Why I think opera is a kind of audio torture

I have never really understood why people like nineteenth century opera. You know, those bombastic audio-torture events that feature singers making the kind of noises you’d expect from someone who’s just had particularly delicate body part slammed in a door. Usually the songs involve an obese soprano waddling out on stage looking like a giant … More Why I think opera is a kind of audio torture

When was the first fully polyphonic synthesiser released?

These days synthesisers are amazing instruments, often using technologies derived from computing – or existing only as software with the only hardware being a separate keyboard controller. That wasn’t always so. The commercial synths of the 1960s were built around analog hardware that played just one note at a time, like a wind instrument. By … More When was the first fully polyphonic synthesiser released?

Katy Perry vs Taylor Swift vs Tove Lo vs Lorde

I’m a huge fan of all sorts of music. Maybe not surprising given that I formally studied it for longer than anything else, including history and writing. I like almost everything – especially jazz of all genres, but also classical (meaning medieval, baroque, classical, romantic, modern orchestral and so on), all styles of rock, metal, … More Katy Perry vs Taylor Swift vs Tove Lo vs Lorde

I figure Beethoven was a shred-metaller. No really.

I figure that if Ludwig van Beethoven had been around today, he’d have been a shred-metaller. You know – a guitar virtuoso who churns out 500-note-a-minute solos on top of complex polyrhythmic backings built around augmented minor chord progressions. Think Yngwie Malmsteen. That’s basically how Beethoven’s stuff was viewed back then by a generation bought … More I figure Beethoven was a shred-metaller. No really.

Why nobody notices synthesisers any more

I’m intrigued by how quickly we get used to music and sounds. Just about every track we listen to these days has electronically-generated content, and even the analog elements are usually processed. Thanks to digital signal processing and software originally developed for the oil industry, singers can even fix pitch and timing. But that wasn’t … More Why nobody notices synthesisers any more