basics with Do-along Dave


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I need unromantic music

The activities that engage me deepest are music, invention development, patent application drafting, programming, circuit design, mechanical design, and music. Music first and last and underneath all. Silence, grandmother of music, works too.

It’s because of the flow.

Music underlies it all. When I’m engaged intensely, music can further the flow. Some music, not all. For me there’s “flow” music (Bach, mainly – both J.S. and C.P.E.; live folk jam; modern jazz; some Scott Joplin, …), there’s “cute” attention-craving music, and there’s annoying “drivel” music.

Most of the music of my vocal and instrumental upbringing — romantic and later — is depressing to hear. Two reasons are clear to me. Partly it’s because I prefer making music to hearing it, and partly because I feel the decadence of the culture it enshrines.

Professor Heinz Politzer said in his World Literature class at Oberlin College: “The essence of the Romantic is despair.” He demonstrated from literature. I feel it in the music.

The just-preceding period, the Baroque, faces death with a clear eye, as continuous with life. The Romantic allows death only as frenzied escape from thwarted desire, because the romantic soul cannot compromise, postpone, do without.

The dread of unconstrained music notoriously evident in radical fundamentalist sects of Islam and Christianity is romantic.

A sociologist, former Mennonite, writes of an attitude among them of judging of a local congregation’s piety by the slowness of their singing. We can note that slow music discourages all but a small minority of dance forms. U.S. Baptists used to divide between the dance-tolerant and dance-abjuring.

Consumerist culture today is romantic. A few of us are looking for saner ways.

Growing venue circuit: living room concerts

Since 1996, Undertow Music has been a way to find local live music on the “living room circuit”, the newest Chautauqua. Don’t know if they are the first, but they have plenty of traveling musicians who bring live music to you, at hosting households across the country.

More organizations serving the model have sprung up. A net search on living room concerts will turn up several. I invite your comments on experiences with them.

Ongoing discussion with a student: four levels

Jeremy Dibb tells of four levels of discussion with a (one-on-one) student, to be touched on at every lesson. He calls these points the making of outstanding teaching out of good teaching.

Musical Notes from a small island blog 56 – A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy? Albert Einstein

from neuroscience of music, re dopamine

Why music makes you happy.  Read this article by Emily Sohn from News.Discovery.  Great stuff.


– Listening to moving music causes the brain to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical.

– Dopamine-induced pleasure may help explain why music has been such a big part of human societies throughout history.

– Understanding why people like listening to music is helping scientists understand human pleasure.

People love music for much the same reason they’re drawn to sex, drugs, gambling and delicious food, according to new research. When you listen to tunes that move you, the study found, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical involved in both motivation and addiction.

Even just anticipating the sounds of a composition like Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” or Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself” can get the feel-good chemical flowing, found the study, which was the first to make a concrete link between dopamine release and musical pleasure.


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Bubbles and shakeouts in making music pay

Bubbles and shakeouts in making music pay

Secondary profiting from non-live music has gone through similar boom-bust cycles already. From the earliest, when music was disseminated only through personal learning by performers and travel, the first technological step in separating original creation and publishing was written notation on paper. Bach’s family was his duplicating machine. Read the rest of this page »

In re Docket # 14-28, protecting an open internet

In re Docket # 14-28, protecting an open internet

It is a continuing scandal that the FCC is unable to work for its employer, the people (in particular, the consumer of network services), without continually asking permission of corporate power. Read the rest of this page »

Retiring the Wounded Whitetail

The URL for the blog Tracking the Wounded Whitetail/Off-topic stuff at has been “” (where we’re sitting now). I’m now re-purposing this URL for on-topic material for Earfirst™ Editions in sheetmusic, music theory basics with squiggle™ and slantnote™ , and my concert tours. Read the rest of this page »

~~ hearing deficit ?

Ears age differently. This is a plea: don’t assume – it can hurt.

Some aging ears need more loudness. For others, however, too-loud talking or music is painful. Not figuratively painful — pain painful, right in the ears, pretty damn close in. Read the rest of this page »

~~ the musician: prophet or entertainer?

A musician who contemplates what it is to be human runs up against pesky questions.

For this essay, a prophet is one who warns of urgent truths no matter the cost, and an entertainer structures leisure time for hire. Because this is a mix, not a simple dichotomy, the questions around the distinction can be pesky. Read the rest of this page »

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