All posts by ericdano

Sound Quality and the Shrinking Pit

I play in pit orchestras sometimes. And this article was interesting. It’s very true that orchestra sizes seem to be diminishing. Last couple of shows I’ve done have been “abridged” versions, where we have 2-3 reeds (out of 5), 1-2 strings, 2-3 brass, and rhythmn section. Most of the other stuff, if it’s being covered (usually doesn’t get covered), is done with Synths….

Regardless, the author makes some valid points about sound quality.

Perfect Pitch Museum

Do you have perfect pitch? Can you listen to the howl of the wind, and say that it was blowing in D? Or that a two-tone clock strikes in B minor? This site explores the complexities of perfect pitch, which can be tricky, as there is relative pitch, perfect pitch, and absolute pitch. While some feel that it is an inherited gift, frequently encountered in the blind, others argue that it can be learned. There is a reference to the abilities of the young Mozart, which is to be expected, and a story about Ravel, who lost the ability to express his music, although it was still ‘in his head’. Some features, such as the historical fluctuation of concert A would be of more interest to musicians, but the examples in the section ‘Amazing Feats of the Ear’ would engage everyone else. The ‘Definitions for the Musically Disinclined’ is very helpful in this regard.

I personally believe that you can learn perfect pitch.

Moe Koffman Dies

One of Canada’s best known and most respected jazz
musicians is dead. Moe Koffman died Wednesday afternoon from cancer at the age of 72. Best known for his catchy 1957 flute piece Swinging Shepherd Blues, Koffman gained an international following during his career.

Here is another article on his death.

TORONTO (CP) -- One of Canada's best known and most respected jazz
musicians is dead.

Moe Koffman died Wednesday afternoon from cancer at the age of 72.

Best known for his catchy 1957 flute piece Swinging Shepherd Blues,
Koffman gained an international following during his career.

Nonetheless he was for decades a regular fixture at the modest Toronto
jazz club, George's Spaghetti House.

Dave Milbourne, publisher of the newsletter Toronto Jazz, said a friend of
Koffman's confirmed the musician's death Wednesday afternoon.

"Canada has lost a music legend," Milbourne said.

Based in Toronto the city in which he was born, Koffman was admired
internationally for his mastery of the flute. He was also a talented
saxophone player and clarinetist.

A consummate musician, Koffman composed and arranged many of his own
pieces. All the while, he was regarded as one of Canada's busiest jazz
musicians, playing at clubs and jazz festivals all over the country.

Koffman was best known for his catchy 1958 flute piece Swingin' Shepherd
Blues. It was almost four decades later, that he was inducted into the
Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Rob McConnell, Koffman's longtime friend and leader of Canada's well-known
Boss Brass, hailed Koffman as a luminary.

"Moe was a marker for all of us in the music business in the years we were
in it together," he told the radio station CJRT.

He was a perfect example of "how to maintain your strength and versatility
throughout your career.

"He was just a really, really, really nice guy."

Koffman's last gig was with Boss Brass.

Koffman picked up his first instrument at the tender age of nine.

A formidable break in his career came in 1948 after he won a record deal
with New York's Mainstream Records from a magazine contest.

He recorded two records with the music house before moving back to Toronto.

He was a popular soloist who became known for his be-bop jazz style.

Koffman originally named his smash hit Blues a la Canadiana but it was
changed to Swingin' Shepherd Blues by a producer.

He received the Order of Canada in 1993 for his outstanding work and
service to the arts.


Swinging Shepherd Blues, 1958.
Little Pixie, 1958.
Swingin' Shepherd Blues (re-issue), 1973.

Hot And Cool Sax, 1957.
The Shepherd Swings Again, 1958.
Moe Koffman The Swinging Shepherd Plays For Teens, 1962.
Tales Of Koffman, 1962.
The Moe Koffman Quartet, 1963.
Moe Koffman Goes Electric, 1967.
Turned On Moe Koffman, 1968.
Moe's Curried Soul, 1970.
Moe Koffman Plays Bach, 1971.
Vivaldi's Four Seasons, 1972.
Master Sessions, 1973.
Sorcerer's Dance, 1973.
Solar Explorations, 1974.
Best Of Moe Koffman, 1975.
Live At George's, 1975.
Jungle Man, 1976.
Museum Pieces, 1977.
Things Are Looking Up, 1978.
Back To Bach, 1979.
Best Of Moe Koffman Volume I, 1983.
Best Of Moe Koffman Volume II, 1983.
If You Don't Know Me By Now, 1983.
The Magic Flute, 1985.
One Moe Time, 1986.
Moe-Mentum, 1987.
Oop-Pop-A-Da, 1988.
Moe Koffman Quintet Plays, 1990.
Music For The Night: Symphonic, Chamber & Pop Interpretations Of The Music
Of Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1991.
The Moe Koffman Collection, 1992.
'1967,' 1993.

Flute Pickups

Brooks Blanchard writes “I play an Emerson open hole with a b foot. I’ve looking for this flute pickup from Aungles since i saw one in N.Y. last year. They even had a web site but I can’t find it under any of the expected addresses. It sounded good live and the woman playing it said that it was under $100. Do you know anything about this or is there another pickup that you would recomend for loud stage situations.”

9000 year old flute

There is a great article about a 9000 year old bone flute that was discovered in the 1980s in China. Pretty interesting stuff. Some of the highlights are:

  1. The form of Jiahu flutes: There are five or six holes in bone flutes of the early period; seven holes on most flutes of the middle period; and seven or eight holes in the latest period.
  2. The concepts of “scale” (Shu) and “temperament” (Lu) in making the Jiahu bone flute: flutes of each period had some changes in the arrangement of scale and this indicates that our Jiahu ancestors already had certain temperament standards when making different tones.
  3. Why the world of musical research is amazed by the accuracy of the tuning system of the Jiahu bone flute number 341:2: The method of hole-drilling and the arrangement of the five-tone scale demonstrate that, at that time, the practice of Chinese music had already entered a completely new realm.
  4. The inheritance and selectivity of musical culture: during a continuous period of 1200 years, Jiahu musical production developed from a four-tone scale to a seven-tone scale through successive changes, and from complexity to a high level of simplicity, and this trend bears an important significance to modern musical composition.