Music - additional comments and files

The links will launch in Media Player or your default MIDI player.
[The built-in voices are never the same from computer to computer.  The middle-priced ones sound worse than both the cheapest ones and the expensive ones.  So they always need tinkering.
If something sounds like TIN you could edit the file (if you can) or change your MIDI settings. The built-in wave-table voices (if you have them) often sound better than the built-in FM synthesis, but not always.
If you can't make it not sound like TIN, then sorry, don't play the file.]

"Ricercar del duodecimo tono"
(or "Ricercar del 12o. tono")
by Andrea Gabrielli
ricercar_57.mid (changed to trumpets) ricercar.mid (original version)
(found it somewhere - had to delete a "stuck note" because it was damaged.)
time 2:35

I remember thinking this was a modern work, sounding like it had been written yesterday.
Shows how old-fashioned my hearing is.
I first heard it played by one of those brass groups.
When I saw it was from before 1580, I remember thinking, amazing how advanced was Italian brass music by 1580.
Later (I think) I read somewhere it was composed for krumhorns.
This file is voiced for recorder, oboe, viola, bassoon.
Very happy, very upbeat, still sounds modern to me, with the jazzy approach and the tempo changes and little traffic jams in the middle.

Fandango by Padre Antonio Soler
fandango_1.mid (changed to piano because it sounds better in piano on most computers.)
fandango_58.mid (changed to trombone. this has better harmonics, but sounds strange.)
fandango.mid (original version, harpsichord. harpsichord doesn't sound right on most computers.)
time 11minutes 42seconds
[ it has disappeared from this location: [error 404] (they didn't have much there that I liked - this is just a credit) ]

(I finally found this file after wanting to find it for a long time.  Mostly to try different voices on it; or to see the sheet music and how it reads.)
I've heard it numerous times in two recordings, both by Rafael Puyana. The first was from ~1968, and in the liner notes he said, just because music is old it need not wear a wig.
He played it very basically on a nice harpsichord with clear stops that would have made Walter Carlos jealous.  He recorded it again in the 1980s(?) and thoroughly disproved his previous statement, playing it on a 3-manual German harpsichord complete with octave couplers, played complicatedly and with all the ornaments put in.
You will either love it or hate it.
It is 11 minutes+, very involving and intense (one probably really needs the CD to get the full wealth of the piece), leaving one somewhat drained afterward.
It is one of the highlights of my idea of the baroque -- wild ideas grown in semi-isolation, without all the cliches and expectations and limitations imposed.
(The poor performer, that strenuous figure for the left hand, over and over -- the listener hearing it over and over until you forget it's there...)
A pieces like this can have a special completeness to it; it can be like a symphony for two hands.
It's simple in its way, yet manages to be profound, even psychedelic.

[[tinkering notes: This needs a good harpsichord voice, but other voices sound good, for a while -- sometimes reed organ (approximates reed pipes common on old Spanish organs). Vibraphone sometimes.  But even #1:piano isn't too bad.  It's a pain -- if the #7:harpsichord voice is bad enough I fall back to #8:clavinet. It's so hard to pick -- often a "human" voice (oohs or aahs) works when it's the cheap approximation, only to sound lousy when it becomes more authentic.]]

I like Peter Schickele / PDQ Bach as a comedian and as a composer.  The comedy vehicle gives him license to do unusual things.  His works are in fact funny -- which is educational once you start thinking about why they're funny.  But they also sound very good.  It shows what the ear opens up to.  It also shows that this guy is talented, both as composer and plagiarist.

One of the best compositions I know is Mozart's "A Musical Joke" which I think was originally called "the village musicians' sextet".  It makes fun of inept composers more than musicians. There is an important aspect of comedy:  feigned incompetence.  I've heard a few attempted definitions of humor, but I think they overlook this large important category.

Hits to this site since 2001.07.29: Dan Veselitza index
posted 2000.02.25 last edited 2007.07.17