July 31, 2006

Chopin, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35, in B-flat minor, 1st Movement, Development

The development lasts from measure 105 through measure 168 and is dominated by the rhythmic signature of the movement's first theme (shown below where it first enters at measures 9-11) played within varying harmonic progressions.

first theme

The movement as a whole, I realized, can be looked at as more of a compound binary form in ABAB than rigidly a sonata form. The first AB (in B-flat minor then the relative D-flat major) describes the two themes presented in the exposition, the next A describes the dramatic presentation of the first theme within the development, and the final B (in the parallel B-flat major) is the sostenuto return of the second theme. This is a nod to the history and origins of sonata form, but also manifests--as Charles Rosen emphasizes in his book The Classical Style--the very mutable nature of sonata form.

The development runs organically through five short episodes. The first, running from measure 105 through measure 120, begins the "conversation" between the two themes that I had mentioned in my previous entry on the movement's exposition. The second theme is only hinted at by ascending half-notes in the soprano, but in the second episode, measures 121 through 136, it is quoted in full phrases while the first theme pulses beneath in the left hand. The 16-measures of the second episode are divided into four measures of the second theme, four of the first, four of the second, and four of the first. Below are measures 115 through 128, consisting of the last six measures of the first episode and the first half of the second episode:

first theme

Harmonies in the first episode move up scale steps from F-sharp min to G maj to A maj to B min. B then becomes a pivot tone (of sorts) and becomes the third of the G7 in C min.

Just as the ascending half-notes in measures 116-117 and 119-120 seed the introduction of the second theme in measures 121-124, the four-against-three agitation in measures 125-128 seeds the rhythmic pattern for the development's third episode, stretching from measure 137 through 152. Here are the first two measures of the pattern that is repeated throughout the third episode:

first theme

The chords change every two measures and can be grouped every four: (G min, B-flat min), (F min, A-flat aug), (E min, G maj), (D maj D min, F maj), this time moving down scale steps. The fourth episode repeats a four-measure phrase twice from measure 153 through 160. It varies in rhythm slightly from the third episode by replacing the bass quarter-note triplets with open-voiced eighth-note arpeggios. Harmonically, it remains almost throughout on a C-flat maj chord.

The fifth and final episode acts as a bridge back to the second theme (the recapitulation). It is marked with a stretto immediately after a fortissimo and should be considered as paired with the ritenuto that opened the development section in measure 105. The music is all quarter-note triplets and acts as a pedal point on a dominant F approaching the B-flat maj recapitulation. With the triplet motion and the interspersed C7s acting as V/Vs, this section very much resembles the first coda of the exposition with its I V/V V I progression. This section even closes with a chromatic passage outlining the vii7 of B-flat similar to the octatonic passge at the end of the exposition's first coda outlining the vii7 of C:

first coda closing

And in the development:

first coda closing

Although the melodic second theme is present in the development, it is still very much the territory primarily of the rhythmic first theme. Here's a summary of the five episodes:

  1. 105-120, first theme in the bass with second theme hinted at in the soprano, step-wise ascending harmonies
  2. 121-136, alternate phrases containing the second theme with phrases containing the first presented in four-against-three rhythm, dominant harmonies,
  3. 137-152, four-against-three rhythm persists across step-wise descending harmonies,
  4. 153-160, fast four-against-four crescendo with sustained C-flat maj harmony,
  5. 161-168, F7 pedal point referencing the first coda of the exposition
Continue reading "Chopin, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35, in B-flat minor, 1st Movement, Development"
posted by sstrader at 11:12 PM in Music | permalink

July 30, 2006

Morgellons catch-up

Reading the Digg comments on Morgellons is like going through the whole process of shock (But what makes this even worse is being labeled as mentally deficient and writing it off as an imaginary condition, 2nd comment, +18 diggs), concern (Fuck bird flu, i want immunization from this, 11th comment, +20 diggs), suspicion (Looks like some lint stuck to a scab to me, 17th comment, +2 diggs), and debunking (I was actually the person who wrote the original article suggesting it was a viral marketing scheme, 38th comment, +6 diggs) all at once. The videos posted, in contrast to the proof that they're supposed to offer, are surprising in their effective debunking of the claims. It's odd that some crazy bitch didn't attack Digg too.

The best comment, of course, posited that Morgellons is a series of tubes!

Continue reading "Morgellons catch-up"
posted by sstrader at 4:24 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

July 27, 2006

Easy art

There's a photo of a sculpture in the 31 July 2006 New Yorker:

female sculpture

The scupltor is Gaston Lachaise; here's a better photo of the work.

Certain subject matter in art is difficult to execute successfully because of its strong primary connotations. Religious subjects are probably the most perilous. For the spiritual person, icons in themselves have potency and therefore little is expected of the artist. Another difficult subject is nudes. The human form can so often lend itself to such a simple and balanced image that any skillfully executed composition need not necessarily have any artful expressiveness. Consider Manet's Olympia next to a Rowena:

manet olympia rowena permettesignorina

To get past the prurience, the artist has to make some additional effort that, say, a landscape or group portrait (think Rembrandt's Night Watch) doesn't. All art involves the difficulty of being artful, but some subjects cary more subjective baggage. Look at Rouault's image and a standard airbrushed Christ:

rouault christ in profile

I don't think I'm being too unfair to call the second one crap--skillfully executed but compositionally inept and expressively void.

The Lachaise sculpture had stuck in my head since the magazine arrived. The stout proportions are matched with oddly muscular arms, and the weight of the component forms--exaggerated at the hips and thighs--seem to force the mass as a whole upwards. There's also a greater dynamism than normal from the contrapposto. Look especially at the space between the arms and legs to get a suggestion of how the figure occupies its space. Lachaise has created a sly manipulation of mass that I don't quite understand but that presents a compelling question to be answered.

posted by sstrader at 8:47 PM in Art | permalink

July 25, 2006

Where was I?

Out of the loop, apparently.

This has been the month of birthdays: Saturday the 8th was birthday #1. The 15th was birthday #2 and a Big Fat Party here to celebrate my 40th. I'd been itchin' for a summer party and this fit the bill--although I was only in like three of the 60-or-so photos. What the hell was I doing? And finally, last Saturday the 22nd was Shelby's big bash. I don't think she's 40, but then I was in no state to judge.

Last Friday was Dames Aflame at the Laughing Skull Lounge downstairs. It was goofy and offensive all at once: well worth the $25/person and the lounge is a perfect venue for such shenanigans. Not everything was offensive:

luna luxx
posted by sstrader at 10:41 PM in Where was I? | permalink

July 22, 2006

Stem cells

The Daily Show - 2006.07.20 - Stem Cell Research - Jon Stewart points out the Bush hypocricy of unacceptable stem cell research and acceptable civilian casualties (conservatively estimated at 100,000 back in 2004).

Stem cells: Bush's shameful first veto? by Scott Rosenberg at Salon - Pointing out the Bush hypocricy of unacceptable stem cell research while [t]housands and thousands of embryos are destroyed every year in fertility clinics. They are created in petri dishes as part of fertility treatments like IVF; then they are discarded.

Michael J. Fox (with Parkinson's) talks Stem Cell research - Dispassionately expressed and yet earnest. Where are the jackasses now who say that celebrities have no right to voice their political opinions?

posted by sstrader at 10:57 AM in Politics | permalink

The National Review web site has a web virus

I followed the link Why Ann Coulter doesn't write on the National Review anymore - "emoting rather than thinking" - a letter from the NRO editor (in case you missed it) from Reddit.com. First, Opera tried to download exp.wmf:


Then, AntiVir Guard reported this:


Contains signature of the VBS script virus VBS/Drop.Inor.EB

I could only dismiss the Opera dialog by clicking the X, and everytime I tried to switch tabs the tab with National Review would be forced into view again. I just hope Opera and AntiVir blocked everything... Hey! It's another reason to avoid conservative web sites!

posted by sstrader at 10:06 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

July 19, 2006

Video music

Following Tim Rutherford-Johnson's list of contemporary classical performances on YouTube--including some of the stunning Ligeti piano etudes that I had listened to over a year ago--I went hunting for Messiaen and found the sixth movement from his 20 contemplations for piano ("Through Him everything was made"). Ten minutes and absolutely riveting throughout. Many of these performances have been posted in the last month, so expect an even greater wealth to appear.

posted by sstrader at 12:03 AM in Music | permalink

July 18, 2006

Build scripts and linguistics

In different types of languages, meaning can be represented to varying degrees through morphology or syntax. Meaning is expressed with morphology by, for example, adding "s" for plurals of nouns or "ed" for past participles of regular verbs. In this domain, morphemes are combined through declension and conjugation to generate word-forms with different meanings. Meaning is expressed with syntax by word order and subcategorization. For example: the determiners "the" or "a," when present, must be the first word in a noun phrase; the verb "sympathize" must subcategorize for a "with" clause. The lexical alterations of morphology are replaced with structural alterations of syntax.

At work, we've recently moved from Ant to Maven to manage our build process. Ant uses XML files to define build scripts that contain similar functionality to those of make files, declaring commands that define dependencies, create directories, or that compile and copy files. Although Ant build files are in XML format, they act basically as a procedural script. Maven also contains XML files, but they contain considerably less information and instead rely on a directory structure to define tasks. The presence or absence of a specific folder decides whether or not a standard build action will be executed on the contents of that folder.

The Ant language's imperative emphasis depends largely on morphology; Maven's structural emphasis depends largely on syntax. This is somewhat of an over-generalization but it is useful in understanding the different approaches, which can be jarring. Ant's tasks have structure that serve the same purpose as Maven's directories, yet the Ant tasks read more like word-forms and the Maven directories read more like subcategorization.

posted by sstrader at 12:59 PM in Programming | permalink

July 13, 2006

A history of THAAD

The recent test of the THAAD missile system is being called a success. How successful has it been in the up to now?

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the first 11 tests (from 21 April 1995 to 2 August 1999) had three successes and eight failures (37.5% success). When considering only the intercept attempts, there were two successes and 6 failures (33.3% success). Other sites confirm. Notably, it was the last two intercept tests that were successful. The tests were resumed in late 2005 after Lockheed Martin began production. All three tests were successful, with only the last two being intercept tests.

The news is oddly quiet about these successes--and what with Iran and North Korea getting all surly, it's very odd. Even Fox News is silent at a moment when they would usually be crowing. Am I missing something? When the Pentagon is pushing a deceitful campaign to send text messages to the troops in Iraq (with no plan to actually send them to the troops in Iraq), you'd think that any chance at actual good publicity would be a sure-thing. They make me suspicious of even their accomplishments. How frustrating...

posted by sstrader at 8:48 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

July 12, 2006

Morgellons! Attack!!

So, an internet troll has found my post on morgellons and decided to post this jaw-droppingly psychotic rant (which I'll repeat in full, though it's one of many that she left):

You saying "I" posted or own something about Atmospheric WHAT? I frigging failed science in highschool. You show me where I EVER posted on such a site. I'm tired of my personal name being slandererd on the internet and just because it is the internet does not mean that you can use false information wrecklessly and get away with it. It is slander just the same. Yes, I had volumes to say about Morgellons and I will say more if you wish, but I am not, nor have I ever been associated with Atmospheric What the F and prove it you slimy scumbag. I'm getting sick to death of these personal attacks on my personal private information, unprovoked, when I am a disabled BUSINESSWOMAN in the legal field that had NOTHING absolutely NOTHING to do with the sciences and if you really want to know all of my personal information, those of you that hide behind your darn blogging masks and slander folks PERSONALLY? I'll give you my resume, my business references, just about all you want but my home address because there are such a buttload of crazy fools out there that I would never consider going that far, or I would. Just to prove that I am simply a sick, sincere, sufferer of a horrendous government created disease! Now bring it on! Bring it on! And who are YOU anyway. You wanna call me out and slander me, you're as sick as Jay Reynolds, so grow some balls (my son told me the other night that I had 8 pound metaphorical balls and he's right!) and come out from behind your mask and I'll take you on, one ON one. Did you ever stop to consider how common the name Karen Marsh might be? Or are you another of these sick paranoids or a government plant yourself? Bring it on fool! I apologize for my language but I am FURIOUS. Can you spell INVASION OF PRIVACY? Oh yeah, you idiotic right wing Bush administration supporters let us lose our constutuional rights. You, whoever you are had better be sure of what you are saying before you stick your foot down your damn throat. I told Jay Reynolds I have 4 attorneys on retainer, one is specifically FOR SLANDER ISSUES. Do you wanta get in line? Bring it ON! - [signed KC Ridgewalker]

My first impulse was to ignore them, then it was to mess with them ("my agents in the government said you'd be contacting me..."), then I thought that maybe they actually believed what they said (maybe I do come across as an idiotic right wing Bush administration supporter). Finally, I realized that--whatever their impulse--they're just trolling for a response. From around 6 PM to now they seemed to be hovering over Ctrl+F5 waiting to let loose with more threats of legal action and/or a fist fight. Either way, it was really a very stunning rant that in the end I felt somewhat honored to be a recipient of. Thanks to Mason for being my argument proxy and for dealing with whatever it was that happened in these last 6 hours.

No new news on Morgellons though.

Continue reading "Morgellons! Attack!!"
posted by sstrader at 11:48 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

July 11, 2006

Where was I?

Take-out from Fresh 2 Order on Friday and a movie at home where we watched most of Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies (3/5) [ IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes ]. We finished it on Sunday. I liked it more than the critics and enjoyed the twisty ride back and forth with the flashbacks and the multiple, unreliable narrators. And as a post-script, I watched Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor [ IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes ] later on Sunday. Lewis's transformation from himself to an unkind depiction of Dean Martin was just bizarre.

Saturday was a friend's pool party birthday OTP. Nothing like cookin' out and drinkin' and swimmin' on a Saturday afternoon. The evening ended for some at Bamboo in Marietta. Lisa & I on the other hand knew our limits and came home, finishing up with drinks at The Vortex.

Sunday was movies and recouperating.

posted by sstrader at 11:55 PM in Where was I? | permalink

July 10, 2006

The World is Round

[ updated 9 May 2014 ]

Full performance posted:

Spelunking in YouTube, I recently found three short videos from a performance of an experimental/minimalist opera called The World is Round (written 2003, music Pea Hix, libretto Scott Feldsher, book Gertrude Stein). I'm not sure of the correct order:

There are additional videos on Pea Hix's MySpace page. He also writes/wrote music in the band Optiganally Yours.

Oddly, the same Stein novel was made into an opera 10 years earlier (premiere 1993, music James Sellars, libretto Juanita Rockwell, book Gertrude Stein).

posted by sstrader at 3:29 PM in Music | permalink

July 5, 2006

Ripping video from YouTube

Information taken shamelessly from Methodshop.com and VideoHelp.com. The process is a little slow but effective when you have a video that you would rather burn to CD to watch on the television. Like the unaired pilot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  1. Load the page for the YouTube video you want to rip.
  2. Allow it to buffer completely. The player bar fills with a darker gray as the video is downloaded.
  3. The buffer will be a file with an FLV extension in your browser's cache directory. Probably somewhat large.
  4. Download and install the Riva FLV Encoder.
  5. Set the Input Video to the full path of the FLV file. Set the Output Directory and Ouput Video to the path and name of a new file with an AVI or MPG extension.
  6. Click FLV Encode and wait...
posted by sstrader at 11:07 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

Campaigns wikia

One of the brains behind Wikipedia has set up a wiki for US politics [ via BoingBoing ]. Its goals are still very formative (sign up and help decide), but it looks like it could provide some aspect of I asked for last December: a wiki to address and counter the quick-forming talking points as fast as they appear.

posted by sstrader at 4:54 PM in Politics | permalink

July 4, 2006

Reading list, 4th of July edition

I was finally getting around to research on the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision and found a concise explication by Glenn Greenwald. Recommended. Also check out his hilarious roundup of that ridiculous battle by the administration against the NYT. Tracking banking records was bragged about by Bush yet for anyone else to talk of it is treasonous; publishing photos of Cheney's vacation house is allowed by conservative outlets but proof of sheer un-American-ness by others. Disclosing public knowledge is no longer a semantic contradiction, it's now apparently unlawful.

On a lighter note, I was told that an otherwise conservative relative (I mean really conservative) feels that Gore is right about global warming (although, humorously, that's "the only thing he's right about"). Maybe this country is turning around...

posted by sstrader at 11:22 AM in Today's reading list | permalink

July 3, 2006

Truth, again

The WSJ has another op-ed on global warming. In contrast to the one of 26 July which attempted to discredit an AP article, this one lists its author: Richard S. Lindzen. Many quotes from the first are regurgitated in the second (actually, the first is quoting the second as if their publish dates were reversed). I had posted the original AP and WSJ articles next to each other along with inlined links and references to other sites debating the validity of the WSJ article. I can only assume that they'll be publishing the same op-ed--or some form of it--every few weeks until An Inconvenient Truth has finished its run of theaters.

posted by sstrader at 11:58 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

July 2, 2006


Two articles via Arts & Letters Daily. First, "Goodbye, Blog: The friend of information but the enemy of thought." from Christianity Today, which accuses the obvious. The author closes with a C. S. Lewis quote (naturally) that blames the Reformation on that evil of quotidian thought: the printing press. No mention is made of a corrupt church and an empowered populace. Oddly, the article praises the time-honored magazine practice of sponsored dialog as a more scholarly approach to debate. I guess that depends on whether you have pre- or post-printing-press magazines and on just who is sponsoring that debate. I ended up not really sure if the author was, as he says of blogs that he has encountered, morally compromised, or invincibly ignorant.

Second, "Professors of Paranoia? Academics give a scholarly stamp to 9/11 conspiracy theories" from The Chronicle of Higher Education. This provides an iconic, non-blog example of what the CT author selectively and salaciously blames on blogs. The author of a 9/11 conspiracy book is asked about a web site that refutes his assertions:

911myths.com, a Web site run by a software developer in England, is one of the few venues that offers a running scrutiny of the various claims and arguments coming out of the 9/11 Truth movement. Mr. [James H.] Fetzer [the co-chairman of Scholars for 9/11 Truth] has heard of 911myths .com, but he has never visited the site.

"I have been dealing with disinformation and phony stories about the death of JFK for all these years. There's a huge amount of phoniness out there," he says. "You have to be very selective in how you approach these things."

"I can assure you the things I'm telling you about 9/11 have objective scientific status," he says. 911myths.com, he says, "is going to be built on either fabricated evidence, or disregard of the real evidence, or violations of the principles of scientific reasoning."

"They cannot be right," he says.

As Ira Flatow said recently, some people will simply ignore inconvenient facts. Web publishing comes in many forms with many and different intentions. Don't expect it to manifest as something greater than its authors and certainly don't try to blame the model for flawed content.

posted by sstrader at 6:22 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

Happy retirement

The family came over yesterday to celebrate my mom's retirement (her last day was Friday). Lisa was out of town to celebrate her aunt's birthday, so I was stuck with all kitchen duties. The menu:

  • Cheese (Dubliner, Manchego, Emmenthaler, and Chevre) and bread
  • Caprisi salad
  • Stuffed pork chops with a ragout of cipollini onions and tomatoes over basmati rice
  • Ice cream!

It was non-stop shopping and cooking most of the day. Almost everything was timed perfectly except that I ended up over-cooking the pork and was a little short on the ragout--which had a great Moroccan flavor. Otherwise, a very nice celebration.

My older niece left her book, Horse in the House (subtitled: Could it be a ghost horse?), so I'm reading it:

"You'd better come in," Winifred said, leading the way.

Mandy's heart was beating fast as she and James followed him. She couldn't believe it. Winifred had been keeping Matty in the house!

posted by sstrader at 5:00 PM in Personal | permalink