yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
[personal profile] yhlee
A couple friends let me know that talking about composing for orchestra is, in fact, something that might be of some minor interest and also I am taking a break from working on Dragon Pearl while the Dragon borrows my laptop (which is my writing machine), so.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional composer! I did not go to conservatory. I am an interested amateur. My background is seven years of more or less classical piano, including a few years at the Houston Music Institute (relevant because they taught some theory and basic composition), a few years of viola, and years of screwing around on basically every instrument I could get my hands on, including three summers of classical guitar, mandolin, soprano recorder, pennywhistle, ocarina, and diatonic and chromatic harmonica. (Harmonicas actually get pretty complicated, more complicated than I personally can deal with--different tunings, cross-harp, slant-harp, etc. I only know the basics. [1]) This kind of jack-of-all-trades-ism is not great if you want to be a performer, where you really ought to become expert in your chosen instrument(s), but it's not awful if you want to compose.

[1] To anyone who doubts that the harmonica is a "real" classical instrument, I present to you Villa-Lobos' Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra with soloist Robert Bonfiglio [Youtube], which is the recording I used to have before the stupid fucking flood. That's a chromatic harmonica, BTW; you can tell because of the use of the chromatic slide in some of the ornaments. More information. I will FIGHT anyone who tells me the harmonica is not a REAL INSTRUMENT.

Further caveat, I am only discussing Western music. I don't know enough about non-Western traditions to tell you anything useful about them. I compose more or less neoclassically because that's what pleases my ear and I feel no need to be innovative in a technical/theoretical sense. (Schoenberg's twelve-tone system is brilliant from a technical/theoretical sense but I cannot usually stand listening to it except in the limited context of certain kinds of film/TV scoring. I wouldn't listen to it for fun.)

And for yucks, I have perfect pitch, which in almost all contexts is either useless or an active hindrance (I am a suck liar and let's just say that I avoid a cappella performances and first-year string players like the plague--there's such a thing as good a cappella, but unless you are Carnegie Hall good I don't want to risk it), but has limited applications in the realm of music, ahahaha. For most applications relative pitch is hell and away more useful. (I actually get interference between relative and perfect pitch, which sucks.)

Anyway, let's talk a little about the fundamentals of music from the standpoint of composing.

I keep telling people that composing for orchestra is not hard. Composing for orchestra well is hard. Because it's true! It's a lot of things, true, but you can break it down into components. I'll talk a little more about this below.

Music is about patterns--creating tension with different dimensions of pattern, then resolving it. In terms of pitch, you only have twelve of them repeating across various octaves to work with! But because you can combine the pitches in different ways, you can come up with different melodies. Speaking in terms of standard music notation, that's the "horizontal" dimension. And pitch is combined with patterns of rhythm--units of time. cut for length and tl;dr )

Okay, I am out of brain and I'm not sure any of this even makes sense to anyone who is not me. :] I am happy to answer questions (or, if you compose music yourself, talk shop!).

Tired covers it

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:28 pm
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
In the spirit of solidarity with Charlottesville, I went off to laugh at neo-Nazis with 20,000-40,000 of my closest friends, and get labeled an anti-police agitator by our Very Own President, today.

The general idea, as transmitted in one of the orientation sessions I went to, was to show up, stand tall, and nnnnnot let ourselves get drawn into confrontations by the white supremacists, who would be trying their darndest to make this happen.

So I got decked out in my "I stand by my Muslim neighbors" t-shirt and wandered down to Roxbury Crossing, found fairly organized Socialists a-plenty, and got the best poster off them ever. Picture with a new friend from much later in the march, slight content warning for concentration camp imagery:

One cuts pictures. )

They also had lynching ones, but basically I'm squicked by blood and gore, whereas the concentration camp one might well be triggering to some, but it also had people pausing to look at it, nodding to me soberly, and moving on. (I also got several high-fives for the shirt.)

Anyway, I eventually found the actual Black Lives Matter march leaders, plus Tito Jackson (candidate for mayor) doing his best preachin', and then we got started late. (Because, it is a march and it is required.) Soon enough, I stumbled onto my brother and his wife, or more accurately he stumbled across me while admiring my poster, and had marching partners. (I was going to hook up with Dedham Unitarians, but I couldn't find them.)

Since we started late, and because 20,000 marchers move slowly, we missed the so-called "Free Speech Rally" entirely, since they got shuffled off at 1:30 or so, and I wasn't even to the Common by that point, I think.

I did encounter some AntiFa-plus-BLM activists around 3:30 or so down by Park Street T stop, who had found some of the white supremacists who (for agitation reasons) had stuck around. One of them got pizza thrown at him (which almost hit me as I ducked into the convenience store), and then another one was rather literally surrounded by people *entirely* willing to argue with him until the cows came home, so I figured that was pretty much covered and bailed. As it turns out, there was a little bit of violence after that, but not much at all.

About 25 arrests for minor things, and a white supremacist arrested for carrying a gun without a permit or something similar. There were also some people throwing rocks (and bottles filled with piss, wtf?) at the police, sigh. Overall, the police were incredibly helpful during the march, and then got somewhat violent as the day progressed, but they were only slightly more pissy than I expected. Overall, worth thanking.

Link smatterings: Scale of the so-called "Free Speech Rally", as compared to counter-protestors. Roxbury Crossing area, around when things started, some Globe photos.

Dept. of Birthdays

Aug. 19th, 2017 04:33 pm
kaffyr: The Polar Bear from Polar Bear cafe (Polar Bear-san)
[personal profile] kaffyr
August Birthdays That I've Missed Until Now

Aug. 2 marked the birthday of 
[personal profile] tardis_stowaway . I miss talking to her about fandoms we both love - Who, the MCU, Sherlock (I still believe in John/Sherlock/Mary!) - and anything else that catches our interest. She's a good writer, and a lovely person. So, lovely person, I hope you had a good birthday, and I hope the coming year will be good to you; more than good, great. I also hope to see you around these parts soon!

On Aug. 8, 
[personal profile] the_arc5  had her birthday. The last thing she posted over on/here on LJ was a fantastic 2011 commentary on "The God Complex" from Dr. Who; it was fantastic, and I still occasionally reread it, for the keen understanding of humans and the human condition that I think it shows. I don't know what she's doing, or whether she is ever online in this neighborhood. If she is, I hope she accepts this belated birthday wish. 

Then, on Aug. 10, 
[personal profile] hawkmoth  celebrated her birthday. Once again, this is someone I haven't seen around here for a year or so, and someone I'd love to see again. She is a very good fic writer, and she's also an interesting person. If you're out there, or auditing posts from people, I hope you see this, and know that someone who likes you on LJ is wishing you a belated birthday!

A little closer to the actual date, 
[personal profile] stillbrainfried  celebrated a birthday on Aug. 18. She shares my love of the Ninth Doctor, and of Rose; I hope you had an excellent birthday, and that the year to come is good one for you.*



*I know I say that to almost everyone to whom I wish a happy birthday - and it's because I truly do wish that for everyone. 365 days of decency, happiness, support, creativity and, above all, love given, received, and shared; a gift I hope everyone gets on their birthday. 



 

SilverLaceVine of Simmer

Aug. 19th, 2017 08:22 pm
[personal profile] ismo
Yesterday I was so disturbed by the state of things that it was difficult to write anything. I need to just tiptoe away from the internet. The stabbings in Turku were really the last straw. I loved Helsinki and found the Finns I met to be friendly and generous people. For their country to be terrorized, on top of the vile goings-on here, saddened me very much. Also, my mother wasn't feeling well, and my sister was worried, so I had to add more phone calls and emails to the schedule. I called Mother tonight, and I think she's starting to feel better. Yesterday, I felt so bad myself that I was afraid I was coming down with something, just before the eclipse trip! But after a night's sleep, I seem to be feeling better too. I weeded the flowerbed, did more laundry, and repacked my bag. Our flight to Kansas City leaves at 6 am, so we'll be getting up early.

To return to my happy memories of Finland, on Saturday morning, we took the tram to a different part of the city to join a tour of Strange and Unusual Helsinki. Our guide was a funny and charming young artist named Aava Gruhn. She had put together an itinerary of things off the beaten path that she thought would amuse and interest newcomers. Apparently Helsinki is known as a city of theme bars, and we visited quite a few of those, although not all of them were open before lunch. We were quite disappointed not to see Steam Helsinki, a steampunk bar. Aava said they'd had a big party the night before, and were probably too tired to open up just for us. It turned out that the "big party" was the Hugo losers' party! Too bad we hadn't known that the day before! Although, honestly, I think we might have been too tired to traipse over there in spite of the glamor.

We also visited the design district, including this very cool store, Alnilam, which has a website where you can see some of the fascinating things they sell. We saw a crazy old antique store, Weird Antiques. You might almost have thought they knew we were coming, because they had an assortment of toy robots, cool science fictional chrome lamps, and even the kind of toy rocket that you can ride in for a dime. They also had cowboy boots, a stuffed moose head, and quite a few other unexpected artifacts. We climbed up the cobblestone hill--again!--to Church of the Rock. Once again it was not open to visitors, but I didn't care because I didn't want to go in anyway.

We wound up at what I think is Helsinki's only Bollywood bar. I had been looking forward to some bhangra, but alas, they were playing country and western music. We bought our guide a beer and had an interesting chat about her art, life in the boho parts of the city, and TORNADOES. She had been fascinated by tornadoes since she was a small child, and was thrilled to hear about our experiences in all the parts of Tornado Alley where we've lived. When we finished our drinks, she conducted us to the correct bus that would take us back to Messekeskus. She got off at the stop before ours, and en route showed us pictures of her cat. It was a fun excursion into a different view of the city. I wished that we had more time ahead of us to make use of our discoveries.

(no subject)

Aug. 19th, 2017 08:07 pm
agent13: (Default)
[personal profile] agent13
So Dad's making chairs at the Illinois State Fair this weekend. As celebrity endorsements go, I suppose this one isn't bad.


Grandpa Joe Littrell & Smokey Bear

Music Break

Aug. 19th, 2017 04:18 pm
lovelyangel: (Chibi Haruhi)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Kalafina: Into the World Music Video
Kalafina: Into the World Music Video

Because I loves me some Kalafina…

bookspoils!

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:04 pm
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
Returned books to library. Got these from the booksale shelves for 5 cents apiece (they were 1 cent apiece but I told the librarian to keep the 8 cents of change):

- Star Trek tie-in novel Ishmael by Barbara Hambly--I read this a long time ago and like Hambly :)
- Star Trek tie-in novel Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan \o/ I read this a few years back and also thought it was lovely! I'm really thrilled to own my own copy, in decent shape for a library discard even, although it means the library didn't want it anymore. -_-

What are some of your favorite recent libraryspoils/loanspoils/bookspoils?

ETA: Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm sad I woke up from a dream involving an animated TV series of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath. I'm several books behind in that series (at this point I might as well wait until it's all out before rereading the whole thing from the start) but would that not be awesomesauce?!
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
I need to do a con writeup for Worldcon 75 (it was swell) and a trip writeup (it was mostly good) but am still massively jetlagged and wrangling the aftereffects of a horrible migraine yesterday. Blergh.
But I still have updatey things!

Followup from Worldcon panels:
Older Women in Speculative Fiction: Catherine's book and story list of older women as protagonists in science fiction, fantasy and horror. Sidsel Pedersen had turned it into a Goodreads list that you can add to or use to build a reading list of your own. Catherine has a shorter Goodreads list of her reviews of some of the books in the bibliography.

LGBTQ Science Fiction Goes Worldwide -
Catherine's original history of LGBTQ speculative fiction posts here now here. Her updated versions which include more horror and are longer are being posted on a monthly basis on Queer Sci-Fi and her list of speculative fiction with queer female protagonists cane be found here. The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards have a reading list of early works here (see also the award lists) and LGBTQ Reads for more recent works.

Podcasts - I had a two part interview up at author Heather Rose Jones' Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 is my work and Part 2 is book recommendations.

More soon!

Aria in HD!

Aug. 19th, 2017 03:12 pm
lovelyangel: (Akari Ehh?!)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Nozomi Entertainment, a division of Right Stuf, launched a Kickstarter project to put a Subtitled and Dubbed version of Aria the Animation on Blu-ray. It looks like they are uprezzing the DVD source, not remastering from the original materials. Still, Aria scaled to an HD screen would be really nice! Count me in! (I’m a Deluxe Prima.)

The Kickstarter is one week old and has already sped past the initial funding mark and is racing through a series of stretch goals. If more people will jump in, we could get season 2 (Aria the Natural) put on Blu-ray as well!

Don’t know when we’ll get a North American release of the Aria the Avvenire Blu-Ray set. The Japanese Release has no subtitles.
dragoness_e: Raven on the wing (Raven on the wing)
[personal profile] dragoness_e
Three New Orleans museums are admitting people free of charge to their air-conditioned buildings on days forecast to be 95°F or above. Details:

https://noma.org/art-ac-free-admission-noma-august-temps-hit-95-degrees/

Bravo for Fine Arts and basic decency!

The evil Babel fish strikes again

Aug. 19th, 2017 05:48 pm
kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
Alexx: *complaining about how one of his favorite TV shows got cancelled*
Kestrell: Did you just call it Netflakes?
Alexx: No, but I approve of that word.

CalExit is back!

Aug. 19th, 2017 02:17 pm
elf: Sydney Scoville, looking very determined, saying, "Let's do this." (Let's do this.)
[personal profile] elf
Just got an email saying: Calexit relaunches with new leader, new ballot initiative, and a new book
The Yes California Independence Campaign has relaunched with a new president. Marcus Ruiz Evans, a co-founder of Yes California who previously served as the organization’s vice president, has taken the helm.

Among the first actions Evans took in his new role was to close the doors of the organization’s embattled representational embassy and culture center opened last year in Moscow, Russia.
Revised website | Revised propaganda book
They need to file their revised referendum by Aug 22, which is next Tuesday; they're asking for donations for the filing fee. (I am not donating. I'm pretty sure that people with a lot more money to spare than I have support this, and if that's not the case, this is going absolutely nowhere.)

I love the idea; I am entirely certain it can go nowhere. They make a nice case for "How California could work as its own nation;" the whole thing assumes that the rest of the US would let us go. Not gonna happen.

No way is the rest of the nation going to allow us to remove our resources. )

Cats Against Nazis

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:58 pm
rachelmanija: (Heroes: support WGA)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
The rally was fine, though quite small. I imagine there would have been a much bigger turnout if the Nazis hadn't cancelled. One of my neighbors was there!

I went with [personal profile] hederahelix. We are now heading for Clementine.

Here I am with my sign and feline fellows in resistance.



watching The Defenders this weekend

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:25 pm
kore: (Jessica Jones - fucking bubbles)
[personal profile] kore
On ep 2 and the scene where DANNY CANNOT EVEN MAKE A DENT IN LUKE IS AWESOME I ALREADY REWOUND IT TWICE. (and booed when his fist got all glowy)

MISTY AND JESSICA <333

Further spoilers )

Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter are the total MVPs. And they have such great chemistry! Charlie Cox is all right. Finn Jones is terrible, tho.

WHY IS DANNY NOT PLAYED BY LEWIS TAN. ARGH.

Fandom, if I don't see a whole lot of white-hot femslash between Alexandra and Elektra, I'm going to be VERY disappointed.

Non-Cornish pasties

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:00 pm
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)


Clickbait: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/science-of-pie-7-myths-that-need-to-go-away.html

Science: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/cornish-pasty-british-meat-hand-pie-recipe.html

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


Mmmmmmmmm.

I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.


I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...
kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
I'm supposed to bring a picture and, while I can get Alexx to help search, I thought it would be fun to ask for other people's suggestions.

Here is what I want:
It's going to be a bracelet tattoo of a vine of medium to slightly darker green ivy leaves curling around my wrist.

I have small wrists, so I think the width should be no more than 1/2 inch wide.

I want an art nouveau style that curls abit around the wristbones, but I would like a slightly naturalistic touch with some added shading in the darker green.

Added later: I would really like a design that looks like filigree, with curling stems and separate leaves.

I'm undecided about the variety of ivy: I'm leaning toward the heart-shaped leaves--which variety is that? though the more traditional five-lobed ivy leaf is also cool.

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james_davis_nicoll

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