Easter 2024

31 October 2005
organ - Nero's fiddle really an

The organ quickly took root. The Romans were quite taken with it. They called it the hydraulis. If Nero played anything while Rome burned, it wasn't the fiddle. Nero was an organist.

Engines of our Ingenuity Episode No. 1096

When I lived Houston, I often listened to John Lienhard's Engines of our Ingenuity in the morning on the way to school. Yes, I may have been asleep, but a lot of it still sunk in.

This episode, entitled Inventing the Organ, presents information most organists probably don't know. And don't worry. If you don't like to read, you can listen to John Lienhard read it to you.

The fundamental principle of organ design (air under pressure which can be directed to pipes at the discretion of a player) was developed by Ctesibius sometime before he died in 222 BC.

Pictured above: Nero and fiddle as returned in Google Images search results.

26 October 2005
Series - World, Game 3

I want the Astros to win Game 3 so I can go to bed.
Update: At nearly five hours, this is The Longest World Series Game Ever (0:37)
Update: Apparently, Fox just ran out of commercials as there was some weird quasi-dead air. Or maybe the late-night Indy crew is just messing things up. (1:11)

In a extra-innings web-surfing note, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

This quicktime movie, however, is fearfully and wonderfully displayed.

More on Lil' Markie

Tangent: It occurs to me that the Feast of St. Stephen is only two months away.

25 October 2005
Google down?

For the first time I can remember, Google seems to be down.

Suddenly the internet is a lonely place.

23 October 2005

Lake Griffey, Bloomington, Indiana

19 October 2005
blogs - married

Brown County CourthouseAnd now, a wee bit of textual criticism from the blogosphere:

Compare this excerpt:

Andrew and Eric's ceremony went wonderfully. It was awesome to sing in a fantastic little pick-up choir that was essentially what Jeremy so aptly described as "the Twin Cities all-stars." Along with Samantha, of course, who is distantly related to our particular incestuous choral tradition by way of her college choir director, who was a Luther College grad.

from This Side of Lost's "The Grapevine"

with this one:

Andrew&Eric's wedding was lovely, and it was actually really fun to sing in a choir again. Particularly such a well-trained choir, where it was completely easy for us all to come in on Saturday morning and put together something beautiful for later in the afternoon. Ah, the Lutheran choral tradition.

from Books and Pancakes's "Back to normal"

Yeah, these two blogs are clearly married.


Olney Hymns - connection to Pancake Races

Pancake racersJohn Newton was a famous hymn writer. Perhaps you've heard of one of his hymns: "Amazing Grace."

Pancake Races are of course held on Pancake Day.

So, what does John Newton have to do with Pancake Races?

Newton wrote Olney Hymns a collection that included "Amazing Grace" a whole lot of other hymns in Olney, the birthplace of the Pancake Race.

I wonder if his wife was a good pancake racer.

Amazing Cakes, (how sweet they taste!)
All drenched with sweet honey;
I once was hungry but now am full,
a Pancake Race I see.

Tangent: Take a closer look at the inclusion of Amazing Grace in Anglican hymnals. Notice the first time its included is 1977. This hymn was unknown in Great Britain until quite recently. Before that, its popularity was strictly an American phenomenon.

The city of Liberal, Kansas has been racing Olney every year since 1950.


12 October 2005
The Oscar-Meyer Weiner-Mobile is outside

An Oscar-Meyer Weinermobile is outside of Dick's Sporting Goods in Bloomington, Indiana.

10 October 2005
Howells, Herbert - Sonata for Organ (1933), a guide to Italian terms therein

Agitato - agitated

Ancora - again

Deciso - boldly (decisively)

Elato - Yeah , I have absolutely no idea what this term means. A movement of Howells's Rhapsodic Quintet is entitled Piu Elato. With that movement, Howells is possibly using Elato like "gelato" and asking for more ice cream. Maybe Elato is made-up Italian for "elated." I'll keep working on this.
Update 12 October 2005: Elato means haughty or elated

Energico - energetic, vigorous

Estinto - extinguished, dead (extreme quietness)

Giusto (as in "a Tempo Giusto") - in strict time, here a return to strict tempo after the preceding allargando

Mesto - mournful, sad

Pesante - heavy

Placido - calm, tranquil

Risoluto - resolved, decisive

Sonore - sonorously

Stringendo - faster

Stretto - (past participle of Stringendo) faster. In the Sonata it is dashed, possibly in the manner of an accelerando? Stretto is literally "to draw close," in which sense it is also applicable to closely spaced subject entries in a fugue.

Teneramente - tenderly

Vivo - alive, animated

Tangent: I like eat pecans too.


09 October 2005
disaster - organ, Indiana University

Rosales Organ disaster, Opus 27, Indiana UniversitySomehow I missed a front-page student exposé on the Rosales organ disaster at Indiana University.

"Mr. Rosales contends he wasn't given proper feedback from the University, and that's why he was unable to complete the project," [Rosales's attorney Peter] Steinberg said. "He filed bankruptcy because of pressure put upon him by IU."

Sauers, Elisha. "Silenced Sounds." Indiana Daily Student 4 October 2005.

I don't know what kind of feedback he was expecting. He's a professional and he signed a contract. If he was expecting some sort of hand-holding, well, maybe he would be better off at a small liberal-arts college rather than a state school. And if Rosales felt enough pressure to file for bankruptcy, then clearly he was given some amount feedback.

This would make for a pretty lame piece of theater:

Rosales: I require proper feedback!

Indiana University: Finish the organ.

Rosales: I'm leaving!

I don't pretend to have a grasp on the bureaucratic and financial intricacies of this case, but from what I can tell, the organ is terribly designed.

As part of my Organ Construction and Design course at IU, we will be hacking through the overgrown jungle of trackers and howling ciphers that is Rosales's Opus 27. I am looking forward to this and hope to photographically document profound design flaws in their natural habitat. You will be able to view the results on

Tangent: The article also inadvertently summarizes a typical organ lesson with Larry Smith (affectionately known as SMITHL): "It's kind of like when you're buying a car . . . It's like saying, 'I want power windows, but I don't want the electric seats.'"

08 October 2005

Barton Theater Organ (18 ranks), Warren Performing Arts Center, Indianapolis, Indiana

05 October 2005
Are bus drivers allowed to

Are bus drivers allowed to have road rage? I mean, I would have been upset too, but why do you need to yell?

04 October 2005
St. Francis - "Lord, make us organs of your peace"

Lord, make us organs of your peace. Where there is silence, let us sow noise; where there is singing, accompaniment; where there is dissonance, resolution; where there is electronics, pipes; where there is disrepair, maintenance; where there are foundations, mixtures; where there is praise band, laughter. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to sit at the console; to be understood as to play loudly; to be loved as to practice. For it is in playing that we are paid; it is in pardoning that we are spared the death penalty; and it is in dying that we are sure George W. Bush was Governor of Texas. Amen.

Attr. to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). Probably spurious.

Happy Feast of St. Francis!

02 October 2005
Man - Crazy MIDI

Crazy Midi ManFurther proof that organists should be heard and not seen:

George Foster is the Crazy Midi Man!

Things you might encounter on Foster's website:

Thanks to Margaret (who says, "be sure to turn your speakers on!")

Update: It seems Crazy Midi Man won a Worst of the Web award 31 August 2001. But for some reason, not even this achievement could propel him to stardom. (22:22)



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The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls “repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription”. He likes to read parking meters, music, Indianapolis Monthly, and weather forecasts in Celsius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many, and on ecclesiastical juries. He mixes salads, drinks, and metaphors. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.




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