journal
2002

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This is my 2002 journal.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Also available: 2003 2001 2000 1990s 1980s

Everything on this page:
Copyright 1985-2002 by Thane Plambeck, except where obviously not.

31 January 2002
Schubert Waltz

I tried to write a solo piano waltz in the style of Franz Schubert's 34 Valses Sentimentales, Op. 50, D. 779.

Your computer can probably play it as a MIDI file [MIDI].

Franz Schubert

Here is a MIDI file for all 34 waltzes in Schubert's Op. 50 [MIDI]. It takes about 22 minutes to play the whole thing. The one I wrote is based on Schubert's No. 1.

No composer—not even Mozart—produced such a bewildering abundance of brilliant music in so short a span of time as Franz Schubert. In his brief lifetime of 31 years he produced many hundreds of works, including nearing 600 songs...

Since it is generally agreed that Schubert was at his best in the smaller forms, there is no very good reason why his innumerable short piano pieces should be less popular and well-regarded than his songs, except that here a large number of brief keyboard lyrics by other composers vie for our attention. The programmatic pieces of Schumann, the highly colored Preludes and Nocturnes of Chopin, the experimental bagatelles of Beethoven, join with the pieces by Mendelssohn and Brahms in tending to overshadow the deceptively simple Schubert pieces.

Of those piano solo works which can be properly classified as "dances for the piano," Schubert wrote 450; and even these survivors probably represent but a portion of the actual number he improvised at countless evening parties. The Deutsch catalog lists more than 60 known sets of these dances, up to as many as 36 in one set.

All of the popular dances of the era are represented in Schubert's output, principally the waltz, which accounts for over 130 of the composer's published works. Most of the earlier ones adhere to the standard repeated eight-bar phrases, although later waltzes display twelve- and sixteen-bar phrases. A majority of them are less than one minute long, yet in their tiny compass they exhibit the widest range of character and mood, from delicate tenderness to forceful brilliance.

—Bill Parker, CD liner notes to "Schubert Dances," Peter Serkin, Fortepiano.
This is what I did:

After scrawling the music [PDF] onto blank music paper [PDF], I pointed and clicked the same notes into a Windows application called CakeWalk.

I created the MIDI file by exporting from Cakewalk.

Here's the sheet music as printed by Cakewalk [GIF]. It's a bit hard to read. Also, there are notes on the treble clef that should be connected to the bass notes instead (ie, they're to be played by the left hand on a piano). I don't really understand the CakeWalk application.

Cakewalk doesn't seem to get along well with the Acrobat PDF writer, so I had to scan in the sheet music from a print out.


31 January 2002
Haydn MIDI

Here's another MIDI file for an excerpt from Haydn's Kaiser quartet [MIDI].

I created it by plunking out notes from a Presbyterian Church hymnal on a MIDI keyboard (a Yamaha PSR 520), and capturing the notes into Cakewalk.

Franz Joseph Haydn

Pictures of Haydn always seem to make him look like George Washington on methamphetamines. Perhaps it just the wig.


27 January 2002
Intercalated

"Email makes possible a new style of intercalated text and response, as 'indents' pile up in the left-hand margin..."

Geoffrey Nunberg, writing in Nature on 10 Jan 2002, page 120, "Talking Techno."


Geoffrey Nunberg

From the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary:

in·ter·ca·late
in·ter·ca·la·tion
Etymology: Latin intercalatus, past participle of intercalare, from inter- + calare to proclaim, call
Date: 1603
1 : to insert (as a day) in a calendar
2 : to insert between or among existing elements or layers


22 Jan 2002
The String Theorist


Leonard Susskind, a physicist at Stanford, lives two doors over from our house on Tasso Street in Palo Alto.

Leonard Susskind

He told me at one of our street parties that he is the "inventor" of string theory. I have no idea what that is, except what I read in the papers. I did buy a book [Image] about it once, but it lies utterly undisturbed on my shelf.

Here's a copy of a New York Times article that's mostly about Stephen Hawking, but has some pithy remarks by Susskind and his photo in it. [NYT article]

[Note added 25 August 2002] If you examine these photos taken in the street in front of our house carefully, you may find more than one photo of Leonard Susskind sporting a red and blue beard.