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The Gift of Medieval Music

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The Medieval era is one of the longest in history, beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E. and continuing through into the fifteenth century, where the end of Medieval times gave way to the birth of the Rennaissance era. 

Among some of the most significant changes in the Western music tradition during this time was the switch from an aural to written musical forms. In the near 1,000 years of Medieval musicianship, historical records show the exciting evolution of notation, which became increasingly necessary with the introduction and expansion of polyphony (two or more independent melodic voices). 

Sheet Music was Born in Medieval Times

While records of music notation go back as far as ancient Babylonian and Greek times, those notations are nothing like the systematic rigor of the staff, notes, and rhythmic values that emerged during the Medieval era. 

It was Pythagoras, for example, who dissected music into a science and developed what we now identify as the octave scale in 600 BCE. Other Greek philosophers, such as Aristotle, continued expanding musical theory, creating a crude notation system. The famous Roman senator and music theorist, Boethius, wrote the influential De Institutione Musica (The Principles of Music), which made its way to western Europe.

However, for Westerners, musical notation and rhythm as we know it today were born during the Medieval era, and it was a complex evolution.

First Came Polyphony

Before the Medieval era, music was primarily devoted to sacred texts and delivered in a monophonic (one melodic line) chant form. By 600 C.E., Pope Gregory developed a polyphonic chant style called “plainsong” or “plainchant.” Monks and choirs performed these plainsongs in church and as part of daily and ceremonial religious devotions. There were hundreds and thousands of chants used to share scripture with the illiterate masses. Take a moment to listen to beautiful Gregorian Chants in Latin Sung by Monks of the Abbey of St Ottilien:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Gregory’s works led to a school of Gregorian chant and a rising interest in the study of music. But the complex nature of polyphonic music required something more. As with the monophonic chants, the works were learned by ear and memorized, but this wasn’t enough. And musicians hungered for a structure or framework to teach and learn the varying rhythms and notes. 

In 650 C.E., scholar St. Isidore of Seville tired of memorizing songs, “Unless sounds are held by the memory of man, they perish, because they cannot be written down.” Seville got to work creating an improved music notation system. These original notations were called neumes and rooted in the Greek music theory development we mentioned above. The neumes’ simplest forms indicated high tones or low tones in the speaking voice to support public readings of Greek literature. Seville used this idea and created neumes to indicate musical tones.

During 900 C.E., Gregorian chant composers used the same symbols to suggest tonal changes in chanting or singing. 

  • / (acutus) indicated high tones
  • (gravis) indicated low tones

Over time, the acutus changed to the virga, and the gravis changed to the punctum. Note that the composers used four lines instead of five at this point, and the marks were an indicator of where a pitch should go, not an actual pitch.

Continued development of formal music notation, including other marks that dictated rhythm and breath, became quite complex. Still, it didn’t lead to the precise pitch and rhythmic notation we use today. If you’re a music theory buff, here is a more in-depth analysis of Gregorian Chant notation.

Then Came the Troubadours

Around the same period, as Gregorian chants flourished (1,000 C.E.), the popularity of the troubadour (traveling musicians) grew as well. 

Troubadours traveled throughout Europe, using their songs to entertain and share the latest news. Rather than being sacred works, most of the music performed by troubadours centered around chivalry and courtly love. This theme continued into the Romeo and Juliet-esque passion of the Renaissance Music era.

Traveling musicians from regions near and far delighted in performing for one another, as well as joining together to play and create new music. The rising awareness of music notation made this type of musical camaraderie possible.

Around this same time, an Italian Benedictine monk and music theorist named Guido de Arezzo became frustrated with the inconsistencies inherent in a written form more indicative of pitch generalities than specifics. His work made decisive headway towards modern-day music notation. Guido de Arezzo is responsible for:

  • The four-line staff (as opposed to the five-line staff that eventually made its appearance in 1200). De Arezzo used different color lines to represent specific notes in the original versions and then marked neumes on, above, or below lines to indicate pitch.
  • Hexachords. De Arezzo organized notes into groups that were called hexachords.
  • Time signatures. Time signatures became more critical but were still laid-back. They didn’t become solidified into the rhythmic notation we learn until the end of the Medieval era (1300 to 1400).
  • Solfege. Since specific pitches weren’t notated specifically yet, Guido de Arezzo invented solfege (do, re, mi, fa, so…etc.) as a way to keep musical pitches more accurate.

Finally, Note Durations Entered the Scene

From that point forward, music theologians continued tweaking their predecessors’ innovations. For example, in 1250, Franco of Cologne invented a system of notes with square or diamond shapes. While still stem-free, he assigned note durations to specific shapes. This idea became a hit, and we could officially say, “Yes! We got rhythm.”

Philippe de Vitry created more measurable time signatures, and rhythmic notations were further perfected throughout the early 1300s. The evolution of music notation continued through the beginning of the Renaissance (1400) and well into the Baroque era in response to shifts from vocal to instrumental music. Not to mention new instruments’ accommodation as they entered the orchestral mix.

So, the next time you get together to jam with a group of friends, and you’re sight-reading a new piece of music, give thanks to your medieval musician predecessors. They worked diligently to create the written musical order that allowed music to flourish as it has all these centuries later.

Are you drawn to the unique sounds of Medieval music? Then, stay tuned for our post, Popular Medieval Composers and The Songs that Made Them Famous.





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Laser Tattoo Removal FAQ: What Is the White Frosting Caused by Laser Tattoo Removal?

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Despite the fact that tattoos are more popular than ever before, several people regret getting these permanent pieces of art drawn on their bodies. Thankfully, the latest laser technology can now remove undesirable and unwanted tattoos with relative ease.

It is natural to have a few worries about the side effects of laser tattoo removal, one of which concerns the white frosting that sometimes appears as a consequence of this treatment.

What is white frosting?

The rapid local heating of skin pigment, which leads to gas or plasma forming, causes the white frosting you see during and after laser treatment. Carbon dioxide is released as a result of laser penetration and surfaces on the upper layer of the skin, which resembles a white frosting.

In the vast majority of cases, this only lasts for 15-30 minutes after treatment. It is a temporary side effect, which is perfectly normal. White frosting is always evident during the first treatment, but once more ink gets remove from further sessions it won’t appear as much.

Is white frosting a good or bad thing?

It might not look very nice, but the white frosting you see during laser tattoo removal is very much a good thing. This reaction indicates the laser is penetrating the ink effectively. On top of that, it also shows that your body is reacting and healing quickly.

As soon as the laser hits your skin, it can go in various different directions. Some paths of light will reflect off the skin, while others will penetrate into the epidermis and dermis. However, we are interested in the ones that reach the ink particles, are absorbed into the skin and cause white frosting to occur.

Are there any other side effects?

Although everyone’s body will react differently to laser tattoo removal, some common side effects include:

Blistering – Yet another indication that the healing process has begun, blisters are nothing to worry about and albeit tender, take between 3-14 days to disappear.

Scabbing – Around 8-72 hours after treatment, scabs may appear over the affected area. Picking or peeling these can increase the risk of scarring; so let them fall off naturally.

Swelling – Your body’s natural defense system might kick in and cause a bit of swelling after treatment. But this will soon go down and is not a reason for concern.

Discomfort – Most people will experience some discomfort but this usually depends on the tattoo’s location. An urge to itch afterwards can happen too, but overall our patients report that the laser sensation is equal to getting a tattoo inked in the first place.



Source by Roland Rudolf Peter

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Top 3 Benefits of Using a Beat Making Software

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If you are musically inclined and would like to make your own kind of beats then a beat making software is the best thing for you. There are many distinct beats that you could play around with. It would be a great advantage for you to create your own beats because doing so could make a huge positive effect on your career path of being a beat making musician.

Advantages of Using Beat Making Software to Create Your Own Beats

Times when beats were created solely through musical instruments have already passed. This is the generation that’s already conquered by computers and software. You are now able make your own beats using beat making software.

The following are its benefits:

Easy To Use

Years ago those who produced music used big time hardware such as Ensoniq ASR10 and Akai MPC to create their own brand of beats. These types of musical hardware did not let the producers see every angle of the beats they produced because of their limited use. With beat making software the music producers can easily quantize and enhance the instrumentals they create.

Sample beats can also be created using Propellerhead Recycle, which is a software that allows the producer to chop or divide sections of music so that they can be modified easily through the midi keyboard. You could even save your work and re-edit easily.

Less Expensive

Music hardware is very expensive and tends to range from $2,000 to $5,000. Proven brands for keyboards like Yamaha Motif, Korg Triton and Roland Fantom can only be purchased by those who can really afford them. For less than half of what you would pay, you can buy reliable brands such as Cakewalk Sonar or Ableton Live and start making your own beats.

Virtual instruments are what musicians use with these software programs. Virtual instruments are very popular now and have been used in TV shows and films. The process is much faster and much more affordable.

Accessible

In the past the only way for you to make your own beats was by being talented and financially capable of buying some studio time or your own studio. But the personal computer made a drastic change and gave an opportunity to aspiring unknown musicians that wanted to make their own beats. Soon enough powerful beat making software came out for computers that granted access and the ability for musicians to make their own beats.

How Can You Use Beat Making Software?

When you talk about creating your own beats, it can be quite intimidating. There can be lots of technical terms that you have to know and understand. It’s a relief that many experts have recognized the need for a beginner beat making guide on how to create beats to help people learn the basics and hone their talents.

This makes it so much easier to go through the process of making beats. One of the best beat making software products that you can get your hands on is the DubTurbo. It is extremely fast and very easy to use. Even beginners can produce expert level beats using the DubTurbo.



Source by Leury Pichardo

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Latest Sony Ericsson W300i Review Posted

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Since Sony Ericsson first introduced its Walkman cell phone line last year, music-friendly phones have had mixed success in the United States. Though they’re lauded by users and critics alike, together with us, U.S. carriers, haven’t clamored to include the handsets in their lineups. Sure, Cingular offers the W600i, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Sony Ericsson no doubt has taken notice of this discrepancy, which may be a reason behind the Sony Ericsson W300i. While previous Walkman phones were packed with the most expensive features, the W300i aims to be a low-end Walkman phone. Although you still get Bluetooth, a VGA camera, and the full range of Walkman music compatibility, the on the whole effect is a step down from models like the Sony Ericsson W810i. We weren’t crazy about some design elements, but call caliber was good, and we commend Sony Ericsson for bringing mobile music to the masses. No carrier was set at the time of this review, so the GSM handset will run you $299.

So far, Sony Ericsson has stuck to swivel and candy bar designs for its Walkman phones, so we were glad to see the company roll out a flip phone in the series. From the exterior it’s quite elegant; our version came in black, but You can get it in white too. It doesn’t bear much of a resemblance to the company’s few other flip phones; we like the clean lines, the looped antenna, and the textured covering on the bottom of the front flap. The phone is moderately compact at 3.5 by 1.8 by 1.0 inches, so it’s easily put in most pockets. It’s also quite light for its size at 3.3 ounces, but the trade-off is that the all round construction feels just a bit flimsy. We didn’t have any problems when using the phone, but it felt almost too light in our hands.

In the center of the front flap is the postage stamp-size outside screen. Although monochrome, it’s quite bright and displays the usual information, not to mention the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where accessible). you are not able to change the backlighting time, but a quick flick of the volume rocker will activate the display for inspection. Above the screen is the VGA camera lens and a self-portrait mirror (but no flash), while the speaker is on the top of the rear face. The aforementioned volume control is on the left spine along with a control for activating the music player and playing and pausing music. The infrared port is on the right spine, while the connection port for the charger, the wired headset, and the USB cable is on the bottom of the handset. One design flaw of the new Walkman phone connection port is that you can’t connect two cables at once.

Inside the phone you’ll find the 1.75-inch (128×160) inside display. Sony Ericsson always does a good job with its displays, and the W300i is no exception. Radiant and vivid, it displays all 262,144 colors beautifully and is perfect for viewing photos and videos, playing games, and scrolling through the user-friendly menus. You can change the brightness but not the font size or backlighting time.

On the other hand, Sony Ericsson doesn’t have a great track record with navigation controls and keypad buttons. While it made positive strides with the W810i, the W300i shows a slip back to bad habits. The five-way toggle is big and doubles as a shortcut to four user-defined functions, but it’s flush with the surface of the phone and thus takes time to get used to. The flat soft keys, clear button, and back control are spaced far from the toggle, but they’re quite small given the phone’s size. Also, while this isn’t a bad thing, hold in mind that most Sony Ericsson phones do not have dedicated Talk and End keys.

The keypad buttons are worse, on the other hand. Designed similar to overlapping circles, they are flat with the surface of the phone and slippery, which made for a few misdials. Enen more, they don’t lend themselves to quick texting. On the upside, they have a bright orange backlight. Below them are a dedicated power control and a button for activating the Walkman player, but these are much too little. The Memory Stick Micro slot is under the plastic battery cover, but thankfully, you don’t have to remove the battery, to get at it.

The W300i has a 1,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, e-mail and Web addresses, business and home street addresses, a birthday date, and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 names). You can classify contacts into groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, or attach them one of 28 (40-chord) polyphonic ring tones. Support for MP3 ring tones is present as well, but be informed that caller ID images do not appear on the outter display. Other features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, voice dialing, a calendar, a task list, a notepad, a calculator, a timer, a stopwatch, and a code memo for storing passwords and other secure information. There’s also a recorder for both voice memos and calls; length is sparing by on hand memory. Although the W300i is considered an entry-level Walkman phone, it still comes with a pretty good number of business-friendly applications. Inside you’ll find a speakerphone, PC syncing for contacts and calendar appointments, a newsreader for accessing RSS feeds, USB cable support, and full Bluetooth for not only connecting to a headset but also for wirelessly exchanging files and electronic business cards. And like many other Sony Ericssons You can use the phone as a modem and use the Bluetooth feature as a remote control to connect with other Bluetooth devices.

The W300i’s Walkman music player doesn’t differ much from the previous handsets in the series. It supports a broad range of formats, inclusive of MP3, MP4, 3GP, AAC, and WAV files. Opening the player takes you directly to the main menu, where You can organize music by artist, track name, or playlist. Settings consist of album/song shuffle and loop, Sony’s Mega Bass, and an equalizer. Toggling between the cell phone and the music player is seamless, as music automatically stops when you receive a call. Hang up and mash the dedicated music key, and your song picks up from the point you left off. There’s an airplane mode that lets you listen to your tunes in flight with the cell phone powered off, and You can minimize the player while using other functions. There are stereo speakers also but still no stereo Bluetooth profile.

Music capacity is sparing by the accessible memory. Internal space is somewhat tiny–just 20MB–and have in mind, that since it’s shared with other applications, your actual storage space may be less. We promote investing in a Memory Stick Micro for extra space; our test phone came with a 512MB card. Getting music on the phone is relatively easy. As well as using the included USB cable and Disc2Phone software, You are able to send tunes via e-mail, a multimedia message, Bluetooth, or infrared port. You also get an FM radio with 20 presets, While you must use it with a headset, which acts as an antenna. You can set it to automatically scan and program Radio Data System info from stations that digitally broadcast their names and call letters, and You are able to use the radio as an alarm clock.

Since the W300i is meant for a more or less average cell phone user, Sony Ericsson included a VGA shooter instead of a megapixel model. You are able to take pictures in three resolutions (640×480, 320×240, 160×120) and choose from a variety of editing options, together with four color effects, a night mode, two quality settings, a self-timer, 19 fun frames, and a brightness control. There’s also a digital zoom, which varies by the pictures size–at the lowest resolution it’s 4X, but it’s not on hand at the highest resolution. Other special picture effects include a burst mode for taking four shots in rapid order and a nifty panorama choice. For audio effects, You are able to choose from four shutter sounds, but there’s no silent choice. The camcorder takes MPEG-4 videos in two resolutions (176×144 and 128×96) with sound and offers a comparable set of editing alternatives. Clip length is capped at two minutes for multimedia messages; otherwise length is sparing by the available memory.

Although we realize the camera is a VGA, picture quality was rather inadequate. Shots were blurry and grainy and colors washed out. Likewise, video quality was run-of-the-mill. Still, the W300i does offer a few creative applications for the amateur photographer. With Photo DJ, You can add one of six fun frames; inverse the shot’s orientation; and use various image effects such as brightness, contrast, tint control, and photo marking. There’s also a Video DJ, and if that is not satisfying, more picture-, video-, and multimedia-editing options are on the software CD, along with QuickTime, Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition, and a multimedia message composer. Moving photos and videos off the phone is painless. You are able to send them in a multimedia message, import them via Bluetooth, or the infrared port, or use the included USB cable and software.

You can personalize the W300i with an array of themes, wallpaper, and screensavers. As always, You are able to purchase more choices and ring tones from Sony Ericsson via the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Alternatively, the phone comes with a Music DJ application for making your own ring tones and a quirky application called Music Match that plays guitar chords and piano notes. Though it was fun, it wasn’t tremendously proficient. Gamers can enjoy three Java (J2ME) titles, Neopets, QuadraPop, and PuzzleSlider, with additional titles accessible for purchase.

We tested the quad-band, dual-mode (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) Sony Ericsson W300i world phone in San Francisco using Cingular’s service. Call quality was quite good with remarkable clarity and volume. We had no trouble getting a signal and rarely were met with static or interference. Callers reported the same conditions, and they could make out us under most conditions. Speakerphone caliber was slightly worse–voices sounded hollow, but it was fair as a whole. We connected to the Plantronics Explorer 320 Bluetooth headset and was met with admirable call caliber too. The EDGE connection was sufficiently speedy for transferring small files.

Using the included Disc2Phone software and USB cable, which also charges the phone, we tried loading music onto our W300i. transfer time was relatively slow at 30 seconds for a 5MG song, so you’ll have to be patient for a large import. As a whole, on the other hand, the software is easy to install and exhibited few of the quirks we found on previous models. And another thing, the phone didn’t switch off automatically when we disconnected the USB cable. Music quality was on a par with that of other Walkman phones: clear and crisp, Though one transferred song had some very minor hiccups. The W300i won’t replace a stand-alone MP3 player, but it does the job admirably for short stints.

Our one real disapproval was that the phone had a tendency to freeze during normal operation, such as when we were going through a menu or when we were using the USB connection. More than one time, we had to restart, but more often, the phone unfroze after a couple seconds.

The W300i has a rated talk time of 9 hours and a presumed standby time of 16.5 days. Our talk-time test result came in a little short at 8 hours, but that’s still respectable. According to FCC radiation tests, the Sony Ericsson W300i has a digital SAR rating of 1.42 watts per kilogram.



Source by Shi Stevens

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