Monday, December 12, 2011

Guidelines for Compsing Music

  1. Develop ideals to aim for, unless they cause so much stress that focus is lost.
  2. Write at least two ideas per session, and have sessions as many days in a row as possible.
  3. What you have to say is more original than what you find impressive. Aim for the closest approximation of your imagination before it begins to bore you.
  4. Compose out of the corner of your mind's eye, in the periphery.
  5. Be careful chasing something new for too long, when you will be tempted to save energy by replacing it with a pattern that cannot compare.
  6. Map sounds to different parts of the body, with the head representing the highest octave and the pelvis the lowest, and experiment with imagining ideas, emotions, and melodies originating in these places, or cloning themselves with small variations in each place. Develop ideas in a small area first to see them in their entirety, then enlarge it to the whole body to work out the details.
  7. Don't react to a feeling of uncertainty until your idea is fully elaborated. What seems dull at one moment can make sense in the end.
  8. Listen to silence as attentively as you would listen to melody.
  9. Extract rules from good music and try variations on them.
  10. Listen to music you don't like, and ignore/break all the rules it definitely obeys, first in your mind while it plays, and later while sitting down to compose.
  11. Play in a band with to learn about harmony, timing, loudness, how long or short to make notes.
  12. Keep returning to that instant where a melody seems to begin expressing itself without any help.  
  13. When composing, abbreviate thoughts to free up all but the essential underlying emotion and style/personality, rather than the music explicitly. This takes some trust in the original idea.
  14. Make bold changes that go against your sensibilities, or else your music will be dull and lifeless.
  15. Represent sounds by a vocabulary (e.g. "masculine" or "dark" or "cheesy") and challenge yourself to develop the more ugly ones instead of neglecting them.
  16. Plan your work so you are constantly switching between  opposing concepts in your mind while you do it, high and low, loud and soft, simple and complex, happy and sad etc. In other words, don't try to make every part of the song have an identical personality.
  17. The pleasure of seeing inspiration following through into form can compromise your judgement, so it takes a lot of willpower to keep polishing an idea.
  18. Learn from videos and books that teach you the mechanics of the instrument or program.
  19. Use shortcuts but remind  yourself now and then that they aren't always necessary.
  20. Imagine and compose from ideas more complex than you think you can remember.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Governor Parry Isn't American

Hardly any context, so this doesn't count as cherry picking (emphasis mine):

"I am also the product of a place called Paint Creek... You see, as Americans we’re not defined by class, and we will never be told our place...we’re going to stand with those who stand with us, and we will
vigorously defend our interests." -- From his announcement speech

 The contradictions are as follows:
is a "product" cannot be told his place
not defined by class belongs to group who look out for their interests

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Progressive Hopes and Neoliberal Leaders

Obama let down a lot of people, and now he's reportedly reaching out to Republicans through Twitter. So since this is my blog, and the older "folks" I know are shying away from this mess, I'm going to get a little serious again.

I wrote these hopes because I believed in the person of Obama, that his promises were sincere, not just some Wilsonian democracy bullcrap. They were all the hopes and dreams that a good person should fight for, someone with more wits than me. Maybe I'll find a way to congratulate him when I study this further, but I doubt it.

We flipped around from MSNBC to ABC to WGN to FOX. FOX was definitely the least excited about the election, I presume since they're all Republicans. All the analysis of what's to come really, other than people saying we need to keep at it and stay involved to keep the country moving in the right direction, was pretty dull.

I think some stations went a little overboard with their virtual pens drawing on the map. That and all the people calling swing states "battleground states," using phrases like "ground game" or "hail mary." (sic) I think the sports metaphors belittle the signifigance (sic) of the event. It's not just two teams seeing who is better, its about the future of the country.

I hope the media starts covering international issues more thoroughly now that the election is over. People need to know about what's going on in the world, and it will be so sad if we just revert to covering what food Obama is eating or whether he gets a dog or not, or what Mr Unlicenced (sic) Plumber is up to. And I hope they give a voice to the anti-war movement, and that that voice belongs to someone who can make powerful emotional arguments. It might be beneficial to have a conservative leaning mainstream media, since the conservatives want to go after Obama hard on foreign policy, which will automatically require the antiwar opinion.

I hope he goes beyond Columbia and Brazil in South America, and reaches out to the fledgling democracies down there. I also hope he increases aid to Africa and Afghanistan. I don't see how more troops is going to neccesarily (sic) help, but I think the international community will speak out. I hope he will care about public opinion in the countries we deal with, and understand that neither Iran nor Al-Qaeda is as much of a threat as the homegrown right-wing nationalists who support radical militaristic foreign policy.

It really will be interesting to see what happens to the Republican Party. Will it become more pragmatic or more radical? Will the Republican to Democrat (sic) converts negatively or positively affect the Democratic Party? I have hope, but I think in a sense we got lucky finding someone as incredible as Obama, and we might not be so lucky next time, and I think many hardcore Republicans are counting on us not being so strong in the future. So I think we have to prove them wrong, we have to organize a movement that goes beyond the republic to a true democracy. Let's hope that happens.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When We Say Security, We Really Mean Coup and Terror

I don't remember reading all that much about Honduras recently in the New York Times, even though at least one Congressman was happy to warn of what a "strongman" like Zelaya might do there (if we didn't support the coup). But the "unity government" that we helped install is accused of shooting on peaceful protestors.

Reading the foreign press turns up something interesting in regards to the war in Libya. The threat of "bloodbath" which Obama keeps referencing was first stated by the government of Oman, namely, "Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs" Yusuf bin Alawi . Now I can't read this squiggly text:

وأعلنت دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي تأييدها لفرض حظر جوي على ليبيا، لكنها شددت على ضرورة موافقة الجامعة العربية، وناشدت دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي الدول العربية الأخرى «تحمل مسؤولياتها لوقف حمام الدم»، معتبرة أن القذافي بات الآن «غير شرعي».

..but Google can:

"[bin Alawi] announced that the GCC support for a ban air strike on Libya, but stressed the need for the consent of the Arab League, and appealed to the GCC countries and other Arab «carry out its responsibilities to stop the bloodbath», saying that Gaddafi is now «illegal»."
If Obama is serious about peace, he should clue in Congress about this prophetic ruler, who can even read the mind of another ruler countries apart and dictate his legitimacy. Then the Congressmen can relay their understanding to the public and we can tell the world that we shouldn't be messed with when we think about bombing for freedom.

Realized I got a big haughty here. And on another blog, I made the stupid mistake of looking at Gadaffi's troops and saying they don't look like killers. But our involvement is hard to justify still, since we bombed a heck of a lot of civilians in Libya, even intentionally (like their press), going way beyond prevention of a bloodbath to participating in one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Hive" Culture

Government nonsense:
  • We bombed Libya into an "Odyssey Dawn" but we "don't spike the football."
  • Our war is allegedly about protecting civilians (Obama). We protect them by bombing the state television workers.
  • The dozens of "brave"  (Obama) Navy Seals who attacked Osama's house trained for weeks on a replica, and chose not to arrest him, but to shoot him in the head.
Newspaper nonsense:

  • Osama is "irrelevant" to others so let's write, write, write about him. (NYT editorial)
  • Interpersonal morality in relations to a war against the "cancer" (Obama) in the Middle East doesn't "scale up" (NYT Op-ed).
  • Violent intimidation is "more than justice" even if the robes are stained with blood and not "urine" (WSJ's Peggy Noonan)
I hope people will write to these papers so they are at least tempted by humane perspective. As for government, I don't have a vote "teed up" for any Democrat involved in war and assassination.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Newsweek's Alter Should Be Haunted By His Own Humiliating Failure to Conquer Delusions

    "Members of the suppressed class are equated with those who are racially alien." -- Willhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism (p. 93)

    Being one of the first-- if not the first-- to write a historical analysis regarding the recent "heinous act" in Arizona, Jonathan Alter should be commended. But the shooting of several people, including a judge and United States Representative, cannot be so simply dismissed as a victim of the country's "refusal to confront the stigma of mental illness"  which is evident in the assassin, Jared Laughner,who "felt aggrieved by what he considered to be [Representative] Gifford's failure to answer a question he asked..." unless we are to read the piece as an exercise in futility. Despite the "rogues' gallery" timeline on the bottom of the page which describes some American assassins as people who either "dabbled in the occult while searching for a church," read "radical literature but never joined a political group," lived a "vivid fantasy life" or who "resembled his global peers," (a reference to the pro-slavery assassin, John Wilkes Booth), "American assassins," Alter writes, are "peculiar stalkers defined less by ideology than vague political and personal grievances." They are different in that those of "other countries"  are "nearly always associated with extremist movements, religious fundamentalism, or criminal organizations." Alter's distinction is averred with no supplied evidence.

    In his borderline racist conception of the world there are innocent, confused Americans on the one hand, and foreign zealots on the other, who are presumed to be too stupid to realize they are on the wrong side of mainstream American culture. We don't value "killing political leaders as a better form of self-expression," Alter writes, but instead merely must find ways to prevent the occasional violence by promoting the "funding and laws" needed for silencing what is "most likely a cacophony of voices within and without" the "sexually frustrated loners and misfits united only by their common background in social isolation" to impede a "path to mayhem."

    But defending the Constitution's "[b]rilliance" of "Second Amendment protections" is not enough to overcome the "dismissive 'cowboy' critique so popular abroad" of a country "born in armed revolution, an idea not lost on Laughner." What these people disregard in error, in critiquing us, he says is that "winning the [American] West has a more winning quality than revisionists allow" even while it was "carved..with a gun" and "assumed a mythic place in America's definition of itself." Once again, the apologetics is backed up by no evidence.

    Before ending the piece by quoting the President (as fascists notably do, often), he quotes Paul Schrader, the screenwriter of Taxi Driver:
        "If you're filled with feelings of anger and self-loathing, you want to blame someone else. And people in the public eye are the ones that touch you.. because they're you're surrogate parents."
    If Alter believes we must address a stereotypical "cartoon" and the "fear today... that copycat assassins of mentally unstable individuals...may imitate a new round of prolonged political violence"  he should "focus his thoughts" on himself and his own "vivid fantasy life, turning on the topics of omnipotence and power, through which" one might  "try to compensate for his present shortcomings and frustrations." He should put aside for now "what matters" according to President Obama who quite possibly is his own "surrogate parent" in this situation, along with a movie screenwriter.