Friday Links

Your reading for the weekend…all in one place!

Tony Bennett’s new Duets II is his first ever #1 album – at the age of 85! Here’s a nice article about his artistry and answering the question, how does he so consistently bring his collaborators to new heights?

And since we’re speaking about Tony, The New Yorker had a fascinating look into his session with Lady Gaga, written by one of the great non-fiction authors of our time, Gay Talese.

Which makes me think of this not current but always timely piece Talese wrote:
  Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.

I took a tone-deafness test from the site, a collection of music and neuroscience projeects. It only takes about 5 minutes…you should try it! (It took about a week for me to get results via email). Here is what they told me:

Our results show that, given a baseline pitch at 500 Hertz (Hz), you can reliably discern pitch differences of less than 2 Hz, which is a very small interval considering the fact that the semitone, the smallest interval used in Western music, is about 30 Hz (6%) with a 500 Hz baseline. Not only are you not tone deaf, you are in the top 10% of our database! Most people can discern intervals smaller than the semitone, but this auditory acuity varies greatly and may be improved by substantial musical training.

And speaking of hearing tests, Jon Fine wrote in The Atlantic about his fairly profound hearing loss from playing in a rock band without proper ear protection.

Here is where I’m supposed to say I’m sorry. Here is where I say we
must respect the delicate membranes within our ears. Here is where I
beg, in cloying tones, that we teach the children to learn from these mistakes.
Screw it. I don’t regret a thing. Sound transported us to places most people never get to see.

I find his conclusion to be remarkably short-sighted, even reckless. In a day where hearing loss is an ever-increasing problem, people need to be thinking about their lifetime. Choosing to lose your hearing seems ignorant to me, and I can’t even imagine how it must seem to people suffering any deafness not by choice.

Finally, my brilliant wife Mandy Mikita Scott has begun a new ongoing project, Choral Inspiration.
She’ll be posting a wonderful mix of videos, quotes, and other inspirational things that can be used in the choral classroom. I’ve gotten a sneak preview of the next few months of posts and you should definitely follow this project!

BONUS: A short musical performance to start your weekend right. Nobody has done their style of vocal jazz better than the Hi-Lo’s, and here’s the proof (from after they reunited in the 1980’s.