~~Music~~
--and its application.
(updated: September 21st, 2018)
A much earlier version of this page, The uniform keyboard piano,
contact: craigeroo chi atty out look dotty com

Music: come wash over my soul.

* Having that feeling of there being a core identity within --which resonates when "true notes" are struck, is my only qualification for composing this page. Musical illiterate that I am, show me a better version of these messages (or what should be these messages) and I'll simply redirect those who land here --to it.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my best. (Surely: others have developed and advanced these rather simple and obvious thoughts. Do send me links to them.)

10/7/2017: --And sure enough --e-friend David sent me a link --to a YouTube video of Bobby McFerrin at some kind of a conference, under the banner: "Finding a Common Chorus". (For more about this video's featured pentatonic scale:

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentatonic_scale

Also, see Bobby McFerrin and Joey Blake's vocal improvisations at:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rsUD1qBCrk&t=89

* My message is hard to state without the assumption that we're on the same page about many issues --or the implication that "something's wrong with you" if we're not --but --well: there you have it  :-)  --and we should take it as a welcoming compliment when others want us to be "on the same page" with them (provided they don't try to lop your head off if you decline the honor).

* One's affinity for music in general indicates something about openness, receptivity, and the development of our mental capacity to "hear"/relate to the measures and progressions of tones in a given genre. Its reasonable to assume that this phenomenon works both ways, as we grow "an ear" for music. On this page I'm suggesting that music could be used to both select and rally segments of society toward civic/"political" purposes --at the least. (Politics usually implies impersonal manipulation, especially of one class by another. My intention here is more about drawing others in --to a sense of interpersonal "intentional community" and culture.)

* That music is/can be central to the well being of society is an ancient idea.

** I've become aware of recent, serious, lab based (with controls) research on our responses and responsiveness to music --which Madison Avenue and political consulting agencies will (surely) competitively seize upon in order to spruce up their offerings. I'd rather see socially-spiritually motivated folks getting to it first.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170905093821.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/lifestyle/your-brain-on-art/?deferJs=true&hpid=hp_rhp-
more-top-stories_sa-kaufman-1218pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&outputType=default-article&utm_term=.14f079c61a90

https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/11/6/884/2223400/Brain-connectivity-reflects-human-aesthetic  (Best Google on: "Brain connectivity reflects human aesthetic responses to music" and look for popular presentation/commentary on this 2016 work by Sachs, Ellis and others. Their formal article in this journal: "Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience" is laden with technical jargon.)

* Just below are two beautifully staged examples from a motion picture: TheColorPurple. The first one captures the coherency, through song and rhythm, of a work gang. The second one, if you can be open to it, might leave you smitten^. It's about coming home --to one's people/community.

^ I'm a spiritual humanist and have twice been a Christian. On several occasions I've experienced the emotionally riveting effect of believing that I'd achieved fellowship and community --or even just thinking it was at hand.

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=025QQwTwzdU    (skip the commercial)

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD5uPZzBr5c     (skip the commercial)
   --Please let go of any "secular" identity for the moment. Give yourself permission to feel this one.

* I've linked  24 pieces of music below which call to me --and hopefully to you as well. My wife and I gathered at least a thousand appealing Midi music files over the years and narrowed them down to our favorites, from which I found it hard to select just these 24.

Of course(!) there's plenty of great music we failed to even consider. (Almost anything by the "Mamas and the Papas" should be included below.) Then I found as many corresponding YouTube versions as I could, but some sounded better as Midi files --depending on which player application is used (start with Windows Media Player if you have a PC).

** An essential aspect of music for many of us is its circumstance --the performance setting --the social environment. While I enjoy watching/hearing a lavish concert production via DVD, I'd never care to join the thousands of people I see packed in on their folding chairs at concerts. In long video shots they look like hoards of ants. Give me a pause button, my own kitchen and my own bathroom!

I don't know what globe trotting operations like Andre Rieu's concerts charge, but I see that our local country music festival tickets go for about $150 ($300 to camp out on their grounds). For that you might get a folding chair, waiting in line at the nearest port-a-john, and a small fraction of the sound quality and concert over-view that a DVD of the event would provide --even if you sprang for VIP seating.

* Over the past 15 years I've had three memorable "public music" experiences.  One was outside a department store just before Christmas. A fellow who I took to be a Salvation Army volunteer/irregular musician had quite wandered away from the official S.A. play list. Gosh: what smooth sweet sounds came out of his saxophone!

The second experience was strange. It took place at a local hospice 2nd hand goods store. A bewiskered old fellow who we often saw walking around sat down at one of the store's pianos. He started right in, rolling off one standard after another: smooth arrangements with invisible transitions between --something you'd expect to pay a cover charge to hear at a piano bar. He outlasted the time I could stay and take in his keyboard mastery. Years later I learned that he owned that piano. He'd saved up to buy it, then asked if he could just keep his piano where it sat, since he had no place to put it.

The third experience took place in our city's "Mingus Park" with its huge pond, water fowl and fountain. The talented harpist Carol Ann set up and played classics on her delightful concert sized instrument (named "Jubal"). The music and the setting all fell into place on a beautiful summer day, during which my amateur efforts to video tape it all, including the park environment and its happy people --somehow ended up looking and sounding almost professional (much credit to my Canon video camera). We turned out many DVD copies (all given away) and our show ran for 2 years on our local public access cable channel.

* Once upon a time, the singing and instrumental playing of music was very much a cross-generational social currency of a community's culture. Most households had some kind of an instrument and someone in the family who could play it. Upright pianos were to be found even in hardscrabble homes. Like a set of encyclopedias and a basket of stereoscopic view cards, they were at least a salute toward an acquaintance with the arts, literature and science.

* But far more than just being symbolic, music making and instruments were an organic part of our lives. People sang and whistled while at chores (remembering my mother), family and community gatherings would join in to render familiar songs --perhaps soberly, perhaps loosened up with beers and booze. Many families had members who played in a band of some kind --to be found not just in schools and would-be commercial ventures, but made up from the employees and volunteers of fire stations, larger retail stores, and with municipal sponsorship.

That's not all gone, of course, but we've largely allowed our digital/electronic devices, commercialization, greed heads and copyright vultures to purloin such natural expressions.

* Grass roots political efforts were accompanied with motivational, engaging, synchronizing, music --new theme songs and familiar sing-alongs. From Nazis to the Salvation Army, cohesion was found through stirring popular music. --And speaking of the Nazis, and to quote Salvation Army founder William Booth: "why should the Devil have all the good music?".

* Yes: the culture and politics of "the 60s" had a lot to do with its music --and I'm thinking of Lennon's "Imagine", its affective ideas and spirituality --an anthem for many of us and a good example of the power of music toward social change and coherency. It was not, however, part of an "adult", organized, political and spiritual effort. (The "counter culture" commonly spurned organization and categorical thinking.) Nor do I want to suggest that "change" is a good thing for its own sake. At best, it's a "necessary evil". (In actuality, of course, 60s music was more in the nature of being a large body of copyrighted, marketed, hot commercial properties --same as always.)

It's possible (I think) for social/progressive change music to propagate among and engage people --even as intellectual properties --but we're all (all of us in "the movement") --brought up short when reminded of the profits being made --and then later when we see an old favorite used to sell consumer goods or get spiked by lawyers.

Many 60s "movement" people listened to their inspirational music rather hypnotically, melding with it and seeking messages. With a base of support like that, with sincere, coherent leadership, with a minimum of mindless adolescent rebellion/fad, identity distractions, without commercial exploitation (if/as possible) and keeping America's 242 year-old culture of inebriation in the background --a "cultural revolution" could become a positive and pivotal event --hopefully without getting co-opted or overly frightening cultural conservatives.

* An interesting (if not "good") place to look for talent on tap --and for a finger on the public's pulse/appetites is (of course) the TV end of the advertising industry --musically and visually. (Sadly, radio commercials and play lists --which should shine, are typically poor to pathetic and annoying.) When Anheuser-Busch's compelling music plays, when their Clydesdales pull the old Budweiser beer wagon around Busch field in St. Louis --oh my. (Yes: love those earnest looking gaited horses, but I'm also remembering a "Make-a-Wish" cancer victim boy who got to ride with the drivers and their Dalmatian).  (--And I don't even like beer.)

* Prediction: a political movement will claim the legacy of motivational music, then  march, dance, waltz, mosey and/or shimmy through the streets --with welcome and gladly given parade permits, to rapidly coral a great following in its thrall.

So: who's it gonna be?

* Public domain (published before 1923) and new compositions placed directly into the public domain would liberate a movement's music so that it can be played, sung and celebrated by everyone --vastly amplifying and probably immortalizing the movement and its efforts. (But hey: the music and lyrics have to be good --inspired, inspirational, sexy --would-have-been valuable commercial properties.) (Song writers: please resist --selling your children into 100+ years of indentured servitude.)

* At first glance this strikes me as more than an "idea whose time has come". It's latent "zeitgeist" and low hanging fruit.  The souls of the people have long hungered^ to be filled and renewed. Instead we've gotten decades of shabby, disingenuous leadership --culminating in our recent presidential (hold-your-nose) election (unless you voted for Bernie or Jill) --and lotsa crappy new music to wash it down with.

We need a new "bandwagon".

* Julian Jaynes (that "left brain, right brain" guy) wrote a very successful book: "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind". It speculated that there was a western dream time before the trope of the "Homeric transition" --from the unaccountable hearing of "voices" (sometimes commands to action) and the telling of oral history stories --to what passes for today's introspection and recorded history. Jaynes presented it as sort of a palace coup --in which the consecutive thoughts / wanna be rational left brain --suppressed and stopped taking orders from its dreamy, emotional, hallucinatory, creative and sometimes "Voice of God" counterpart right brain. (That's Jaynes --as filtered through my foggy, 35 years old memory of the book. Best I renew my acquaintance of the man.)

However, we still get emotional clues from our (now) rather silent right brain, so there remain two personas per individual to persuade. I think we need to "talk" to both of them. At present (IMHO, and except for Madison Avenue productions), our considered communications are mostly dry left brain messaging. Our right brain engagement defaults to such as poorly managed social nuance, "style statements", the wandering creativity of composing/performing musicians and other artists.

As an old advocate for "intentional community", I'm suggesting something more purposeful, accountable and destination oriented --for the "groovy" portions of our social discourse. That's still going to be pretty vague in practice, but we can at least be clear of our musical and other intents: to be engaging, uplifting, inspiring, caring, beautiful, erotic, and/or wondrous.

** Right: This page and its sentiments about music have little to do with 99% of what's marketed as music, especially to youth --and the prospects for a grass roots resurgence of "proper" and "appealing" music are poor because most people (seemingly) have no "receptors" or discernment for it. They instead look to a musical product's fashionability and style statement potential.

(Sorry: I simply don't "dig" long, drawn out formal music and opera --even at the more comfortable distance of a CD, DVD or LP record --unless it's the abbreviated highlights kind that someone like Andre Rieu presents, or maybe something like a "The Three Tenors" event. It's my suspicion that dress-up attendance at formal performances of classical works are largely due to "see and be seen" feelings of fashion and social obligation. One applauds like a trained seal and (at long last): "thank God it's finally over" --but no: "Oh shit: another curtain call" --and yet another standing ovation.)

^My deep appreciation goes out to the individuals who released the Midis I've used (the few below, and the large parent set we used for selections), to those and to the interests who post and maintain the sites I've linked to, and especially to the composers and performing artists who create/channel and render the music we love.
** Although I do see strong applications for music to divert mainstream politics and blind-side the establishment (given ample resources, by appealing to discerning decision makers, opinion leaders and creatives --then to their followers), that would take a major movement --which is not something one is likely to pull off with a few friends.

Alternatively, individuals and couples might try to realize that part of the dream which can be modeled and managed among a small circle of friends. Resources for that are to be found at the Fellowship for Intentional Community^. (Possibly, affinities for certain pieces of music could be used to help ferret out values and emotionally compatible communitarian prospects.)

^ It's my impression that the FIC is place oriented. Community shouldn't just be a place where people come and go. It should be "a people" --where (if needs be) places come and go.

~
"There is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a larger vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendships between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe." -Teilhard de Chardin


Several of the following are Midis, the rendering of which varies widely (sometimes horribly) from one Midi player program to the next. I get best results with an old (XP-3 era) "Windows Media Player" application --and worst results when using the only (recent vintage, of course) Midi application I'm aware of for a Chromebooks device. (Update: it stopped working and reloading the program didn't help.) At their best, these Midis can be more appealing (to me, anyway) than some original performance MP3s --so shop a Midi around to other players if it doesn't sound good at first.

Here then, and in no special order or groupings, are some of my favorites. Most of them should sound familiar.

Take the A Train (Duke Ellington)

Star Dust (Composed by Hoagy Carmichael)

String of Pearls (Bobby Hackett with the Glen Miller Orchestra)

Wimoweh (or: "The Lyon Sleeps Tonight". However gussied up, it's the real deal, having an 80 year history starting with Zulu speaking composer/singer Solomon Linda in the 1920s, from whom the copyright was transgressed --by Pete Seeger's publisher. This linked version was revised by a talented crew and rendered by "The Tokens" in 1961. Read the Wikipedia account at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_Sleeps_Tonight.

Tuxedo Junction (Glen Miller)

I Saw the Sign (Swedish band "Ace of Base". I don't care for the lyrics, thus this instrumental/Midi.)

Wakko's Two Note Song (Which only seems appealing as this Midi. It has something to do with installment #82 of a long running 1990s animated cartoon series --and this is the first I've heard of it.)

Song of India (Adapted and popularized from Rimsky-Korsakov's 1896 opera: "Sadko". Tommy Dorsey made it and his band famous in 1937.)

Good Vibrations (Thanks largely to the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson)

Imagine (Lennon --a lovely guitar version arranged by Chet Atkins --and we're all familiar with the moving lyrics. I've placed 3 links here because copyright vultures have been silencing the sources.)

Hesitation Waltz (I prefer this Midi version. From the pre WW-I "dance craze" period.)

Well-Tempered Clavier (J. S. Bach - a Midi. The title actually refers to a collection of 24 preludes and fugues, said to be the most seminally important pieces in the development of western classical music. It sounds to me like an advanced fingering exercise. I've no idea where this familiar-to-the-ear piece fits in to the large body of Bach's works --but I really like it.)

Stranger On the Shore (First performed by a group under Acker Bilk in 1961. Extremely successful.^)

Gotham City Municipal Swing Band (Neal Hefti)

I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing (The Hillside Singers - 1972 - The Shaw Brothers: Rick and Ron)

Fur Elise (Beethoven - Midi version) (It was actually composed for another woman, but Beethoven's handwriting was so bad that [oh dear!] the publisher misread his dedication note on the manuscript.)

Song To the Evening Star (from Wagner's Tannhauser) (I can't find a Midi for this one.)

Free As A Bird (Created and sung by John Lennon in 1977, but instrumentally augmented by the remaining three Beatles for release in 1995 --15 years after Lennon's assassination.)

Working in the Coal Mine (Music and lyrics by Allen Toussaint, as sung by Lee Dorsey in 1966.)

I Get Around (Thanks largely to the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson)

Carillon (a delightful Midi, but I know nothing about it.)

"Little" Fugue in G Minor (J. S. Bach - BWV-578 {I think} - a Midi version)

Perfidia (Glen Miller --plus Nat King Cole and Juile London --for those who like the lyrics)

Nola (a Midi. This is a 1922 version of Felix Arndt's composition, which was a gift to his lover and future wife Nola Locke. It began the "novelty ragtime" genre and became a Les Paul hit in 1950. Although Arndt only lived for 29 years, he cut over 3000 piano rolls!

Wish I could put this music into a time capsule.


If it's real, you can feel it.
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Can you state what I'm trying to get across here --with more coherency, clarity and impact?
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^ Speaking of our (well, for some of us) --our spiritual hunger, including for fulfilling music, read the listener comments at the linked YouTube "Stranger on the Shore" page. Admittedly, much of this is about culturally displaced oldsters "crying in their beer", but the real issue is that they --feel-- that they have no place to go --no refuge in the culture of the modern world and its popular music. That's just not right.

More-over, until at least 1963 (say: until the JFK assassination, which my otherwise traditional family immediately saw through), most people looked forward to the blessings of "progress", science, the shared fruits of labor saving automation, better government, maybe even to being gladly "outmoded" via easier lifestyles, better educational opportunities, shorter work weeks and long paid vacations (like Europeans have). (See: "Tomorrow")

I'm sure most of those who commented about Stranger would concede that the '50s and early '60s were oblivious to the prevailing racism and sexism. Never-the-less, a large part of what's missed is a sense of social coherency in tastes, "decency", courtesies, and core values (what's unhinging the "social conservatives"). Nothing about today precludes a new consensus on such matters --given the actual peace, progress and prosperity we once anticipated --recognizable, palatable civic flags to rally around --and music: at least the equal of what once was (in great part, thanks to our minority cultures).

"Plato (428348/347 BC), like Confucius, looked on music as a department of ethics. And like Confucius he was anxious to regulate the use of particular modes (i.e., arrangements of notes, scales) because of their supposed effects on men. Plato was a stern musical disciplinarian; he saw a correspondence between the character of a man and the music that represented him. Straightforward simplicity was best. In the Laws, Plato declared that rhythmic and melodic complexities were to be avoided because they led to depression and disorder. Music echoes divine harmony; rhythm and melody imitate the movements of heavenly bodies, thus delineating the "music of the spheres" and reflecting the moral order of the universe. Earthly music, however, is suspect; Plato distrusted its emotional power. Music must therefore be of the right sort; the sensuous qualities of certain modes are dangerous, and a strong censorship must be imposed. Music and gymnastics in the correct balance would constitute the desirable curriculum in education. Plato [accepted] and valued music in its ethically approved forms; his concern was primarily with the effects of music, and he therefore regarded it as a psychosociological phenomenon."

"Yet Plato, in treating earthly music as a shadow of the Ideal, saw a symbolic significance in the art. Aristotle carried forward the concept of the art as imitation, but music could express the universal as well. His idea that works of art could contain a measure of truth in themselves --an idea voiced more explicitly by Plotinus in the third century AD-- gave added strength to the symbolic view. Aristotle, following Plato, thought that music has power to mold human character, but he would admit all the modes, recognizing happiness and pleasure as values to both the individual and the state. He advocated a rich musical diet. Aristotle made a distinction between those who have only theoretical knowledge and those who produce music, maintaining that persons who do not perform cannot be good judges of the performances of others."

From an Encyclopedia Britannica article by Gordon Epperson, Professor of Music, University of Arizona, Tucson.