A Song Should Be Just Long Enough to Reach the End

Why Are Songs on the Radio About the Same Length?

I think there are a lot of reasons, one being that radio stations are not services that play music for you — their business is to air advertisements and use music as one of the hooks to get you to tune in. So long songs would not tend to be selected if they would keep them from airing ads, and that may be enough in the evolution of rock-era songs to keep most of them short. I think Rhett’s gone off on the wrong path by looking at this in terms of how much music you can get on a 45 rpm single.

There’s probably a lot more to this. Writing longer and keeping it interesting without repetition has to be hard, especially if you’ve gotten into a habit of a certain style. I remember seeing an interview with members of The Who (I think it’s in “The Kids Are Alright”) where Peter Townshend says, in relating how Tommy was written, that “rock songs are 2:50 by tradition” and then got the idea of writing a longer theme as a series of short songs.

But this animated gif of the action of a needle on a record is worth the price of admission.

Go Already

I’ve been a little under the weather this week, so apologies for ignoring the blog. Catching up with my internet scouring. Here’s some Music + many illusions from OK Go

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Extreme Slowdown

This is a little different.

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If you go their youtube page you’ll see they’ve done several Beatles songs.

Slowed this much it sounds a bit like a whale-song chorus. Not for foot-tapping, but maybe for background/relaxation. I’ve played with slowed songs before but I’ve only gone to 3/4 or 2/3 speed; Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” gives me the mental image of a singer in a black dress, single spotlight in a smoky bar when it’s slowed down. Elvis’s “Burning Love” is definitely more bluesy. There are a few Heart and Blondie songs I like as well (some with the slowed voice pitch, some preserving the original; the Amazing Slow Downer app I use allows one to adjust that. However, it’s limited to 20% of the original speed, or a slowdown of 5x. Still, interesting sounds.)

Powered by Vodka Martinis, No Doubt

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Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame.

These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

From Quadrotors Come to TED, via Sean at Cosmic Variance