Musical Keys On a Spring Saturday

A brief account of my session at Musical Keys yesterday.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday was a Musical Keys session, and Oliver who runs Musical Keys put in an appearance. Also, some of our stuff was recorded – we will hear it in a fortnight’s time.

THE JOURNEY TO THE SCOUT HUT

Immediatedly after a light lunch of salami and salad I set off on my journey (I was starting early because I needed to check in on my aunt’s house en route and also intended to take advantage of heading towards that part of the world to visit Gaywood Library). After the few minutes it took to make sure all was OK at my aunt’s house I headed for the parkland and thence the footpath between the two academies, before a diversion to Gaywood Library and a walk along the bank of the Gaywood River to finish. Here are some pictures covering the period between leaving my flat and exiting the parkland at Tennyson Road:

Saturday Market Place
A welcome return of market stalls to the Saturday Market Place.
Hampton Court Cannon Ball
This cannon ball hangs in the entrance to Hampton Court (near my aunt’s house)
Red Mount Chapel
The Red Mount Chapel
Guanock Gate
The Guanock Gate
Black headed gull
A black headed gull in The Walks.

Not fit for play!

The cricket season is underway in most parts of the country, but Yorkshire and Essex have had no play on any of the first three days of their match due to a sodden outfield. Norfolk has not been battered as much as the north, but this picture from The Walks shows the problem – saturated soil means that there is nowhere for water to go.

The second part of the walk to the Scout Hut provided a few photos as well:

Purple FlowersPurple FlowerYellow flowerDaffodils, Gaywood RiverLittle Blue Flowers

Blue tit
For more on the bird on this picture please visit my previous post.

BlackbirdThe above picture was the Featured Image in my post Blue Tit and Butterfly

AT THE SCOUT HUT

Once it was time for the session to begin I did not take long to decide what I was going to do…

Yamaha music system
This Yamaha music system is not quite the equal of the Korg that I jhave used on previous occasions at Musical Keys, but it is still a very fine gadget.

InstrumentchordFACE4 chordQuintCAFE

After I had been recorded I spent what was left of the session creating musical words (e.g playing the notes F, A, C and E for face or, C, A, F and E for cafe). For the bit was a recording I used a double pattern – each four note chord I used comprised two pairs of notes separated by two, and with an octave between each pair.

HOMEWARD BOUND

The entirety of my homeward journey took place not only in daylight but under a bright sun (yes, we sometimes forget about it, especially during long winters like the one we are just emerging from, but even here in Blighty we do get to see the sun). I only added one solitary picture to my collection during this journey – a pair of drakes swimming in formation in the Gaywood River…

drakes

Musical Keys and Birds

A brief account of Musical Keys and some bird pictures.

INTRODUCTION

Saturday was a music day, and I have plenty of pictures to share from recent days.

MUSICAL KEYS – THE KORG

These sessions are organised for the benefit of autistic people, so before I get into the meat of this section here is stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

The Korg is a very sophisticated machine (for classical music enthusiasts it looks a 21st century version of a clavichord, but it does so much more). I will let the photographs tell the story (I got most of these by playing with my left hand while using the camera with my right FYI):

Korg IKorg IIKorg IIIKorg IVKorg VKorg VIKorg VIIKorg VIIIKorg IXKorg X

BIRDS OF ALL SIZES

We start with the largest bird to be a regular feature of life in Britain – the mute swan:

MSXMSXIMSXIIMSXIIIMSXIVMSXVMSXVIMSXVIIMSXIXMSXXMSXXI

Next we come to a much smaller species, which I have not previously captured on camera, a little wader called a turnstone (I seem to recall that a few years back The Lynn News had a columnist who used Turnstone as a nom de plume):

Turnstone ITurnstone II

Further along the Great Ouse and on the side of the river were a few specimens of a larger bird that is not a regular sight in these parts – the greylag goose:

Greylag geese

We end with a couple of cormorant shots:

Cormorant CSwimming cormorant

 

 

Musical Keys and a Meme

An account of my Musical Keys session on Saturday and a meme that I created.

INTRODUCTION

Saturday was a Musical Keys day in King’s Lynn. This post shows you what I did during that session.

RETURN TO REAPER

Those who read my post about the session on January 6th will recall that in that session I was on a keyboard, which when you add Christmas in to the equation meant six weeks since I had used Reaper, so I was particularly pleased to get back to using Reaper. Once I had re-acquainted myself with what I had already done I moved on and created another major piece. I will met some photographs of my Reaper screens tell the rest of the tale:

Reaper 1
The first five pictures are from the first half of the session.

Reaper 2Reaper 3Reaper 4Reaper 5

Big piece 1
These last five shots deal with my new big piece.

big piece 2Big piece 3big piece 4big piece 5

THE MEME

A number of recent posts on this site have been about or have touched on the themed of “autism acceptance months” (here, here and here). During the weekend I created an #autismacceptancemonths meme for sharing on social media which has had some success, and for the benefit of those of my readers not on social media I reproduce it below:

Meme

 

Autism and Music

An account of the first Musical Keys session of the new year and some autism related links.

INTRODUCTION

This post comprises two elements – one an account of the first Musical Keys session of 2018 and the other sharing some excellent recent stuff about autism. Because it is an autism themed post I am using #RedInstead text (scarlet for headings and links, maroon for body text). 

MUSICAL KEYS

Musical Keys is an activity run for autistic people who enjoy music. Generally speaking it is run fortnightly, with a session for youngsters between 3PM and 3:45PM and a session for older participants from 4PM to 5PM. I had initially been expecting to renew my acquaintance with Reaper (a computer program for composing music – see here for more details) but circumstances dictated otherwise, and I actually ended up on a…

KEYBOARD

This machine can function as a wide range of instruments/voices and in a wide range of styles, and I explored a lot of the instruments in the course of the time I spent on it.

Keyboard

John, one of the two people who run these sessions, showed me how to play chords as opposed to single notes, and I experimented with playing varying numbers of notes simultaneously, and using the whole range of the keyboard. 

I created a few chords where the notes played could also form words, such as face/cafe, cabbage etc. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of this keyboard and learning something of its capacities.

Chord
These notes could form the word ‘cabbage’ (there being 2 as, 2 bs, 1c, 1e and 1g. Kirsten Murray, who helps John to run the sessions, took this picture with my camera.
Face
Here you can see the notes – I played this with my left hand, while photographing with my right.
Screen
A close up the central screen.
Voice
The screen with more of its surrounds, including detail about the ‘voice’ settings.

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

This section starts with a post from Rhi that I regard as being the last word on “mild autism”, published under the title “Autscriptic: Mild Autism“. 

My next piece comes from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa of squidalicious.com under the self-explanatory title “Eleven Ways You Can Make Your Autistic Child’s Life Easier

The next two pieces in this section are both from the blog “Autism is my Superpower

TO SIRI REVISITED

I have linked to a number of reviews of Judith Newman’s book “To Siri With Love”, although since I have not read the book I can offer no direct comment about it, and here are a few more pieces about that book:

AN ANTI-AUTISTIC HATE GROUP
MASQUERADING AS AN AUTISM CHARITY

The organisation who are the subject of this little section go by the name of Autism Speaks, who you will also see referred to as Autism $peaks, Auti$m $peak$ and A$ in various places. 

  1. From care.com comes this story, whose title “Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination” gives you more than a hint of the truth about this vile organisation.
  2. The website ownshrink.com has a piece titled “Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit” which is as damning an indictment of an organisation that claims to be an autism charity as you could find anywhere.

 

Computer Aided Composing

An account of my recent doings at Musical Keys with a photographic interlude.

INTRODUCTION

A few sessions back at Musical Keys, an event run for autistic people that I am a regular attender of, I switched from using Scratch to using a different package called Reaper. This Saturday just gone I reached a point at which I feel that my work on Reaper is now worth talking about. Also I have some good pictures that I can slip in as part of the back story.

SCRATCH AND REAPER

Scratch enables one to play notes on various musical instruments and also has some saved sound loops for variation. Effectively therefore Scratch enables one to play music and sounds but not really to create anything beyond the framework within which to do so. Reaper is both less and more – less in that it has no versions of musical instruments, more in that is really all about combining different recorded sounds into a larger whole, and therefore has much more of a creative element to it. 

BEFORE SATURDAY’S SESSION

I had spent one session assessing the available sound segments, working out which ones I liked and which of those combined well together, and a second session combining shorter segments into longer ones by putting together segments that would or could naturally flow together, but at the start of Saturday what I actually had was a set of useful components that I could start to think about assembling into proper length pieces…

INTERLUDE –  WALK TO THE SCOUT HUT

I had decided to lengthen my walk to the venue by taking in a stretch of the Great Ouse before rejoining the regular walking route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Vancouver Garden, and a quick sampling of the air outside my flat convinced me of the need to don an extra jumper – it was cold, as some of the photos will make very plain. I had also allowed myself time for a visit to Gaywood library, since I would naturally pass very close to it. It may have been cold, but the birds were out in force, especially near the Great Ouse.

lapwings and a gulllapwings and gullsFlying lapwingswimming birdBlackbirdsBlackbird

Leaving the river by way of Hardings Pits I headed for the South Gate and thence Seven Sisters and the parkland areas…

framed magpieKL signSouthgatestarlingsthree birds

Among other things the walk through the parkland provided me with absolute proof of how cold it was – gulls walking on water. 

Gull walking on waterGull walking on water 2Gull walking on water 3rooksBlackbird II

DECEMBER 9TH AT MUSICAL KEYS

John, who usually supervises the sessions was not feeling well, so having driven the equipment over he spent the afternoon sat in his car, while his assistant Kirsten took charge of the sessions. 

Once I had opened up Reaper, checked and adjusted the speaker volume (at least 99% of the time it is set too loud for me and I have to reduce it, often considerably – on this occasion it had been set to 70% of full volume and I reduced that to 35%) it was time to put my plan of exploring options for combining various elements to make a larger whole into practice. Before moving on here is a photo I took at the end of the session.

Reaper

The piece that I called Organ and Strings was one of three background sounds that I used in the bigger pieces, the others being the drum and brass backgrounds. “Ensemble” and “Composite” as those names suggest were medium sized components, while “Horizontal” and “All in” were the two large scale components that I combined to make the final full size pieces. The two big pieces (12 and 16 minutes long respectively) were comprised of “Horizontal”-“All-in”‘-“Horizontal” and “Horizontal”-“All-in”-“Horizontal”-“All-in” respectively. By the time I had listened to the 16 minute piece at the end it was pretty much the end of the session. The next session is on January 6th and I shall work out some way to build on what I have already created. 

 

Monday Miscellany

A mixed bag of an offering this Monday afternoon!

INTRODUCTION

This post will be every bit as varied as its title suggests, featuring a mix of politics, mathematics, music, nature and photography (and possibly more). 

SOME MATHS RELATED STUFF

I start with one of more recent followers, RobertLovesPi, and I have several pieces of his to share:

My next piece, courtesy of whyevolutionistrue is titled “The Coffer Illusion“, which concerns the picture below:

If the illusion defeats you, you can find out where the circles are by going to the original post. 

I finish this little section with a nod to the mathematical website Brilliant, which I am a regular visitor to (I am currently on a 64 day problem solving streak). As a sample here is a problem I solved today, rated at maximum difficulty by the site, pretty close to minimum by me:

Pythag

You can look at solutions to this problem on the website, and I will reveal the answer on this blog tomorrow. 

A FEW POLITICAL PIECES

There has been a lot of coverage from various people of events in Charlottesville. I choose to draw your attention to Richard Murphy’s excellent piece on Tax Research UK, titled “Charlottesville is a cradle of extremism: we should take note“. Below is a screenshot of the first few paragraphs:

charlottesville

My second link is to the petitionsite, regarding a young women in El Salvador who having been raped and then had a miscarriage has then been jailed for 30 years due to the Catholic church influence anti-abortion laws of that country. The screenshot below is formatted as a link to take you to this petition to sign and if possible share it:

Screenshot 2017-08-14 at 3.29.29 PM

I finish this section on a lighter note, courtesy of whyevolutionistrue. This little piece titled “Where is North Korea? Some Americans have no idea” reminds us how unacquainted USians are with that area known as the rest of the world! Here is a screenshot of the opening paragraph:
Screenshot 2017-08-14 at 3.39.40 PM

PHOTOGRAPHS

I usually end my blog posts with some of my own photographs, but this photograph section has an additional feature – as a nod to the principal subjects of many of the photos that follow I offer you a musica prelude – Ottorino Respighi’s “The Birds”:

cormorants and boatCormorants8Cormorant headsCormorants6Cormorants4Cormorants3Cormorants2Cormorants1Cormorants and gull 5Cormorant4Cormorants11Cormorants 10Cormorants and gull3TerngullCormorant3Cormorant2

Cormorant
I did not notice the white bird on the far side of the river until I was editing this one – I think from the shape and colour that is a Little Egret but the image is not clear enough to be sure.

Cormorants and swimming gullPollinator3Flybutterfly wingPollinator2white butterflyPollinator

Squirrel does Meerkat impression
This squirrel is clearly an impressionist – and his meerkat is very good!

Cricket, Music and Local Elections

Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well. 

CRICKET

The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…

DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling. 

MUSIC

The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…

MUSICAL KEYS

A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…

Kirsten
Kirsten, one of the two people from Musical Keys who run these sessions, at a very impressive looking keyboard.

MK1MK2MK3MK4MK5MK6MK7

MK8
I shall be adding some mathematics to the mix in two weeks time.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subject I said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council website turned up the following information about who was standing:

candidates

In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.

Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland. 

WALES

In Llanbadarn Fawr ward, Powys, the Labour Party candidate is none other than Mike Sivier of Vox Political, a fact which he announced in a post titled “Vote for Mike in the local elections!

– Vox Political’s Mike Sivier is standing as a Labour Party candidate for Powys County Council’s Llanbadarn Fawr ward – and there’s more to him than a nice smile [Image: Mike Sivier].

Today, Mike has put up another post about his candidacy under the title “Shadow cabinet minister is right – local elections are about CANDIDATES, not Corbyn“.

SCOTLAND

The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message

Towards Indyref2…

PHOTOGRAPHS

I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…

15thCGHBb1BlackbirdcloseupBlackbird and flowerDSCN6005Mh1MinsterHB

ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED

During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled.