Odds and Sods

Presented by Shawn Klein

Airs The 4th Friday of the month at 17:30 UTC, repeated Saturday at 06:30 UTC and Monday at 16:30 UTC

A half-hour monthly show featuring interesting things and curiosities Shawn has found on the Internet, touching on a variety of subjects. Humanity’s first recordings of its own voice in the 1850s, the US government bouncing shortwave signals off the moon, an old world-war II era film about the use of radio during the war, auditory illusions, alternate musical scales, what noise does an ostrich make? And other unusual and rare sounds, These and much more are fair game on Odds and Sods.

Recent Shows

August 2019

In this month's program, which first aired in April 2019, Odds and Sods is live and in color and sound. How does the human eye see color? It's so different from the way we hear sound, that if you could map the visible light spectrum onto an equal octave of sound, you couldn't possibly experience it in the same way with your ears as people do with their eyes. We'll find out why that is, explore how one blind from birth Youtuber who doesn't appear to know any physics or color theory thinks of color, and learn about a color-blind artist who has in fact done exactly what I described above. He considers himself a cyborg. He has sensors on his head that convert the visible light spectrum and even a bit of infrared and ultraviolet directly to an octave of sound plus a few more tones, and has been living with it 24-7 for years. Needless to say, his clothing choices are based on harmonies, not complimentary colors, which makes for a rather odd ensemble.

Some useful links.

Neil Harbisson: I listen to color
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygRNoieAnzI
Roel's World Blog, LIGHT & SOUND, COLOUR & MUSIC
https://roelhollander.eu/tuning-frequency/sound-light-colour/

July 2019

This month:

In September 2017, we asked among other things what does the fox really say?
in March of last year we asked what does the fish say?
and last October we asked what are the birds really saying that's too fast for our human ears to parce?

now it's time to reenter the world of bioacoustics where we'll ask have you tickled any rats lately? and if so did they giggle? well if they did you probably didn't hear it but you will.

What did the moth say to the bat? bet you didn't hear that either, but you will, because we're going to make ultrasound audible.

June 2019

This month we talk about data sonification. It can give scientists a new way to see their data, whether it’s deep space measurements or cancer research. It can be a direct transverting from 1 wave: (gravity, light, seismic or radio waves), to another type of wave, the sound waves we can hear. It can also be presented on different time scales and even compressed. Or, it could be represented in a completely arbitrary fashion by, say, giving each value of 1 variable a note on the diatonic scale, and giving another a different instrument on a synthesizer. Here in lies the problem with sonifying data from a purely scientific point of view, it can be manipulated to touch our emotions. What is that supposed to mean? Well, just listen to the show. We’ll hear from scientists from the Geant network with the pros of sonification, and Tanta Krul, a Youtuber and musician with some of the pitfalls.

May 2019

This month we’re picking up where we left off back in January with part 2 of the tutorial on microtonal or xenharmonic music. After that we’ll here a demonstration of 12 of the most popular Arabic Maqams or scales based on the 24-tone system. They’re not precisely scales as we know them in the west because some of them are different ascending versus descending. The notes you play coming down may differ from the notes you play going up. In this they are similar to Indian ragas and Indonesian Pelogs. Microtonal music is a collective name for various kinds of music that use tone systems different from what is customary in Western music. The distance from one key/tone to the next is called a semitone; twelve of these semitones make an octave. In microtonal tone systems this is different. Some systems are thousands of years old and come from non-western cultures. Some come from imaginative 20th and 21st century composers and musicians and even mathematicians, these days there’s a microtonal community putting out all sorts of interesting stuff online.

April 2019

This month, Odds and Sods is live and in color and sound. How does the human eye see color? It's so different from the way we hear sound, that if you could map the visible light spectrum onto an equal octave of sound, you couldn't possibly experience it in the same way with your ears as people do with their eyes. We'll find out why that is, explore how one blind from birth Youtuber who doesn't appear to know any physics or color theory thinks of color, and learn about a color-blind artist who has in fact done exactly what I described above. He considers himself a cyborg. He has sensors on his head that convert the visible light spectrum and even a bit of infrared and ultraviolet directly to an octave of sound plus a few more tones, and has been living with it 24-7 for years. Needless to say, his clothing choices are based on harmonies, not complimentary colors, which makes for a rather odd ensemble.

Some useful links.

Neil Harbisson: I listen to color
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygRNoieAnzI
Roel's World Blog, LIGHT & SOUND, COLOUR & MUSIC
https://roelhollander.eu/tuning-frequency/sound-light-colour/

March 2019

January 2019

This month we’re learning about microtonal or xenharmonic music. Microtonal music is a collective name for various kinds of music that use tone systems different from what is customary in Western music. ... The distance from one key/tone to the next is called a semitone; twelve of these semitones make an octave. In microtonal tone systems this is different. Some systems are thousands of years old and come from non-western cultures. Some come from imaginative 20th and 21st century composers and musicians and even mathematicians, these days there’s a microtonal community putting out all sorts of interesting stuff online. We’re going to hear from one of these xenharmonic enthusiasts.

December 2018

Does Today's Music Suck? Has it gotten worse over the years? Maybe not. Maybe it's just a part of the natural cycle of complexity versus simplicity that goes back centuries. We'll hear an interesting opposing viewpoint in this month's show, as well as a satirical look back at some earlier eras and their generation gaps.

November 2018

Thursday November 22nd was Thanksgiving here in the states! So this month, America! First, we'll hear about the first Thanksgiving song, that everybody thinks is a Christmas song. We'll then hear the first audio recording of it made back in 1898. Next, we'll hear a couple songs and dances of the Wampanoag nation. Who the heck are they? They're the Indians, I mean native Americans, that helped out the pilgrims on that first Thanksgiving back in 1621. But actually Thanksgiving didn't become a holiday until president Abraham Lincoln declared it one in the middle of the Civil War in 1863. So finally we'll listen to some Youtube vids from the Museum of the Confederacy and find out what the rebel yell actually sounded like. Only in the first decade of the 21st century were some recordings from the 1930s found, where a couple of old civil war vets had duplicated that fearsome battle cry they employed so many decades before. So now those civil war reenactors can finally get it right.
Woh-who-ee! who-ee! who-ee!

October 2018

This month, Trick or Tweet! In this month's show I’ll be delving into the wonders of bird song, with a Halloween-style twist. We’re going to slow down the sounds and songs of birds 5, 10 and even 20 times to unearth their unearthly, sometimes spooky, sometimes alien seeming, and sometimes almost human seeming nature. We’ll hear some unique birds from north America, Europe, Australia, and the Bluebird of Paradise from New Guinea who’s song is hypnotic at normal speed, but at 1 quarter speed sounds like something from a Martian discotech.

September 2018

In the first half of this month’s show, When Music was Mechanical, part 3, the final installment. For the rest of the show we’ll explore musical clocks. No, not yee old radio alarm clock, but musical clocks of a considerably older variety. Beginning in the late 18th century, the Black Forest area of Germany began turning out a variety of musical clocks. They didn’t just chime and cuckoo. There were flute clocks, trumpeter clocks that were actually a self-contained clockwork driven miniature pipe organ, and even clocks that used the friction of toothed gear wheels to imitate the sound of a rooster. So we’ll listen to 3 vids from BlackForestClocks.org’s Youtube channel by Justin J Miller describing 4 of these interesting time pieces.

August 2018

This month, When Music was Mechanical part 2.

Back in early 1973, Other Minds guru Charles Amirkhanian visited the Oakland Museum and recorded a walking tour of its exhibition, “When Music Was Mechanical,” curated by Gretchen Schneider. The hour-plus recording (MP3) features numerous examples of automated music, including the Lyon and Healy Empress Electric Orchestrion, the Wurlitzer Model 165 Band Organ and the Mira Music Box. Originally broadcast on January 25, 1973, on KPFA and KPFB, the exhibit ran from December 16, 1972 through February 4, 1973. Not only is there a lot of mechanical music recorded, but Amirkhanian describes in detail many of the instruments and Schneider talks about the show’s curation, which focuses on machines from the start of the 20th century, and she discusses the complexities of having multiple sound sources in a single exhibit (another name considered for the event was “Christmas Cacophonia”). She mentions two organizations to which most collectors, at the time, belonged: the Musical Box Society and the Automatical Musical Instruments Collector’s Association. Thirty-plus years later, of course, each has its own website: mbsi.org, amica.org. According to Schneider, the show was one of the museum’s most popular exhibits at that point in its history, with so many visitors that many had trouble seeing the instruments.
https://disquiet.com/2006/06/16/mechanized-instrument-exhibit-mp3/

July 2018

This month, When Music was Mechanical part 1.

Back in early 1973, Other Minds guru Charles Amirkhanian visited the Oakland Museum and recorded a walking tour of its exhibition, “When Music Was Mechanical,” curated by Gretchen Schneider. The hour-plus recording (MP3) features numerous examples of automated music, including the Lyon and Healy Empress Electric Orchestrion, the Wurlitzer Model 165 Band Organ and the Mira Music Box. Originally broadcast on January 25, 1973, on KPFA and KPFB, the exhibit ran from December 16, 1972 through February 4, 1973. Not only is there a lot of mechanical music recorded, but Amirkhanian describes in detail many of the instruments and Schneider talks about the show’s curation, which focuses on machines from the start of the 20th century, and she discusses the complexities of having multiple sound sources in a single exhibit (another name considered for the event was “Christmas Cacophonia”). She mentions two organizations to which most collectors, at the time, belonged: the Musical Box Society and the Automatical Musical Instruments Collector’s Association. Thirty-plus years later, of course, each has its own website: mbsi.org, amica.org. According to Schneider, the show was one of the museum’s most popular exhibits at that point in its history, with so many visitors that many had trouble seeing the instruments.
https://disquiet.com/2006/06/16/mechanized-instrument-exhibit-mp3/


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