Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barry Tuckwell. For the ladies.

All the female horn players were throwing panties at this cat. Dude's got skills.
Tuckwell is good. He knows it,too. Look at his face. He's better than you and it's getting him off.
                                                                                Part 2.
A minor flub near the beginning of the clip.
Notice that at several points, King Tuck says, screw you guys, I'm playing faster.
                                                                                Part 3      
Barry Tuckwell, Australian born brass assassin (tm) picked up a horn and said " I'm better than all of you." Actually I don't think I can legally attribute that quote to Mr. Tuckwell.
This guy's tone in the high range is beast. He makes long intervals look simple. Poor principle violin player takes the brunt of the assault on his face. Maybe that's why Barry shook his hand afterwards, like my bad, dude.

Still grinding on the nyan cat thing. If you guys have ideas for me to transpose and work on, send them in. Hope y'all enjoyed the post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There will be profanities in this post.

Note the clever use of foreshadowing in the post title. I'm a nice guy. Well, that's stretching it a bit but it's irrelevant. The point is that I loathe whoever posted this thing.
As a classically trained musician, my first instinct was to hate this, but I found myself wanting to listen to it. So, I'm going to transcribe it for the horn and TURN THIS MOTHER OUT.

It's in a god awful beast of a key. It's in B, which means it has 5 sharps. Looks a little like this:
  The "good" news is the horn is tuned to F (we'll get into the differences in later posts) so it essentially adds another (profanities) sharp. See. I told you so.
 Yeah. I know right.
So since we're really smack talking some, I guess I'll continue. I want to get really good again, and do drive by hornings on people. I'm serious. Just walk into some Bed Bath and Beyond (tm) and start blasting Wagner (pronounced with a V)

That would be pretty epic. So I have work to do. I hope you guys enjoy the music.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This microphone situation will be rectified by this Saturday.

I am sick of having to play quiet. The mic on my iPhone can't handle the awesomeness of the French Horn sound above a mezzo forte level. I want to make your faces do this
I noticed a question from a reader that I felt compelled to answer due to its pertinence.

Only In America (link is to their blog) asked this : "Any idea why its called the 'french' horn? just because it was invented by the french?"
The answer to this question is yes.
Only kidding. It is descended from the natural horn (a horn without valves and originally used for hunting calls).
Since 1971 the International Horn Society has recommended the use of the word horn alone, as the commonly played instrument is not, in fact, the French horn, but rather the wider bore German horn. 
So the answer to your question is that the reason we call it a French horn is that we are all dumb.

Here are some out takes from my latest session. Things are progressing, albeit slowly. I left several mistakes in for you to laugh at.
 This is what it will sound like when I am done.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Early afternoon delight.

No not that kind of Afternoon Delight. The song was actually a huge hit in 1977 by the group Starland Vocal Band. I'm speaking, as always, of more French Horn playing. I woke up this morning wanting to get my face melted and immediately though of 2 videos. The first is Stefan Dohr blasting Mahler.
 Wow. That's all I can really say about that. He didn't even check his back blast area before unleashing that assault. Someone back there is going to have permanent hearing damage.
The next video that came to mind was this video of Madison Scouts performing Malaguena in 1988.
I put these up to tide you over. I'm practicing again today. Recording the sessions, and I hope to have some footage up this evening. Didn't want to bog this blog down with too much original content. Anyways, until this evening....ENJOY!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lip Crawls.

I think it is time to quit smoking and get serious about practicing again. Today's session was encouraging. Got some reps in on scales. It's funny how you don't forget how to do it. Just need to beat my face into shape with some serious lip crawls. Worked on Strauss (Franz, not the other one) Op. 2. Thinking about maybe putting together a small brass ensemble and arranging some original material. Anyway here are some out takes from the session. Sorry, still no decent mic. The iphone mic can't seem to handle the awesomeness of my inability to center a D on this student model King horn. Also transcribing a little of Jurassic Park.

Sorry again about the evening post, but I've been working late all week, so today I spent some time in the garden weeding. Had more Mr. Kitty escapades. 
Yuengling is now my official unofficial sponsor.
Sorry about the watermark on the video. Currently setting up my recording studio. Implementing a metronome and digital tuner into the system I am setting up. Hope to have higher quality video and content in the future.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It looks as if Blogger has made a liar of me.

Well, technically it wasn't my fault, just ironic that the post that implies you wont see the same thing twice ends up staying there. I hope you enjoyed that run on sentence. Anyway, I was standing out at the garden and looking straight up. It was enticing to realize that instead of standing on a flat surface, I am actually standing on a sphere at its apex, and the star directly above me may be the closest thing to me in that direction. I'm birdwalking here.

Today's Horn Lesson.
The French horn has a reputation for being a "difficult" instrument to play. This is also because of the harmonic series. Most brass instruments play in the first few octaves of the harmonic series, where the notes are farther apart and it takes a pretty big difference in the mouth and lips to get a different note.  The range of the French horn is higher in the harmonic series, where the notes are closer together. So very small differences in the mouth and lips can mean the wrong harmonic comes out.

There is one positive to this. Having the small distances between notes, coupled with the extra back pressure inherent in the physics of the horn, makes lip trilling more feasible. Wiki defines a trill as a "musical ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart. A lip trill is accomplished by rapidly moving from one pitch to another without the use of finger movements, and using only the lips. Obviously, having very light pressure makes this even easier, giving the lips more space to move.
This is an example of lip trilling. Note : This still isn't me but I promise homemade material tomorrow.

Here the trill can be seen in its natural habitat (beasting face) at the 21 second mark. This solo is difficult.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No sir. You didn't think you'd see the same post as yesterday, did you?

  My friend Phillip sent me this video :
This is probably the saddest thing I have ever heard. I know you guys have been asking for my own playing, so I am working on getting a decent microphone. Phil ( aforementioned ) challenged me to record a new vid to "turn this fellow out" in the parlance of our times (20 years ago). I'll try to have the video done this weekend. Hope you guys enjoy. I've been slacking on my playing so the first few Hornisodes (tm) may be a little shaky. Anyway I thought I better leave you guys with something pleasant to get that emo kid's hoodie out of your thoughts.

Please don't ever think in your mind that I am anywhere near this good at the moment. Give me some time to get back in shape. I played in the Marine Corps band, but have fallen off playing in the past few years. I created this blog for other reasons, but now I use it to motivate myself to finish my performance degree. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feeling Horny?

I know I am. Every evening is good with a dose of French Horn. I was hoping to have the next theory lesson posted this evening but work kept me over long once again. Sounds like there's going to be a "gully washer" tonight here in South Carolina. That's a heavy rainfall for you yankees out there. Anyway I can't believe I haven't shared this with you yet. It's Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody performed by (you guessed it) all French Horns.

Monday, May 9, 2011


    Sorry about the late evening post. Had some OT at work. Supply problems due to the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown issues in Japan. Anyways the bad news is: it means 60 hours + at work but I am hardcore. I WILL NOT MISS A POST! Working on new music material for you fine people. And here is the crux ( or the climax of the post if you are sexually obssesed ) of this post. I need suggestions from the minions (that's you) on what material you want to read. I like to run my suck ( that's my mouth if you were never in the Marine Corps ) about almost everything, but I am most knowledgeable in the field of classical and contemporary instrumental music. I want to keep you fine people involved so I'll try to take any questions or requests, especially regarding performance or theory. So today you get more horn. I know you're all very excited. You better damn well be. I'm watching you.

 I'f you don't like this you should probably consider euthanasia. Love you guys ;P

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More theory by demand


     An interval is the distance between two notes. Intervals are always counted from the lower note to the higher one, with the lower note being counted as one. Intervals come in different qualities and size. If the notes are sounded successively, it is a melodic interval. If sounded simultaneously, then it is a harmonic interval.      The smallest interval used in Western music is the half step. A visual representation of a half step would be the distance between a consecutive white and black note on the piano. There are two exceptions to this rule, as two natural half steps occur between the notes E and F, and B and C.
     A whole step is the distance between two consecutive white or black keys. It is made up of two half steps.


Qualities and Size
Intervals can be described as Major (M), Minor (m), Perfect (P), Augmented (A), and Diminished (d).
Intervals come in various sizes: Unisons, Seconds, Thirds, Fourths, Fifths, Sixths, and Sevenths.

2nds, 3rds, 6ths, and 7ths can be found as Major and Minor.
Unisons, 4ths, 5ths, and Octaves are Perfect.

When a major interval is raised by a half step, it becomes augmented.
When a major interval is lowered by a half step, it becomes minor.
When a major interval is lowered by two half steps, it becomes diminished.
When a minor interval is raised by a half step, it becomes major.
When a minor interval is raised by two half steps, it becomes augmented.
When a minor interval is lowered by a half step, it becomes diminished.
When a perfect interval is raised by a half step, it becomes augmented.
When a perfect interval is lowered by a half step, it becomes diminished.

     Intervals can be inverted, which basically means you turn them upside down. The lower note is raised up an octave so that the top note/bottom note relationship is reversed. The chart below shows the inversions of intervals.
  • Major becomes Minor
  • Minor becomes Major
  • Perfect remains Perfect
  • Augmented becomes Diminished
  • Diminished becomes Augmented
  • 2 becomes 7
  • 3 becomes 6
  • 4 becomes 5
  • 5 becomes 4
  • 6 becomes 3
  • 7 becomes 2

Interval Identification
     It is important to be able to hear and identify intervals. This is a very important thing for musicians to do. Here is a list of familiar songs that will help you to identify the intervals.

m2- Stormy Weather m2
M2- Happy Birthday M2
m3- The Impossible Dream m3
So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music
M3- Halls of Montezuma M3
P4- Here comes the bride P4
A4- Maria from West Side Story A4
P5- Star Wars P5
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

M6- NBC theme music M6
m7- Somewhere from West Side Story m7
M7- Bali Hai from South Pacific
Octave- Over the rainbow Oct.

Happy Mother's Day!

About to go spend some time with the family, and thank my mother for not having me aborted, so this morning's post will be brief. I would like to share with you this collection of popular TV show themes performed exclusively on the French Horn (as nature intended). I will have a detailed posting on the horn coming up later this afternoon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I'm humbled that so many of you have taken time out of your lives to visit this little window to some of the things I look at, think of, and work on in the day to day routine of my life. To mark the occasion, you get "The Long Call." Enjoy the sound (and the scenery) ;)

Music note reading basics.

Music Theory - Note Reading

A staff is made up of five horizontal lines and four spaces. staff
Pitches are named after the first seven letters of the alphabet (A B C D E F G).
A clef is a musical symbol placed at the beginning of the staff that determines the letter names of the lines and spaces.
The two main clefs are the treble and the bass:
treble clef bass clef

A grand staff is a combination of both the treble and bass clefs connected by a vertical line on the left side of the staves (plural staffs).
Ledger Lines are an extension of the staff. They are additional lines both above and below which are parallel to the staff. Each ledger line contains one note.

ledger lines bass ledger lines

Note Values

Each note has a specific duration. note values


    Meter is the regular recurring pattern of strong and weak beats of equal duration; also known as time. The meter or time signature in a musical composition is indicated by a fraction, and located at the beginning of a piece of music. The lower number of the fraction tells what kind of note receives one beat. The upper number tells how many beats are in a measure. In Western music there are two types of meter, simple and compoud. In simple meter the upper number is either 2, 3, or 4. Each beat is subdivided by two. Simple Meter
In compound meter the upper number is either 6,9, or 12. Each beat is a dotted note and subdivided into groups of three beats.
Compound Meter

This is related to the previous post.

Saturday noon.

Just finished all my weekly laundry and lawn mowing. Mr. Kitty (aka the Persian Yeti), as always, is unimpressed. Been working on a project. I used to march in DCI. (Drum Corps International). One of my favorite corps is Carolina Crown. They did a piece a couple years back called the Puck. I've recently finished transcribing the music. The plan is to multi-track record myself playing all the parts. A little self-indulgent maybe, but,hey, it's music and it fills the hours.

Here is the original vid of the show :
Here is my transcription (in midi form) with the video:

Hope to have this done in a few weeks. Ironing out the kinks in my recording equipment.

Saturday Morning

I woke up this morning at 630 AM. WTF It's Saturday. Anyway, I have grass to cut so I'll make this brief entry before I go. I've been getting into the baseball season a little more as time goes by. I've always been a huge Atlanta Braves fan but this year is different. Last year you looked into the dugout and saw this.
And with more than any manager in baseball history, you got to see this:
I loved that Bobby would stand up for his players. More often than not his ejections would fuel the Braves to a comeback. I swear I would open mouth kiss the man.

Now when I look into the dugout I see this:

I can't seem to get into it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I was amused.

This is the kind of thing I think of when I'm trying not to think of what I'm thinking of.

Screw politics. It's Friday.

Thought I'd share this old vid with you.

And here is how it is accomplished.  
It really isn't that difficult if you have the patience to practice. I won some money off bets doing this, but I don't think the money was worth the social awkwardness that accompanied. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An early blurb from the debate.

I'll have much more on this tomorrow. So much good material. I was also impressed with the poise of Mr. Cain.

SC Republican debate

     So I will be watching the debate tonight here in the sovereign capital of the bible belt (SC). Now that the resounding cries of  "Justice is Served" (tm) are dying down, maybe we can start discussing more important details like working on the deficit (mission impossible?) and revising our foreign policy. Tonight everyone will try to "out America" everyone else ( they supported the war on terror, yadda yadda) and distract everyone from the fact that we're screwed financially, and the whole world is laughing at us.
     We must endure a deeper recession before we can ever get out of this foreign debt that we have. We consume too much and produce not enough. We live beyond our means and sacrifice our future for the car the television says I should have. Meanwhile, the parade continues and everyone acts as if we can continue to sell our country in securities we'll only pay with freshly printed inflated dollars. A run on the dollar is closing in, and we're doing nothing to prevent it. I hope someone addresses these issues, and I'm pretty sure it will be Ron Paul. I'll be back later with comments on the debate.

The return of Mr. Kitty.

By popular demand, more Mr. Kitty (aka the Persian Yeti)
If you want more Mr. Kitty, feel free to let me know. He is always standing by with something stupid to do.

My name is Fortissimo, and I approve this message

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mr. Kitty AKA the Persian Yeti (who is Siamese) helps out in the garden.

As Precicted........

Our government refuses to show us valid proof of bin-Laden's death. People that I know call me a conspiracy theorist. I really don't care. I thought that this was supposed to be the high "transparency" administration. I'm sure I remember the words coming out of his mouth.

Remember this speech from 2009? I'm not partisan. I distrust all politicians equally, and regardless of color.

That being said, I enjoyed this verbal punishment Trump gets from the President.

Celestial events 2012

Forget all the apocalyptic hoopla surrounding 2012. I admit, I'm intrigued, but because of all the exciting things happening in the sky.

January 3, 4 - Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The Quadrantids are an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on January 3 & 4, but some meteors can be visible from January 1 - 5. The near first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving dark skies for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation Bootes.

March 14 - Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. The two bright planets will be within 3 degrees of each other in the evening sky.

April 21, 22 - Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids are an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. These meteors can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The shower usually peaks on April 21 & 22, although some meteors can be visible from April 16 - 25. With no moon to get in the way this year, this really should be a good show. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation of Lyra after midnight.
May 20 - Annular Solar Eclipse. The path of annularity will begin in southern China and move east through Japan, the northern Pacific Ocean, and into the western United States. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout parts of eastern Asia and most of North America. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

June 4 - Partial Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the Americas. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

****June 5, 6 - Transit of Venus Across the Sun. This extremely rare event will be entirely visible throughout most of eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and Alaska. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunrise throughout Europe, western Asia, and eastern Africa. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunset throughout most of North America, Central America, and western South America. The next transit will not take place until the year 2117. (NASA Transit Information | NASA Transit Map)
More info including viewing times and locations. ****

July 28, 29 - Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids can produce about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on July 28 & 29, but some meteors can also be seen from July 18 - August 18. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Aquarius. The near first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving dark skies for what should be a good show. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight.

November 13 - Total Solar Eclipse. The path of totality will only be visible in parts of extreme northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of eastern Australia and New Zealand.
(NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

December 21 - December Solstice. The December solstice occurs at 11:12 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the southern hemisphere.Also, the world ends. (only kidding)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This adequately describes the current state of my sex life.

Perfect Society.

Imagine this. We receive word from an alien entity that they are ready to begin relations with us. No, not that kind of relations. Get your mind out of the gutter for now. The entity says that they will only share their technologies/knowledge (assume they are superior here) if we can decide on ONE language, ONE set of laws, and ONE ideal. Also, if we choose poorly, we may face annihilation. Your job is to design the perfect order. Without prejudice to your own nation, what ideas could all mankind unite under (if possible)? Go.

Unwitting Blogger captures moment

Interesting read

Physics of the Future

One of the reasons exists is that too many scientists will dismiss such concepts offhand, but Dr. Kaku has made a career of treating them seriously in published works, his radio broadcasts, and his TV show Sci Fi Science on the Science Channel. His latest book Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 puts forth the bold argument that technology will imbue men and women with godlike powers in less than a hundred years, with specific examinations of the current field and estimated times of arrival on things like artificial intelligence, telekinesis (through implanted brain sensors) and molecular medicine that will dramatically extend the human lifespan.

Lesson Learned? I doubt it.

As we mark the occasion of the passing of Mr. Bin Laden, I pause to understand something. Faced with confronting what he viewed as tyranny by the US and its allies, he chose to follow a path of hate and destruction. I wonder what he thought about the recent Arab uprisings which were largely non-violent, and featured no al-Qaida propaganda or pictures of Bin-Laden. Seems change can take place if enough people want it, and without violence. I'm wondering if this message will resound in our own culture, or in our foreign policy.

George Carlin

More Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden sleeps with the fishes?

 A 10 year manhunt culminates in the death of Osama Bin Laden. In the streets of Washington DC, immediately following the announcement, American are seen celebrating and cheering. Above picture is related. While I admit it has the appearance of a great success for the administration and the intelligence community, I have questions.

  Assuming the terrorist leader is dead, does this change our objectives in Afghanistan?
  Body is dumped at sea. Convenient?
  DNA testing is not complete as of Monday morning. Did we get the right man?
  How swift will the repercussions be?

 Comments, as always, are welcome and will remain unedited.