Happy Benjamin Britten Giocoso 3 Release Day

Today is November 22nd 2023. It happens to be Benjamin Britten's 110th birthday; the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music and musicians... and, at last, the release day of Giocoso Version 3, this website's homebrew classical music listening software. It all seems so spookily appropriate!

The user manual for it is now therefore available in the usual place. I encourage you to read all of it, of course: but if not that, then at least Sections 2, 3 and 4. [...] 

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Documentation pending...

I'm now in Giocoso 3 documentation mode: writing up what functionality exists; what functionality doesn't exist; and how best to use the software to do its principal job of playing classical music in a quasi-intelligent way.

There are (pause to count...) 28 distros to install onto, perform functional tests and make notes on quirks, weirdnesses and showstoppers. Each distro tends to ship with three or four desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, Budgie, Pantheon, XFCE and the like), so the number of permutations at this stage is a bit bewildering. Not to say, time consuming. [...] 

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At last, I've just added the 600th composer to my music collection. The composer in question is Cipriano Potter, whose grim visage you see at the left. Despite his first name, he was born and bred in London, UK (in 1791, in fact, dying some 80 years later, in 1871). His music is not especially well-known, though he was on first name terms with Beethoven (who thought him 'a good fellow') and Wagner called him an 'amiable contrapuntist'. His obscurity owes much to his decision to stop composing completely around his 45th year so that he could concentrate on his administration duties at the Royal Academy of Music, of which he was then principal. He was thus influential on English music, without necessarily having composed a lot of it (though he still managed to write nine symphonies, three piano concertos and a bazillion solo piano pieces).

I mention the new addition only because I remember being ticked off by a good friend of mine in Sydney, back in around 2005, that the fact that my music collection consisted mostly of Britten and Handel was "a bit sad". A pursuit of musical diversity on my part thus ensued, and I think my friend would be pleased today with the sexta-centennial results of his gentle nagging! [...] 

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Offline Warning!

Just a short note to advise that at some point today, we're having solar panels fitted. That means the electricity will have to be turned off for (so we are told) "a number of hours". That in turn means the web server hosting this site will... er, stop hosting it, for a number of hours!

The short version is: I'll have to go off-line at some point today, but normal service should resume a few hours thereafter. [...] 

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A word about GMG

I just wanted to put on record that I was sorry to have to cease my membership of the GMG Classical Music Forum a week or so ago. There were at least a half-dozen members there whose contributions I valued highly (Harry, Vandermolen, Karl Henning and others, for example). There were dozens more who were utterly decent people with a lot to contribute. There were also terribly pretentious Irish members, as well as at least one Australian member with zero sense of humour; but these were in a minority, whom it was easy to ignore.

Unfortuately, there were several members who thought that, presented with a CD album art image of a female artist, it was OK to comment on her cleavage. One in particular, was recorded to have posted, "Poor girl. She can't even find a dress to fit", because a bit of cleavage was visible in the black dress sported by the fine, professional and highly-skilled pianist in question. The poster was 74 and, I think, ought to have known better that women do sport cleavages but that one doesn't reduce a highly-skilled, professional woman to her cleavage. Some of us could hear the heavy breathing and dripping spittle accompanying such commentary. [...] 

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Houston, we have a problem... Part 4...

This is the last in my series about how the new Niente Version 3.0 has revealed past cataloguing 'issues' with my music collection. In previous episodes, I've dealt with:

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Houston, we have a problem... Part 3...

Following on from my two earlier escapades in fixing up my music collection's tagging, it is time to turn my attention to my penultimate big issue:That 'Folders with multiple tracks' statistic (number 12 in the list) is something that is not officially a problem, but it annoys me nonetheless! It is counting the number of times a folder contains more than one FLAC. Now, if you rip a symphony off most classical music CDs, you probably expect to end up with four separate 'tracks', each track representing one movement of the symphony -so the presence of more than one FLAC in a folder might not seem to be surprising or particularly 'wrong'.

You would be entirely correct in thinking that, I hasten to add: there is absolutely nothing wrong in having parts of a composition represented by a separate 'track' and there is nothing in my Axioms of Classical Tagging article to say otherwise. In fact, it's entirely silent on the subject. [...] 

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Houston, we have a problem... Part 2...

A brief reminder, if any were needed, that my music collection is, in some ways, in a bit of a pickle. Pickles which I hadn't realised it was in, that is, until some damn fool or other (that would be me!) released Niente Version 3! With that program's new-found ability to analyse for physical corruption and logical failings (or, if you prefer, failures to live up to the strictures and precepts of the Holy Text of the Axioms of Classical Tagging), it's now easier than ever to discover you've been merely mucking about with your music cataloguing all these years, even though you thought you were being rather good at it at the time!

A blog post or two ago, I pointed out that a lot of my album art was undersized, oversized or ok-sized-but-not-square. A bout of bulk-fixing via a fixart.sh script, plus a spot of intensive manual acquiring of good album art, plus a lot of manual re-tagging, means all those problems are now behind me. Sadly, however, that wasn't the only tagging issue Niente showed me I had! [...] 

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Houston, we have a problem... Part 1...

It is certainly not in the same league as having your space craft blow up whilst half-way to the moon, but the unfortunate thing about writing a tool like Niente to keep an eye on how logically-consistent your tagging of your music collection has been over a span of about 23 years is that... it has a horrible tendency to show you've been making silly mistakes all these years!

Here's my current situation, which is indeed a bit of a problem: [...] 

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Niente Version 3.0 - Now Released

As promised (rather longer ago than I'd like to admit!), Niente Version 3.0 has finally been released. It's my 'FLAC checker' tool, just as Giocoso is my FLAC player and Semplice is my FLAC tagger.

It's a very substantial re-working of the Version 2 code, so upgrading is non-trivial and you'd basically better commit to completely re-working your crontabs to schedule it, and so on. The principle new feature is that it now runs on MacOS and Windows. [...] 

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Adventures in Spectrum Analysis

I've been aware for years that it's possible to produce the sorts of images you see in the thumbnail at the left of this post: frequency analysis graphs of an audio file of one sort or another. Audiophiles have been swooning over them for years, but I never have. If my ears were satisfied with the sound of a recording, what additional good would it do me to do a spectrum analysis of that recording?

Well: for the most part, I still think that's true... but I had a very specific reason for dabbling in them lately, which then led me down the rabbit hole of finding them fascinating! I thought I'd share a little about it. [...] 

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