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Showing posts from November, 2007

Software Review

CHAPTER 6

CURRENT TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS


The late 20th century witnessed a cultural shift as professional media editing tools found their way into every home. The advent of the personal computer in the 1980s made each home a potential studio. An almost egalitarian society has developed where anyone with a little technical ability can churn out "professional-quality" music and video. The maverick attitude of early independent filmmakers flows through each discipline indiscriminately, and a significant number of artists can attribute their early success to their own mastering of available techniques.

In the visual arts, handheld cameras and high-end video editing programs enabled budget-strapped artists to record and cut their own moving picture creations. The handheld camcorder of the 1980s, with its bulky VHS tape, eliminated the extra step required of film processing. Inexpensive and easily available, camcorders opened the closed door to filmmaking. While not all v…

Defining Multimedia

CHAPTER 3

WHAT IS MULTIMEDIA?


The exponential outgrowth of technological innovation has left digital multimedia without a cohesive sense of definition. Lacking specific criteria for categorization, multimedia indiscriminately encompasses the visual arts, theater, virtual environments, music, and, according to John Cage, "...all sounds, sights, and other sensory experiences that occur in and around a performance situation..." New media has transformed the notion of art through the lenses of postmodern plurality. Clicking a mouse may make a computer user the active conductor of a sound synthesis ensemble, or a dancer can choreograph a duet in real-time with her own shadow. A computer can generate algorithmic music by analyzing the color of an accompanying video, and a digital gallery disguises itself as a CD-ROM cookbook. Contemporary digital forms, though marginalized by "classical" composers, are the "rational extensions of ballet and opera" and satisf…

Sight Screaming and Ear Trauma: A Percussionist's Journey through the chasm of Aural Theory

To understand percussionists, you must have:
Experienced several years in middle school band sitting in the back, bored to tears, waiting for that single suspended cymbal roll or triangle solo...
Learned the life of a roadie by being your own roadie...
Mastered the skills of the human octopus...
Embraced contemporary classical music...
Unexplicably struggled through the class innocuously labeled "Aural Theory Training".

Now, as a disclaimer, there are many percussionists that have thrived in aural theory. Of course, I have only known one in my experience. Lenny (name changed to protect the guilty) has perfect pitch, that blessed gift from the muse above which makes classes like ear training little more than your kindergarten phonics class. I recall one recording session where the percussion ensemble spent an hour with Lenny asking him the pitch of his elbow, or knee, or head. With a vacant smile he would strike his appendages and forehead, and answer back "C#" or "A…