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jeffAudio - The Music of Jeff Hentschel - New Paper: Guitar Synthesis
New Paper: Guitar Synthesis 
My final paper for Physics of Sound on Guitar synthesis is now available for download in the papers section of the website. More updates will come soon.
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Concert Review: Hilary Hahn plays Goldmark 
Tuesday night was the last performance by Hilary Hahn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, and she was determined not to disappoint the audience. The program opened with Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture. The orchestra did an excellent job on this short introductory work.

Hilary Hahn, a violinist who has won numerous awards for her artistry took the stage with a commanding presence. While perhaps not as flamboyant as other violinists of her generation, she played the Goldmark concerto with amazing technical prowess and impressive intonation. The audience was certainly overjoyed by her playing that many of them stood up as soon as the piece was over. Hahn then proceeded to appease them by announcing she would play "Andante from Sonata No. 2 by Bach" in a voice sounding like the exact opposite of her playing. This piece was performed just as well as the concerto with spectacular intonation.

After a brief intermission, Dutoit led the orchestra to play Tchaikovsky 6th Symphony. The first two movements were filled with emotion, although the later movements seemed not to have the full vigor of the previous pieces. Still, it was a great performance.

Overall, the concert was excellent. The three pieces seemed to compliment each other making sure not to give the audience too much at once.
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Working Release: For String Quartet and Electric Violin 
In the Music Composition section of the web site, I have released sheet music to my second composition for my atonal music class. It is written for string quartet and electric violin and focuses more on long tones and use of percussive sounds. This music may be updated regularly since it is still in production, so take note of the date the page was updated.
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New Release: Stream of Consciousness 
I have uploaded the performance of my composition Stream of Consciousness. It is an atonal classical piece done for my music composition class. Special thanks go to Hannah McMeans on violin and David Rojas on viola for their time and effort.
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Reaction to Thoughts on Music 
If you keep in touch with business news, I'm sure you are aware of the recently posted article by Steve Jobs, Thoughts on Music. This is a interesting article with some very radical thoughts (at least to the music industry) on how digital music should be sold. Pretty much, he says that DRM should be eliminated.

To consumers, this is a great idea. If you bought the music, why should you be restricted in how you play it? Sure, most people won't see the distinction in their library between locked music and unlocked music, but to some it poses very serious limitations. Take something as simple as adding a song to use as background music for a home video. For PC users, there aren't any applications that I know of that can do this. For the Mac, you are stuck with Apple products (although iMovie and Final Cut are great applications). Nevertheless, it restricts what the user can do with his or her music unnecessarily.

Jobs states an obvious problem with DRM. Any digital encryption can be broken. It is only a matter of time before the next Hymn revision comes out. Those who are less concerned with audio quality can burn a CD and re-import that CD to remove the DRM. According to the article, if Apple's FairPlay DRM is broken, Apple only has a few weeks to fix the problem before the record companies can pull their entire library from the iTunes Store. This is good for nobody.

To solve this problem, three options are given. The first is that everything stays the way it is now. The problem with this option is the same as with any DRM. There is a good chance the DRM will be broken. The second makes this same problem even bigger: opening up the FairPlay to other companies. I completely agree with Jobs' argument for why this is a bad choice. When you let more people in on a secret, the less secret the secret is. In other words, there is a much greater chance that 1 of 500 people will leak information than 1 of 10 people.

So what is the third and obviously best option to solve this delimma? Eliminate DRM. But what will make the music industry do this? To answer this question, we must investigate the reason DRM was created in the first place. Record companies do not want people sharing their music with people who haven't bought the music. Now to me (and many other artists) this seems to be the opposite of what you want to do. Don't you want to get as many people to listen to your music as possible? A huge influence on what kind of music I get is what I hear by listening to samples. In fact, I almost never buy a CD without listening to some of it first. Thankfully, the iTunes Store has helped this problem by allowing 30 second previews of every song. Without this feature, I would never buy from them. So more specifically, record companies don't want you to distribute whole trakcs from the CD to your friends.

Why is this bad for the artists? It promotes them and makes people want to buy the next CD that comes out. It makes people excited and want to go hear them live and by t-shirts and other artist-related items. Even for classical concerts, I will listen to at least a large section of a piece before buying tickets. If I like the piece, I don't think "well, I've already listened to it. No point in hearing it again." I am interested in how the individual performance will differ from the studio recording. This paragraph really wasn't a compelling answer to the question. Maybe non-DRM'd music is good for the artists.

Why is this bad for the record companies? This is simple - it prevents sales. Record companies don't care that a group simply gets popular. They want people to buy CDs to make them popular. But what role does the record company have in the creative process? They provide a service - to record a group and help them sell CDs. There is very little creativity in this. Now, I know you're thinking "but what about the recording engineers and all their creativity." Yes, they assist the group in sounding good, and without them there would be no CD. But in the end, it should be the group that decides how it should sound.

The final point that this long rant is coming to is simple. It is not recording companies that should control the music, but the artists. Artists should make music not for commercial reasons, but because they have something to say. They want to give to the community. It is the artists who should decide whether DRM should be on their tracks, not the recording companies.

Another consideration about DRM is its effectiveness. How effective is something that is offered at a lower quality with higher restrictions. Look at the music you can download through BitTorrent. Much of it is in MP3 format. The iTunes Store content is in AAC format. So where do the distributors get their content from? They buy the CD. There is no DRM on the CD and there never will be (they've tried and failed). Pirates can get a higher quality version and distribute it freely. This is the primary resource of pirated music. DRM is supposed to cut down on piracy, yet if digital music isn't being pirated, what's the problem? How do we get people to download music legally?

There are two steps to solve this problem. The first is to eliminate DRM. This will entice a huge number of people to buy digital music who previously pirated. If you can get the same thing, but one has DRM and the other doesn't, which one would you get (morality aside). This eliminates the first difference between legal downloads and illegal downloads.

The second is to increase the quality. In this age of high-speed internet, there is no reason why the iTunes Store couldn't offer lossless tracks. So now, you have the option of getting higher quality, non DRM, legal music or illegal music. At only $0.99 a song, many people now have a much better reason not to pirate music.

Eliminating DRM can only be good for everybody. Consumers will love it, and buy more songs legally. This in turn will make record companies happy. The increased popularity will add attendance to live events and make artists happy. But for this to happen, record companies need to realize the ineffectiveness and futile nature of DRM. Only then online music sales progress.
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