I found this bit of music used on a video about an egg hatching, and tracked it down here. (It’s an example of royalty-free music. Interesting — does the artist get paid for creating royalty-free music?)

What I like about this is that even though the melody / chords are sweet, there’s a sense of unease. I think it’s the texture of the violin bow scrapings that make things unsettling.


Birdbrain Musician #2 — “Please, Kind Sir”

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a video. I really missed it! It takes hours, but probably because I go on wild goose chases (ex. finding the perfect picture of Helen of Troy). Coordinating the visual with the soundtrack is my favorite part. If I were going to do this one over again, I would make sure that the background was the right size (so there’s no black border), and that the background didn’t have a pattern that’s slanted! I could have gone back and cropped all the black out, but that would have meant re-doing the captions, and it was 3 am, so…

This semester I have found out that I have health issues that have become chronic. I’m on a new medication, which may help, but it takes a long time to act. In the meantime, I can work on lifestyle changes that minimize symptoms. Getting good sleep is very important. Does that mean no more artists’ life for me? But…there’s already so many things I’ve had to eliminate. Coffee, tea, dairy, tomatoes (no pizza! no lasagna!). Do I have to give up my late night sessions, too? Working on a creative project — riding out the wave of inspiration til 3 am — is one of the great pleasures in my life. I hope my body will let me get away with it… once a week?


The Brand New Testament

Watched a strange little movie this evening called The Brand New Testament. It’s a Belgian film, a surreal comedy with beautiful music.

One of the strangest and most beautiful parts of the movie is when a lonely young girl has a dream about the hand that she lost in an accident years ago.

The music used here is “Lascia ch’io pianga” from Handel’s opera “Rinaldo”. The lyrics mean “Let me weep over my cruel fate, and let me sigh for liberty. May sorrow shatter these chains for my torments, just out of pity”.

I found another version of this aria by a French soprano named Patricia Petibon…

…which made me curious about her. Yes, she really does have red hair! Here she is singing the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”. I loved watching her facial expressions and the movements of the conductor.

The Queen of the Night is like an over-the-top comic book villain. This version features soprano Diana Damrau. She appears to be laser-beaming her daughter with those high F’s.

“Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!”

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!



I was just listening to this while doing the dishes. My mind created a video to go along with the music: an animation in black and white. There were intricate squiggly doodles for Rick Wakeman’s solos, and massive triangles of different sizes for the big block chords. It would be interesting to draw the song and analyze the song structurally. Where are the repeats? How many themes are there?

David Newman’s educational videos

I just discovered David Newman’s educational videos. He writes

I’m a classical singer, and I teach voice and music theory at James Madison University. I started this channel to support my efforts in teaching Sophomore Ear Training at JMU.

Hidden among the more boring videos on this channel are about 18 songs I wrote to teach elements of music theory.

I hope you enjoy them, and learn from them!

Here’s his channel

and here’s an example video. Modes again!

the Dominant 7 song


Trip down the rabbit hole 9/25

Last night I watched quite a few videos about the “monochord”, which I will post later. I was looking for other “nontraditional” string instruments — especially ones with drones. Here is an example of the hurdy-gurdy. This is in 11/8 time!