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    The Show Must Go On…

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    It’s every singers’ worst nightmare. You’ve spent weeks and weeks preparing, invested loads of money and creative energy, and then some one else drops the ball. Whether it’s a dead microphone, an out of tune guitar, or your accompaniment track begins to skip around, every performer has had to face some form of unexpected difficulty live…. in front of an nature audience.

    Two of the biggest names in popular music today, Adele and Justin Beiber, have been receiving criticism for their Grammy performances last night. They were both enduring sound difficulties during their performances. What a nerve wrecking experience that must have been for them.

    Heres the beautiful part about these two professionals, they kept going and kept smiling. Sometimes that’s the best strategy. Mistakes will happen, some things are beyond our control no matter how prepared we may be. The show must go on and one bad performance should never define an artist. We have to get back up, punch a pillow if necessary, and go for it again. Both Justin and Adele handled their experience with class. There’s a good lesson there for us all.

     

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    Hearing Through Your Bones

    Think a song sounds good? If tech companies get their way, music will also physically feel good too.

    Applying the science behind bone conduction — using the body’s bones to transmit sounds to the inner ear — a variety of products from glasses to headphones to bicycle seats, will make us rethink about the way we hear.

    One of the newer inventions is the SubPac, in which users wear headphones strapped to a thin backpack. Once the music plays, the bass comes alive with a “purr in your abdomen” and a “strike to your lower spine,” according to the BBC. The makers of the SubPac market the product as simulating the experience of live music with the wonderful thumps of bass without hurting your ears. This experience is known as tactile sound and it’s being used in several ways including helping deaf people enjoy music.

    We think Music.Mic expressed it best when describing the potential of bone conduction: “Perhaps tactile sound and bone conduction can give our favorite tunes new life. Can you imagine feeling the pounding “wub wub wub BZZZs” of dubstep throughout your entire body? And what about thunderous classical symphonies and ear-splitting heavy metal? There’s a new gateway to music opening. This is a whole separate way we can perceive sound, and many of us haven’t even tapped into it yet.”

    While hearing through this method may add a different dimension to hearing and feeling music, science can also be manipulated to make the world safer. Hearing through bone conduction is less overpowering than hearing conducted through the outer ear. That can mean a safer run, bike ride and swim for athletic people if they wear headphones that manipulates bone conduction. Microsoft also is creating a headset that will ping blind people when they are off path as well as offer turn-by-turn instructions to get to their desired location. Because the headset is using bone conduction, neither the pongs or the instructions will prevent the user from hearing the sounds that surround them.

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    We can see sound!

    Through the science of cymatics, we can not only hear sound, we can actually see it.  In this video, Evan Grant demonstrates the science and art of cymatics, a process for making soundwaves visible.

    This is one image of what Beethoven’s 9th Symphony looks like through a cymatic device:

    Cymatic image of Beethovens 9th

    Useful for analyzing complex sounds (like dolphin calls), the science of cymatics can also make complex and beautiful designs.

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    Jenny Lind – Americas first “Rock Star”

    Some refer to the 19th Century Opera star, Jenny Lind, as the world’s first Rock Star.  This recording from Nate DiMeo’s podcast, The Memory Palace, is a beautiful story about a beautiful singer, and what it was like to be a music fan in the 1800’s.  Before recordings could be obtained of your favorite artists, enjoying music was constrained to once-in-a-lifetime live performances.  I (Charissa) found it captivating to listen to how the music industry functioned during that time period, and the differences and surprising similarities compared to today.

    Looking at the past, it’s easy to see how universal the love of music and musicians is during all time periods.  We can’t deny the fascination we have with artists and their art.

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