Archive for April, 2011

JC and I have added mtalk to our sf2a — solfege to audio — distribution. Once installed, you can do this:

% mtalk 'Please get me a quart of milk at \
   the store.  Thanks.' -p -t tempo:144

The option -p means “play the audio file immediately,” and -t temp:144 sets the temp. Here is what the result sounds like:

Please get me a quart of milk at the store. Thanks.

This little programming project (we have to get our fun somehow:-) was inspired by James Gleick’s book, The Information. See previous post


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A Poem

A friend sent me this link to a poem by Gjertrud Schnackenberg. It is lovely, musical, strong . I will quote just a few lines. It is from The Light Gray Soil:

My fingers touch
A penny, long forgotten in my coat,
Forgotten in the shock, December eighth,
Midnight emergency, a penny swept
Together with belongings from his coat
Into a sack of “Personal Effects,”
Then locked away, then given to the “Spouse.”
Nearly relinquished, nearly overlooked.
Surely the last he touched, now briefly mine.
A token of our parting, blindly kept.
Alloy of zinc, the copper thinly clad,

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Many changes. (1) New name –sf2a (2) source code is at github. (3) At github click on download button if you wish to download. (4) Installation on mac: untar or unzip downoaded file, cd to the resulting folder, run sudo sh setup.sh -install YOUR_USER_NAME; (5) after install, run sf2a 'do re mi' A file out.wav should be created. This is the audio file. (6) There is a musical dictation program, dict that creates audio files and a web page for dictation exercises based on the data in a text file. Use the file dictation.txt in the install folder for an example. Just run dict -m in that folder, then open the web page index.html. (7) For a draft manual, see this web page.

All this works on a mac. Adapting it to Linux is easy. Just change the values of $INSTALL_DIR and $BIN_DIR in setup.sh. I don’t know enough about PC’s to advise on this — one ought to be able to modify the file setup.sh

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Once upon a time there were two friends, a cricket and a millipede. The cricket admired the way his friend, Illacme Plenipes, could move forward with with such grace, with such coordination of her 700 legs. And the millipede admired the singing of her friend, Gryllus Rubens. One day Gryllus asked Illacme, “How do you do it? Which leg do you move first? How do you keep the rhythm?” Illacme had never thought about these things. But it seemed like an interesting question. Motionless, she thought for a a while, and then said, “Well, I think I do it like this …”. And there she remained in place, unable to move a single leg, or even the tip of her antennae. Night fell. It was not until Gryllus began to sing that the spell was broken and Illacme, the millipede, was able once again to creep along the damp earth.

An extract from my unpublished manuscript, “Lessons and Parables”

Song of Gryllus rubens


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