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Thomas Jefferson and the Chinese Gong
While Richard Nixon's diplomatic visit to China may have created a minor thaw in Sino-US relations, he was not the first President to try to get in sync with the Chinese. Thomas Jefferson preceded him by close to two centuries.
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, happened to be (in contrast to the current US President) an intelligent man, amazing inventor and, as DNA tests have shown, most likely a randy advocate of miscegenation. We now may envision that when the Continental Congress celebrated Thanksgiving together, which type of meat ? light or dark - Jefferson put on his plate.
Now if you look at the tails side of a nickel, you can see a picture of TJ's Monticello home. But what the nickel doesn't show us is the unique interior of his Virginia manse. The inside of Monticello is much more eclectic: animal skins, Native American artifacts, painted floors the color of green grass. I'm certain that the "design team" of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition would appreciate it.
But the specific objet d'Jefferson that is of interest to the Gong Aficionado is "The Great Clock."
Originally Jefferson designed it for a home in Philadelphia, but the ropes on the large weights that drive the clock were much too long for the client's home. So TJ brought it to Monticello and created a clock that could mark time across the entire plantation.
Now to fit this Great Clock and its lengthy ropes into his home, TJ did what any man would do who wasn't worried about selling his home in two years when interest rates went up, he cut a big hole in the floor, so the ropes could hang down into the basement.
So how does this all relate to Gongs? Well, the chimes of this clock were made from a large Chinese Gong! And according to his 'employees of enforced servitude,' the chimes could be heard over three miles away. I am certain many a slave work song was sung to coincide with the hourly gonging. "Go down Moses, way down in Egypt land?Tell Ol' Pharoah, to let my people Gong. Let my people Gong!"
The clock still tells time, and the Chinese Gong still rings. Here's to solid manufacturing!
Thankfully, there are no slaves using it to tell time anymore. In 1967 the Supreme Court ruled on Loving vs. Virginia and forced all states to allow interracial marriage. Too little, too late for Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.
Andrew Borakove is a media writer and the proprietor of Gongs Unlimited, the only internet store devoted solely to gongs. http://www.gongs-unlimited.com
Discover The Perfect Place To Perform
Once you know what your Unique Selling Proposition is as a musician (we covered this in the last issue), it's time to ask yourself what kind of venue you want to be letting those talents out in. This is the process that will help you determine your "Perfect Performance Venue" so that you don't waste your energy and efforts searching for performances in the wrong area!
Building Your Digital Music Collection
The previous two Tech Tips took a look at eight basic features of portable MP3 players worth considering before laying down some serious money on one of these devices. Once you have a nice new MP3 player with plenty of space for music, you need to fill it up! There are several ways to go about building your digital music collection, and we'll take a look at a few ways to do so.
Free, Legal Music Online
Almost everyone has heard about the massive crack down on Internet music piracy that has been occurring over the past few years. Napster was taken down (although it has now returned as a pay service), other file sharing programs now require users to pay for a license and the RIAA and other similar organizations are doing their best to hunt down copyright offenders and put an end to their crime sprees. The consumers on the other hand argue that their actions hurt nobody, that there is no damage done to anyone by their not buying an album. Furthermore, they claim, MP3s allow them to sample a CD before purchasing it, thus actually helping sales.
The Future for Independent Record Labels
Small independent record labels are facing a different fight today to obtain a share of the music industry. The best possible means in which small labels were able to get their CD's sold vanished in 2003 when Southwest Wholesale Records and Tapes closed the doors. The ability to have their music placed in a position to be sold along the same shelves as the major record labels is becoming increasingly more difficult. The absence of competition on the shelves has generated an increase in profits for the major labels. What can smaller more nimble labels do to compete with the major labels?
An Introduction to CD Mastering
While many people think that the mixing of the separate audio tracks is the final step, a recording must be mastered well in order to sound good. CD mastering is the last chance for creative input when creating a compact disc. After a disc is mastered, it can be printed, reproduced, and sold.
How to Use the Entire Piano Keyboard
There are 88 keys on the piano keyboard. Most pianists use about 1/3 of this number most of the time. Why?
The Acoustic Guitar
The steel-stringed acoustic guitar is usually credited with being developed by C.F. Martin and Company sometime during the 1830s. Although other "gut-stringed" acoustics were around at that time, it was the Martin Company that introduced the idea of crossbracing underneath the soundboard which enabled the guitar to support the heavier steel strings. Because there is approximately 160 lbs. of tension created by the use of steel strings, they should never be put on a classic guitar, for it is not strong enough to carry them. But thanks in part to C.F. Martin's new design, the use of steel strings on acoustic guitars became fairly common by the end of the 1800s, and by the 1930s it became a standardized component.
Dierks Bentley Brings The Heat From Nashville To The North!
Dierks Bentley is more than meets the eye, but what does meet the eye is pretty darn hard not to look at. His presence is warm, inviting and you feel like you just sat down with an old friend. Kat and I sat down to talk to the country music star when he was in Toronto promoting his new album, Modern Day Drifter. The lead track off the album,"A lot of Leavin' Left to do" made us wonder where the song came from. Pretty self explanatory to some, a guy leavin' a lot of women, but Dierks shared with us that his career is what takes precedence right now and that is where his focus lies. That and with all of his fans around the world, of course.Dierks has recently sold his house, "Being on the road so much, I am hardly in one place too long, it just made sense to sell". Another ode to leavin'. So with a house sold, no "nest", is there space for someone in your life or was there someone? Dierks doesn't hesitate to give us the low-down dirty shame, "Well, there was someone special in my life and I did ask her to marry me.
The press have reported this week that silent disco's are now the in thing, saying:
Buying A Guitar - Do You Know What To Look For?
Buying a guitar is an important decision that my students have often asked me about. They want to know what they should be looking for. This is an important question because no two are ever exactly alike. There is a wide variety of types, styles, colors, makes, and models to choose from. The question is, which one is right for you? If you don't know what to look for when you're buying a guitar, you could end up spending a lot more money than you really need to. On the other hand, getting a "deal" may also get you a lemon. Following are some important questions to consider.
Prepare for the Master (CD Mastering)
Many artists are still confused as to what goes on during a mastering session. This article will try to shed some light on the last step before fame and riches (well, at least the last step before duplication), and help you with preparing your music before sending to a mastering studio.
Closet Monsters London Spicoluk
Way back in November I found myself at the Casby Awards after party trying to socialize with whomever I came across. One person who I chatted with that night was a guy named London Spicoluk, from the band Closet Monster. At that time I haven't heard of them but I remembered his name and checked out their band out of interest.
The Art of Music
Music is the art of arranging sounds in periodic time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.
Does Your Band Need a Manager?
New bands looking to book gigs and establish contacts often start looking for a manager to handle the business aspects of their music. This is especially the case in cities with big music scenes, like New York, Los Angeles and Austin.
Zen and the Art of New Age Piano
We all want to be in the moment. That's where real transformation takes place. For some, walking gets them there. Others like to play sports or watch movies. For me, it's playing the piano. When I'm in the moment, letting the music speak, it's like the world is new again.
How to Play What you Feel
Many students think that being able to play what you feel is difficult. They believe you must have years and years of training in improvisation and theory.
Beginner Guitar Tips: How to Get a Feel
"I don't like to go into the studio with all the songs worked out and planned before hand?. You've got to give the band something to use its imagination on as well. That can make a very ordinary song come alive into something totally different?.. the X Factor ? so important in Rock And Roll - which is the feel" - Keith Richards.
Born to sing, Britney Spears is as big as ever today
Britney Spears was born December 2 1981 as Britney Jean Spears in Kentwood, Louisiana, USA.
Composing George Winston Style
If you're a fan of New Age piano, no doubt you've listened to some of George Winston's music. What I find fascinating about his songs is how he creates them. Most improvisers/composers start with the melody, usually because it's the easiest way to begin.
Music, the Spiritual Connection
All through the age's music and spirituality as served hand in hand. As for instruments, the earliest is presumed to be, percussions from noisemakers to drums.
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