Tuesday, July 23, 2019 17:35

Posts Tagged ‘music’

A word about critics.

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

– Wiccapundit

A “critic” is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased — he hates all creative people equally. – Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

Your Wiccapundit was enjoying the following solo piano performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue by Jack Gibbons, who is renowned for his note-for-note transcriptions of Gershwin’s piano roll performances.  It’s long, but it is so worth it.

This extraordinary performance (and even more extraordinary musical composition) lead me to think of one critic’s reception to the Rhapsody In Blue that was published the day after its debut performance.

How trite, feeble and conventional the tunes are; how sentimental and vapid the harmonic treatment, under its disguise of fussy and futile counterpoint! … Weep over the lifelessness of the melody and harmony, so derivative, so stale, so inexpressive!

Lawrence Gilman, New York Tribune, February 13, 1924.

Who is Lawrence Gilman, you say?  A music critic and the composer of such musical masterworks as “A Dream of Death,” “The Heart of a Woman,” and “The Curlew,”  all of which are lost in the mists of time, just as the memory of his existence is.  As for Gershwin, his work is regarded as classic American music, and is still frequently played today.

When Gershwin died at the untimely young age of 38, the best-selling author John O’Hara said: “George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.”

Music critics.  What a waste of space.


Polishing the turd, Or, Why Auto-Tune sucks nine kinds of ass

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

– Wiccapundit

Real music demands real talent wielded by real people.  Those that can sing, do.  Those that can’t, use Auto-Tune.

Here is talent:

Here is a lack of talent:

Christina Aguilera (real vocal talent) once wore a t-shirt that said: “Auto-Tune is for pussies.”  How true.


Musical Archeology

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

– Wiccapundit

There is probably no sentient person in the world that can’t name The Beatles song that begins with that certain iconic chord when they hear it: yeah, the opening chord to “A Hard Day’s Night.”  Apparently, for years no one could determine the actual chord structure used for the song.

Here’s Randy Bachman (late of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive) discussing this musical gem, like an academic opining as to the origin of a shard of pre-Columbian pottery.  Totally cool.  For the musicians among you, by his determination it is George playing an “F” chord on a twelve-string guitar, with a “G” on top and a “G” on the bottom with a C next to it (thus, an F9-add2-sus4), Paul playing a D on the bass, and John playing a “D” chord with a sus4 (a “G”)on a six-string guitar.




However, a mathemetician disagrees with this structure, and actually performed a Fourier analysis on the audio.  He determined that it was producer George Martin playing certain notes on the piano that gave the chord its characteristic complexity.  His published article is here.

Another fascinating and thoughtful analysis is found here, suggesting that it is a chord formed of the notes G-B-D-F-A-C, which would make it (in my estimation) a G7-9-sus4 chord.

Who knew Rock ‘N’ Roll could be so deep?



Just the coolest guitar song I’m groovin’ to right now

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

– Wiccapundit

The immensely talented Mike de Velta playing “Doorstep To My Heart.”  Burn some Nag Champa incense, put this on, and be transported:


Feeling patriotic today.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

– Wiccapundit

I try to remember when things get sucky that I still live in the greatest country on the planet.  I always find the Star Spangled Banner uplifting.  Here’s stellar bassist Jeff Berlin performing his National Anthems medley.  Believe me, this is some hard shit to play.


Amazing. Grace.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

– Wiccapundit

In keeping with my recent musical theme, I provide herewith the extraordinary Victor Wooten, performing one of  his signature arrangements of “Amazing Grace.”   His control of harmonics is simultaneously delicate and powerful.  Watch how at the end, he hits a chord, then retunes one string to resolve the cadence. Wow.


More cool music

Friday, September 24th, 2010

– Wiccapundit

The absolutely original and ineffable Michael Manring demonstrates why he is from another planet.  He is playing a Zon Hyperbass electric bass with a three-octave fretless neck, and each string has two Hipshot detuning keys – one at each end – that allow him to shift into dozens of bizarre alternate tunings on the fly.  I can’t for the life of me figure out how he keeps track of the tuning changes.  As one critic said of him: “a deeply disturbed young man.”  Indeed.

I love watching people with talent ply their craft.  He makes this instrument sing.


There is hope for the next generation …

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

– Wiccapundit

I rarely listen to broadcast music.  I’m a total prog-head, meaning I love to listen to and perform progressive rock: Dream Theater, Rush, Yes, Symphony X, Jethro Tull, etc.  Most music on the radio bores me to tears.  But here is proof that young kids know where to find good music, at least some of them.  This also proves that there are legions of badass musicians in the world that nobody ever heard of – before YouTube.

In this video, a precocious 11 year old young lady absolutely crushes a version of Rush’s instrumental classic “YYZ” by herself on the keyboards.  As a longtime musician, I can tell you that this song is hard to play, even when performed by three top-notch musicians as Rush does.  That she does this song solo is mind-boggling, particularly her footwork.  The learning curve for this performance must have been staggering.

I’ve included a version of Rush doing the song so you can see just how accurately she performs this.  (As an aside, the song title refers to the Morse code airport identifier for Toronto – Rush’s hometown – and the opening percussion rhythm in 10/8 time mimics the sound you would hear if you tuned an aircraft’s navigation receiver to Toronto’s IATA code.)

When she finishes, you can see that she’s wearing a t-shirt of Rush’s first album.  Is this just killer, or what?


When music was REAL …

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

– Wiccapundit

I have fond memories of watching ABC’s In Concert on Friday Nights back in the ’70s.  There were always great bands, and the performances were not overproduced like most of the dreck that passes for music today.   Yeah, I’m an old guy.   So what.

Here is a classic from 1974: Deep Purple’s legendary performance at California Jam, performing “Burn.”  And does it ever!  Listen to bassist Glenn Hughes’s vocal screaming at 2:20; it absolutely peels the paint off the wall.  This was five guys at the top of their game (including a very young David Coverdale on lead vocals) playing with analog instruments; no ProTools, no overdubs, no pitch correction software, just rocking 400,000 fans at the Ontario Motor Speedway, Old School-style.  It holds the record for the largest sound system ever assembled for an outdoor concert.

Oh, and who else was on the bill at that concert?  In order: Rare Earth; Earth, Wind & Fire; Eagles; Seals & Crofts; Black Oak Arkansas; Black Sabbath; Deep Purple; and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  In one concert, for one admission price.  Back in the Jurassic Period of Rock, when it was all about the music.  Enjoy.

Deep Purple’s entire performance from this concert is available on DVD: Live in California 74.  You will buy it.  I said so.


Friday Funneh – White Punks On Dope edition

Friday, May 14th, 2010

– Wiccapundit

I’ve been burned out on politics for the last few days, so ergo, no posts.  I felt like posting this, ’cause it’s totally cool.  The Tubes were an MTV/video-worthy band that came on the scene 10 years too early.  Often, and wrongly, categorized as punk, the band was actually a collection of superb musicians (keyboardist Vince Welnick went on to play with The Grateful Dead, and drummer Prairie Prince was a session drummer on many other musicians’ records).  Their music ran the gamut from catchy pop (“Talk To Ya Later”) to crunchy rock (“Out of the Business”), to relentlessly grooving Earth,Wind & Fire-style funk (“Tip of My Tongue”), always with an undercurrent of humor and irony.  Here is a video from their early career, playing one of their classics: “White Punks On Dope.”  Satirical and very theatrical. (more…)