Category Archives: Music

I wish

It is very common for musicals to start with an “I wish” song. The protagonist sings about his life and how he wishes it could change. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, for example.

Musical Theatre is kinda dead so producers turn to familiar songs to attract audiences. They take the songs of ABBA or Billy Joel and concoct a story around those songs.

Until I heard this cover of “California Girls” by Wakey!Wakey!, I failed to hear the longing that is expressed in this song. A longing for the homogenization of the female population, yet still longing.

Press play and then start reading


I got a letter yesterday that informs me that I won a free session of a Salsa class at a dance studio. You’d probably say, “But Dubi, with all that Colombian in you, your heart probably beats in that Salsa rhythm! Why do you need classes?” To that I would answer, “I need classes because I can’t dance Salsa or anything.” A few weeks ago I went to a dance class in Grant Park. The class was part of SummerDance and the person who was giving the class raffled a session of classes. I entered the raffle and that is how I won the class.

I know the basic steps of Salsa but I don’t know how to synch them to music.

Right now I am reading about ways to synch the music with a visual — the desired end result of the process would be a QuickTime file that flashes the number of what the count should be like (1 and 2 and 3 and 4) for dancing. Something between karaoke and Dance Dance Revolution. I imagine it to be like a .kar file (karaoke) but with music that is not midi and numbers instead of lyrics. A .kar file is a midi file with text tags added to it all along. The text is displayed in synch with the notes, turning the computer into a primitive karaoke machine. Here is a site with examples of a .kar file you can download.

The game plan is to find a way to mark a sound file with the beat and turn those marks into visual cues. If I am successful, I’ll let you know how I did it.

Great song


What a great song! I heard it for the first time yesterday while watching a trailer for a new movie by Wes Anderson. I thought it was a new (Oasis-like) indie rock band until I Googled the lyrics and found out it was The Kinks. I should have known it is an old song; they mention spaceships and that is so late 60s/early 70s. 40 years later and it still sounds fresh!

I got the mp3 from a music blog called pinglewood.com.

Digital Art Brut or How I spent my weekend

I saw this site where the number Pi (3.14) was used to generate music. Each digit was assigned a note. Obviously it sounded random. The number Pi is an irrational number. The digits after the decimal point do not form a pattern and they go on forever.

To do this I wrote a little JavaScript function that multiplies a very long number by 12. I took the string generated from running that function 600 times and put it in MS Excel. Not elegant but the quickest way to format the result into music xml. Then I used Xenoplay to convert it into midi. I used QuickTime Player Pro to make it into an AIFF and iTunes was used to encode as mp3.

If there was a quicker way, I’d like to know. At first I thought I could just use smil but I learned that smil is not very exportable. Also, I have yet to find out what causes the “hiss” when making midi into AIFF in QuickTime.(fixed that)

UPDATE better sound

Pan’s Labyrinth

I saw the movie Pan’s Labyrinth a couple of days ago. I recommend it. Usually I don’t like films with gore. In this film the gore made sense; it HAD to be there. The story takes place during the second world war and wars are not pretty. I can accept the gore in Welcome to Sarajevo, yet I think that gore for gore’s sake like what is found in the Hostel/Saw series is worse than pornography.

Back to Pan’s Labyrinth. One memorable aspect of the film is the music.

The theme song is very sentimental and maybe a little overused.

The theme is a lullaby that the mother of the main character sings to her. The song got stuck in my head and I thought about how catchy it is and how it cannot be used as a ringtone.

Or can it? So with the help of a keyboard and a program for midi, I created this.


You can download this to your phone by directing it to http://mo.dubster.com/panlab.midi

Pachelbel and The Capricorns

You have probably seen this video; if not, check it out.

If you have not seen this, watch comedian Rob Paranovian talk about how pop music uses the same notes from a piece of music from 1680. (He got it wrong in the video.) The piece is Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel. I saw this video months ago and today it paid off. How? I was listening to a song on my MP3 player and had an epiphany. Ah-Ha! I know this sequence of notes! It’s from that thing with that guy! The song I was listening to was using the same 8 notes from Canon in D. Judge for yourself.

The name of the song is “The New Sound” by a Chicago band called The Capricorns. I like their music very much. Yet now that I know about the chords, I can’t help but hear them and I like the song a little less.

Check out The Capricorns on MySpace.