his groove, he's in another place. Some writers call it 'grandeur.'
Music critic Stanley Crouch tried to dig to the core in a New Yorker profile of Rollins. In it he wrote:
"Over and over, decade after decade, from the late seventies through the eighties and nineties, there he is. Sonny Rollins, the saxophone colossus, playing somewhere in the world, some afternoon or some eight o'clock somewhere, pursuing the combination of emotion, memory, thought, and aesthetic design with a command that allows him to achieve spontaneous grandiloquence.
"With its brass body, its pearl-button keys, its mouthpiece, and its cane reed, the horn becomes the vessel for the epic of Rollins' talent and the undimmed power and lore of his jazz ancestors."
(Stanley Crouch)
Listen to Rollins-- to his instrument and his voice. Learn about his life, which began in Harlem, 1930. Check out his astonishing discography.

go to Rollins on Wiki

go to Sonny about 'being in his zone'

go to sonny talking about playing with the Big Boys.

go to German interview about practicing on a bridge


In Memoriam
What does it take to be designated a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress? Well, for starters, be Dave Brubeck.


At 90, considering his family, career, and musical legacy, Dave Brubeck says "I'm very fortunate."

"Take Five" remained a top seller all of his life.
Brubeck said his desire to play music for audiences was even greater than being in his favorite place (home)... so he continued to travel the world at age 90. And he  received our nation's applause at the 32d Annual Kennedy Center Honors. In his last year he felt rejuvenated, and, as usual, looking forward to his next concert. Alas, we lost him; he died in 2012.
Look for Turner Classic Movies of Bruce Ricker's documentary "Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way," executive-produced by Clint Eastwood. Columbia Records has released a two-disc set, "Legacy of a Legend."

Eastwood and Brubeck in their own sweet way. Photo Hank O'Neal, AP

Brubeck was born in Concord, California. His father was a cattle rancher and his mother was a piano teacher. After leading an Army band in Europe during World War II, Brubeck studied under French composer Darius Milhaud, who encouraged Brubeck to go into jazz.

His landmark 1959 album "Time Out" was the first jazz album to sell a million copies on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Its centerpiece, "Take Five," was a tour de force in 5/4 time by sax-playing Brubeck sideman Paul Desmond.

more Brubeck interviews with Gene Seymoure and John Soeder

go to Dave Brubeck

go to NPR Piano Jazz with Dave Brubeck and Marian McPartland (58 min.)

go to Brubeck jam session at the Blackhawk in San Francisco


Paul McCartney at 65

"When I'm 64" was a great song. But Paul had no idea of the reality of it. Sir Paul McCartney will turn 70 in June 2013 and he's rethinking his lyrics and the poetry of longevity.
"Memory Almost Full," is his song mix on the Starbucks label. From the track "Ever Present Past:"
"I hope it isn't too late - searching for the time that has gone so fast - the time that I thought would last - my ever present past - I've got too much on my mind - I think of everything to be discovered - I hope there's something to find."
He's found it.

McCartney at 69, at the Grammy Awards.

Another big year. Cover story in Rolling Stone, marriage to Nancy Shevell, and release of jazzy standards and some originals on "Kisses on the Bottom,"with music director Diane Krall.


Music of the Spheres:


Pythagoreans composed music based on the mathematical ratios of heavenly bodies.

Greek philosopher Pythagoras, circa 500 B.C.

Pythagoras taught harmony of body, mind, and spirit at his academy in Crotona. He linked the math of music to the stars in the sky. It is thought that he picked up ideas about cosmology from Babylonians during travels to the East early in his life.

From the cosmos he drew a structure of moral principles and numerical relationships. In the sun and moon he found math ratios in concordance with musical intervals and meters. A millennium later his notions were revisited as "the music of the spheres."

The polyphonic music in the medieval and high gothic eras in Europe was based on a tuning system of 12 notes in perfect fifths. Called the "Pythagorean Theorem," it was grounded in math.

The renaissance brought about the "meantone" tuning system, with more emphasis on thirds and sixths. But still, through countless styles and centuries, the philosopher Pythagoras has been idealized and credited for laying the groundwork on the music-math connection.


Kenny Werner, author of "Effortless Mastery."

"There is no failure in music."
- Kenny Werner

go to Kenny Werner Live


"Music is what you notice when it's no longer in your presence."
- Pat Metheny


Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Click to enlarge.
Preserve and Protect:
Archiving Sounds for the 25th century.
Digitizing archivists and curators are racing to save sound, preserve film, audio, print and broadcast media. They're seeking safe storage and are alert to disaster preparedness.
The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is the new home of the national broadcasting archives-- storage for tapes of radio and television programs of both film and magnetic media. And everything is archived in digital format.  "Media Experience" traces the history of Dutch broadcasting, and the building itself is spectacular.
It's part of an international movement to fund the preservation of media from its beginnings. The National Media Museum in the U.K. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York are two examples of efforts to educate and promote the appreciation of photography, sound recordings, cinema, television, and radio.

go to slide show of NISV

go to Australia's Film and Sound

go to Nat'l Media in U.K.

go to ARL Sound Savings

About the building:

Inside the Insitute for Sound and Vision

In a world saturated in advertising and marketing images, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is a heroic statement of architecture's stature.
A cube wrapped in a skin of cast glass panels, it is mesmerizing from any angle. The interior volume is a luminous public atrium.
The recording archives are stacked around a deep canyon in the five levels underground. The media museum and the media center, one of the largest audio/video archives in Europe, are located within the five levels above ground.
Architects Willem Jan Neuteling and Michiel Riedijk are the wizards responsible for this wildly popular spot in Hilversum, near Amsterdam. The facade is a screen of colored relief glass depicting famous images of Dutch television.

go to slideshow of the NISV

go to views of the NISV


The word `musician' has a deeper meaning than that used in our culture. In the old world, a musician stood at the gateway to the gods.

We can't see or touch it. Language often fails to describe the vagaries of sonic textures:

Acoustics as a 'Black Art'

There are a lot of nonsense reviews by critics. With all the unknown variables in concert hall acoustics, many writers’ descriptions are goofy-- pure hokum. Davies Hall in San Francisco is hailed by some and panned by others. The mass of ‘report cards’ on any given  hall is a pile of vague, confusing, and contradictory subjective opinions by people who consider themselves experts.

Here is a doozie written by the great Viennese architect Adolf Loos in 1912... Seems he’s something of a spiritualist:

"In the mortar live the sounds of great composers. The music of our symphony orchestras impregnate the building materials, causing mysterious changes in the molecular structure, as in the wood of old violins. But brass instruments have a bad effect, and military music played in the Bösendorfer Hall could ruin its acoustics within a week. For the same reason, opera houses have poor acoustics on the side where the brass players sit."


Bob Dylan in 1963 - Don Hunstein
Bob Dylan is a prolific song man, a lyricist who nudges his words into tunes until he likes a particular mesh of language and sound.
In 1962 he cut his first album-- and 44 years later comes his 44th album: "Modern Times." 
He thinks his best sounds were his mid-sixties albums-- Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and  Blonde on Blonde-- because he liked his voice better then. His vocal chords may be wearing down but his songwriting still nails his 'sound.' And with more than 500 songs to his credit, he's still at it.
"He not busy being born is busy dying."
- Bob Dylan

"Music is the ultimate teacher."
- Vasily Kandinsky, painter.

Thelonious Sphere Monk

Thelonious Sphere Monk lived up to the mystical connotations of his name. He was a pensive composer, preoccupied and absorbed by his music. Quiet and somnolent by nature, he often gave the impression that he was asleep when he was thinking. And he was famously reticent in interviews.

But oh, he got excited when he was at the piano. He’d work through progressions and rhythms for days on end to the exclusion of everything else. He said he "dug the stuff out." But he left it to other musicians to package the goods and deliver it to the audience.

Continue by clicking the link below, and read the 1964 Time Magazine cover story on Monk by Barry Farrell.

more on Monk

"Anybody can play a composition and use far-out chords and make it sound wrong. It's making it sound right that's not easy."
- Thelonious Sphere Monk


Metropolitan Opera, New York City, 1883.

Divas, tenors, and bel canto fireworks coming to the multiplex near you:

Peter Gelb, the new general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, is a tech-savvy former record company executive who wants to make opera more accessible and coax populist appeal.

Not ‘preaching to the converted,’ he’s luring younger audiences by revamping the Met’s media reach.

So the Met is opening its archive of 1400 radio performances for streaming and downloading. Its music will be on satellite radio and on-demand cable. And live opera simulcasts are headed to theaters in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.

The sight and sound of the Met will be in about 300 movie theaters– in spectacular high definition and surround sound. Tickets will sell for about 18 dollars– a deal considering that tickets at the 4,000-seat Met go for as high as $320.

The 125-year-old Met is also forging an advertising campaign, spending half a million to plaster New York subways with ads for ‘Madama Butterfly.’ Nothing stuffy or highbrow about that.

go to the Met's broadcasts and recordings

San Francisco Opera


Superb links

Dave Brubeck. Photo: Carolyn Cole of the Los Angeles Times.
The Gleaming Lights of the Souls, painting by Yayoi Kusama.
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, in HIlversum. 2007.

Remain curious.