Thanks to a number of music-loving friends, and their friends as well, the mysterious music has been identified. It’s Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D. The mysterious theme I remembered was the entry of the full orchestra at measure 127 of the first movement.


Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 10:36  Comments (10)  

How to identify music…

I really wish there were some systematic way to identify music that you can partially remember.

I’ve got a bit of music that’s been stuck in my head, quite literally, for several years. It’s symphonic, with strings leading the melody and some fairly serious horns backing them up. I’m fairly sure it’s late 19th- or early 20th-century Russian; it’s fairly classical in its style, but has that special bombast of Russian nationalist music. More Tchaikovsky than Rachmaninoff. It sounds like the final movement of a string concerto or (more likely) a symphony, but I’m not sure if it’s the main theme or a secondary theme. It’s in a minor key — I think f minor, but I don’t really trust my ability to remember an exact pitch after this many years.

Now the question is… given all of this, and the ability to hum the melody (or even transcribe it, I suppose)… how the hell can I figure out what piece it is?

(I’ve tried going to Amazon and listening to as many samples of pieces as I could find that might match this. Not much luck. There’s a lot of music out there.)

Anyone have any ideas?

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 11:45  Comments (40)  

This is just awesome…

The Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Choir singing “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Published in: on April 3, 2008 at 21:45  Comments (12)  

Music games

Copied from sirreality — a good way to kill some time on a Thursday evening.

1. Put your playlist on shuffle.
2. Post the first lines to the first 25 songs to come up (along with these instructions).
3. Have people guess the songs and artists in comments to the post.
4. Post the answers to the ones people guessed correctly. A couple of days later, post the first two lines of the ones no one got and get people to guess again.
5. Repeat, adding the next line to the unguessed songs each time, until they’re all guessed/you’ve posted the whole song/you’ve gotten bored/no-one’s going to get the damn thing if you don’t tell them.

For sanity’s sake, I’m deleting anything with the title in the first line, as well as anything in a language I can’t easily type at this keyboard. So there’s a bit of artist clustering.

My code debugging mix, be warned

Published in: on June 30, 2005 at 18:27  Comments (58)  

Random music

So half an hour of sitting and futzing with the piano has produced a pretty neat cadenza for the end of Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. (Based rather loosely on some notes of Chopin that are reproduced in the back of my edition of the music, together with a rather unhelpful explanation in German, which – after deciphering it with the aid of a German-speaking friend – turns out to be almost completely incomprehensible in any language.)

And I just realized that it’s only 9:30, so I can spend some time working more on this without waking my neighbors.

BTW, if anyone’s been trying to reach me over e-mail today – my e-mail server seems to have been mostly down since this morning, so I haven’t gotten any messages. No, I’m not ignoring you. 🙂

So – back to the piano with me! Wahahaha!

Published in: on November 20, 2003 at 21:37  Comments (9)  


I just spent an hour or so coding to the tune of Rossini’s Stabat Mater Dolorosa. Excellent music, but very clearly liturgical music. Catholic liturgical music, to be precise.

That leaves one in a strange frame of mind.

Published in: on October 17, 2003 at 16:53  Comments (4)  

Interesting discovery…

Some recorded music uses stereo rather extensively: The two sound channels don’t sound much alike at all. You don’t notice this quite as much on speakers as you do on headphones.

Apparently, when I listen to such music on headphones, if I wear them the “right” way the music sounds slightly choppy and disorienting – but if I flip the headphones, so the right channel goes to my left ear and vice-versa, the music suddenly sounds completely natural. Apparently ear dominance is a real and easily detected thing.


Published in: on March 20, 2003 at 21:15  Comments (2)  
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Hey, I want to be a dead Russian too!

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Considered the leader of the 19th Century Composer group “The Mighty Handful,” I am indeed the teacher among them. My orchestration skills are superbly colorful, and are explained in my book on the topic, but works like “Scheherezade” explain my mastery better.

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

Published in: on February 24, 2003 at 15:34  Comments Off on Hey, I want to be a dead Russian too!  
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