How Music Works by David Byrne

David Byrne
David Byrne

How Music Works (2012)

Really good book.  I am enjoying learning so many things from this book.

Here is a sample passage on p. 86 on the topic of vibrato.

Vibrato, the slight wavering in pitch, is often employed by contemporary string players, and it is a good example of the effect of recordings, because it’s something we take for granted as always having been there. We tend to think, “That’s how violin players play. That’s the nature of how one plays that instrument.” It wasn’t, and it’s not. Katz contends that before the advent of recording, vibrato added to a note was considered kitschy, tacky, and was universally frowned upon, unless one absolutely had to use it when playing in the uppermost registers. Vibrato as a technique, whether employed in a vocal performance or with a violin, helps mask pitch discrepancies, which might explain why it was considered “cheating.”  As recording became more commonplace in the early part of the twenty century, it was found that by using a bit more by vibrato, not only could the volume of the instrument be increased (very important when there was only one mic or a single huge horn to capture an orchestra or ensemble), but the pitch – now painfully and permanently apparent – could be smudged by adding the wobble.”

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American Taliban by Markos Moulitsas

book cover little yellow circle unhappy face with turban American Taliban: How war, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right. The author is the founder of Daily Kos.

“Totalitarianism for Christ” is the phrase by Jeff Sharlet (NPR) he uses in the book that I think does capture the factual basis of why the right is a serious  threat to democracy.

“Fact is, progressives hate the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists precisely for the same reason we hate rabid conservatives at home: their fear of change, their contempt for nontraditional lifestyles, their mania for militaristic solutions, and their fascistic efforts to impose their narrow worldview on the rest of society.” [intro p x]

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Empire oI Illusion by Chris Hedges

just the text of the title Empire of illusion: the end of literacy and the triumph of spactableEmpire of Illusion: The end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle (2009)

The book chapters are divided into 5 sections of type of illusions:

  • The Illusion of Literacy
  • The Illusion of Love
  • The Illusion of Wisdom
  • The Illusion of happiness
  • The Illusion of America
  • xplus notes, bibliography, and index

There are so many thoughtful and well written passages I have opted to mostly quote.

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books, ” Neil postman wrote: “what Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book for there would be no one who wanted to read one. ” p 39

“Totalitarian systems begin as propagandistic movements that ostensibly teach people to “believe what they want” but that is a ruse. The Christian Right, for example, argues that it wants intelligent design, or creationism, to be offered as an alternative to evolution in public school biology classes. But once you allow creationism, which no reputable biologist or paleontologist accepts as legitimate science, to be considered as an alternative to real science, you begin the deadly assault against dispassionate, honest, intellectual inquiry. Step into the hermetic world of many Christian schools or colleges and there are no alternatives to creationism offered to students. Once the systems have control, the Christian advocates’  purported love of alternative viewpoints and debate is replaced by an iron and irrational conformity to illusion.” P. 52

(From the chapter on the illusion of literacy)

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Against All Enemies by Richard Clark

Againsbook cover showing W, Cheney, and Rumsfeldt All Enemies” by Richard Clark.

The shock an horror from reading this book has not faded. Things were worse than I ever knew back during Bush the First and subsequently. This is a MUST READ BOOK.

The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda….A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat. (from Goodreads and I think jacket text)

book cover of GW Bush and CheneyOn Goodreads another excellent book popped up in the recommendations that I read that I will have to add in this blog (have to recheck out from library) : Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush by John Dean (yes that John Dean of Nixon fame)

Against All Enemies by Richard Clark

Againsbook cover showing W, Cheney, and Rumsfeldt All Enemies” by Richard Clark.

The shock an horror from reading this book has not faded. Things were worse than I ever knew back during Bush the First and subsequently. This is a MUST READ BOOK.

The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda….A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat. (from Goodreads and I think jacket text)

book cover of GW Bush and CheneyOn Goodreads another excellent book popped up in the recommendations that I read that I will have to add in this blog (have to recheck out from library) : Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush by John Dean (yes that John Dean of Nixon fame)