MP3 Tagging Tool

27 05 2009

I love iTunes(R), though it has not been completely problem free for me. I have a large collection of music – like 8 days without including podcast subscriptions and the like – so being able to tag music with different genres and ratings is useful. I use smart playlists to automatically include the appropriate set of music, which means that new music is included just as soon as I tag it.

But, iTunes(R) is not the only application in the MP3 library niche, and Lifehacker has collected the top favorites of their readers. Instead of the usual “Top 5”, they gave us a “Top 6 MP3 Tagging Tool” collection because of a near tie between two of the favorites. Five of the applications are free, the other has a relatively small cost – certainly well within the affordability range.

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AppleInsider reviews Songbird

5 12 2008

AppleInsider takes a look at the competition to iTunes – Mozilla’s Songbird 1.0.

The review? Mixed.

The article is well worth reading if you are at all interested in an alternative to iTunes.





The Beatles

1 08 2008

It seems that there is scientific, musicological support for what we have known since we first heard a Beatles song: they are, and will always be, the defining musical group of the 60’s and 70’s. That there were a number of other great bands there is no doubt, but the Beatles were special, set apart, in a universe of their own.

The musicological support looks at the chord progression through a song, and finds that at first appearance it teeters on the edge of chaos – portions of the song have typical chord progressions, but then there is an unusual chord thrown in that about brings the piece down, but doesn’t quite – just barely keeping to the safe side of musical abyss. Interestingly, the lyrics also change meanings, and the departure of theme occurs in the same section of music as the chaotic chords.

It is this ability to flirt with musical disaster and emerge intact, and do it consistently and repeatedly, that is what separates the Beatles from the rest of the bands in the British Invasion, or the American, Australian, European, Disco responses.

There is a lot more technical music theory about Beatles music contained in this paper by Ger Tillekens, but it is outside my sphere of knowledge and experience, so I leave it to you musical geeks to dig in further and enjoy.

I wonder if there were musicians of earlier eras who were masters of some unusual musical change in technique, something rarely seen (heard?) before they came along?

That the classical masters each have a particular style is well known; no one would mistake Brahms for Beethoven or Schubert or Strauss any more than they would mistake CCR for the Beatles or Three Dog Night or the Carpenters. Each group has a distinctive style, their musical arrangement is consistent across their whole body of work. The influence of Peter Cetera on Chicago’s music, for example, became very apparent when he set out on his own: his solo music could easily be mistaken for Chicago’s music, though the same cannot be said for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: their group sound is different from their solo sounds.

But I have digressed from the original point, that the Beatles introduced new and unusual chord progressions into music as we know it, and in the process helping to define – or maybe helping to create – an new era culturally.