St Burchardi church, in the eastern German city of Halberstadt, has played host to the performance since 5 September 02001 (the late composer’s 89th birthday), when it kicked off with 17 months of silence. Cage originally wrote ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) in 01985. Its maiden performance by organist Gerd Zacher lasted 29 minutes, but Cage didn’t specify a maximum, so in accordance with the piece’s title, musical scholars and scholarly musicians since decided to stage a multi-century version, approximating the lifespan of an organ.
Ok, but exactly how slow are they playing it? …the halfway mark is in 02319.
Partly I’m sharing this because it’s just really cool. But also because I like the mission of the Long Now Foundation; I agree [with them] that one of the key ingredients to solving mankind’s challenges is for individuals to be good at thinking long-term. Evolution has given us brains that are crazy-good at short-term—particularly acute, fight/flight type threats real or perceived—problem solving. But to figure out a good course of action day to day that leads to own’s own flourishing over your life is really hard. To begin to mix in what’s good for humanity is whatever-is-larger-than-really level of hard.
While “let it be” is profoundly wise in its own right, the passage above contains an idea even more powerful: we all suffer, and that brings us closer. No matter what differences people have, the one guaranteed common thread among us all is that we know what it means to lose and to grieve.
~ David Cain
Over the years, as my hearing has faded, I’ve still always had music. I think–but am not certain–that I appreciate music all the more now that I understand how poor my hearing really is. Sometimes I simply stop and take time to sit and listen. It’s not-at-all amazing that music is closely connected to emotion. It’s not-at-all amazing that emotion is a common ground we all share.
Another finding suggests that Geminiani was onto something. All of the violins included in the study displayed some sonic overlap with the sung vowels. But in the 1570 Amati and the 1560 da Salo, “every violin note appears to carry some degree of human vowel character,” Tai et. al. write in the paper. “This may have been one of the … goals implemented by Amati” when he was inventing and perfecting his design: to make the violin literally sing.
I don’t know why this struck me as amazing. I mean, sure, violins sound amazing, and playing them is subtly difficult. But the idea that someone sat down — in the 1500 — and said, “How do I make an instrument that sounds like a human voice singing.” Mind blown.
… the goal of aposematism is to advertise that, as a piece of prey, you are decidedly unprofitable for the predator. If a predator can easily recognize you (and other members of your species), and remembers getting burned during past encounters, it will quickly learn to stop attacking you in the first place.
~ Kevin Simler
Long [long!] ago humans stood up (makes us easy to see),
moved into the open grasslands (makes us really easy to see),
lost our claws/protective-thick-skin/fangs (makes us soft and easy to kill),
did NOT have tools other than rocks we could pick up (makes us unable to defend ourselves),
started singing ON THE GROUND (makes us easy to hear and find, NO OTHER ANIMAL DOES THIS),
… and then we took over the planet.
AND we are the only animal that uses RHYTHM,
ALSO, all humans dance (ever have the urge to tap your foot or more your head to music?)…
Wait, also, why do we always — every society, every religion, every military — ALWAYS retrieve/prepare/handle/bury our dead?
Bear McCreary, who wrote the music for the BSG re-imagining, has a detailed discussion of the music for the Daybreak episode. (Boingo fans: Bartek and Avila were involved!) It even describes the meaning and derivation of the final coordinates. I wildly enjoyed the re-imangining of BSG. And the music . . . the music is epic.