Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Week 7

This is a summary of my thoughts for the assigned readings and websites to discuss for Week 7.

Chapters 15 and 23 of Musicophilia

Clive’s story is both amazing and saddening, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to “wake up” to a new existence every few seconds. His diary especially was troubling, in which he chronicled his “awakeness” and was amazed to see he had entries in it from the previous day. His wife, who loved him despite his constant greetings and confusion, wrote a memoir about it. Sacks describes that Clive had a few conversational topics that somewhere in his subconscious he had a knowledge of and was comfortable conversing about. Despite all of this, Clive’s piano playing ability and more importantly his improvisational abilities are astounding. A footnote describes that amnesiac patients are sometimes better at improvisation because of their spontaneity. Even though he has a hard time remembering what she looks like, Clive recognizes his wife through other senses like her presence, her smell, and her voice. Almost like a blind person, Clive’s other senses are heightened somewhat. Clive’s musical talent provides more evidence that the musical part of our brains seems to be something that functions and acts completely differently than the rest of it. Impressively, Clive’s piano playing is dynamic instead of robotic and memorized, showing true functioning in his musical talent despite his illness.

Sacks next chapter talks about hypnotic states and music, it almost seems like music can be an even more “in-between” state than hypnosis and consciousness or even sleepwalking and sleep. Sacks recalls some of his own pleasant and unpleasant states involving music. It was interesting to hear that even obscure or latent orchestrations and songs appear out of some people’s subconscious. Both of the chapters this week imply that lifelong musicians have special psyches that can defy common logic and known science. From personal experience, I can attest that writing vocal melodies for songs will sometimes frustratingly result in a melody very similar to a song that I had listened to weeks, even months ago. Perhaps music has a way of boring its way into the brain underneath the subconscious much like the sense of smell can ignite memories.

Chapters 6 and 7 of A Manual for the Performance Library

One of the challenges presented in regards to being a music librarian is space. I can imagine that not all librarians have a dedicated library, especially if they are involved with only a few or a smaller music ensemble. The result, rows upon rows of boxes in an impromptu area or multiple storage areas, would result in the need for an extremely organized librarian. Similarly, a smaller music library must utilize sign-out sheets instead of barcodes. Recently, my library had an afternoon during which our system was down and we had to do everything the old-fashioned way. Less than an hour in to manually checking patrons items out, I was ready to EMBRACE technology again, so this would definitely be another challenge for a performance librarian even with a small collection. Part of the trouble would be tracking helpful things like circulation and archival date, things that are nice to know when weeding and selecting new material. Surely the librarian keeps track of these things, but again, this must be done manually.

Other responsibilities such as auditions and making concert programs are discussed with great detail, more facets of a multifaceted job. Girsberger’s final point is about good communication, which is easy to see considering the previous six chapters. A performance librarian has a complex job that requires professionalism and working with what could be multiple ensembles. Renting, lending, and preserving music requires good communication with the ensemble and vendors.

Who Owns the Media?

It was interesting to see all of the connections and what all of the multimedia corporations own. I had no idea that General Electric was so powerful, they must have a good publicist. I also stumbled upon one of the bigger arguments of our age on this website, whether or not the Internet should say free. Big companies like the ones on this site are trying to make the Internet a profitable enterprise and websites like this one are working to stop it.

Downhill Battle

This is a website describing the injustices and ways that modern and popular music industries such as iTunes and the RIAA are unfairly treating artists and consumers. For example, iTunes does not give a fair share of profits to its artists. Also, the compression of .mp3 files is said to go unnoticed by consumers, but the editors of this website argue otherwise, especially when listening in a quiet uninterrupted environment.


I had a friend who went to Berklee for percussion and she came back never wanting to play the drums again. Hopefully, this is not the case with those who choose careers in music business and management. My undergrad school, University of Colorado Denver, offered a music business degree, but the breadth of the possibilities at Berklee shows its truly a music school to end all music schools.

Full Sail

I've heard questionable things about the game design degrees at Full Sail, hopefully their music business degree is more reputable. Their website design certainly speaks to a school that's saavy with technology and art.


I scanned the punk listings for various media outlets looking for those listings and found an interesting request or two. The opportunities part reminds me a bit of the opportunities that ReverbNation offers bands, various gigs and festivals that they email you and remind you about. Certainly a cool idea.

Music Business Solutions

Although I'm sure Peter Spellman means well with his information, his website provides a frustrating amount of vague ideas and no real answers. This of course is because he's trying to sell a consulting service, but I found this frustrating nonetheless.

Music Biz Academy

Same complaint as the last website, unfortunately. This authors of these books probably have great ideas and tips, but without offering at least one or two from the books, I have a hard time believing them. The music business can be full of naive dreamers and it seems that some of these entrepreneurs are trying to take advantage of that.

The Long Tail

A very interesting article arguing that perhaps consumers tastes get less and less mainstream the more they follow the not-so-beaten path using search algorithms and suggestion systems on sites like Amazon and Netflix. The author describes that retailers like Netflix and Barnes and Noble rent out or have consumers buying a good chunk of their stock that's not in the top percentages of their sales. This describes the long tail, a phenomenon of people being interested in niche genres. Much of the strategy, the author describes, is leading the consumer down a particular path of their likes and dislikes. This reminded me of Pandora and, internet radio stations that suggest new artists and music based on your preferences.


With random search using the Parsons code, (URRRRDDDDRUUUDUDUDR), I happened upon "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel, one of my favorite songs of theirs. My only concern with this search engine and many other melody search engines is that they're very unlikely to have more obscure music, as my search pulled up Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel. What if I was looking for an obscure punk band from Boston with a similar lie-lie-lie melody?

Google Research

This article gives me further faith/fear that Google is taking over the world. If anyone has the ability to construct a workable music-based search engine, its them.


I appreciate that these guys at least let you download a trial of their digital music reading software before you buy it. Using XML seems complex to notate music, but perhaps for those who are already versed in computer language could find it to be more helpful.


As with music-map last week, I was impressed by Gnod's music finding capabilities. As with my complaint last week, I'd like just a bit of information on the bands I'm looking at and rating. Perhaps if it's a band I say I hadn't heard of, they could list a few soundalikes.

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