The Genetically Modified Guitarist: Genetic Enhancement, Musical Experience, and the Good Art Gene

The following article originally appeared in The Gadfly, Columbia University’s Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. In an episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast (5/16/2009) dealing with the topic of genetic enhancement, host Nigel Warburton poses a thought experiment to his guest, philosopher Allen Buchanan, in… Continue Reading

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Musical Innovation and Progress; Or: On the Meaning and Implications of Musical Change

Today I happened to notice something I wrote back in 2010 at the end of a post about perfect pitch: “… perfect pitch is a tool which, depending on one’s perspective, may or may not be a benefit or liability to musicians and music… Continue Reading

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Marnie Stern Shreds

Back in October, Marnie Stern’s dense guitar work, frenetic energy, and idiosyncratic songcraft grabbed my attention. While sounding of her time, she also sounded unique and fresh. I made a mental note of her, but didn’t investigate further until coming… Continue Reading

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Radiolab, Stravinsky, Perfect Pitch, Dissonance

I’m a big fan of the often engaging and thought-provoking WNYC radio show podcast Radiolab. However, as the generally science-oriented subject matter tends to deal with things with which I have little personal experience, it’s hard for me to judge the soundness… Continue Reading

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Fell (For Two Musicians and a Computer) + Damn Dirty Hippies

Here is an excerpt from Adam Payne’s new movie Damn Dirty Hippies, which I recently scored. This segment is an animation depicting a dream of one of the main characters, Katie. The song is Fell (For Two Musicians and a… Continue Reading

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Edgard Varèse: The Liberation of Sound

Earlier today I posted Milton Babbitt’s “Who Cares if You Listen?” as an example of an avant-garde attitude that I don’t care for. As an antidote to that, here is a beautiful article by the visionary avant-garde composer Edgard Varèse (often referred… Continue Reading

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Who Cares if You Listen? (Milton Babbitt’s Famous Article)

In 1958, High Fidelity magazine published the following article by avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt. Babbitt is known for taking serialism to the extreme and for being an active proponent of the modernist movement and ethos. This isn’t as cool as it… Continue Reading

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Music and Emotion; Or: I’m Not Crying, My Eyes Are Just Very Sensitive to the Air, the Molecules of Which Have Been Even Further Stimulated by That Cello

This is an essay I wrote at a time when I was interested in the question of to what extent, if any, emotion as an inherent property of music contributes to our emotional experience of music as listeners. I first look at some… Continue Reading

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