Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chanukah Is Coming

What to get the Brooklyn JM producer in your life? This!

Fom the mailbag...

Naftali comments on "Book 'em, Dano - Organizing Your Gig Book":
This computer system already exists....I saw it at Guitar Center. It is a flat screen (surrounded by rubber...I guess to protect it from the rigors of the road) and you mount it on a mic stand.
I assume he's talking about the Music Pad Pro.

It's not the same thing. I had the chance to buy one for $200 and passed. I’ve researched those and it seems that there is a large unsatisfied customer base. They also require you to transfer all of the files into their own proprietary format. Basically, it lets you view documents and add edits. It’s also an MP3 player. The build quality/reliability factor is not good, I’m told. There's a newer version out that may have fixed some of these issues, but I'm not sold.

This system doesn’t allow for transposition on the fly, as I described, and having multiples for each band member would be redundant, from a cost perspective. I envision a system with one computer (the bandleader’s note pad) with linked screens for the musicians. I’m imagining a tablet Mac with linked screens running a software system that is a cross between Sibelius and Adobe Acrobat.

For the moment, it would be more effecient to buy a dedicated tablet computer if one wanted to go that route. I think the technology is almost there, but not quite, and the software hasn’t been written yet. At least, I’m not familiar with a solution.

One of the big hurdles would be navigating transposition issues when transposing an arrangement results in some lines being outside an instruments range. Also, managing the different screen outputs.

There’s also no internet subscription service for sheet music like that available yet. It’d have to be 100% reliable. And, the venues aren’t wired for net access either.

But, while we’re talking technology, I wonder what will happen if the von-man-band set discovers Ableton Live? Instead of keyboardists, we’ll have DJ’s with sophisticated song marker setups enabling them to play a dance medley and jump to any tune, or even part of tune on demand. It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely doable, I’d think.

Hadassah writes:
why the hell did matis leave chabad????? chabad was HIM ! he did soooo great......
Psachya writes:
Regarding Weber's Flute Sonata - if you haven't already, try Patelson's. They're at 160 West 56 Street, about a block from Carnegie Hall.They've always been my go-to place for classical sheet music. They also have a website at . Good luck!
They didn't have it.

E. forwards a link to a Dudu Fisher profile.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There's A New Blog In Town...

Say hi to The Studio 54 Rebbe.

But Is It Really Stealing?

THE LIFE-OF-RUBIN BLOG posts about a dispute ongoing on the Yahoo Jewish music board. In short, a musician posted a list of albums he's owned that were lost or damaged and asked for people to send him mp3's. Another music industry member responded that this would be stealing. LoR agrees citing dina d'malchusa.

I don't agree and I also believe L-o-R's assertion of Dina D'malchusa is incorrect. I'm not aware of an actual case, but I'm certain that if the RIAA filed suit against someone for illegaly downloading songs, and the downloader was able to provide proof that he'd purchased all of those songs legally (i.e. he produced a crate of his old cassettes of all of those albums), then the case would be dismissed.

Assuming the original poster has in fact purchased the albums, I think he should be allowed to make copies. Intellectual property is just that, and once it's been paid for, the producers have no right to demand further payment from the same consumer, unless they go to further expense. The fact that the buyer lost it is irrelevant.

Here's a thought experiment. I buy a CD. Can I import it into iTunes w/o paying the producer an additional fee? Ok, now I take the disc out of its case and drop it. It still plays though. Can I still import it into iTunes w/o paying? How about if I step on it and it cracks slightly, but still plays? What if it's broken, but I'd burned a backup copy for my car? (Which, contrary to many JM producer's assertions is clearly legally protected Fair Use.) At what point does the producer "earn" the right to be paid again?

I do think that if a remastered or otherwise (arguably) upgraded version is released, then one should not be allowed to download those files on the premise that he'd paid for an earlier version of the album. (I use the word "arguably" because, IMO, many of the"remastered" JM releases are a step down from the originals.)

L-o-R also presents a false analogy:
If I buy a car and it gets stolen, can I go into the dealership and just take a new one?
This analogy is false because there are costs to the seller in taking another car. In this case though, the artist does not incur any additional costs.

I've posted many times about illegal downloading and why it's wrong. I don't beleive this falls into that category.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

10/23/07 Link Dump

The Klezmershack links to two podcasts about the Strom-a-thon. We'd linked the Forward's coverage, but hadn't seen Nextbook's. Listening to the Nextbook podcast, it sounds like Strom has little respect for the musicians participating. I'm sure he didn't mean to sound that way, but that's how it comes across. At any rate, this event is getting way too much coverage considering what it was, or rather, wasn't.

Speaking of the KlezmerShack, Ari has posted a nice review of the Lituanian Empire's debut disc. We met some of the musicians last year. Sound like it's worth checking this one out!

Still more at KlezmerShack... "Tango controversy !" It's nice that Ari's begun posting more frequently.

Cole Krawitz writes movingly about the cantor from his childhood in "Memory in Song."

Here's a blog for women who perform for women only audiences to share information.

Finally, check out this drummer's strong backbeat!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Book 'em, Dano - Organizing Your Gig Book

I've been meaning to raise this topic for a while.

Years ago, I conceived a system for managing sheet music at gigs. It involved a linked tablet computer system with individual screens for each musician. It would allow the bandleader to call up songs, have the music immediately displayed on each musician's screen in their instruments key, with their parts (if any), and would allow for transposing entire arragements on the fly to accompany guest vocalists. An internet connection and a full libarary/joint partnership with Hal Leonard and other major music publishers would allow bandleaders to fulfill virtually any request.

Due to cost, current technology limitations, and many other reasons (including laziness), I'm not going to develop/use such a system anytime soon.

In the meantime, I've been trying to figure out the best way to organize music books for the band for gigs. I'm interested in hearing how other musicians create their books AND how they manage/update them from season to season. If there is interest, I'll describe my current binder system, but I'm not totally satisfied with it and am interested in hearing other approaches.

For purposes of this discussion, I'd like to mainly focus on Jewish music repertoire, although secular repertoire is also of interest. Beuller?

Sheet Music Needed

Does anyone know where I can get the sheet music for Weber’s Flute Sonata No. 1? I can't seem to find a retailer that carries it. Thanks.

What Your J-Media Advertising Dollar Gets You - UPDATED

Ever wonder what your J-media advertising dollar gets you?

One ad we ran in a local advertising publication netted us the following. (They misspelled our name and address in their database, allowing us to track which mailings were coming from them.)

Since its unclear at this time if they sold the mailing list or only did the mailing on behalf of those listed below, and whether the below listed companies knew how the names on the list were obtained, I'm witholding the names of the private companies whose mailings we received. They may be blameless here and if so, do not deserve bad press.

I am listing the tzedakas because given the state of ethics in the fundraising community, they do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. In addition, some of their fundraising literature is offensive (I wrote about this in "Tzedakah Tatzil M'Advertising Expenses."

Here's a partial listing:

Tzidkas Yosef Naftali - Financial Assistance for Needy Families in Eretz Yisroel. Mainly for the Yomim Tovim. (4 letters from two different local residents)
Diskin Orphan Home of Israel
Gates of Chesed - A Public Service Publication by the Center for Community Resources (Magazine)
Nechomas Yisroel (Newspaper and "Super Raffle" mailing)
Yom Tov Relief Fund - Rabbi matisyahu Solomon (1 letter)
Matanos L'evyonim Gomlei Chesed - Rabbi Matisyahu solomon (1 letter)
A wig maker (2 postcards)
An insurance brokerage (1 postcard)
A Judaica store (1 postcard)
Subscription offer for a Heimish newspaper (1 postcard)
Passover ad for a confectionary store (1 postcard)
Kupat Ha'ir (numerous full-color brochures)
Kupat Aniyei Eretz Yisrael (numerous full-color brochures)

Care to guess if we renewed the ad buy?

UPDATE: Found a few we'd missed!

A flyer from a Kosher supermarket
Another two postcards from a wigmaker.
A fundraising letter from Rav Shmuel Birenbaum for Reavim Gam Tzemaim Argentina
A fundraising letter from an Israeli business man with a very ill wife.
Another Tzidkas Yoseph Naftali letter.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sisfsosaf Dovevos Bakever

Mo C forwards a link to his new CD release, K'shoshana. The CD features previously unrecorded songs by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach as performerd by Aaron Razel, Chaim Dovid, and Shlomo Katz.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

J-Music News Roundup

So once again, a survey of J-arts coverage in the Jewish media discovers that only the Forward has any worthy music coverage this week.

Alexander Gelfand writes about "The Anti-Fiddler."

Jon Kalish podcasts from the Strom-a-thon on Eldridge Street. Mark Rubin shares some thoughts on the event here.

Also in the Forward: "Battle Forming Over Jewel of Yiddish Stage."

Lesson of the Day

Always hire a real keyboardist. You won't get away with using backing tracks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

From the mailbag...

D. writes:
“You know you are playing at a yeshivish wedding when you have more fanfares than songs at the chupa”

Chupa- Pney Lelbon, Bilvovi, Ani Maamin
Fanfares- Crazy Train, Rock you Like a Hurricans, Baker Steet, YEAH By Usher…..
E. forwards a link to Life of Rubin's Yossi Zweig interview.

Craig writes:
I just read your 2005 Review of Finale vs. Sibelius and found it very informative. Have you had a chance to look at the latest versions of each? I teach a course in music technology and, for the moment, I am showing my students both programs. But it's expensive to keep them both updated. Any words of wisdom you can offer are much appreciated.
I have not upgraded Sibelius as yet. The new version adds VST support, which is nice, but I’d prefer if they fixed the issues with slurs, as that’s more important to me. I’ve been monitoring the Sibelius chat page, and it looks like there are some bugs in this version, so I’m waiting until they issue an update or two before deciding to upgrade.

I’m quite happy with Sibelius at this point, so I’m not staying on top of Finale’s updates anymore. They lost me as a user because of bad customer support, and Sibelius’ support is superb.

If you’re teaching about music technology, you might find some of the music tech blogs helpful.

Here are two of my current faves:
Create Digital Music

Aryeh writes:
hi, my name is Aryeh. I'm really a piano player, but the yamaha digital piano i use also plays rhythms and that sort of thing. sometimes I like to fool around using them, but the keyboard doesn't come with any rhythms that can really be used for freilachs or good horahs, and that sort of thing. You can't create rhythms on the keyboard, and I wouldn't be able to anyway. Do you know where I would be able to get a hold of some that I could play with? By the way, I think it would be a really good idea if you would put up some keyboard playing tips in your blog, cuz i don't think there are any on the net. All I know is that you play chords very low using your left hand, and the melody in the right hand. And there are usually 4 different variations within the rhythm. Is there anything else to it other than that? Thanks.
Any von-man-bands want to shoot this guy some pointers?

Shalom writes about my konsonans retro: a podolian affair review.
In your blog you wrote:

> Amazon has it here:

They say so, but I looked there, and it seems they don't actually have any to sell. You can, however, get it from , where they also have some samples to download (sounds like good stuff). Price is $20.
MoC forwards a link to an article about the Beit Shemesh music festival.

Monday, October 08, 2007

In Review - konsonans retro: a podolian affair

Berlin-based klezmer uber-clarinetist (or should that be Klarinettist?) Christian Dawid recently gave me his latest disc, konosans retro: a podolian affair. The disc features Dawid's collaboration with the Baranovskys, a family of musicians from Zagnitkiv, a Podolian village near the Moldavian border. Here's the band's website.

Writing a review for this disc has been an irritating experience! Reason is, I keep being distracted by the music, and have to stop working to pay attention. It's my own fault, really, for even trying to get something else done at the same time. (It doesn't help that I've developed the habit of playing along with klezmer recordings lately. Or at least, this recording.)

This is a very nice set! The musicianship is wonderful and the unique repertoire the Baranovskys play -- a blend of Moldovan, Ukranian and Hassidic influences -- is a lot of fun.

Podolia is the birthplace of Hasidism, and those with a Hasidic bent will find deep meaning in the Ukrainian folk song "Oy u hayu pri Dunayu."
In a forest near the Danube, a nightingale is singing. I'm sick with my lonliness and want to fly where my lovely one is now
Naturally, given its origins, the band's repertoire includes Ukranian and Hasidic melodies like "Shabes Nign" as well as tunes with Moldovan, Gypsy, and Russian influences.

The album opening to "Moldovskaya Polka" -- a clarinet doina with warm brass chords behind it -- is sweet! And the set stays up throughout. The horn section is tight, and the musicians who play with the Baranovskys complement them nicely. In addition to Dawid, that would include drummer Guy Schalom and guest clarinetist Gennadiy Fomin.

Favorite tracks include: "Moldovskaya Polka", "Khasitsky Freylekhs", "Podilska" (which features nice interplay between Dawid and guest clarinetist Gennadiy Fomin), "Doina and Sher No 13"(with a gorgeous sax doina), and "Trombon Hora", which features Vitaly Baranovsky on the trombone, but it's hard to pick just a few.

Summing up, "a podolian affair" is a well-played disc of interesting klez repertoire. Great tunes and great musicianship. What else needs to be said?

Amazon has it here:

Monday, October 01, 2007

Choir Wars!

It appears that we have a winner in the ongoing YBC/MBC competition. Technical problems indeed.