More on Metropolis HERE, HEREHERE, HERE

More Fritz Lang info HERE


President's Message
September 2003

1.  The BAS has a new email address:  The other addresses remain the same: membership and subscriptions, BAS Speaker correspondence .

2.  I reported on the Samsung mini DV camcorder last month. Further investigation showed that the frequency response mimics that of a cheap dynamic mike: it is -3 dB at 130 Hz and 12 kHz! However it can put out full amplitude from 20-20k, so pre-emphasis would considerably improve the performance, especially since the sound of the noise floor is raspy.

3.  Six years ago, Heinz Klaus Metzger gave a short talk about a potentially very long piece of music--"Organ2/ASLSP," by John Cage. ASLAP means "as slow as possible." Born in Los Angeles in 1912, Mr. Cage believed random tones or ambient noise could be music. One of his best known pieces,"4'33", is performed by a musician sitting silently at a piano for four minutes and 33 seconds. Now, in the forlorn eastern German city of Halberstadt, in a crumbling medieval church used as a pig sty until a few years ago, Metzger and a group of supporters have started a performance of "Organ2" so slow that it is supposed to continue for six centuries. It began on September 5, 2001, but fans of John Cage haven't missed much since it begins with a rest, or silence. For the first 17 months there was nothing to hear except the wheezing of the organ's bellows. In fact at that time that was the only part of the organ that existed — it is being assembled as the concert goes on. There are plans to turn a building next to the church into a contemporary music center named the John Cage Academy. Each movement lasts 71 years, the shortest notes last 6 or 7 months, the longest about 35 years. There's an intermission in 2319. Since Mr. Cage put no limits on how many of the movements can be repeated, the concert could conceivably last longer than 639 years. "It's really limited by how long the organ holds up, if worms eat into the wood, or the lead pipes begin to decompose." They would like to link the concert to museums around the world. "There could be a room where people could hear a tone from Halberstadt. It would be like an eternal flame." Wall Street Journal 11Jl03
Webmaster's links: NPR HERE; BBC HERE ; Direct link in German HERE; Superb Cage bio HERE; Chronological musical history HERE

4.  Royal Philips Electronics demonstrated at the CES a technology that can name tunes, and even identify different versions of the piece. Called audio fingerprinting, it is based on the premise that every performance of a song has unique audio characteristics--for example, a certain relationship of neighboring high and low notes over a minuscule slice of time. Represent those relationships in numbers, and you have a code that shows a particular version of a song, and no other. Even when broadcasters tweak a song or compress it, so long as you can still hear it, the systems can extract a description of unique characteristics in the song, quickly matching the description with the database to identify the track. "We have almost any popular song that has been recorded," said Philip Inghelbrecht, founder of the company and director of its content. "So long as the CD is commercially available, we will have it." NYT 23Ja03
Webmaster's links: The Philips page is HERE

David Hadaway

President, Boston Audio Society



The Boston Audio Society
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Boston MA 02126

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updated 11/11/04