1,173 reputation
318
bio website dumbledad.wordpress.com
location Cambridge, United Kingdom
age 49
visits member for 2 years, 9 months
seen 6 hours ago

Essex born programmer and researcher at Microsoft's lab in Cambridge. Dad. Opera lover. Keen but shite violinist. Too many hobbies and obsessions to list!


7h
comment Instrument grade exams
@Liz, Grade 1 is not always patronising for adults. There's a scheme here in Cambridge where, to raise money for charity, music teachers spend a month in the summer learning an instrument that they have never played before (they teach each other in groups) and then take Grade 1 and put on a concert. They are always quite nervous, not just about the instrument but the embarrassment of potentially not acing the aural part of the exam!
7h
comment Instrument grade exams
@Andrew, don't worry. The ABRSM examinations are valid credit for entry into a UK university. Our top universities do not use a points system, but for those that do credit ranges from 5 points for a pass at Grade 6 up to 75 points for a distinction at Grade 8. Comparing this to our 16 - 18 year old qualification A Levels (cf NEWTS in Harry Potter) E is worth 40 points and A* 140 (actually more, but it's complicated). That shows Grade 8 is not considered equivalent to a university degree.
7h
comment Is 'Gianni Schicchi' the shortest well-known opera ever written?
Strauss's Salome is only 1 hour and 40 minutes long, but that's longer than Gianni Schicchi. Handel's Acis and Galatea is just 1 hour and 20 minutes too.
2d
comment Do musicians that began playing from an early age have an incontestable advantage?
What grades are those @NoviceInDisguise? Our ABRSM ones only go up to 8
Dec
14
revised Are adult male sopranos / trebles counter tenors?
added 24 characters in body
Dec
14
comment Are adult male sopranos / trebles counter tenors?
I think a term like castrato is about the biology of the singer. I'd like to understand if the term 'counter tenor' is a description of the way that the vocal range is attained or a description of the range itself. I'm guessing that the definition of the term 'counter tenor' is not yet settled enough to authoritatively answer the question but it's worth a try.
Dec
14
comment What is the difference between male head voice and falsetto?
Interestingly the Wikipedia article on the countertenor voice notes that: "it is generally acknowledged that a majority of countertenors sing with a falsetto vocal production for at least the upper half of this range, although most use some form of 'chest voice'" but goes on to note "In response to the (in his view) pejorative connotation of the term falsetto, Giles refuses to use it, calling the upper register 'head voice.'". I would love to see a detailed answer comparing 'head voice' and falsetto.
Dec
14
asked Are adult male sopranos / trebles counter tenors?
Dec
14
comment Music Store Etiquette
It may be hard to answer this, because clearly you know what you intended, but did anything in your behaviour, demeanor, age, etc. suggest to them that you had no intention or no possibility of buying the guitar? At face value their behaviour is poor, so I wonder if there is a reason not covered in the question.
Dec
14
revised Do musicians that began playing from an early age have an incontestable advantage?
100,000 -> 10,000
Dec
14
comment Do musicians that began playing from an early age have an incontestable advantage?
Phew. @Charles, with my 20 minutes a day you just saved me 739 years! I'll update my answer.
Dec
12
comment Distribution of voice types?
This get's stranger and stranger the more you dig. I cannot find a paper showing a distribution of voice pitch, but I can find one claiming that menstrual phase affect women's preferences for male voice pitch! Scientists do seem to be tacking the lewd questions first, and the basic ones later.
Dec
12
comment Distribution of voice types?
I don't understand why a researcher couldn't sample a number of people on the Clapham omnibus, establish each person's range of comfortable pitching, and publish the results. That seems too obvious to have been overlooked. Scientists have done it for bird song but not people.
Dec
12
comment Distribution of voice types?
I'm amazed that we cannot find numbers on this, it seems something that someone somewhere would have measured and published. Still, while Googling to find a paper on the subject I did find that the lower male voices have a lower sperm count!
Dec
11
comment Do musicians that began playing from an early age have an incontestable advantage?
No, if the goal is being brilliant at 49 then still playing at 49 is a prerequisite, and how early you start may have a bearing on that.
Dec
11
answered Do musicians that began playing from an early age have an incontestable advantage?
Dec
11
answered What's the use of transparent plastic double bass strings?
Nov
28
revised What gives the sitar its characteristic sound?
added 18 characters in body
Nov
24
comment Does 3/4 time signature differ from 6/8?
@CarlWitthoft's West Side Story example (posted as a comment to the question) works well in your notation as you can hear the shift from 6/8 to 3/4 in your head: [[I-like-to][be-in-A]][mer-i-ca]
Nov
11
comment How can I get a violin sound from my electric guitar?
You could email a local college's music department and see if they can put you in touch with some violinists, cellists, and horn players. They could point out any impossible bits and hopefully even play it for you.