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Experimenting with Google+ – can you do live/synchronous group work in social media?

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  • Citizen creative placemaking: my personal backstory November 20, 2017
    When I was an undergraduate college student, I took a class that changed the focus of my life. This is a pretty broad brush to paint on a set of morphing decisions I’d been making for years, but bear with me – I’ve got a point to make. I started out my college career as … Continue reading →
  • Thinking about the role of music October 24, 2017
    So I haven’t posted in a while. Okay, since March (!). But it’s been a busy busy time – I started a new position a year and a half ago and we’ve been developing a new office. It’s taken more time than even I would have anticipated. Great times! I may at some point blog … Continue reading →
  • Chuck Berry -curating sounds and memories March 20, 2017
    Update: (okay, it took less than a couple of hours to get to this, but you knew I would). I have to include this wonderful retrospective by Peter Guralnick about his interview with Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino in New Orleans in 2011. (You think of trying to interview them as … Continue reading →
  • Total randomness – how else to deal with this year’s Oscars? February 28, 2017
    I’m a fairly rabid reader of The New Yorker, for what it’s worth. And today’s article on the glitch in the Best Picture Awards at the Oscars this year struck me as one of those moments where we create our own soundtrack. Since I’ve been posting on this blog more regularly lately, I thought I’d share … Continue reading →
  • RIP Clyde Stubblefield February 21, 2017
    There are far too many losses to the music world, this year, and every year – maybe last year just sensitized me to it or maybe we’re getting to that generational shift? Either way, today I’m sharing the soundtrack that’s guiding my morning and a brief obit from Digital Music News. Let the Funky Drummer … Continue reading →
  • Remembering Al Jarreau February 13, 2017
    Just a quick post today. Al Jarreau was one of the voices of my childhood and teen years – one of the happy, beautiful voices that countermanded all the emotional art rock I consumed at the same time. This tribute was put together by Wisconsin Public Radio – there’s a request by his family to … Continue reading →
  • Thinking about protest music, the Women’s March, and Joan Baez February 7, 2017
    Rolling Stone published an interview with Joan Baez yesterday about the Women’s March and protest music. While I strongly recommend reading it, there are a couple of highlights I’m thinking about. There’s a lack of music as a positive, uplifting (Baez’s word) force right now – protests are focused on anger. This movement needs an … Continue reading → […]
  • On protest music in the current age 1.28.17 January 28, 2017
    I’ve renewed an old research interest – protest music. Not terribly a shocking interest for an ethnomusicologist in the crazy times we’re seeing, but it’s been a recurring theme in my toolkit of research subjects. John Mellencamp (whose work I don’t normally look at) just released a really interesting song that takes on inequality, protest … Continue reading […]
  • Mourning 2016 Musicians – Glenn Frey January 18, 2017
    This is just a brief post but I anticipate more of these to follow – every one of the artists I miss deserves a post of his/her own. So I’m still not over last year’s losses. And by that I mean the musicians lost to the world when they died last year. For me this … Continue reading →
  • A guest blog from my new housemates August 5, 2016
    I broke down this week and did something I avoid – I went to the local animal shelter (because I can’t go without bringing home new friends). Even worse, I went into the kitten room and was immediately accosted by two small feline persons who informed me in no uncertain terms that I was taking … Continue reading →

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Some interesting things have happened this last week and I’ve decided to blog about it and look for feedback rather than keep a private field journal. I think it’s more appropriate for the social kind of experience this media format allows and I’m very interested in any input I can get here from other folks that are experimenting with some of the new virtual +/- synchronous social media formats. I’m also, until and unless I get their approval, keeping everyone’s names private. I’m using a single initial for each so that I can keep everyone straight. I’m not going to change anyone’s sex though – way too confusing!

First session – 7/24/2011

Just participated in a Google+ hangout with what turned out to be six other folks from different parts of the U.S. We tried out singing together to see what issues would come up and to find out what some possibilities could be to solve them. L came up with this idea a day or two ago. I’m not even sure how I found her on G+ but am so glad I did. It looks like we’re not the only ones experimenting with chamber music in Hangouts.

Very interesting group. I like them all – everyone’s very focused on making this work. My fear was/is that it would be a group that let egos get it the way – not even a hint of that here which is simply lovely. M only made it in for a minute but I think her mic issues really got in the way – there was a lot of feedback coming in when she joined in but most of that went away when she cut her video feed. She wasn’t the only one – audio really works a lot better for now. We all shut off video feeds except R since he came to conduct as well as sing. Along those same lines, I tried recording into Audacity – it’s a no go. I need to find what kind of software can hook into the Google matrix so that I can record the whole rehearsal/performance for the next time. We wanted to see what it would sound like and if it would sound on a recording the way it does to us (read: NOT together, though close). It was good to have a conductor in the group just to beat us through it – as we went along we actually started to find what might turn out to be a groove though there were still sync issues. These might have been about USB mics vs. RCA inputs – we’ll hopefully be able to nail that down next time. We started off trying to sing Byrd (way too complicated, despite the half notes and quarter notes!) and dumbed ourselves down to the Doxology. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to need a score for that!

J kept trying to join the group though it appears she was having headset/mic problems and didn’t get in until after we’d been singing for ½ hour or so which was a bummer because she’s had a great attitude about trying this out. L is fabulous. I’m so glad I found these folks. R’s the one who suggested the Doxology, big surprise. It really helped doing something that basic so we could really hear what was going on. What I’m most impressed by – and interested in – is that this is a group of musicians – and everyone there today was a trained musician – you could hear it – who are all really interested in seeing what kinds of possibilities this technology has for us as performers. The big issue seems to be to what extent can this function as “live” music-making. There were obvious comparisons to Eric Whitacre’s choral projects in YouTube but my feeling – which at least a few others seemed to share – was that this would defeat the purpose of doing something “live.” R suggested we work with local, live chamber groups as another possibility. Not sure I can visualize this one since it sounds kind of complicated to me but it’s worth pursuing at least to find out how options might work. One thought that just hit me, and I think this might have been R’s intention, is that this is kind of a neat idea for Festival production. Hmm.

The next step – for next week – is that F is going to post either a .wav or an .mp3 for me with audio (and hopefully the score?) of at least a couple of the tunes we’re working with. Probably Mozart as a new one. Not that I personally object! I’m researching creating a bouncing ball to give us a visual click track – did a little homework and it looks like I can do it in Photoshop and/or I might just be able to import an animated GIF into Final Cut and loop it if I can get the pacing right. Doesn’t look like too much work either way – I’m going to work on it on Tuesday. I’m thinking I’m going to first try to work with the animated GIF file (if the one I downloaded works right) and then just loop it, otherwise I’ll just make my own in Photoshop. I think we’ll be doing this again next week. Lots of possibilities.

Later: rethinking what I wrote earlier today. Again, am most impressed with the whole group; seven musicians all just exploring a new way of performing. One thing we’re going to try next time, if I understood how the whole thing evolved correctly – is incorporating accompaniment and the equivalent of a click track. I should have explained that better in the paragraph above anyhow. This is why I’m going into video edit mode but I don’t think this is going to take much to do. It’s basically just a sync job with a little tweaking in what I layer on the audio track. Sounds like fun. F sent me the recording between then and now and B has pre-emptively added my YouTube channel.


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