Posts Tagged ‘history of music’
Click here to watch full-screen (at least some of) the history of Western dance music unfold
Music tourism (visiting a city or town to see a gig or festival) is on the rise. But why stop at gigs and festivals? Why not visit the birthplace of your favourite genre and follow the actual journey various music genres have taken as one style developed into another.
To make it easier to trace the threads of music history, we’ve created an interactive map detailing the evolution of western dance music over the last 100 years. [It's actually from the late 18th Century to the present...] The map shows the time and place where each of the music styles were born and which blend of genres influenced the next…
One can (and surely should) quibble with the map-makers’ bias to Afro-Carribean-based dance music (what about the Virginia reel, and its antecedents? Or Latin dance music?) But then, that’s fun of artifacts like this– the challenge to make them “better,” to make them one’s own…
Watch the interactive history unfold and read the full background at Thomson Travel’s “Evolution of Western Dance Music.”
And lest one doubt that music is in fact contagious, consider this evidence from the PRC:
As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that producer Frank Farian publicly admitted that the voices heard on the recordings of Milli Vanilli were not the actual voices of the duo (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus). Shortly thereafter, the “Best New Artist” Grammy that the group had won earlier that year was recalled… In this age of wide-spread lip-syncing and Auto-Tune, it all seems so quaint…
From Flavorwire, “Vintage Photos of Rock Stars In Their Bathing Suits.”
(Special Seasonal Bonus: from Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton to Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald, “Take a Dip: Literary Greats In Their Bathing Suits.”)
As we reach for the Coppertone, we might might wish a soulful Happy Birthday to musician Isaac Hayes; he was born on this date in 1942. An early stalwart at legendary Stax Records (e.g., Hayes co-wrote and played on the Sam and Dave hits “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Coming”), Hayes began to come into his own after the untimely demise of Stax’s headliner, Otis Redding. First with his album Hot Buttered Soul, then with the score– including most famously the theme– for Shaft, Hayes became a star, and a pillar of the more engaged Black music scene of the 70s. Hayes remained a pop culture force (e.g., as the voice of Chef on South Park) until his death in 2008. (Note: some sources give Hayes birth date as August 20; but county records in Covington, KY, his birthplace suggest that it was the 6th.)
Your correspondent is headed for his ancestral seat, and for the annual parole check-in and head-lice inspection that does double duty as a family reunion. Connectivity in that remote location being the challenged proposition that it is, these missives are likely to be in abeyance for the duration. Regular service should resume on or about August 16.
Meantime, lest readers be bored, a little something to ponder:
Depending who you ask, there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance that you’re living in a computer simulation. Not like The Matrix, exactly – the virtual people in that movie had real bodies, albeit suspended in weird, pod-like things and plugged into a supercomputer. Imagine instead a super-advanced version of The Sims, running on a machine with more processing power than all the minds on Earth. Intelligent design? Not necessarily. The Creator in this scenario could be a future fourth-grader working on a science project.
Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that we may very well all be Sims. This possibility rests on three developments: (1) the aforementioned megacomputer. (2) The survival and evolution of the human race to a “posthuman” stage. (3) A decision by these posthumans to research their own evolutionary history, or simply amuse themselves, by creating us – virtual simulacra of their ancestors, with independent consciousnesses…
Read the full story– complete with a consideration of the more-immediate (and less-existentially-challenging) implications of “virtualization”– and watch the accompanying videos at Big Think… and channel your inner-Phillip K. Dick…
Y’all be good…
Consider the case of Gregor Mendel:
You probably know Mendel as the guy who pioneered the science of genetics… Anybody with a high school diploma has filled out those dominant/recessive trait Punnett squares … … though astute readers are probably wondering why that technique is called a Punnett square if it predicts patterns Mendel discovered.
What you probably didn’t know was that before making his revolutionary discovery, Gregor Mendel flunked out of school and resigned himself to a quiet life as the abbot of a monastery. It had an extensive experimental garden and there Mendel patiently spent the next seven years of his life breeding and cross-breeding peas.
He carefully documented his work and developed what would eventually be known as Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance. Then he wrote it up and got it published in an lesser-known journal, the Journal of the Brno Natural History Society in 1866.
His genius was rewarded by … A quiet life of complete anonymity. Mendel’s work was read by about zero people, even after he took it upon himself to contact the highest minds of his time by personally sending them copies of his theory… Why did they ignore him? Because the greatest minds of his time couldn’t understand him. It wasn’t until 16 years after his death that three independent botanists rediscover Mendel’s work and started the genetics ball rolling.
Read a more colorfully-worded version of Mendel’s story, and the tales of four other scientific pioneers, in “5 Famous Scientists Dismissed as Morons in Their Time.”
[Special Holiday Bonus: The Animals singing this post's title song]
As we reconsider the advice we got from the wild-eyed gentleman standing in the DMV line this morning, we might recall that it was on this date in 1900 that Nature reported the development of the first fully-electric musical instrument, the Musical Arc (or Singing Arc) developed by English physicist and engineer William Dudell.
Before Edison “invented” the electric light bulb in the United States, electric street lighting was in wide use throughout Europe; the carbon arc lamp generated light by creating a spark between two carbon nodes. But this method of lighting produced an annoying constant humming noise from the electric arc. Duddell, who was appointed to solve the problem in London in 1899, found that by varying the voltage supplied to the lamps he could create controllable audible frequencies from a resonant circuit caused by the rate of pulsation of exposed electrical arcs. He attached a keyboard to the arc lamps– and created the first electronic instrument that was audible without using the yet-to-be-invented amplifier or loudspeaker.
Duddell– who also invented the moving-coil oscillograph (an early oscillator-type device for the photographic monitoring of audio frequency waveforms), the thermo-ammeter, thermo-galvanometer (an instrument for measuring minute currents and potential differences later used for measuring antenna currents and still used in modified form today), and a magnetic standard (used for the calibration of ballistic galvanometers)– never patented his discovery.