Wednesday, November 30, 2005

11/30/05 Link Dump

Heichal HaNegina has a J-music video clip roundup.

Bim, Bam,Bim Bim Bim Bomb... here's Hip Hop Shabbat.

Israellycool posts a report on Elizabeth Brooks' Bat Mitzvah.
For his daughter's coming-of-age celebration last weekend, multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks booked two floors of the Rainbow Room, hauled in concert-ready equipment, built a stage, installed special carpeting, outfitted the space with Jumbotrons and arranged command performances by everyone from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Aerosmith.

The party cost an estimated $10 million, including the price of corporate jets to ferry the performers to and from. Also on the bill were The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh performing with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks; DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiance); rap diva Ciara and, sadly perhaps (except that he received an estimated $250,000 for the job), Kenny G blowing on his soprano sax as more than 300 guests strolled and chatted into their pre-dinner cocktails.
Acharit HaYamim comments:
What would Rabbi Cohen think, one wonders, about a bat mitzva party that manages to destroy the street cred of Tom Petty, Aerosmith, and most amazingly, 50 Cent? I mean, Kenny G., Stevie Nicks, even Don Henley - you expect these people to be working the tweener mitzva circuit at this point in their careers (for Mr. G. let's make that "career".) But Fitty? Thank God that, in addition to the reported half a million dollars he got for the gig, he didn't allow his shame to be captured on film.
Sounds like an event, but was it safe??? Did they have a Bar-Mitzvah Bouncer???

Here's a link to The Jewish Ethicist who addresses the question: "Can I Publish A Brutally Honest Album Review?"

They're a salsa band. They play klezmer music. They're Meshuggenismo! There are some working audio clips on the site.

Here's an interview with the avalanches. Ella Adler's Jewish Aerobics has really gotten around!
Rob: this is a really interesting record. Its an aerobics record called jewish aerobics. I got this in new york the last time I was there. The lady does the voices something like 1,2,3,kick! Bu the music is traditional jewish music. The music is by neshoma orchestra. We actually got Jennifer lopez to dance to this record on a tv show in Sweden! Its also got aerobics instructions and some of it is in Hebrew.
J-Lo and the Neshoma Orchestra... now why didn't we think of that!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rappin' Torah

Jewschool links to an article with details on Matisyahu's cameo on P.O.D.'s new album.

Some Klezmer Links...

Been meaning to get to some of these for a long time...

David Valdez emails:
Thanks for the link! I've actually paid my dues with Klezmer bands over the years and I HAVE played like Archie Schepp at quite a few bar and bat mitzvahs. Recently I recorded with the 'Extreme Klezmer' band Klezmocracy.
You can download a track, "Tantst Yidelekh", here.

Khupe, who we "met" when Christian emailed to say hello, is a VERY worthwhile Klezmer duo consisting of accordionist Sanne Möricke and clarinetist Christian Dawid. The musicianship is superb! The duo evidences a strong musical chemistry which comes across on their live concert recordings. Khupe released their third album, "eyns, tsvey, dray" recently. Unfortunately, there are no audio clips of that abum on their site, but they do have clips of their other two recordings on their site and at CD Baby. These are definitely on my want to buy list!

Somebody should bring Khupe and The World Quintet (who also have a new release too) to the States for a concert tour. Concert promoters, take note!

Also wanted to point out klezmer flautist Adrianne Greenbaum's album "FleytMuzik: The Klezmer Flute". I bought this one a while back as a download from eMusic, so I don't have the liner notes in front of me. Simply put, this is a great album. Greenbaum plays exquisite klezmer on wooden flutes. The arrangements for bass, tsimbl, violin and flute are beautiful. I'd love to add "Gut Morgen" to the band's book. Anyone know if there's a published transcript of that tune?

Monday, November 28, 2005

11/28 Link Dump

Miriam went to see Matisyahu and has some thoughts on his appeal. Karl was at the show too!

LIFE-of-RUBIN has declared himself "HASC Central."

Ouch! Athiest activist Michael Newdow's new one man musical play has been reviewed.

Here's Musical Perceptions with "How To Sing The Blues."

A Simple Jew emails a link to this movie on Hasidic music from the Spielberg Jewish Film Archive.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Great Composers...

We had to learn a number of tunes for our gigs this weekend. Short music critique: Yankel Talmud, the late "court composer" of the Gerrer Chassidim composed some sweet tunes. So did Bob Marley!

Friday, November 25, 2005

11/25/05 Link Dump

Allison Kaplan Sommer is glad Michael Jackson is anti-Semitic.

Knifedge Kvetch is looking forward to an upcoming Matisyahu concert.

Judeopundit pens "Towards a Hipper Shlock-Rock: Don't Fear the Cholent."

BMGforever comments on the end of the Takanos.

LIFE-of-RUBIN: has posted a HASC Update.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

KFAR Katavnu

KFARS Adam Davis reviews Blue Fringe's latest for World Jewish Digest and also writes about The Rabbinical School Dropouts and Balkan Beat Box for Atlanta Jewish Life Magazine.

Hakol Kol Yaakova

There's an article on female singers and kol isha in the recent YU Commentator.

Hating Jews Easy As 1,2,3!

The Daily News reports:
Michael Jackson picked a familiar target to blame for his mounting money problems - the Jews.
In phone messages obtained by ABC News, the apparently prejudiced pop star likens them to "leeches" and claims they conspired to leave him "penniless."

"They suck...they're like leeches...I'm so tired of it," Jackson tells former adviser Dieter Wiesner in one of them. "The Jews do it on purpose."

The ugly message, which was made two years ago and aired yesterday on "Good Morning America," was one of several provided by Wiesner's lawyer, Howard King.

Wiesner and another former Jacko adviser, Marc Schaffel, were fired by the singer and are suing him to recoup the millions they say he owes them.

Jackson had to apologize to Jewish groups a decade ago after he included lyrics like "Jew me/Sue me/Everybody do me/Kick me/Kike me" on the song "They Don't Care About Us."

Blue Fringe and Eden Reviews...

... in today's Jerusalem Post.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Jewschool has a post about rapper "Remedy" which includes a link to an mp3 of his hit "Never Again."

Over at Casa Valdez Jazz, David Valdez is giving outside improv advice that will help you be able to "play like Archie Shepp even at a Bar Mitzvah or your hotel lobby gig!" He's had a number of interesting improv-related posts. This Gary Campbell book, which David recommends here seems interesting.

Chaim sends a link to a post at Lost Remote.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ba Da Bum

Caught a few minutes of the Jewish radio show on the way home from shul this AM. Was tickled to hear the DJ misread the liner notes and announce one track as BaRock Orchestra's "Biheimishe Medley."

Sony's Big Blunder

Meant to get to this earlier. Here are some links from USA Today, the Financial Times, and CNET about Sony's copy-protected CD problems. It's hard to believe that they could have been so foolish!

UPDATE: Now Texas is suing.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ushpizin Soundtrack Answer

Richie emails us the answer to Rhodda's question..
Both songs in the film "Ushpizin" -- "Atah Kadosh" and "Yesh Rak HaKadosh Baruch Hu" -- are by Adi Ran. They can be heard in the archives on JM in the AM as follows:

"Yesh Rak" - rtsp://

"Atah Kadosh" - rtsp://

And no, I'm not a pedantic yekkish nut who keeps lists of everything. I just started keeping detailed playlists of JM in the AM to try to better understand the focus of show (i.e. when Nachum plays the Good Stuff).

Alright, maybe I *am* a pedantic yekkish nut.
Thanks to Yosef for emailing the Adi Ran info as well.

We reviewed Adi Ran's releases here.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Piamenta Interview

Haaretz has an in-depth interview with guitarist Yossi Piamenta, who has recently moved back to Israel.

Hat tip, Yeshiva Orthodoxy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

From The Mailbag... Extended Edition

Lots of email of late.

Several readers emailed in response to All or Nothing At All".

Avremi G. writes:
It’s very simple. A one man band sounds full (if not musical) alone. A band needs at least 5 musicians to achieve same. Therefore a one man band is way more preferable to a 3 or 4 piece band IMO. My most popular product is my 3 piece band consisting of keyboard (one man band style), drums and sax (The drummer has headphones to sync up to my drum machine – works great)
Shmuel B. writes:
In my opinion a 4 piece band is a great camp concert band or a great Purim/simchas Beis Hashoeva band but for a wedding you can only pass if one of the players sing also. I personally wouldn't hire for a wedding less than six pieces(trombone), but if the musicians are really good and not lazy than I guess a 4 piece can do it. Also to musicians a one man band will NEVER be as good as a band, but believe it or not the 90% of people dont know to care.
I asked a friend who played by a certain wedding last week and he did not know if it was a band or a one man band!! I know not everybody will agree with me but you need a bigger band than four.
Psachya Septimus writes:
About the "all or nothing at all" thing - I think I know where it came from. When the "takanas" first came out, they wanted to restrict the bands to four players plus a singer. Many in the business started spreading the word that four pieces just wouldn't cut it for a regular, full-size wedding. (Actually, think about if all the takana jobs now were four pieces instead of five - a scary thought.) Some of us might have said, "Hey - if you're getting four pieces, you might as well chintz all the way and get a one-man-band!" (I myself, ahem, may have said something like that a few times.) In a way, we succeeded - the takana was changed to five men and a singer. But in a way, I guess we also shot ourselves in the foot. Oh, well...
All three of these writers seem to grant the premise that a full sound is possible with less than five musicians. In Avremi G.'s scenario, the keyboard player is playing a one man band style keyboard, but with an additional two musicians. Shmuel grants that a four-piece could be good if one of the members sing. Psachya says that this is/was hype spread by some in the industry in response to the takanos.

My question was about the premise that it is an all or nothing proposition. I can envision many possible scenarios where four musicians could provide a full sound. One option would be an approach like Avremi's. Another would be to have a rhythm section band -- Drums, Bass, Guitar, and Keys. If the alternative is a one-man-band, than you don't lose having the horns escort the Choson to the badekin, because that option doesn't exist in either case. If some of the members sang and the guitarist and keyboardist were strong soloists, the band could have a very full sound -- especially if they wrote arrangements and rehearsed.

I also think that a smaller group can sound good playing the current simcha repertoire. The reason some groups don't sound so full, at least those I've seen at simchos, is because they sound like eight-piece bands missing four or five pieces. In those cases, rather than adapting to the needs of a combo, trio, or quartet, the musicians play the job the same way they would if there were many more players in the band.

In short, to me, the premise that a wedding band for a typical Orthodox wedding has to be five pieces, or else the ONLY option is a one-man-band is based on either misinformation or disinformation.

I'd like to be clear here. There is definitely a difference based on the size of the band, and many affairs do call for larger bands. For instance, if there is secular music at the event, a bassist is usually needed for certain styles to "work" (i.e. R&B basslines). If classical music is desired, additional instruments like violin, cello, or harp may be needed. I'm not advocating that everybody use three or four-piece bands; but I do just challenge the assumption that they can't carry a typical takana-compliant affair. Remember, the takanos also limit the number of guests.

A hypothetical question: If the takanos had limited band size to four musicians, do you really think that there would be no bands hired as everyone made the obvious choice of "fuller" one-man-bands?

Arlene Assness wrote about Country (Y.) Music:
Whoever knocked the album Visions after only hearing one cut ( the only cover) should not be permitted to post his/her ignorant & biased opinion.

I was lucky enough to get a copy as a present...........WOW!

What a refreshing and innovative approach to the genre. Great lyrics both serious and humorous that generally stay out of the trite and boring stuff normally dished out.........

Super arrangements using more modern elements with the more trad. stuff it almost sounds goyish ( in the positive sense!)
Check out Rainbow Nation & Absolutely Live.............

Please get someone who does not have a hearing impediment (or a major chip on the shoulder) to review one of the sweetest cds of the year
My response:

You missed the point. There was no criticism of Visions or Nachman Seltzer (either direct or implicit) in that post.

The criticism was of the trend in the NY Jewish Music industry to disingenuously represent albums as “traditional” when they are not. This has nothing to do with Nachman, but with marketing decisions made by the distributor here in NY. Personally, I happen to think such marketing is foolish.

To illustrate my point, contrast the following two “quotes” about the album. (The first is from the ad I critiqued and the second is from your email.)

1) With the release of his first two musical productions, he is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of seeing Jewish music return to its pure and classic roots.

2) A refreshing and innovative approach to the genre. Great lyrics both serious and humorous that generally stay out of the trite and boring stuff normally dished out......... Super arrangements using more modern elements with the more trad. stuff it almost sounds goyish ( in the positive sense! ) Check out Rainbow Nation & Absolutely Live.............

What impression does each give about the album?
Which do you think is more accurate?
Which gives more information about the album?
If a buyer bought the album because they were looking for music like that described in the quote, do you think that those who had bought it on the basis of the first description would be satisfied? (Not musically, but as far as getting what they’d expected.)
Do you think it’s ethical to misrepresent what an album is in order to achieve sales?

Personally, I’d think that your description, which specifically mentions what you find unique about the album, is more likely to draw attention (and increase sales) as opposed generic and untrue advertising that represents the album as the return of Jewish music to its “pure and classical roots.” As you acknowledge in your email, that description is inaccurate.

If you read my blog, you’d know that I support creative Jewish music, and have no problem with secular influences per se. I see nothing wrong with someone covering a classic rock song (as long as its acknowledged). My point is simple; I’d like to see more honesty in JM marketing.

Rhondda writes:
Just saw this fabulous film [Ushpizin]. Missed, in the credits, who was the artist for the song based on Kol haolam kulo of rebbe nachman that was played at the end. Have you seen this film? Know the chart/artist??

Re a comment on your website about the non-Chabad boy reciting the ma'amer at his bar mitzvah: we have seen this out here in asian golut as well, and I second your opinion. No point in adding something disconnected and perilously close to meaningless (to the kid, anyway) at a time where there's enough danger of the kid missing the whole point. But then, we've seen a time when our modern orthodox day school's head of jewish studies had boys who didn't live in kosher homes wearing tzitzit...
I haven't seen the film yet. If anyone can ID the artist for her, we'll pass the info on.

As far as boys from not kosher homes being taught to wear tzitzit.... I would distinguish between mitzvot (commandments) on the one hand and minhagim (customs) on the other. Judaism is not an all or nothing proposition. Each mitzvah can be taken on its own. And, although tzitzit might not seem to you to be high on the priority list with regard to Jewish education in situations where the parents don't even keep a kosher home, Judaism believes that there is value in every mitzvah act. As a result, I think it's not an apt comparision to the Rebbe's Ma'amar example I used. In teaching kids from non-observant homes about Judaism, there will always be those things that -- taken on their own -- might seem less important, or not worthy of focus, but there is no way to teach Judaism without teaching those too. Also, to address your specific example, tzitzit is something the child can do on their own, while keeping a kosher home requires a commitment from both parents too.

Some JM Links

Late, but definitely in the game now, Sameach Music has launched their online store at Following up on their Podcast, Sameach appears to be adopting a net-savvy marketing approach. It's a smart approach, and reduces their reliance on Judaica retailers in the NY area, who are notorious for late payments (when they pay at all), as needed distribution outlets. They're also offering a free CD including tracks by many of their artists with purchases of $25 or more.

PT posts video of the MSB backing up Shlock Rock on Yo, Yo, Yarmulka.

FTR vs. JM in the AM

Here's Hirhurim's comparision.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hash-idic Brownies

Here's Presence:
Whoah, where am I...I started my car, radio set to 105.7 from the ride home, and there's someone on the radio singing about Moshiach and Hashem, with a Jamaican patois for added flare. Did Shweky eat the wrong brownies on his Pesach vacation in The Bahamas? Nope, it's Matisyahu!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

On The Links

Pair of JM links for y'all:

Here's The Lenny Solomon story - part 2.

The Jerusalem Post reviews Eitan Katz's newest, "Lma'ancha" and Yosef Karduner's "Bakesh Avdecha."

From The Mailbag...

Karen writes:
I just read your June 22 blog entry in which you compare Finale and Sibelius. I am looking to purchase one of these programs. Do you have any further opinions after using Sibelius for a few months?
I posted some thoughts earlier today and am hoping to get to part two and my conclusions soon.

Yakov Vershubsky writes:
I have finally completed the Final Structure of Lipa's website If anyone has anything to contribute, Please Email me.

I'm looking for:
Newspaper Clippings
WebNews Items
Blog Feeds
Studio Session Recordings
and anything else you think might help.

Personally, we'd suggest creating and uploading content before promoting a website. Perhaps this will motivate us to pen a Lipa post sometime soon.

Avremi G. comments on "The Rebbe's Ma'amar":
You missed the point as to why this maamar is recited. It’s not akin to a pilpul whose (noble) intention is to inspire and intellectually stimulate the listener with words of chidushei Torah – This maamer has been recited for about 100 years by Lubavitcher Barmitvah boys, so in a way it’s old news. Rather it’s an accomplishment on the part of the boy, having studied and internalized the Chassidic and kabalistic points of the Mitzvah of Tfilin. The saying of a Maamer is not a speech, rather a spiritual journey of G-dly connection and adherence. It’s a vehicle by which the boy connects to his Rebbe – as a young chosid. The Rebbe would hold on to a kerchief when saying a maamer. Chassidim speculate that he did this so as so as not to undergo “kalois hanefesh” whilst experiencing such intense spirituality. And trust me; almost no-one understood a maamer that the Rebbe said at first listen. And I’m certain he knew it. But as Chassidim we know that much ‘heavenly upheaval’ happens with the reciting of a maamer by a Rebbe – this in addition to the ‘chidushei chassidus’ that were introduced.
My response:
I think you missed my point. Perhaps my post wasn't clear. This was not a Lubavitch Bar Mitzvah, where as part of being raised in the Chabad derech, and while being taught the Chasidic/Kabbalistic conception of tefilin, the boy learned the Rebbe's ma'amar. In that case, I've got no problem with the Bar Mitzvah saying the ma'amar. It's significant for many reasons as you noted, and at worst, even if the child comprehends nothing, it's a harmless minhag.

This boy was not Chabad or from a Chabad family though. With the exception of this rebbe and a handful of kids, there were no Lubavitchers there. I don't see the significance of teaching a boy to race through a speech he clearly doesn't understand in a language none of his listeners understand; one that is not significant for him beacuase of minhag.

I've posted in the past about Chabad rabbis "getting it" in terms of knowing their audience as far as simcha speeches. In this case, IMO, this rebbe missed the boat and missed an opportunity. In a room full of not yet religious Jews, a simple meaningful D'var Torah would have accomplished so much more.

11/10/05 Link Dump

Lazer Beams has posted the first part of an interview w/Lenny Solomon that includes a link to Lenny's new rap track, "Redemption Time."

Esther Kustanowitz writes "Son of OyBaby" in the Jewish Week

My Yichud Room informs about a new Jewish record label.

Jewish Blogmeister reports on an interesting album promotion: Free Cholent!

Ach Du Lieber Boycott

BBC News reports:
Folk musicians in Bavaria are threatening to boycott the opening of next year's football World Cup - unless they are given a more prominent role.

Organisers have allocated 45 seconds for a performance of traditional Bavarian thigh-slapping and brass music, which they say is not enough.

The opening ceremony of the World Cup in June next year takes place in the Bavarian capital, Munich.

The folk musicians' performance is a classic symbol of Bavaria.

Men in tight leather shorts, slapping their thighs, leap around to the sound of brass music and Alpine horns.
In related news, klezmer musicians are rumored to be boycotting tonight's Yisroel Lamm tribute at Avery Fisher Hall over the lack of tsimbl solos at tonight's event. [/sarcasm]

Via Steven Den Beste

Sibelius Vs. Finale Part I

So I’ve finally made some time to note my impressions of Sibelius 4 and here are my thoughts.

For background about why I decided to try Sibelius after using Finale for years, check out my previous posts here and here. I’ll be contrasting Sibelius 4 with Finale 2004, my most recent version.

Sibelius 4 was announced just after I cross-graded to Sibelius 3, so after quickly notating a few lead sheets for an upcoming gig, I decided to set the program aside and wait until version 4 arrived. In other words, I am approaching Sibelius 4 as a new user, rather than as one upgrading from Sibelius 3.

A brief digression, I have to note that Sibelius’ upgrade policy seems unfair to me. I see no reason for Sibelius’ policy of differentiating registration cutoff dates by country when honoring free upgrades. In particular, giving only a few days grace period in the States from when Sibelius 4 was announced seems unfair. I did a quick net search, and most of the big name companies (i.e. Adobe) have more liberal upgrade policies and grant free upgrades to users who have purchased a program 30 to 60 days prior to the announcement of a new version.

In my case, I registered Sibelius 3 before the short U.S. grace period, but within the U.K/Australia period. It felt quite frustrating to read that I wasn’t going to get the free upgrade, when I hadn’t yet paid the credit card bill for the program. I contacted Sibelius about this and was referred to someone in the company who was kind enough to send me the free upgrade, but I shouldn’t have had to do that. In my opinion, it is reasonable for a software buyer to expect a free upgrade if a new version of the product is announced within 30 days of purchase.

I should emphasize that Sibelius was quite courteous about this as well as a registration issue I’d contacted them about with version 3. The people I’ve spoken to there have been very helpful once they’re made aware of an issue and I’d like to acknowledge that.

Now that that’s out of the way, lets take a look at the program. Instead of trying to give a comprehensive overview/full review of the program, I’m simply going to describe how I used it and what my impressions are. Additional impressions will be coming soon in part II.

Here’s are some general observations first. Overall, Sibelius is an impressive program, and I especially prefer its GUI to Finale’s interface. That being said, the two programs approach things very differently; it will take some time for a Finale user to really “get” Sibelius’ approach. Personally, I find that Sibelius' approach suits my work style better, but longtime Finale users may find the learning curve to be steeper than those whose first music notation experience is Sibelius.

Also, no music notation software is perfect. Both Finale and Sibelius require the user to tweak various aspects of their scores for optimal results.

Now lets take a look at how I’ve been using the program.

Step Entering Lead Sheets
I started off by entering a klezmer clarinet piece that included lots of articulations and diverse note values onto a lead sheet template with the Inkpen font. I found it quite easy to enter the melody using the computer keypad. Sibelius’ interface feels much more intuitive to me compared to Finale's. I love the navigator, and I find that it takes less keystrokes/mouse clicks to enter data relative to Finale. I did find that the slurs were overlapping the accidentals though. I was able to adjust the individual slurs to avoid the accidentals, but a sharp-eyed reader might notice that they are not uniform. The differences are minor and won’t make a difference on the bandstand, but I thought I should mention it. I do wish that the program was able to recognize and correct the conflict on its own.

I also discovered an apparent bug where slurs on the first system don’t respond properly to the up arrow key and move down instead of up. In general, there seems to be a bug that causes the arrow keys to sometimes function inconsistently when adjusting slurs and lines.

I also entered a klezmer piece with a number of trills and an ossia. The trills on the G on top of the staff clashed with the notehead; all the others were fine. It’s easy enough to move them up, but, again, I wish this would happen by default.

When I locked five measures in a system, the last two notes were condensed onto the barline and wouldn’t shift using the standard moving command (alt+shift and the arrow keys). I was able to move them using the properties window and manually entering spacing positions (which show the adjustments in real-time), but I’d also like to be able to drag the individual notes right or left as can be done in Finale. Sibelius doesn’t allow you to move notes relative to each other by dragging.

Inserting Chord Symbols
To test this, I entered a jazz lead sheet with complex chord symbols. Entering jazz chords in Sibelius is a breeze compared to Finale. You can simply type in the chord suffix you want, unlike Finale which requires you to add it to the chord library first. It’s easy to create chords with “stackable” alterations using the drop-down word menus. I prefer Sibelius' method for selecting all chord symbols means that they can be globally adjusted in less steps than it takes in Finale.

New Helsinki Font
To sus out the new Helsinki font, I entered a short classical piano piece, which included dynamics, slurs, hairpins, and fingering. I like this font a lot. It’s clear, easy to read, and looks great. I think it’s a sharper looking font than Finale’s default fonts.

Inserting Graphics
I sometimes like to insert a little logo graphic on my sheet music. Sibelius scales graphics down proportionately when their size is adjusted. Finale’s default setting doesn’t keep the proportions constant when adjusting imported graphics, so after shrinking the graphic by selecting and dragging it, I often have to adjust the proportions. I prefer Sibelius’ approach.

My personal preference for most of my charts so far is the Inkpen font, but as I noted, the new Helsinki font looks sharp too. I think that Inkpen and Helsinki are sharper fonts than Finale’s Jazz and Maestro.

First and Second endings:
One annoying thing I’ve noticed in both Finale and Sibelius is that the default lines for first and second endings are not set high enough to accommodate the default settings for chord symbols. This is easy enough to change, but I’d think these should be the default settings in both programs for lead sheet templates.

I do find Sibelius’ system for entering first and second endings to be much more sensible than Finale’s, but I did find a bug where using the right arrow key to adjust the second ending pushes the end of the line to the left instead of the right. You can work around this by grabbing the ending with the mouse and adjusting it that way.

Kontakt Player
I like the sound of Kontakt Player, but wish it was easier to change instruments.

Copying to Word
Sibelius allows you to simply copy music to Microsoft Word. You simply select go to the edit menu > select> graphic, and adjust the size of your selection by clicking and dragging. You can then copy and paste as usual – CTRL C and CTRL V. I copied a lead sheet and it worked perfectly. This is a great feature that allows me to email a lead sheet to someone who doesn’t have Sibelius or the Scorch reader.

Sibelius Help Center Chat Page
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Sibelius is extremely responsive to user questions. I’ve posed several questions on Sibelius’ chat page, and all of them were answered promptly and correctly.

Importing Finale files
I tried to import some Finale files and found that Sibelius crashes upon import of some Finale ETF files. Sibelius recommends importing Finale Music XML files instead of ETF files, but since Finale left this option out of the Mac version, I'm going to have to explore other options like Recordare's Dolet.

Part II is coming soon:
I hope to report on my experience with Sibelius' "Dynamic Parts", Flexi-Time, Recordare's Dolet, the new video feature, MIDI files, go more in depth about Layout and more. I'll also round out my impressions of the program, sum up how it compares to Finale, and inform about my decision.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

All or Nothing At All

Here's a new one:

I was speaking to a someone I know earlier this evening. He's marrying off a son soon and we were talking about the music decision for the affair. Apparently, his son felt strongly that having a band was an all or nothing proposition. In other words, the band needed to have at least five musicians, or else he'd have to have a one-man-band. Since having five pieces wasn't a possibility for whatever reason, they'd hired a one-man-band over a four-piece group.

I find it hard to understand the logic and I've not heard of this rationale for choosing a one-man-band before. Has anyone else heard similar logic?

Blogging Perks

Music blogging has its perks. Maybe one day, I too will get to name a llama.

Der Yiddisher Taliban

TTC has the details.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Cantor Poker

I'll see your "chief cantor"... and raise you one Dudu Fisher.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Country (Y.) Music

It's been a while since we looked at CY Magazine. Why, we even passed up blogging the Miami Revach issue!

It's time to check back in with our old friends and see what's new in the world of JM PR. (All of the following comes from the recent "Mike Bloomberg" issue.)

First off, you'll all be glad to know that Miami Boys Choir's "Revach" album and the "Yeshivah Boys Choir 2" album are both still on the "Top 20 in Jewish Music" charts and once again tied for the same slot. Cynics may scoff, and point out that the rankings are bogus, but we prefer to celebrate the serendipity of two big CY ad buyers products achieving the exact same sales numbers month after month.

Yossi Zweig's "The Music Insider" column has lots of insider tidbits about upcoming releases including this revealing factoid about Eitan Katz's "Lma'ancha":
This soulful composition is just the tip of the iceberg as the album consists of 10 songs including Track #10, which is composed by Rabbi Mottel Twersky.

The column includes comments about Ephie Lowinger's "debut album" called "Ahava." This info would come as a surprise to fans of Ephie's earlier album, “Labor Day and Life Insurance”. (Album credits here.) FYI, his fan club appears to have a few positions open.

Rochelle Maruch Miller contributes a lovely ad, whoops, article about Nachman Seltzer's "Shira Chadasha Boys Choir" album. After serving up a nice helping of the usual, the ad, whoops did it again, the article concludes with a reference to another Nachman Seltzer release, "Visions":
Nachman Seltzer has already established himself as a gifted composer and producer and has generated much buzz in the Jewish music industry. In the tradition of Abie Rotenberg, he has produced Visions, an album that bears Nachman's signature standard of excellence. With the release of his first two musical productions, he is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of seeing Jewish music return to its pure and classic roots.
We're not that familiar with Seltzer's work. The only track we've heard --off of Visions-- was a "Shlock-esqe version of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." Classic roots indeed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reader email...

I've been getting a lot of email lately. Apologies for not responding personally to each. I do hope to get to them in time.

Here's a helping of the latest:

Rebbetzin Chaim David responds to Renegade Rebbetzin:
Thought you'd never ask!
As Chaim David's better half (his wife) I'll try to explain. Initially Yamamai was something that came to him along with the nigun. I thought it was some kind of African influence from his childhood in Johannesberg.Trying to get him to sing la-la-la didn't work -- he kept coming back to ya-ma-mai. The first few times he played it at home it was very somber. I told him it was the worst song he ever wrote and begged him never to play it in public. At some point it was so unbearable I said, "Either that song goes, or I do." His keyboardist also said that this song makes no sense.

Chaim David didn't listen to me (mah-nishtana) and debuted with the new nigun in concert in Hebron. And the rest is history.

Our dear friend, violinist Ruby Harris refers to it as "Yo Mama."

L'havdil, Rav Moshe Weinberger shlita of Aish Kodesh in Woodmere gave a parush that Ya MaMaH is actually the rashai tavot of Y'-Hashem, Melech Malchei Hamelachim.

More recently, Chaim David was told by the daughter of Rav Hillel Leiberman, HY"D that when she sat in jail for protesting the expulsion from Gush Katif, she and the other young women sang it as YoLaMaYa- or Yehudi Lo Migaraish Yehudi.

I don't know what answer Rebbetzin Renegade was expecting. I just hope that she's not sorry that she asked.
Mendel emails:
On one of the early pirchei records there was an old Yiddish song. I think it was called “vi nemt min” do you know where I can find the lyrics?
Z'man Biur forwards a link to his Holiday pet peeves. Some of them are about the music.