In general, I love the tone of the answers on the above FAQ page (which are along the lines of "Why wasn't this put to a membership vote") which are unapologetic and mostly boil down to "It is the 21st goddamn century and we want this organization to still be around in another 20 years, and if we put it to a popular vote that's not going to happen"

It could be asked "then why use those terms like men and women in the first place" but I think that the BHS is wisely trying to teach a group of 80,000 men to walk before they can run.

Existing chapters are allowed to keep a 'men only' policy if they want, but I feel like that's also a baby step to ease the transition. If membership plummets in coming years because of hide-bound old men, I doubt BHS will hesitate to force the issue.

Furthermore, there is an explicit (if subtle) message of inclusivity on the above FAQ page:

"The Barbershop Harmony Society values and respects people of all genders, identities, orientations and expressions. Throughout these materials, the general terms “men and women” should be understood to encompass and include all people, without intent to exclude anyone."

The more I learn about the society the more encouraged I am by the institution at a national level; I was unaware that last year they announced a strategic vision called "Everyone in Harmony," the key component of which is dropping the society's 80-year old "no gurlz allowed" policy.

I've been squatting on the domain `` for a few months and I am continually tempted to spin up a banjo-player themed mastodon instance. But I know any hypothetical user base would be overwhelmingly skewed towards bluegrass/old-time players and I've had an account at long enough to know that I don't want anything to do with moderating a bunch of banjo players arguing about the correct way to foggy mountain roll, or using index vs middle finger for clawhammer

banjo boosted

Me: Check out this thing I wrote

All: ...

Me: Check out this thing I... that I generated with a neural network

All: HA omg

Neat harmony thing that I wonder exists in other choral/a cappella forms: "tag singing," where people will harmonize little bite-sized, 4-part bits of music; often the last 4 bars or so of a full song, but people write stand-alone tags as well. Easy & fast to learn, and I gather that people often exchange & sing them at gatherings; instant ice-breaker and bonding experience.

Might as well start hashtagging posts. The first three videos on this fellow's channel (as sorted from oldest to newest) are a very succinct introduction of this whole thing:

Poking around barbershop harmony videos on Youtube, I've come across a few people that do multi-tracked "one man quartet" videos - some of them also apply auto-tuning to each part. The combined matching timbre *AND* robotic pitch results in a very unpleasant (to my ears) uncanny valley effect.

Fun fact I learned while reading about barbershop harmony last night - the particular thing that makes it "barbershop" is the practice of harmonizing chords with perfect just tuning so that you get overtones strongly reinforcing each other and giving that peculiar/delightful resonance that you don't get from chords played on a well-tempered scale.

After years of saying "one of these days," I've finally resolved to get my ass to tonight's open rehearsal of the nearest chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.

Goals: get past my crippling self-consciousness about singing (don't know why it's A Thing for me when playing an instrument isn't,) and apply some of that knowledge/skills to my own musical endeavors.

Here is one of the coolest pieces Frank Converse ever wrote for stroke style banjo, from 1886 (when that style was on the wane.) Sounds years ahead of its time, and he meticulously notated every last syncopated 32nd note on p. 105 of his Analytical Banjo method.

I just found a workaround for Auria Pro's long-standing "changing project tempo causes MIDI tracks to trim and/or time shift weirdly" bug: It seems that this does not happen as long as your midi regions all start at the absolute beginning of Measure 1/Beat 1. Auria's a fantastic app overall, but this bug has been a big PITA for me lately

Whoa, I just learned about Spitfire Audio's free stuff, which looks (sounds) pretty nice:

Omenie's M3000 HD app for iOS is pretty great. There's something that feels a bit silly about a using digitally sampled recreation of an analog sampling instrument, but there's really nothing that sounds quite like a Mellotron. The original was such an improbable, Rube Goldbergian contraption.

Inter-app MIDI on the iPad feels a little bit fiddly, but I'm not sure if that's the M3000 app itself or my own lack of MIDI config experience.

I miss it a lot. Yesterday people were sharing photos from the last gathering in 2015 and I remembered that I'd written this a while back but never really finished prettying it up for publication; so I did:

It attracted a bizarrely intersectional audience; history scholars, musicologists, professional musicians, living history enthusiasts, everyone spending the weekend in a big old barn haunted by the ghosts of Union soldiers. (If not actually haunted, then hallowed. There are still blood stains on the floor boards.) Various factors led to the demise of the event after 2015. It was an amazing experience and those late June weekends were some of the best times of my life.

From 2011-2015 I was lucky enough to attend the Antietam Early Banjo Gathering, an annual event that was held in a 150+ year old barn that was used as a Union field hospital after the battle of Antietam. It was a conference dedicated to the banjo's place in American musical history during th 19th century, examining the instrument's african roots and its cultural appropriate and rise to popularity in the virulently racist minstrel shows of the 1800s.

For those of you who write/arrange good old fashioned sheet music: Do you have a go-to service for old-school 9"x12" ("Arch A") printing? Sheet music on US Letter is so cramped, but I can't justify a $300 printer and it seems like most print shops don't offer 9x12. I've found a couple of music-specific services online and will probably ask them for a quote, but given that they don't list prices I'm going to assume they're expensive.

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