Some people hold the misconception that musicians are irresponsible ne’er-do-wells and slackers. It’s a misconception that we are pleased to dispel. In honor of daddies everywhere, we meet three musical men who are also great fathers. Our guests this week are Darian Gray, Jeffrey Burr, and Eenor, three young dads who manage to balance their family lives with their creative endeavors. See how their kids influence their music, and vice versa, on an episode we call “Studio Stories: Dads Who Rock.” Happy Father’s Day!
If you want to download the full-sized video rather than stream it from the page, subscribe to the feed in iTunes or any other feedreader.
Papa’s got a brand new bag,
What’s in a voice?
You could make a good case that popular music is all about the voice, since for some listeners a likable or even lovable voice is all it takes to make or break a song. But, as with most things musical, what can be stated simply – “I love that voice!” – turns out to be practically unfathomable upon further reflection; and so it appears to be with the human voice.
To start, there are some purely technical dimensions to any vocal performance: things like dynamics, pitch, and rhythm. Obviously, these determine to some extent a voice’s effectiveness and power in music (though I might argue that they are really only noticed to the extent in which they are missing and thereby reduce the believability of the vocal). Be that as it may, surely we’d all agree that the various technical aspects of singing can and sometimes do provide the basis for an effective vocal performance.
But of course we all also know that there’s much more to our experience of any vocal beyond the simple technical facilities of the singer. For example, while timbre (the texture and sound of the voice) has a musical dimension, it also engenders a kind of basic, animal sense of attraction or aversion. Just as we find some people to be beautiful and others not to be, the same is true of voices. This consideration is not technical, but it is certainly a primary determinant of our reaction to a voice, right?
OK. So far so good. We’ve established that technical and timbral qualities affect our reactions to voices (no surprise there). Now we can get to the good part.
We human beings are so deeply attuned to the nuances of other human voices that a whole bunch of other information comes sneaking in along with that pleasing or grating timbre, that good pitch, or that laconic phrasing. There is something fundamental and deep that is suggested simply by the way the voice is used in the song; and this ‘ethos’ (or ‘vibe’, if you prefer) is very influential in our determination of whether we like something or not.
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It is with great regret that I’m writing to let you know that, for personal reasons, I have to postpone our town hall meeting this Wednesday. To say I’m extremely disappointed would be a collosal understatement. The response from listeners in the DC area was utterly overwhelming and it promised to be an evening to remember…we even had some local Pandora artists who rsvp’d and offered to provide live music before and after.
Don’t worry. We are already trying to figure out a new date.
In the meantime, as I know you may have questions about the rates issues that are so imminent, know that we will be in touch as soon as there is a specific action to take.
My apologies again for this late notice. I sincerely hope you’ll be able to attend when we get back on the calendar. I very much look forward to it.
Think of your favorite song, and chances are good that the first element popping into your mind is the melody. It’s that melodic arc that leaves the indelible mark, inspiring you to sing along in your car. This week, special guest Melody Parker sings as she surveys the steps and leaps taken by some of the 20th Century’s greatest melodicists: Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Brian Wilson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Rodgers, just to name a few. Spend ten minutes thinking about melodic construction, and watch your brain light up.
Tra la la,
Details to be announced soon!
When: Tuesday, June 17thth, 2008
Update: The Beta version of the desktop application described in this blog was pretty much a failed experiment for us. We learned a lot though and just today launched a totally new desktop player that is part of our Pandora One subscription offering. Learn all about Pandora One here: Pandora One, the new destkop app here: Pandora One Desktop and share your comments with us here: Blog Post announcing Pandora One
And for posterity, here’s the original post on the “old style” desktop app:
We’ve always wanted to find a simple way to deliver Pandora as a desktop application — it’s probably been on our to do list longer than any single feature. Today we’re dipping our toe into those waters for the first time with the release of a Beta version of Pandora Desktop.
Truth is, this little guy is pretty simple. It’s just a way to pull Pandora out of a browser window and make it accessible with a single click from the Windows tray or Mac dock. We’ve built in quick access to common Pandora features from the tray/dock menu (pause, change stations, etc). If nothing else it ensures that you’ll never accidentally browse away from Pandora and lose your stream.
One big caveat: it’s important to understand that at Pandora we have big licensing and streaming bills to pay and from the beginning we’ve been working hard to figure out that piece of the puzzle. That means that advertising is an integral part of the Pandora experience and in an effort to keep the advertising as unobtrusive as possible we’ve focused on graphical ads rather than audio ads. The one downside to that is that we need lots of pixels to run the ads, so one thing you’ll find with the desktop app is it’s not some tiny little widget. As nice as that would be, it would make it basically impossible for us to cover our costs with advertising. So, at least for now, the main window of Pandora Desktop (which you can minimize) looks pretty much exactly like the Pandora.com home page.
One little caveat: this is a Beta and we’re asking you to take a look and send us your thoughts and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re interested in everything from bug reports, to feature requests, to commentary about the general utility of the application.
The application is built using Adobe AIR, which should automatically install if you don’t already have it. If you have trouble with that step, there are links for a two-step manual install too.
Known issues: performance of the Mac version is more CPU intesive than we’d like it to be. This seems to be an Adobe AIR issue and we’re working with Adobe to understand what we might be able to do to improve the situation.
To get started, visit this page: http://www.pandora.com/desktop and don’t forget to send us your feedback.
The fine engineers over at Facebook have done something pretty neat. You can now “import” all your Pandora activity (station creation, bookmarked songs and artists) into your Facebook news feed.
Setting it up couldn’t be simpler — just visit your Facebook profile page and click the “import” link at the top of the Mini-Feed section, select Pandora, enter the email address you used when you registered with Pandora and Facebook will fetch your most recent station creations as well as your recent bookmarks and add them to your mini-feed. Better still, from that point on, any time you create a station or bookmark something on Pandora those events will automatically be added to your mini-feed also. It’s a great way to keep your Facebook friends up to date on your latest musical discoveries.
We feel pretty lucky to be included in the very short list of sites that Facebook is choosing to integrate directly into the mini-feed. Thanks Facebook!
Much like spring flowers, Metal pops up in many varieties: Grindcore, Metalcore, Death Metal, Black Metal, and legions more. If you’ve ever had difficulty distinguishing between these many styles and subgenres (as I certainly have), then this show is for you. Three metal mavens — Ava, Kurt and Weasel — enter the recording studio to perform original songs in each of these styles, and to explain how these genres are musically distinct. They don’t shy away from Progressive Metal or Hair Metal, either. Get out your black leather, your chrome studs, and your best steel-toed boots and check out the show.
Please remove sharp objects before banging your head,
p.s.: What’s your favorite metal?
p.p.s.: Any glaring omissions in that list of examples? What do you think we overlooked?