Sunday, 24 February 2013

Odds and Sods

This is more of a general catch up post rather than anything specific.

Current Status of A224

I've just finished my 4th TMA for my music course. Not much to say really it involved analysing an Allegro for String Quartet and a Scherzo and Trio for piano. Musical analysis in many ways is a bit like going through a mathematical proof. The main thing to look for are the Key changes and how they are implemented for simple pieces this is quite straightforward as one simply moves from the Tonic Key to the Dominant in the first half and then back again. Or if it is a minor key one usually ends up in the relative major. For more complicated pieces where there is a transition passage exploring many keys the key changes almost on a bar by bar basis and it can be quite tricky to work out what is going on. I think whilst I got the major key changes I fudged the transition keys. Other things to look out for are contrasts in the melody and texture of the piece. Unlike TMA02 at least we had the scores and so didn't have to rely on purely aural effects. So this is in hand but can be quite time consuming.

Piano Playing

Well last January a colleague of mine at work has lent me his sons Yamaha Clavinova and I've got used to playing it. It's important to get something which feels like a real piano. Keyboards just don't hack it. I can play more or less all the scales for Grades 1 and 2 and the Arpeggios and broken chords. I wish I could say the same for the pieces though I'm struggling with the Grade 1 book of pieces although as I practice more I'm stumbling less I guess it's just a matter of time really. My plan is after June when the music course has finished to start getting lessons and hopefully be fit to do at least grade 1 in November maybe even grade 1 and 2. We'll see. My practice routine most days is to go through the scales in the morning before work and play the pieces a couple of times. Then in the evening if I have time spend 15 minutes per piece. I think my practice is skewed more to scales but as they form the building blocks It's best to concentrate on those first.

Fluids I really need to spend the next week polishing off the second TMA more next week

Quantum Mechanics   I have done the first two assignments ICMA's as they are called, I got above 80% for both so decided to leave it at that. They don't really count I need to do the first proper TMA by the end of March so have plenty of time. On a related note I just invested in what would be the first text book account of the Many Worlds interpretation that isn't just popular science

Not that I'm convinced but it's useful to have as a definitive account so one knows what one is arguing about. I have written the first review of it on Amazon.

I also took time out to see Lincoln and Master Django. Lincoln is an absolutely brilliant film and I hope it gets the Oscars. I hadn't realised that after the Emancipation proclamation Lincoln struggled to get the bill through the house of representatives. Sounds as if things haven't changed much Obama seems to have similar problems. The film shows just how much compromise and dirty deals are needed to get any progressive legislation through. The best part as far as I was concerned was that of Thaddeus Stephens played by Timothy Lee Jones. I hope he gets a best supporting actor role. I've ordered the book on which the film was based apparently it was one of President Obama's favourite books

Also a book I read about 15 years ago on the American Civil War by McPherson

Master Django Unchained is also in it's way a good film quite a contrast to Lincoln really brutal in parts and doesn't flinch about the racism of the Southern States. Tarantino injects some humour especially in a scene where the Ku Klux Clan start complaining that they can't see through the badly cut holes in their pillow sheets. Whilst Lincoln is more my type of film this is still definitely worth watching if only to bring home just how brutally slaves were treated in the South during that period. Again the supporting role played by Christopher Waltz (the baddie from Inglorious basterds) was very good.

So that about wraps it up for this time Next post will be on the second TMA for Fluids.


  1. Get piano lessons or pick up bad habits that have to be unlearned.

  2. yeah when the OU pressure has slightly eased So end of June if not before. Hope you are enjoying whatever it is you are doing this year. Best wishes Chris