Music Radar: The best online guitar lessons sites and apps 2020: improve with Truefire, JustinGuitar, Fender Play and more. “There is a cornucopia of online guitar lesson resources to guide our playing, but why not take that a step further and find a structured teaching platform so you can be the best player you can be? With some time on your hands, now could be the moment to start learning a new instrument, or take the next steps in your playing development.”
Vintage Guitar: Vintage Guitar Opens Large Digital Back Issue Archives to All. “Subscribers to Vintage Guitar enjoy access to the magazine’s online digital archive of every complete issue going back to 2013. Now, to celebrate our 400th issue and help entertain homebound guitarists worldwide, we are waiving the subscription requirement and making the entire archive available to everyone for the next two months (ends May 31, 20120.)”
Yale News: Collection of Musical Instruments to resume public hours. “Musette, Mayuri, Double Virginal. Yale students may have never heard of these instruments, but they reside only a step away at 15 Hillhouse Ave. The Romanesque building — which holds Yale’s Collection of Musical Instruments has been under renovation since May 2019 — will resume public hours starting the last week of February…. The collection is additionally expanding its online catalogue of instruments. Timothy Feil, who currently works at the collection, noted that the catalogue will provide information for visitors who want to know more about the showcased instruments.”
Popular Science: Inside the extraordinary experiment to save the Stradivarius sound. “Stradivari remains the defining figure in violin-making, a name on par with Chanel or Ferrari. He fashioned instruments for kings and cardinals, and his creations bring their distinctive voice to the repertoires of modern soloists like Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter. Musicians, luthiers, and scientists have tried for decades to figure out what gives a Strad its beautiful sound, yet no one has ever quite replicated it. And so the dream is to create a digital archive that will survive long after the last Stradivarius falls silent, allowing composers and artists to continue making music with them.”
I’m not sure how new this is but it’s definitely new-to-me. From LemonWire: Rhythm! Discovery Center is a museum and more. “School groups, families, adults are all welcome at Rhythm! Discovery Center. Visitors of all ages can discover just about everything they need to know about percussion instruments. From one of the largest cymbals in the world to the tiniest triangle, the gamut of musical pieces played by being struck is wide. The best part is, most of the instruments can be played by visitors…. If you cannot make it to the museum, there is an online collection. The digital collection features historic percussion instruments from around the world.”
NPR: You Can Tour This Banjo Museum Without Getting Up From Your Couch. “For more than 15 years, filmmaker Marc Fields has been on a quest to capture and share the story of the banjo. The Banjo Project is an online museum that covers the instrument’s history and culture.”
Google Blog: Chord Assist makes playing the guitar more accessible. “Joe Birch, a developer based in the UK, has a genetic condition that causes low vision. He grew up playing music, but he knows it’s not easy for people who have visual impairments or hearing loss to learn how to play. He wanted to change that, so he created Chord Assist, which aims to make learning the guitar more accessible for people who are blind, Deaf and mute.”
Guitar World: Steve Vai Has Launched An Online Library Cataloging His Massive Guitar Collection. “Steve Vai has unveiled a comprehensive library of every guitar he has ever owned… The instruments, which number in the hundreds, are categorized by type, in categories such as ‘Ibanez Jem,’ ‘Pre-Jem,’ ‘Strats,’ ‘SG’s,’ ‘Fan-Built,’ ‘Multi Necks,’ ‘Sold or Gifted,’ and so on. Each is featured in an entry that includes a photo and background information on the guitar, as well as trivia and other facts when available.”
Stanford University: Piano roll scanner update. “The Stanford piano roll scanner has progressed from a prototype to a functional, production level machine since the last report in spring of 2017. As reported earlier, the scanner is based on a design by Anthony Robinson, a piano roll expert in England. Swope Design Solutions engineers Robyn Nariyoshi and Brett Swope adapted the Robinson design to scan wider rolls and in color at 300 dpi. Tony Calavano, Stanford Libraries Digitization Lab Manager, identified a gigE, line scanning camera that scans in color to provide the images for the scanner. Ethan Ruffing was the software systems engineer at Active Inspection working with Swope to write the software that allows the camera and scanner hardware to function together.”
New-to-me, from Electronic Beats: Explore This Online Museum Of Obscure Russian Synthesizers. “Over the course of the 20th century, Soviet Russia developed a huge collection of synths, drum machines, keyboards, organs and toy music boxes that were incredibly different from the synths that proliferated in Western markets. Many of these instruments, like the Ekvodin and the Polivoks, had strange, inventive designs and sounded downright weird to Western ears.”
RappNews: Hallberg set to make beautiful music at Sperryville dulcimer museum. “[John] Hallberg, 53, of Jenkins Hollow in Sperryville, had never played the dulcimer before then, but easily got hooked. He’s never taken lessons, but says the dulcimer is easy to learn to play and he’s learned to play by ear. Twenty years later he owns what he calls one of the world’s best collections of Appalachian dulcimers, numbering more than 60 instruments.” He is planning both an online and an offline museum.
New Atlas: PixelPlayer isolates the sound of individual instruments in music videos. “Although a whole band playing together may make a song what it is, sometimes it’s interesting to know what an individual instrument within a band sounds like on its own. Thanks to a new system developed at MIT, viewers of musical performance videos should soon be able to find out.”
IEEE Spectrum: Build Your Own Google Neural Synthesizer. “NSynth uses a deep neural network to distill musical notes from various instruments down to their essentials. Google’s developers first created a digital archive of some 300,000 notes, including up to 88 examples from about 1,000 different instruments, all sampled at 16 kilohertz. They then input those data into a deep-learning model that can represent all those wildly different sounds far more compactly using what they call ’embeddings.’ That exercise supposedly took about 10 days running on thirty-two K40 graphics [PDF] processing units. Why do that? Well, with those results, you can now answer a question like ‘What do you get when you cross a piano with a flute?’ (Musicians: Insert joke here.)”
Engadget: GarageBand lessons are now free for aspiring musicians. “GarageBand has long been a useful tool to record music, podcasts and more. Even better, the app is free to download and use on your Mac or iOS devices, making it easy to try. Recent updates have brought enhancements like a portal for free sound packs and a better drum sequencer (on mobile), along with Touch Bar support and realistic-sounding drummers on the desktop. Now, Apple is upgrading its music creation suite yet again, offering it’s previously $5 artist piano and guitar lessons for free, along with more additions to its drummers, loops and sound effects.”
Classical Music: Royal College of Music launches new database of musical instruments. “The Royal College of Music has launched a brand new database of musical instruments. MINIM-UK brings together over 20,000 instruments from more than 200 UK collections, making them digitally available to the public for the first time.” I mentioned this briefly last July, but that was one aspect of what looks to be a substantial collection.