Sonic Arts June 1, 2011

I’m still working on some soundscape pieces. Here’s something from June 1, 2011. It’s the sounds one hears on the bus as the bus experiences some sort of malfunction with its door alert system. Apparently, an alarm system broke and the door alarm kept sounding regardless of the door being open or closed.

June 1 2011

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Addiction, Stress, and What I Talk a lot About in One of My Courses

Last term, I taught Economics 349 “The Economics of Social Problems.” In that class we discuss a host of topics, including the inter-relation between stress and addictions (and how these relations are potentially magnified among the poor). Today’s episode of Democracy Now features Dr. Gabor Mate discussing many of these issues. Dr. Mate is best know for his research and books on the relationship between physical and mental health.

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Sonic Arts May 15

Sounds of a baroque group I play with making some noise before a rehearsal in a local church:
May 14

There are some interesting resonant frequencies in the room. I would have liked to have done a bit of an experiment with such a recording a la Lucier’s “I Am Sitting In A Room.”

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Believe it or not, I’ve had this happen…

but never caught on video.

(Forwarded to me by a friend who was in the band the night it happened to me.)

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Sonic Arts May 12

As part of a class I’m sitting in on, I’m writing a listening journal. While I’m not putting my thoughts, ideas, analysis of what I hear in this blog, I am posting some of the field recordings I’m doing for the journal. Here are some recordings from today. They were from my walk to work this morning with Samo, our 10 year old chocolate lab.

A few caveats, the recorder I’m using just went through an upgrade that I wasn’t expecting to change anything. However, the upgrade changed the way the gain works. Hence, you can hear me getting used to the gain controls with some volume issues.

On to the recordings. The first is from around 8am this morning, made along 14th St NW: May 12 14th St

The latter one was taken about 15 minutes later in a green belt along John Laurie Blvd: May 12 green belt

I’ll leave it to the listener to figure out which one Samo preferred.

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Happy Birthday Dizzy Gillespie

I’ve always been a big fan of Dizzy Gillespie. As a kid, my mom (although she was a devout Elvis fan) used to play air trumpet to Dizzy’s records.

On this day, dizzy was born in 1917. Here’s a couple of the tunes my mom (and I) used to play along with.

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Signaling and 4’33”

There’s a paper by Kim-Sau Chung and Peter Eso on signaling when an individual has career concerns. This paper has been around for a couple of years, but this is the first time I saw it applied to music and particularly John Cage’s 4’33”. From Jeff Ely’s Cheap Talk blog on economics and more:

Which type of artist debuts with obscure experimental work, the genius or the fraud? Kim-Sau Chung and Peter Eso have a new paper which answers the question: it’s both of these types.

Suppose that a new composer is choosing a debut project and he can try a composition in a conventional style or he can write 4’33″, the infamous John Cage composition consisting of three movements of total silence. Critics understand the conventional style well enough to assess the talent of a composer who goes that route. Nobody understands 4’33″ and so the experimental composer generates no public information about his talent.

There are three types of composer. Those that know they are talented enough to have a long career, those that know they are not talented enough and will soon drop out, and then the middle type: those that don’t know yet whether they are talented enough and will learn more from the success of their debut. In the Chung-Eso model, the first two types go the experimental route and only the middle type debuts with a conventional work.

The reason is intuitive. First, the average talent of experimental artists must be higher than conventional artists. Because if it were the other way around, i.e. conventional debuts signaled talent then all types would choose a conventional debut, making it not a signal at all. The middle types would because they want that positive signal and they want the more informative project. The high and low types would because the positive signal is all they care about.

Then, once we see that the experimental project signals higher than average talent, we can infer that it’s the high types and the low types that go experimental. Both of these types are willing to take the positive signal from the style of work in exchange for generating less information by the actual composition. The middle types on the other hand are willing to forego the buzz they would generate by going experimental in return for the chance to learn about their talent. So they debut conventionally.

Now, as the economics PhD job market approaches, which fields in economics are the experimental ones (generates buzz but nobody understands it, populated by the geniuses as well as the frauds) and which ones are conventional (easy to assess, but generally dull and signals a middling type) ?

If you’re not familiar with John cage’s famous piece, here’s a rendition of it:

If you haven’t read the Cheap Talk blog before, its worth checking out. Also, Jeff Ely’s web page has a great version of the classic Asteroids game.

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