Life’s Unfortunate Truths
applying to synth enthusiasts

1. Your powers of composition are inversely proportional to the quality of your studio
2. Think of a sound, any sound. Someone has already used it in a Madonna song
3. In the late ‘80s, you sold a TB303 for $30 and passed up on a Minimoog for $200
4. The more often your band rehearses, the worse that really important gig will be
5. However carefully you open the can of sardines, you
will get oil on the keyboard

Ask a Silly Question
quote from a Virus mailing list

>>"E.Rigby HS"

Good guess! No, this patch is dedicated to the memory of "daft Eric" Rigby, a Welsh cellist of the late 19th century who was famous for repeatedly smashing his cello into the piano after particularly wild concerts (especially Mozart and Brahms got him going).  Eric Rigby drowned in 1957 at the age of 98 attempting to cross the English channel on his 174th instrument, which had been specially treated with bitumen for the journey.

A limited edition CD of Rigby's own compositions, ranging from the seminal "Concert for Violoncello and Jackhammer in C#" to his final opus "Breaking Your Harp Tonight" is now available from Make sure you check out the images of his used instruments (also on display at the Llandudno Museum of Modern Art).

8< :^) >

On the Origin of Music
OT excerpt from the Virus Tutorial

As far as I know, the father of ambient sounds in western popular music was one Bernie Krause, who teamed up with organist Paul Beaver during the late 60s. In 1967 Beaver and Krause released “The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music”, still considered a standard reference in the annals of electronic music history. Bernie Krause is a highly interesting character who was not only instrumental in promoting the use of synthesizers in the broadcast media, but also put forward quite a plausible theory on how music-making began all those millennia ago. The following paragraph is a short excerpt from Bernie’s article “THE NICHE HYPOTHESIS: How Animals Taught Us To Dance and Sing”. I think it is worth quoting here, although the good Doctor Krause says this section is a bit out of date..

“Experienced musical composers know that in order to achieve an unimpeded resonance the sound of each instrument must have its own unique voice and place in the spectrum of events being orchestrated. All too little attention has been paid to the possibility that insects, birds and mammals in any given environment have been finding their aural niche since the beginning of time... A complex vital beauty emerges that the best of sonic artists in Western culture have yet to achieve. Like the recent acknowledgement that medicine owes much to rainforest flora, it is my hunch that the development our sound arts owes at least as much to the "noise" of our natural environments.” - Bernie Krause

Whether this really applies to Cro-Magnon bone-bashing or not, this article certainly got me thinking a bit further than usual. I came up with the following, very obvious answer to a big question that had been bugging me for many years: Because of the huge advantage of listening intently and recognising patterns in all the animal noises around us (otherwise we get eaten and/or fail to catch our prey), early humans evolved to take great pleasure in this activity - it was another survival factor like eating, sex and physical exercise. OK, that applies more or less to all animals with ears, but we humans were the only species brainy enough to develop highly structured music over a few generations (memes require intelligence). So the sonic pleasure of the whole tribe is maximised and they stick together through thick and thin. I suppose we now have “death by chocolate” type foods, porn and hooliganism for similar reasons - there are a few downsides to being an intelligent species of pleasure-seekers!


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