Crowded music?

…sometimes I say I’m providing a house and you can provide the furniture. It’s a soundtrack, there’s space, and the audience put their own thoughts to it. Sometimes jazz musicians, we fill up all the fucking space, so people can’t lose themselves in it.

Robert Glasper, jazz pianist
regarding extended solos

‘Loud’ isn’t what it used to be

I’m home all alone, so what do I do? I put on music, of course. Not only that, but I put it on loud.

Today’s selection is The Crystal Method’s Vegas, and it seems that with my advancing age, loud isn’t what it used to be.

AudioTools tells me that the peak volume (A-weighted) I set is a mere 86.0 dB.

I guess I’ve got to grow up sometime…

Musical terms

I was listening to Demi Lovato’s Confident and after a few times, I am ready to say that’s it’s a pretty good album. With how my preferences don’t lean easily toward pure pop, this is high praise, indeed! One of the songs is about her relationship with her father, so I went over to Wikipedia to see if it is autobiographical1. While there, I learned a few new words.

The first is whistle register. The performer who is most famous for the whistle register’s use is Mariah Carrey. You know that really high squeal she sometimes does? That’s the whistle register. Wikipedia describes it this way:

The whistle register (also called the flageolet or flute register or whistle tone) is the highest register of the human voice, lying above the modal register and falsetto register. This register has a specific physiological production that is different from the other registers, and is so called because the timbre of the notes that are produced from this register is similar to that of a whistle.2

And note that when one considers a singer’s range, the whistle register is not included.

The whistle register took me to Mariah Carrey’s Wikipedia entry where she is referenced as having a “melismatic” style. What’s that you ask?

Melisma, plural melismata, in music, is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, in which each syllable of text is matched to a single note.3

You’ll hear this the most often in R&B music. It’s always sounded to me that the singer is showing off or simply trying too hard. I’ve never cared for this singing technique, and now I know what it’s called!


  1. It is.
  2. Whistle register,” Wikipedia, retrieved March 7, 2016.
  3. Melisma,” Wikipedia, retrieved March 7, 2016.

Album cover © 2015 Hollywood Records

Liberation, at last!

You know how you sometimes read the comments made about an article, and once in a blue moon, someone will crystallize your thoughts and write them in a way you wish you’d thought of? That happened to me this morning.

With Kaye West in the news again, after asking Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion in “his ideas,” and then turning to Google’s Larry Page for a billion when Zuckerberg didn’t answer right away. He gave Tidal the exclusive rights to his new album to drive traffic there and is now mulling a lawsuit against The Pirate Bay after more than a million people decided to download the album for free rather than pay a monthly fee to have access to it. He also mentioned in a tweet that he’s rich and can buy furs and houses for his family the day after claiming he’s $53 million in debt, and solicited prayers for him to overcome. And among the lyrics in his new album are those in which he wrote he might still have sex with Taylor Swift because he made her famous. Dude’s had a week in fairy-world, all right!

After reading of this circus on Ars Technica1, one of the comments on the article resonated with me. User dfavro wrote:

Kanye West is the personification of my being generation-gapped. He’s the point I finally transitioned from “gets youth culture” to “get off my lawn”. I got Taylor Swift and her contemporaries. I got Jay-Z, Lamar and such. I admit I really struggled with Drake, but I got there, sort of.

Kanye I don’t get at all. I’ve read the (glowing) music press about his work and I just don’t see the appeal. The lyrics aren’t great, the production is interesting, the actual sound is muddy and unpleasant. But dammit, if the press and the millennials don’t love the guy as an artist.

And I just don’t see it. It’s unpleasant at best and painfully bad at worst. With “No More Parties” I kept thinking that it must be a joke that I’m just not getting.

It’s either an “Emperor has no clothes” or I’m officially my parents.

Even ignoring Kanye’s acting like a child in an adult’s body, I don’t understand why he hasn’t already faded into obscurity. I suspect that the gossip mills have become popular enough to keep an artist in the spotlight despite their having long passed their ‘best before’ date. Just look at his wife. What did Kim Kardashian do? A sex tape. That’s it. It’s depressing. All I can do is my part to make sure I don’t personally support either of their continuing popularity with a single cent of my income. And this I certainly do!

Just when I found myself really down in the dumps, user Statistical found the silver lining:

The good new is once you finally accept you are no longer young and hip it is kinda liberating! You just do your own thing.

Isn’t that the truth? The older I get, the less I care what others think and it is more than a little liberating!


  1. Sebastian Anthony, “Kanye West reportedly considering legal action against Pirate Bay over Life of Pablo,” from Ars Technica, 2016-02-19.