Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You've come to the right place...I guess

The other day I made an astonishing discovery that should rock the scientific community. You remember how some computer was supposed to have passed the Turing Test last week?

Ok, I'll back up. If you didn't hear about this, the Turing Test was proposed by a computer scientist named Alan Turing in 1950 in  a paper in which he discussed the possibility that computers would one day possess (or be able to "fake") artificial intelligence. He proposed a test. Put somebody on one side of a wall and have them ask questions of two different parties. One of them will be a computer. Based on the computer's answers to the questions (written out and passed on to the person doing the "judging") if that person is fooled into thinking that they are conversing with an actual person, then the computer has passed the Turing Test. Last week, it was claimed (some say rather weakly) that a computer actually had, finally, passed this test, for the first time.

Onward. What transpired on Monday was that, viewing the statistics for, which I had been monitoring more closely than usual after I noticed a distinct upsurge in traffic, was that a number of "bots" were account for most of the traffic. That's not the least bit new, or the least bit odd. It happens to everybody with a website or blog, all the time.

What did seem odd was that a few of my sound files, in particular, the Mendelssohn organ sonatas, which I have posted rather recently, were using up enough memory to suggest that someone, some few, dedicated persons, were listening to the entire sound file, beginning to end. This is what was new.

I therefore concluded that these "bots" have started to listen to Mendelssohn. Also my recordings of it. If that isn't a wise, and intelligent choice, what is?

Ok, I'll stop the goofing around now. (I'm also getting ready to ban the bots)

However, one thing lead to another, and I happened to notice the questions actual people (one can only assume) were asking that lead them to my site. Some of them were no doubt answered, others....

It's early in the month so there are only fifteen of them so far. Here are my favorite few:

"How difficult is Moszkowski piano concertos?"

There is only one. I'll have to get back to you when I've learned to play it, which will probably be never.  My guess is somewhere between Tchaikovsky 1 on the easy end, and Rach 3 on the hard end.

"How to do human on the piano"

Wha.........    I mean   [captch wha]

"Mozart plays another composer's music better than the original"

I'll bet you're thinking of that scene from the movie "Amadeus" (1984). I'll be doing some blogs about that movie in the fall (since it turns 30 this year). That is a great scene. It is also entirely made up. What the script writer(s?) chose to do there was very clever. Instead of taking a piece by Salieri, the "other composer" who was so jealous of Mozart, and then trying to "improve" it and make it sound like Mozart would have written it (a tall order, no?), they started with a piece that Mozart wrote, and wrecked it so it would sound like "Salieri" (who wasn't half as bad a composer as his music sounds in the movie, but after all, they had to make the contrast really obvious for all ears to be able to detect). The actual piece is "non piu andrei" from the opera "The Marriage of Figaro" (Le Nozze di Figaro).

The scene occurs about a third of the way into the movie when Salieri and Mozart officially meet for the first time at the court of the emperor. Salieri has composed a march of welcome which Mozart then sits down and plays from memory, adding ornaments and changing some harmonies when he doesn't like something ("that doesn't really work, does it? Have you tried...."), and finally launches into an inspired "improvisation. Also in the scene Mozart mentions a theme of Salieri's on which he wrote some variations, something that actually happened (we know because we have the variations.) I'll play them for you in the fall.

 "Last piano key sound"

Are you perhaps referring to the one on the extreme right? That very very high C?

Ok, here it is. [listen]

Probably not a bad idea that the piano's range stopped there about 150 years ago and nobody much has bothered stretching it in that direction since. Or in the other one. There are a few extra bass notes on Bosendorfer pianos, but they sound like helicopters taking off, trust me.

"piano gross noises"

No thanks. Not making an audio file of that. No idea what they are anyway (although to me having a pedal squeak during recording qualifies).

"the metal part of the string are struck with two hammers"

You might be thinking of the fact that in the upper part of the piano there are three "strings" (two of them actually belong to the same piano wire loop back around, but never mind) struck by one hammer. In the tenor ranger of the piano the hammer only strikes two strings (thicker, and individually strung this time) and in the bass, only one string. Or you might just be confused.

"organ registration no. 3"

Is that anything like love potion number nine? Seriously, you might want to check with somebody familiar with Hammond or home theater organs; that sounds like one of their terms. A pipe organ doesn't have set registration numbers.

"online reputation management"

Ok. That's all we have time for. See you on Friday!

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