Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feature Request: SONAR MIDI quantize

It would be really nice if SONAR's MIDI quantize plugin could also deal with velocity ranges (in the same interface.) Currently, I have to use a separate tool/plugin to do this (in SONAR). It would just be convenient to see note timing and velocity controls together as they seem pretty related in terms of performance.

Here's a suggestion for an easy interface modification:

The Velocity range would be controlled by dragging the top or bottom of the indicator to cover the desired range (0-127), and all notes would be real-time scaled to that range.

Contacts by the thousands

Why do some people have hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts on 'social networking' sites? I see this phenomenon on MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and recently, my beloved Vimeo. At least twice a week now I'm notified that I've been 'added' to someone's network. To date, I've yet to actually know someone that's added me. Invariably, when I look at their profile, they've got umpteen hundred contacts....

Where's the value in that? Is is simply some psychological tick where people don't feel good about themselves without a large number in the "Contacts" field? Part of marketing efforts (easy to spam large swathes with "send to all contacts" options?) General cluelessness about social networks? Just ignoring social conventions?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Red light cameras coming to a halt?

A judge in San Diego, CA issued a ruling today essentially making certain contracts for red-light ticket systems illegal. Not ALL contracts...just certain ones.

Specifically, contracts where operators (read: greedy corporations) were paid based on the number of tickets generated through the system were found to violate some tiny line of California Vehicle Code.

A couple of years ago, the adjoining city (Roseville) installed red light cameras at a major intersection a couple blocks away. Although technically in another municipality, the red-light cameras (and adjusted yellow/red times) have resulting in traffic backing up into neighboring Citrus Heights. It's made the intersection in question (Cirby and Sunrise Blvd) all but unnavigable during most daylight hours. Bad weather makes the situation worse.

Yet municipalities persist. Highly focused sales teams overwhelm hapless, uncreative city managers into deals that profit corporate entities at whatever cost they can socialize (congested streets, lost time and productivity for all citizens), and we're all the poorer for it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Did Coldplay steal a song?

On the heels of the band Coldplay's recent 7 Grammy nominations comes news that Joe Satriani is suing the band for infringement, saying they copied "substantial portions" of his song "If I Could Fly" from his album Is There Love In Space.

Earlier this year, a similar claim was made by another band, Creaky Boards.

Joe Satriani is not suing Creaky Boards.

Just for comparison, here's another song that uses the same chord progression.

A music teacher on YouTube has made a quick theory analysis of the two songs.

It's pretty clear the VI VII III I progression has great appeal to writers, as it can accomodate more interesting melodies (IMHO), so the question really becomes about the melody.

The fact that many of these songs share a near identical tempo is interesting....perhaps the combination of tempo and chords/keys lend themselves to certain melody possibilities. And the pentameter of the melodies is very strong, Coldplay's in particular seeming to pulse in a brilliant way (Brian Eno produced the Coldplay album. Eno is a master at his craft.)

My limited legal understanding of Satriani's position is he does not have to prove intent to infringe, meaning he doesn't have to demonstrate that Coldplay *knew* of his music before they wrote "Viva la Vida", only that the music is similar enough to constitute infringement.

I think many people confuse the issue: Satriani's not claiming Coldplay "stole" his music, only that they published a composition that technically wasn't original. He may agree they came up with the chords/melody independently, but that's not the issue: he published it first, therefore, it's his.

As producers, one of our challenges is to create something original, new, and fresh while still familiar and accessible. Sooner or later, chords, melodies and arrangments will collide - it's simply mathematical chance.

I hope this is a case of amazing synchronicity, rather than a case where Coldplay (and by association, Brian Eno) simply pilfered someone else's work.