Saturday, November 25, 2006

Origami, a Curious Blend of Art and Science

I have been posting a lot about music lately, so I thought I'd switch gears. Origami has fascinated me for a long time, but I've never really learned much about it. Well, I thought this would be a good time to start.

I was surprised to find a large supply of origami videos on line. It is much more popular than I imagined. Some artists are now using computers to help design their "sculptures" with amazing results. If origami sounds like a dull subject to you, these videos will likely change your mind.

Origami Documentary Trailer

Robert Lang on Origami

Portrait of an Origami Master

Origami Links
Robert J. Lang Origami
Eric's Origami Page

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Microtonal Music Videos

Microtonal music is any music that uses a tuning other than the standard twelve note equal temperament that we are used to. This type of music is growing in popularity. I am pleased that there are now some good videos available to demonstrate some of the forms that this varied music can take.

Microtonal music is usually made with computers or retunable electronic keyboards, but it's also possible to use acoustic instruments.

This first video features two pianos that have been retuned so that they can play in a tuning with seventeen equally spaced notes to the octave instead of the usual twelve. I admire the way these two performers work together to produce music that would be impossible on a single piano.

It's almost an hour long, so you may want to grab some popcorn.

Seventeen Note Piano Project, Phase 2

This next video features a microtonal variation on the C minor scale. (The A and D notes are each thirty cents flat.)

A Scream From Lebanon

Additional Information

For program notes on the Seventeen Tone Piano Project visit

For more information on microtonal music, visit my blog Daniel Thompson Microtonal Composer.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Guitars Playing Lute Music

Lutes used to be extremely popular. Now they have been almost completely replaced by guitars. Guitars clearly have some advantages over lutes. They are usually easier to tune and play. They are also easier to make. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that it is often easier to find lute music played on guitars than on the original lutes.

I don't believe, however, that a guitar is a proper replacement for a lute. There is a substantial difference in sound. It seems that most composers for lute have taken the peculiarities of the lute into consideration and their music reflects this. As a result, I find that lute music played on a lute usually sounds much better than the same music performed on guitar.

This collection of videos is a good opportunity to hear some fine lute music played on guitar. If you wish, you can compare this to my collection of lute videos.

Please don't think I'm criticising guitars or guitar players. I am a guitarist myself and have attempted some of the lute repertoire. I think it is great that guitarists are playing lute music. I really enjoy these videos. There's just something special about lute music played on actual lutes.

Bach Double on the Classical Guitar

Peo Kindgren Plays Dowland

Peo Kindgren Plays Dowland's Frog Galliard

Peo Kindgren Plays Dowland's Sir John Smith His Almain

Francisco Burgos Plays Alman by Robert Johnson

Peo Kindren Plays Bach Prelude


Bach Prelude

Aaron Brock Plays Bach

Bach Suite 3 for Lute-Prelude

Bach Lute Suite No. 1 in E Minor, Allemande

Menuet by Silvius Leopold Weiss

See also Lute Videos and the article Lutes Verses Guitars.

More Lute Videos

The lute has been getting a lot of attention lately, thanks to Sting's new cd, "Songs from the Labyrinth", a collection of lute songs by John Dowland. See Sting Plays the Lute. It's nice to see the lute regain a small portion of its former glory.

If you have heard Sting's lute music, you may find that you want to hear more. I hope you will enjoy these videos.

Toccata No. 7 by Kapsberger, Played by He Chin

A Port, Played by Jacopo Gianninoto

Pavana Milan

Here's Jan Akkerman discussing the lute as the video plays.

Galliard by Janna, Played by Jan Akkerman

Courante by Janna, Played by Jan Akkerman

See also Guitars Playing Lute Music.

Lute Links

The Lute Society
A Brief History of the Lute
Silvius Leopold Weiss
The Lutecast

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Viol Videos

Almost everyone knows about the violin family, which includes violins, violas and cellos, but many people are not aware of the somewhat similar viol family.

The viols are older than the violins and used to be very popular. They are a charming set of instruments with a pleasant sound. They were, however, quieter and easily overpowered when played with other instruments. They just couldn't compete with the louder violin family and eventually became very rare, except for the double bass which is still regularly played today.

The viols are making a small comeback. Their charm is undeniable and their soft gentle tone actually seems like an advantage in our increasingly loud and hectic world. Besides, we can now turn up the volume on viol recordings if we wish.

The first video can serve as a brief introduction to viols. This is a viola da gamba. It is kind of like a cello but if you look closely you may notice some differences.

"Chanty" Thomas Mace

The viola da gamba has frets and is held between the legs. The viola da gamba also usually has six strings instead of four for a cello (although this one has seven).

This next video will highlight an unique playing style of viols.

Sonata by Carl Friedrich Abel

Did you notice how she held the bow from behind instead of from the front? She also used a lot of fast arpeggios. The viols are tuned more like guitars than violins so they are well suited to playing the arpeggiated chords that are a common feature in viol music.

This next video is of a baryton, an unusual viol like instrument.


This next instrument is a pardessus de viole, kind of a hybrid between a violin and a viol.

Pardessus de Viole

See also Lutes,Viols and Other Ancient Instruments.

Other Early Music Videos
Sting Plays the Lute
More Lute Videos
Guitars Playing Lute Music
A Controversial Video

Welcome to My Video Blog!

There's a ton of free videos on the Internet. So why would you want to pay any attention to this particular video blog?

Well, the truth is you might not want to. This blog is not designed for a general audience, there's already plenty of sites for that.

This blog is designed to only include videos that have cultural or educational value. I will focus on the arts, history, science, nature, and mathematics.

I plan on including some special features. I hope to provide multiple tools to help you find the type of video that you are looking for, even if it isn't located on my site.

In addition to the videos, I plan on providing useful descriptions and links to sites that provide supplemental information on the topics presented. I hope this blog will be entertaining, but I also intend it to be educational.

This blog isn't for everyone, but I hope it will provide an enjoyable and rewarding experience for some.

I welcome your comments. As of 11/4/06 this blog is brand new, by leaving comments, you can help me to better design this site and choose the kind of content that will be most valuable to my visitors.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us. Emails sent to the webmaster may be published on this site without identifying information. Please make a note in the body of the email if you don't want any portion to be reproduced on this website. Please exercise caution when posting comments, because these are visible to site visitors.

We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on this site. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to this site's users based on their visit to this site and other sites on the Internet. If you would like more information about this practice or would like to opt out of the use of the DART cookie, please visit the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

This privacy policy was last updated on 3/29/09.