The Sun Ra Arkestra Performing Shadow World in a Concert in West Berlin

This video presents one of the most important free jazz groups ever: the Sun Ra Arkestra. They are playin a concert in West Berlin and performing the song Shadow World. It is not clear when this concert was recorded but the black and white pictures suggest it was in the late 1960s when german television still recorded and transmitted in black and white.
Sun Ra was always regarded as an excentric musician and many people have no access to this kind of music, they even say it is no music at all or that all musicians are fake, that they can’t play their instruments. However, this is not true. All musicians in the Sun Ra Arkestra were excellent on their instrument but just had no wish to play in the well known mainstream, repeating standard tunes and performing what everybody could accept. It is a fact that such great jazz musicians as John Coltrane took a couple of saxophone playing lessons from the sax player who appears in this video, John Gilmore might be his name, leave a comment if you know better.
The band was really avantgarde, watch that at the end they even come up with some rap – in the late sixties !

Dizzy Gillespie Tony Williams Ron Carter and More Jazz Giants on Stage Together

Watch this video clip with some of the greatest jazz musicians together on stage. Ron Carter plays the accoustic bass, Tony Williams is on the drums, Freddie Hubbard blows his horn together with the great trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, while McCoy Tyner plays the piano. In this concert appear only the best musicians, an all stars group, all of them have a solid musical background and a career as soloists.
McCoy Tyner has played with the John Coltrane Quartet, Tony Williams has his own band, the Tony Williams Lifetime, Ron Carter has played the bass with almost every important jazz musician and it is not necessary to mention any group Dizzy Gillespie has played with, he is probably the best jazz trumpet player ever.
Some people even think that Tony Williams was one of the first pioneers of the Blast Beat, a technique used in Extreme Metal today.

Blues Legend Big Bill Broonzy Performing Hey Hey

This video features the great blues guitar legend Big Bill Broonzy (born as William Lee Conley Broonzy) performing the tune Hey Hey. Even though Big Bill Broonzy is not very well known, he has recorded about 350 songs! The guitar player and singer gained a certain popularity with his small band as one of the first blues singers who included a bass and drums in his performances. The band was called Big Bill and his Chicago Five.
Big Bill Broonzy was born in the state of Missisipi in 1893 or 95 and lived until 1958. When he moved to Chicago, he began to play the guitar and soon began playing clubs and participating in recording sessions. His playing is in the folk blues tradition and despite the fact that in the 40s he had begun to experiment with the electric guitar, he returned to his classical picking style and singing, mostly because his audience wanted so because it seemed more authentic to them.
Big Bill Broonzy has recorded with musicians like Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Brownie Mcghee and Sonny Terry, among others. He has been a source of inspiration to other blues giants as Muddy Waters and Memphis Slim.
In this video Big Bil Broonzy shows his personal picking style that the mostly white audiences wanted him to play.

Traditional Chinelo Music and Dance from the Mexican State of Morelos

This video clip shows some traditional dance music from the central mexican state of Morelos, about 80 km south of Mexico City. The music is played by marching bands and consists of short phrases which are played over and over again while the dancers walk jumping through the streets. At a certain moment, the flow of the music will be interrupted by a long note usually played by the trumpets. At the end of the long note, another frenetic melody starts and is played again and again until the next long note on the trumpets.
This scheme will be performed for hours and is a challenge for dancers and musicians. It can lead to a state of trance. Consider that the parades usually happen under the burning sun of central Mexico and that the costumes of the dancers are of heavy fabric. The participants sure need to drink a lot of beer during the parades …

Accoustic Illusions – How We Perceive the Sounds that Surround Us

This is a very interesting video about different aspects of music. It begins with an introduction about the relation between maths and music, talking about the greek philosopher Pitagoras who wrote about the relation between the length of a string and the musical note it produces and then divides the string into different portions, obtaining different musical notes. After these facts about the mathematical relation between the notes, the video continues to the ‘timbre’ which is the part of the sound that makes it identifiable as the sound of a certain instrument. The timbre depends on the mixture of harmonics that vibrate together with the original note. Only synthesizers can play notes without harmonics, all other instruments produce a musical note with a timbre composed by several harmonics of this note.
Then it becomes really interesting: It looks like musical perception does not depend on the musical facts alone but has to do with the culture where the individual grew up. Diana Deutsch shows how a simple interval is perceived as ascending or as descending, depending on the culture of the listener! Culture relates here to the mother tongue or language of the individual.
The video mentions that right handed people from all cultures tend to perceive the low tones on the left side and the higher pitches on the right side while left handed and ambidextrous people perceive music the other way around. This is the reason for the disposition of the elements in an symphonic orchestra. If the elements weren’t ordered the way they are, the musicians couldn’t hear well the other instruments in the orchestra. However, since the orchestras are normally in front of the public, it results that the public must listen the music in an ‘unnatural’ perspective.
The video then mentions a test that shows how our perception is distorted: the listener receives some musica sounds through the headphones and has to decide wethere the low pitches sound on the right or on the left side. Once the person is sure about what he/she is hearing, the person shall swap the sides of the earphones so that the left chanel now is the right chanel and vice versa. One expects that now the low pitches should come from the opposite side. However, this is not the case! People continue to hear the low notes at the same location, no matter where they are really located, spatially speaking.
The video continues to other interesting aspects of music and we recommend to watch it right away, if you are interested in the part about accoustic illusions, you might want to go directly to minute 16.

Composer Arnold Schönberg in an Interview about Art and Music

In this video clip you can see some images of Arnold Schönberg’s paintings and personal photos while he is being interviewed about different issues.
Arnold Schönberg belonged to the painting school called Blauer Reiter together with Vladimir Kadinsky and other famous painters. However, Schönberg decided to concentrate on music. In this interview he explains how this happened.
Arnold Schönberg is a very important comoser and can be considered as the logical conclusion of western classical concert music that began with the gregorian choir music with it’s monophonic melodies that could be ‘completed’ initially only with octaves and fifths, since these harmonies are sounding very much the same and music was not for embellishment of the church service itself but for the praising of god. Attention should not be distrated from this goal and music should be no reason to attend the services. One by one, the other 11 notes that exist in between the octave – according to western tuning – where ‘admitted’ in the compositions of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the rest of the classical composers. By the time Arnold Schönberg appeared on the music scene, every single note could be present in a composition and this meant to Schönberg and a few others that classical music had come to an end and that the logical evolution asked for atonal music, music without the conventional tonal centers that resulted from the rules of harmony.
In the background sound of the interview, you can listen to some compositions by Arnold Schönberg (Who also was one of rock musician Frank Zappa‘s favourite composers).

The Day of Silence and Other New Years Day Celebrations from around the World

All over the globe there are celebrations when a year ends and a new cycle begins. The change dosn’t necessarily happen on december 31 / January 1, as in the western world. In Ubud, Bali (Indonesia), the celebrations take place in march, when the new year for the hindus begins.
Bali is a country full of music. It is a society where music is always present: when the fields are harvested, there is a music group of the town playing while other members of the community cut the fruits or whatever they are harvesting. The same thing happens when the community plants the seeds for the new agricultural cycle and in general terms there is no event in the life of the people from Bali where there wouldn’t be a musical group playing.
At the last day of the year, the people from Bali bring out giant paper monsters that symbolize the evil in multiple presentations and forms. In the night, the paper monsters are brought back to where they were built and remain there for one day. This day is the day of silence and there is absolutely no action on the streets or in the houses. People meditate and rest, stying home since no traffic is allowed on the streets. No cars, no motorcycles and not even pedestrians.
The idea behind this tradition is that on this day the evil spirits will visit the island and when they see the paper monsters and the empty streets they will think that the monsters already have taken over the island and that there are no persons left. So, they will go back to where they came from and will let the land in peace for another year.
That would be a nice tradition to introduce in the western world!

Are Video Blogs Going to Stay Alive or Will Copyright Infringement Claims Kill File Sharing on Youtube?

This post will deal about publishing, republishing and copyright. Due to recent limitations of youtube video insertion into our posts, it has become a necessity to post about this issue even though it is slightly off topic regarding the central purpose of this blog which is to contribute to the presentation of the variety of music beyond the standardized music played by the vast majority of tv and radio stations around the globe.
Youtube has developed into an important communication channel with a lot of videos posted daily by users from many countries and regions of the world. Here internet surfers will find a huge archieve of video clips about many issues and a considerable part of these videos deal with music and musicians beside other aspects of the entertainment business and other fields of interest.
The Music Video Guide was created with the idea to help people navigate this immense quantity of videos published and republished on youtube and other video blog platforms and other internet sites. Our purpose was and is to publish or republish a video clip and comment it so that the reader could have a point of departure for the personal evaluation or the corresponding music video and we were very disappointed when about 10 minutes after publishing our post about an interpretation of ‘Der Hölle Rache’ from ‘The Magic Flute’ (‘Die Zauberflöte’) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the video didn’t show up any more on our blog. Instead there was a short line saying something like ‘Sorry, this video is no longer available’. We inmediately visited the youtube site to learn that in the text fiel which usually contains the code for embedding the video into blogs and other websites there was this laconic line of text: “video insertion disabled by petition”.
This ment a lot of frustration to us. We believe that things like that should not happen and are avoidable. For example if the youtube system would offer the possibility to disable the video embedding at and let’s say within the next 15 minutes after publishing time. Then we could save our efforts of investigating and commenting and focus on other videos whose publishers or republishers aren’t governed by envy or greed but by the sane intention to bring good stuff to the general public’s attention.
Anyway, the Music Video Guide continued with it’s publishing scheme of a video with the corresponding comments and everything went fine for a while until our last post which was about the first movement of the Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69, by Ludwig van Beethoven performed by the marvellous piano player Glenn Gould and the cellist Leonard Rose and recorded around 1960. This time it took only a day to see that the republisher of this video clip had solicited the disallowment of embedding of the clip into other sites.
The preceding lines are about the why of this post, now let’s get into substance.
According to the republisher of this video on youtube, it is extracted from “The Glenn Gould Collection: VOLUME 8 – Interweaving Voices” (Sony SHV 48412, VHS, NTSC). We are strongly convinced that this youtube publisher didn’t upload the video on behalf of Sony who seems to be the copyright holder, as far as we can deduce from the information provided and will do a little research about the authorisation for uploading on youtube, among some other actions related to this incident.
The easiest thing would be to download this video from youtube which is very easy if you have installed Realplayer or other similar software and then upload it on our own account so that we could embed it pointing to our own upload.
However, at uploading time youtube show a copyright notice, telling you to not upload anything which isn’t your work or public domain. Now, we could edit the video a little bit, to comply with the rule of utilization of only a certain percentage of original material and make it “ours”. Or we could argue that since the mentioned video only represents the first movemento of three of the Cello Sonata No. 3, this is already sliced down to comply with this kind of rule (note: correction subject to detail investigation regarding varying national and international legislations).
But maybe, the youtube republisher (http://www.youtube.com/user/inwit) considers that this video clip is already reduced in size and quality in comparison with the original Sony VHS tape and that this fact is enough to not infringe the rights of copyright holder Sony. We will find out and would appreciate your comments regarding the issue.

Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster and Billie Holiday playing the blues

Watch this video with some of the greatest jazz musicians ever playing and singing the blues. Listen to Coleman Hawkins sweet mellow tone and enjoy Lester Young leaping in on this song.
At the beginning of the video, Billie Holiday is talking about the blues music, dividing it into sad blues and happy blues and stating that everything she sings is part of her life.
The lineup is an all star band with the following personel in order of appearance: Ben Webster – Tenor Sax, Lester Young – Tenor, Dick Dickenson – Trombone, Gerry Mulligan – Baritone Sax, Coleman Hawkins – Tenor and Roy Eldridge onTrumpet. It’s interesting to look at Billie Holiday’s face while the cats are soloing, she really is with them. And of course, listen to her voice when she is singing.
We know that the video’s sound quality isn’t the best, but this was recorded around the mid fifties, so please be indulgent… As always in these cases, we believe that it is much better to know and listen to the original versions even though they have less sound quality than listening to perfectly dolbey stereo recorded sound with poor content. If you can’t enjoy the music because of the sound impurities, we feel sorry for you but we suspect you also like studio made porn pictures better than an original photograph showing an american indian at the beginning of the 20th century, just because the porn pic is very well produced while the grain and contrast of the photo from the early days of photography is relatively coarse.
As always when I post about saxophone players, I like to mention our poll about the best tenor saxophone player ever. Go there and speak up.

Frank Zappa Ronald Reagan Hairdress and Documentary Video

This video shows Frank Zappa at work in different situations ranging from the making of a music video to working with a 25 performers symphony orchestra that is putting on stage his compositions. It has some interesting parts about the appearance of Ronald Reagan’s hairdress in the mentioned clip. For people interested in more of Frank Zappa’s work: go and visit http://www.fiesta-musical.com where you will find video clips of Frank Zappa playing his music, interviews and appearances on tv shows