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!).

Poem: "The Bamboo That Bends"

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:05 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the August 1, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "family portraits" square in my 7-1-16 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )

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?!

Saturday Yardening

Aug. 19th, 2017 04:50 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is mostly sunny and hot.  :P  We picked up three piles of grass, and I filled the trolley with sticks to dump in the firepit.

Lots of butterflies out, though, and bees.  Yay bumblebees, boo sweat bees. 

Poem: "As Couples as Possible"

Aug. 19th, 2017 03:12 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the August [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam, inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "hobbies" square in my 7-31-17 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.


"As Couples As Possible"


A dancer fell in love
with a mathematician,

their affection stymied by
his love of all things body,
her love of all things brain,

until they discovered
square dancing.

* * *

Notes:

"As couples as possible" -- Work as a couple whenever possible. Re-evaluate the formation after each part of the call.
-- Square Dance Dictionary

Dance is a popular form of artistic exercise.  Geometry is the mathematics of shape.  Put them together and you get the math of square dance.

Crowdfunding Creative Jam

Aug. 19th, 2017 04:11 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam is now open with a theme of "Moving the Body."


What I Have Written

"As Couples as Possible" is today's freebie.


From My Prompts

yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I've been zigzagging between S1 and S2 because the Dragon didn't want to watch S1 (too much interpersonal drama for her taste) so I was watching S2 with her up till her bedtime, and going back to finish S1 with Joe.

cut for spoilers? )

(ahahahaha my husband gets the joke in my moodicon tonight but I wonder how many other people will get it?)
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
I did not finish this book not because I thought it was poorly argued or poorly written, but because, despite it being very interesting, I just cannot brain this right now. (I'm under deadline for a novel.)

Heath Fogg Davis is a trans man and associate professor in political science at Temple University, and his book, Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? suggests that there are many situations in which clinging to gender categories is not necessary and even counterproductive. The context appears to largely be USAn, although I only got a little way into the book so that might not be true of later chapters.

The book opens with the case of a public transit system in Philadelphia that used to issue passes in both male and female variants. It begins with the dilemma of a trans woman who bought a female pass, only to be bounced off the bus because the bus driver judged her not to be a "real" woman, so she bought a male pass, and was bounced off the bus for not being male. At that point, she's screwed--what does she do? But trans people weren't the only one hit by this--a lot of cis people who didn't match certain bus drivers' preconceptions of gender presentation/appearance were also sometimes denied passage.

Davis then goes on to examine the reason why bus passes even had this designation to begin with. Apparently the stated intent was to reduce fraud--basically, each person was supposed to buy their own pass, and they were trying to prevent husbands and wives from sharing a single pass. Except, of course, if you look at the problem and the "solution," it makes no sense--you could easily still have fraud with two people of the same "sex" (whatever that means, a topic Davis takes up later) sharing a pass. So basically the "solution" screwed a lot of people, was intrusive and humiliating, and didn't even solve the problem.

The chapters in this book are:

Introduction: Sex Stickers
1. The Sex Markers We Carry: Sex-Marked Identity Documents
2. Bathroom Bouncers: Sex-Segregated Restrooms [1]
3. Checking a Sex Box to Get into College: Single-Sex Admissions
4. Seeing Sex in the Body: Sex-Segregated Sports
Conclusion: Silence on the Bus
Appendix: The Gender Audit: A How-to Guide for Organizations

[1] I lived for two years in a dorm in undergrad that had co-ed restrooms. Nothing bad happened. My dad would have blown a gasket if he had found out, though. :p

I only got through the intro and the very beginning of chapter 1 and what I saw looked encouraging and thought-provoking, but please don't ask me what's in the rest of the book because I genuinely don't know. I'm going to return this and hope to check it out later when I have more brain so I can think about the issues properly; it's good knowing the book exists so I can return to it at some later point.

Poem: "The Whole of Civilization"

Aug. 18th, 2017 05:05 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette.

Read more... )

Bust of Lincoln Destroyed

Aug. 18th, 2017 04:27 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
So this happened

The same principle behind this leads to this and this.

I told you so.  I have been saying and saying that when a society starts pulling down statues, it tends to mushroom, because people get it in their heads they can destroy all the art they dislike.  Sure it's tempting.  Everybody loves to pull down something they hate and stomp on it.  That's very gratifying.  But it's a bad idea because it destroys the past and then nobody has nice things for a long time.  It also sucks when other people pull down stuff that YOU like just because THEY don't, and there is probably not one piece of art on the planet which is liked by everyone.  

Seriously, people, stop doing this shit.  Unpopular art can be moved to a place where it won't annoy folks, but destroying it is counter-civilization.

Poem: "Lycoris"

Aug. 18th, 2017 03:31 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.


"Lycoris"


In spring, the strappy green leaves
emerge from the fertile earth
but bring no blossoms.

The leaves turn yellow,
then brown, and fade away.

In summer, surprise!

A sudden resurrection
out of the dry bare ground
raises flower stalks like magic,
pink lilies spreading themselves
in the sun like naked ladies.

* * *

Notes:

Lycoris is a type of lily with many different names including resurrection lily, surprise lily, and naked ladies.  Both my parents and I have these, and they're beautiful flowers.

Traveling: Crossings

Aug. 18th, 2017 02:42 pm
[syndicated profile] alpennia_feed

Posted by Heather Rose Jones

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 07:42

Thursday was both leisurely and taken up entirely by travel. After a lazy breakfast, I could the train from Deventer at 11am. Local to Schiphol, then the Thalys to Brussels, the Eurostar to London, one train up to York, then a change for the last leg to Durham. The changes all had plenty of time to find my platform, but never really enough time to stop and look around or do more than grab something to eat later on the train. At King's Cross Station I didn't feel like there was enough time to go slip through the door at platform 9-3/4 (which would have totally screwed up my travel plans, in any event), and yet somehow today I found myself within the walls of Hogwarts in any case:

Which is, of course, actually the cloister of Durham Cathedral. Today I got a walking tour all over the cathedral, castle/university, and city center, including a few locations (like the Senior Commons Room) that came courtey of being hosted by university faculty. Central Durham is another great example of integrating older buildings with a vibrant thriving town center. One fellow passing by who heard me being given a tourist lecture told us about how great it was that the shops and buildings were occupied and open now, and that when he was younger so many of the old buildings were boarded up. When you hear people talking about the world going downhill, I think it's important to take note of all the success stories you see of urban revivial and the ability to have the best of both the past and the present. Like the way that so much of the Bailey area in Durham is a living part of the university.

We adjourned for late lunch in a cafe as my feet were beginning to flag. Keeping up with the energy of someone as young as Gwen it quite an undertaking! But the city is full of lovely walks, with wild blackberries and plums for the picking, and people lazily rowing past in boats, and the cobbled streets full of tourists and shoppers. We have a pencilled-in plan to all go to York on Sunday, since my interest was a good excuse for the whole family to do some sightseeing. Tomorrow may be a bit more leisurely.

Major category: 

NYT Critic’s Pick Movies

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:35 am
lsanderson: (Default)
[personal profile] lsanderson
Marjorie Prime


Lois Smith reprises the role of Marjorie in Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of Jordan Harrison’s play weighing the morality of artificial intelligence.
By GLENN KENNY
NYT Critic’s Pick
Director Michael Almereyda
Writer Michael Almereyda
Stars Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Tim Robbins, Lois Smith, Hannah Gross
Running Time 1h 38m
Genres Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Logan Lucky


This class-conscious caper, with Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as down-on-their-luck brothers, is ridiculously entertaining.
By A. O. SCOTT
NYT Critic’s Pick
Director Steven Soderbergh
Stars Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Farrah Mackenzie, Jim O'Heir
Rating PG-13
Running Time 1h 59m
Genres Comedy, Crime, Drama

The Wound


Sexual hypocrisy fuels a South African film about teenagers undergoing a circumcision ritual.
By GLENN KENNY
NYT Critic’s Pick
Director John Trengove
Writers Malusi Bengu, Thando Mgqolozana, John Trengove
Stars Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay, Thobani Mseleni, Gamelihle Bovana
Running Time 1h 28m
Genres Drama, Romance

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