Sunday, January 25, 2009

It’s A Small World

And thanks to technology and the internet it’s getting smaller all the time.

During President Obama’s Inauguration, a stunningly talented quartet performed a composition by John Williams called “Air and Simple Gifts”. Actually, to be precise, an audio recording of the piece was made before the inauguration by violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Gabriella Montero. With the below freezing temperatures, there was no way their instruments would be able to stay in tune. So the musicians played, but were not amplified and the audio recording was broadcast. Well, the piece was lovely. Chuck was able to find a good recording of the piece in video format over on YouTube. But we couldn’t find a strictly audio version - CD to purchase or otherwise. Chuck and I even briefly tried to figure out how to download the YouTube video to his computer, but no dice.

Enter serendipity and the ever shrinking world. Over on Twitter, a 15 year old blogger from Singapore named Xavier Lur, whose Twitter name is KidTechGuru, began following my Twitter posts. I went to see who he was and also checked out his blog. He keeps up with everything new and nifty in the tech world and writes very clear, concise posts about them, including why something might be a good thing to check out. The posts are about technology gadgets and gizmos, but are not so heavy with geek speak that a 50 year old like me feels lost. One of his posts was about how to easily download a YouTube video to your computer. So we followed KidTechGuru’s links and his instructions and Poof! the “Air and Simple Gifts” video was on Chuck’s computer. We dragged it into the movies folder in iTunes and we were all set.

Well, almost. We have a non-video playing iPod and Chuck wanted to be able to just listen to the music. So I opened Garage Band ‘08. I chose Create a New Podcast Episode from the opening menu. Then, from the Media Browser, I chose the recently downloaded video of the inauguration day performance. I dragged it over to the Tracks area. It loaded as a Movie Track and a Movie Sound Track. After playing around for awhile, I decided to delete the Movie Track. That left the Movie Sound Track. I then chose Share > Send Song To iTunes. The song arrived in iTunes and we easily renamed it and added all the relevant information.

And that’s how a 15 year old kid in Singapore, helped my 65 year old husband in Massachusetts, listen to an exquisitely beautiful piece of music, from the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington D.C.!

Please Note: Despite all the fun we had making this work, as soon as a real physical CD or downloadable MP3 becomes available for purchase, purchase it we shall!


Roo said...

You got there in the end, proving you ahve far far far more patience than me. However I do like the synergy of it all ;o)

barbie2be said...

that is such a hauntingly beautiful piece of music!

Wendy said...

you are really so hip I love it. you leave me in a cloud of dust. Now about this twitter. I have just heard about it. I fear addiction , as is my personality. I am off to check it out
as well as the piece of music

Pink Granite said...

Hi Roo -
Synergy's the right word!
As for patience, Chuck wanted the music.
I wanted to make him happy.
I got him the music.
He was happy.
I was happy.
So the time flew by!
- Lee

Hi B2B -
It really is exquisite!
I'm glad the beauty of the music wasn't lost within all the techy stuff.
- Lee

Hi Wendy -
There's an expression (mostly American?) from the early part of the 1900s: "hep" and also "hep cat". Hep means "hip to" or "in the know".

When Chuck and I joke about current trends or technology we've finally caught on to, we say: "Yeah, we're hep"! It's a nod to how old and old fashioned we often feel!
So having you say I'm hip really tickles me!

I'm so glad you went and checked out Twitter - and joined! It's fun - and yes, as are so many internet related things, it can be addictive - at least in the beginning!
Enjoy the music - and Twitter!
- Lee

Roo said...

Ok - now I watched the inauguration, I did honest, but would I be right in thinking that the arrangement had a little Copeland in it?

To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the piece, however (and I'm not just saying this to get back on your good sides)when I first drove in the States, we took a tour out from Mammoth into the badlands so to speak, and I had Copeland on at full tilt, as we drove over a small hill in the road and Wow! - we came to a halt and suddenly it was the most perfect piece of music to look down on this vast plain of land ahead of us, with the road just going on for ever and ever. We pulled over at the top of the hill, and had the music playing while we sat on some rocks and just drank in the view. To this day, Copeland makes me cry with the memory. America has it's faults, as do we all, but when it comes to widescreeen, panoramic, stop-you-in-your-boots views, I think you have them just about right ;o)

Lailaa said...

"serendipity"... love that word. Hugs, xx

Pink Granite said...

Hi Lailaa -
So glad your internet is up and running again! Welcome back to the ever shrinking world!
- Lee

Hi Roo -
Yes you did hear some Copeland! Actually, Copeland incorporated the Shaker song "Simple Gifts" into his "Appalachian Spring". John Williams named this recent composition for the inauguration "Air & Simple Gifts". You might also recognize the melody from "Lord of the Dance", which also builds on the Shaker tune.

Thanks for your kind and generous words about the United States! It sounds like a wonderful experience became a wonderful memory. I'm glad "we" were able to provide the perfect setting!
- Lee