Strauss – Ein Heldenleben, op. 40

Ξ September 22nd, 2009 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

Lately I’ve been working on one of my favorite excerpts, Ein Heldenleben by Strauss, just because it’s really awesome.  It’s a difficult excerpt to some degree, as you can see (in the picture below) it stretches across a whopping 3 octaves, starting in bass clef in the first measure then reaching up to the high b-flat in the 13th measure.  Difficult, yet really cool and really fun to play.

Excerpt 1, horn 1

Here’s a recording if you’re interested in how it sounds:

Original post by Sufjan



Ξ September 12th, 2009 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

After two years, I decided to buy a new computer.  My friend mmax also put together a new computer recently and blogged about it here.  So I might as well do a quick write-up as well.


  • Lian Li Case (old)
  • SeaSonic 650W PSU
  • Asus P6T Mobo
  • Intel Core i7 920 Processor - Socket 1366
    • Noctua NH-U12p SE1366 Heatsink and Fans
  • EVGA Nvidia GTX 275 Video Card
  • Corsor XMS3 6GB DDR3 1600 Memory (triple channel)
  • 1TB Western Digital Black hard Drive

Original post by ojuice


I really did listen to my teacher…

Ξ August 28th, 2009 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

One of the hornists in this orchestra only has maybe a year of experience.  In the middle of the rehearsal he asked me for tips, because he was struggling.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to (or had confidence to) answer any horn-specific questions about playing beyond fingerings or embouchure or air.  One of his biggest problems was stability, so I came up with a few more advanced points for him:

  1. Focus.
    Every musician has their belt of tools to use when it comes to playing music.  If you just take out the hammer and start swinging wildly, things aren’t going to sound very nice.  Focus helps keep us in tune, gives notes clarity and stability, and helps you project.  The best way to picture this is to picture a snow-cone.  The wide end is in the back near the throat and the tip of the cone is toward where the mouth opens.  The wide end is the energy, your air, or fuel (whatever you’d like to call it), and the tip of the cone is the focus where the energy goes into the horn.  Otherwise it’d be hard to fit the ball-end of that snow-cone into the horn, huh?   Haha.  Pushing to achieve this shape and keeping it in mind while playing will immensely help stability issues with the horn.
  2. Energy Flow.
    It’s important to be constantly aware of the energy flow while playing (or air, but I like this broader term since it’s really more than air, its also the mental awareness of where you’re going with the music and much more, but it’s hard to explain all of it).  Know where the energy is going, what you want to do with it, and where it should go.  Energy flow should be constant.  One of my professors used to compare constant energy flow to a speedboat gliding across a lake.  It’s the driving force behind a horn player’s sound, and if its wobbly, the sound will be wobbly too.  If there’s a fast, technical line, the energy is going to be fast and constant.  If there’s a slower, more melodic line, the energy will reflect that as well (but still be constant and firm).  Riding the energy flow helps get you through those things with more ease.  Another example is my (simplified) approach to energy flow between octaves.  Higher notes push the energy down, while lower notes push the energy up.  Think of a seesaw.  When one end goes low, the other end must come up, and when one end goes high, the other end must come down.  For me, this helps a lot with managing the whopping 4 octaves the horn stretches to.  It takes a lot of time exploring energy flow on a personal basis to start understanding, being aware of, and letting go with it.
  3. The tonal “sweet-spot”.
    Many brass teachers commonly believe that the sweet spot is in the center of the note.  Perhaps it may be true for other parts of the brass family, but for the horn this isn’t the case.  It’s a common mistake and the main problem for a lot of horn players stability of trying to find the “center” of the note.  For the horn, the sweet spot of the note is always going to be toward the top.  This is where things are most secure, and some might be worried about this pushing notes sharp, but don’t be.  Picture a balloon gently pushing up against a ceiling.  It’s not forced, its just gently sitting there, secure and in place.  This is the best approach to take for notes on the horn.  Let the notes settle at the top, don’t push them or they will go sharp (and in the balloon’s case it will pop!).

Blar, there’s so much more to touch on just in these subjects…but, you know.  I’m lazy.

Original post by Sufjan


Interfacing With Another Species 7.2 Ksecs Too Early

Ξ September 29th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special, Work, code, japan, coding, programming, conference, meeting |

I’ve been scheduled for a conference call without my input on the time for more than 7Ksecs before I usually resume consciousness.  In the past this has usually resulted in disaster for the other involved parties, as I typically can’t resume from standby that early, let alone speak in coherent sentences or form what humans would consider lucid thoughts.  My ideal employer would either be able to work with this better, or be located in Japan.

This article on Code Climber identifies a lot of the most important reasons I and so many others work best at night. There are numerous benefits to working at night:

  • There are far less interruptions by email, instant message, and news via RSS
  • There is minimal interaction with human species, as they seem to prefer sleeping while Sol illuminates the oppopsite side of their planet
  • My best and most productive work requires long periods of concentration and Focus

Original post by Maker


Google Reader Starred Items Wordpress Plugin

Ξ August 20th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

I’m subscribed to a bunch of RSS feeds and I think I finally got this wordpress plugin I wrote on your top left to work for pulling out the items I star for later reading or articles that I think are particularly good.

Subscribe to the RSS

Original post by Maker


Mosquito Country

Ξ July 22nd, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

Mosquito Country

Originally uploaded by Maker.

That is all.

Original post by Maker


Sins of a Dune Empire

Ξ February 18th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special, Status Update |

I’ve been playing Sins of a Solar Empire a lot lately. It’s a fantastic 4X RTS. It’s like a galactic scale Starcraft meets Civilization. I’ve also taken up building a Dune themed map for it. logikal is helping me with it a bunch. So far I’ve got players for House Atreides, House Harknonnen, House Corrino, House Vernius, House Richese, and I plan on adding the Bene Tleilax and maybe the Zensunni. I’ll keep this updated with the status.

Original post by Maker


Life Goals

Ξ January 17th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

Yes, yes, I know I haven’t posted a real entry in umpteen billion seconds. Or more precisely, just about 11,000,000 seconds (that’s orders of magnitude more precise, even though it’s still very round.) I haven’t been talking the time out of life to write, as was the intention of this site. It’s one goal of mine that I’m failing at, and I think I just found another that will suffer the same fate.
Not long ago, I made a list of life goals on my online notebook. One of those goals I’ve had for a long time now, it’s one of those goals that can only be accomplished in death. My goal is to only shave half the days of my life.
But now, Esquire makes a compelling argument for Shaving Every Day.
Of my life goals, this seemed to be the most achievable. It’s the only […]

Original post by dram


Zombie Fodder

Ξ December 31st, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |


Original post by dram


The Ukulele…

Ξ October 2nd, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

…is the most under appreciated instrument ever. A while back I saw a retrospective of Leonard Cohen songs and one of them was a guy playing Leonard Cohen songs on a ukulele. It was awesome.
And here is some ukulele music for you to enjoy.

Original post by dram



Ξ September 14th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ special |

Original post by dram


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