Prompt 1: Leslie Laskey

  1. Looking back at the “bones of summer” how have you engaged or created art? If you haven’t engaged or created art, please describe why.

Starting with the creation of art or lack thereof, I have not created a physical piece of art since my last years of high school in my art program. If you argue that playing a piece of music is art, then I have done that within the past week. If you call singing in the shower as art, than I have most likely done that this morning! I guess the art you create can also be art that you have been engaged with.

The last time I properly engaged with art was most likely when I visited an art gallery here in Victoria relating to my art history course at University of Victoria. I enjoyed learning the history of art in that course and visiting an art gallery I have not been to before. Although, I enjoy art pieces, I would have to say that music is my personal favourite form of art.

  1. What things, if any, surround you that you consider powerful?

First thing that comes to mind is the technology around me at my desk. I have a laptop, desktop and my phone. All very powerful machines that are tools that can be used to learn anything and do a multitude of things. Behind my desk and I, I have my bass guitar and amp. The amp itself is a 150watt amp, which is big enough for me and quite powerful for this house let alone my room!

With the proper knowledge, using these tools around me can be made into something powerful as well. Whether it is a book I write online, or something I learn that inspires me for something greater down the road, or a piece of music I play or write.

  1. Over the next couple of days, take note of the dominant sounds in areas that you consistently walk. What are the sounds you notice most of all? Be specific.

Since its been raining recently and I have mostly been at home, my windows are thin pane and I have heard the rain and the sound cars make when driving through it and on the wet roads. I have heard bicyclists bike by the house, hearing the bike and their conversations, pass by. I have heard my roommates next door and the fan that stays on in my room, mostly for the white noise.

  1. How do you relate to the phrase “free time only works if you steal it?”

I find this idea pretty interesting but also true. Like Mr. Laskey explained, you wish to be productive in your day, to do something worth while, but not on Thursdays. What I believe it means is that everyone needs a break from what they do. For me the biggest thing going on in my life at the moment is school. I am enrolled in 5 classes online this semester, so it takes up a lot of my time. This is what I have to focus on day in and out, throughout the day. There is no free time given in a course, I have to take the time off myself or “steal” it. But I believe it is important to do that, your body and mind needs a break every once and a while.

  1. Do you have any other takeaways from the film?

I have a couple more takeaways from the film, which I enjoyed watching. Firstly I thought it was interesting when Mr. Laskey was explaining that painting or art is a language and that he “pierces” the board or blank space with his instrument and they all relate to each other to create a message. He creates an arena in which he plays in. I believe he is correct in saying that art/painting is an extension of our language, it can or does have a meaning and a message behind it.

As well, I agree with his statement that he learns more from teaching others. I thought it was interesting that he wants his students to be inspired but, without knowing it.. at that time anyways. I have experienced further learning in math, when I am teaching it or working on it with/to a friend for example. So I agree to what he says even though it may not be on the same level.

He seemed like a very nice, humble man that had lots of knowledge and has experienced and seen many things with his time. I enjoyed watching a bit of his story and art work, which I probably would not have come across if it wasn’t for Mus116!



Prompt 2: Your Own Golden Record

My first piece of music/sound: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Famous rock song by the band Queen, almost everyone knows this song. 6 minute song of awesome singing/harmony with the group and guitar solos.


My second piece of music/sound: Sound of fire & water

Sound of fire and water. You can hear the fire cackle and the bodies of water wash up onto shore. Some of the best sounds of nature.


My third piece of music/sound: Train in a blizzard

You can hear the sound of a train running on its rails to its destination through the snow blizzard which you can hear the howling wind.


For my choices of the three music/sounds, I tried to pick three things from different categories involved with peoples lives, humanity and earth itself. The reason I chose Bohemian Rhapsody was because it is an example of a song and a good example as many people love this world wide, the YouTube video alone has 1.2 billion views as of today. It shows one of the best singers of our time, Freddie Mercury and and talented musicians including some good guitar solos. The reason I picked fire and water was because its something that many people like to enjoy especially while camping and its a great example of nature. I personally love the sound of fire cackling and water moving and its shows off part of the beautiful earth we live on! Lastly I chose trains because its a good example of a human made object. Something created to transport people/objects over long distances. An added bonus is the background sound of a snow blizzard, just an extra sound to show off our nature, winter and storms.  These are three things that I think would be beneficial to add to the Golden Record as I believe they show off important parts of different categories in humanity and earth.


Prompt 3: Goldberg Variations

Right off the bat, as soon as either of the pieces start you can hear a difference. The first piece is from 1955 and second, re-recorded in 1981. He was quite young when he performed the first piece and you can tell that his first piece starts more lively and upbeat. The 1981 variation is slower and seems to be a bit more sad as the 1981 is the end piece to the 1955 original.

Both pieces are simpler but both heavily appreciated. To me, the 1981 variation seems more serious at the start. It has no fast tempos or notes, it just seems to go up and down, back and forth slowly. Not till later, it starts to become more upbeat as the tempo/rhythm changes. In the 1955 piece, it starts quicker and gets faster. Having the feeling of curiosity and playfulness.


Prompt 4: Ghost

To play music exclusively of the past would change how people react to music today. The instruments, sounds and overall feeling of music in the 1800s compared to now is extremely different. If people did not know music today and only heard from the past than maybe there wouldn’t be much change but most people I know prefer todays music/listen to it on a daily basis, much more than classical for example.

I play the bass guitar so playing that instrument by its own may seem more difficult to play for people compared to a piano. But, if I were to play music for someone, I would pick different genres/examples to show people where and what music came/started from.. This is assuming that the Ghost had taken away all previous music before October 2020. I would play a piece of blues and jazz music as I think the bass guitar started to have a big impact and usage with these types of songs. I would then play a number of rock songs from the 70s and 80s and show how both the bass and drums are the backbone of the band that carry the beat/song. I could play something from each decade just to show how music has evolved to what it is today.  On a side note, although my favourite genre is rock, I have found myself enjoying lots of the recent songs put out by artists. I feel like some music today has an 80s vibe to it for example Miley Cyrus newer song, Midnight Sky.

To be honest, its hard for me to understand what he means by his quote. From what I do understand, if you want to understand explore the past, you have to let go of somethings in the present. By doing this, and momentarily forgetting the present you could have a deeper appreciation/understanding of the past.


Prompt 5: Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis

I have heard this famous song before, but have never seen a ‘music video’ on it. I was surprised to learn that it only included the drums, bass, and the piano. My first observation is that the drum kit is very simple only having the snare, bass drum and a couple others. The song might have a simpler beat but it does not mean it is not enjoyable.

The piano is an impressive instrument and his solo is quite enjoyable, he pounds the keys and does a decent amount of slides throughout the song. The bass does a good job to carry to beat and support the song and instruments with sound and timing, the drums and bass feed off each other.

The song is shorter, but it definitely feels like a happy song and seems to be meant to be sung to/about a lady that he likes. You can tell it is an older song due to the type of song and the way he sings, for some reason it reminds me of the beach as well… But overall, definitely an upbeat, happy song that I imagine many could/do dance to!


Prompt 6: UVIC Band

Personally I think it would be great to have different genre of bands at UVIC. As of now I am not aware if this is the case but I believe there is only one main band with the four categories of instruments, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion..  I believe it would be cool and would have a decent interest if UVIC were to make a Rock band, Blues band, Jazz band etc.. I remember in high school I was in the senior band (I play bass). I had loads of fun but it wasn’t the type of music that I would call my favourite.. I played a year with the Jazz band but didn’t get into that much either as my favourite genre is Rock. I always wished the school had a Rock band but they never did, when I was there anyways.. If I were good enough, for me I could see being apart of a UVIC Rock band would be awesome and lots of fun. It could turn into something serious or just be a great break from school studies.. Obviously I think that it shouldn’t have any restrictions for someone to signup/join except for instrument ability. IE, it shouldn’t matter on your skin tone, sex/gender what year of school your in etc.. If someone was worried about skill differences and there was enough interest to do so, just make different levels within the genre. Back in highschool I was part of the senior band which was a bit higher skilled then the morning band, no one had hurt feelings it was mainly for fun and people had fun playing together in their own skill level. For myself, I enjoy playing my bass guitar. I haven’t made any of my own works and I do not currently posses the knowledge to straight up play a solo because my theory knowledge is a bit weak now. Usually I just play my music I like (typically rock). I could play using written music/tabs and I like to play along the YouTube recording usually rather than just myself.


Prompt 7: Discrepancies

The first piece, Pollaca starts off pretty busy sounding. Lots is going on, and not necessarily sounding like they are together. Each instrument has its slightly own different path while staying within boundaries when playing this piece. There is some singing in this piece that sounds like its from a different language, but mostly instrumental. An instrument or two play a standard beat, but the rest is kind of like a free for all, very interesting and something I have never heard before.

Piece two, Spaced Cowboy starts off pretty simple with a nice guitar solo. The drums and bass keep the beat going while the guitar has the freedom to play a lick. I thought the song was going to stay around this idea but then the singing began.. It instantly reminded me of yodeling and I thought it sounded a bit odd. When the singing comes in, the freedom goes to the voice now where the instruments stay in line, the guitar responds back to the voice sometimes as well though.

Piece three, Agua que va a Caer is a Spanish song that uses mostly a voice, string instrument (guitar?), and the drums. To me personally, I thought this song was the most ‘normal’ sounding song out of the three. It starts with the drums, Spanish singing follows with some guitar. It sounds like a group of people would be sitting around the fire, playing the drums/guitar and singing as a group.


Prompt 8: Latin America Music, Dr. Munarriz

I understand that defining Latin America music as one can be difficult or unfair as there are so many different segments or areas of Latin America with different cultures and people that make their own music. After further learning about this, I can see that Latin America Music makes up plently of music styles and people, therefore it is impossible and unfair to label it as just one, sometimes we have to be more specific when discussing it.

Latin Music: Music produced by the Latin community, of descent but lived/residents of US.

Latin American Music: Music that comes from any region (Spanish, French, Portuguese) South.

Ostinatos are continued/repeated musical rhythms or parts. Examples of this in Latin(American) music is the use of the Habanera pattern.  In South/Latin America and the Caribbean it is seen as the structure of the composition,  an anchor for the whole piece of work.

The Habanera pattern is seen and recognizable in many different Jazz, Latin and dance pieces with the same rhythmic section used in the song. Sometimes using triads, daaa, daa daa da… daaa. 1, 2, 2, 3 which can be shifted.


Prompt 9: Musicians during Covid

After reading though some of the articles/blogs posted in our Mus116 course about musicians struggling or finding ways to still perform during Covid times, it reminded me of a livestreaming service called Twitch. Twitch is mostly known for online ‘gamers’ who use it to live stream their content/games. People do this for a living and make money through the ads, peoples subscriptions and donations or through sponsorship’s if they are lucky enough. Not everyone who uses this service is a gamer and you do not have to be. Knowing this, I think this could be a good opportunity for musicians to still perform to an audience and possibly make some money from it to a certain extent.

I believe performing this way could still be fun and interactive because its live and there is a chat bar on the side where you could communicate with your audience and they could talk to you or request pieces/songs. If you are not popular on the service or have any background, it is possible that you can go on someone’s “show” and be featured there. If successful and the performer enjoyed the experience it could lead to themselves setting up their own account on Twitch and hopefully some people would follow. One of the bigger limitations I see with this idea is that Twitch has recently announced for people to get rid of and stop using any licensed music in their streams. There was some trouble with some users that had some mainstream songs in their streams that did not have the licensing/rights for using it. This has created lots of problems for the users as they have had to delete past videos and limits what they are allowed to do. Even as little as someone singing a song, or them walking in public through a store that is playing music from the radio for example could get them in trouble, it is pretty serious. The way around this would be getting permission to play the songs you want if you do not own the music itself. If you play your own music you made then you will have no problems.

Overall, as musicians face the problem of live performances I believe Twitch could be a serious option for musicians to get their face out there and continue to perform and build their following. I have discovered an artist and other music that I like from random Twitch livestreams, so it is possible. As much as performers must miss playing, the audience and myself miss watching and listening. Like I mentioned above, a challenge they will face is performing mainstream licensed music. But if they have permission to play them, or perform their own music anyways.. That problem can be overcome. A musician can start by possibly performing from a popular or known music channel/livestream if they do not have their own. But like I mentioned, if successful they could create their own livestream/channel and create a good following and possibly create a career out of it if they so choose. In conclusion, if a musician wants to perform live and is having troubles on how to go about it, I would recommend considering an online livestream on a service and specifically Twitch as it is well known and used by many.




Choice Cuts!!

1: Optional Blog Prompt A – John Cage, 4’33.

John Cage has a solid point in that when an instrument is to ‘play’ silence, it has a different type of impact and is never quite pure silence, unless your in space, but I cannot verify. When sitting here where I am when typing this response, I sit alone in my room ‘in silence’. But if I pay attention, its not; there are also lots of visual objects to take in. As I sit here, I can hear the white noise from my fan, the occasional (loud) car go by, or the louder footsteps from the person that lives above.. More interestingly, as I sit here the loudest noise is my thoughts.. Thinking about the upcoming final I have or do I want to go get some ice cream tonight.. Whatever it might be, the thoughts can be the loudest part in my room for me.  Therefore, when Cage states, there is no such things as an empty space or empty time, I agree. Whether its the actual noises that surround you or the thoughts in your head, I believe there is never emptiness as long as you’re living. As in terms of space, people including myself say this often as in oh there’s an empty spot over there or the house is looking empty. To me off the bat I can see this statement being more valid. If there is a spot that is empty, typically there is no object occupying that space which makes sense to me. To argue, I am sure that if you were to look at the same spot at a microscopic level, there would be so much that is going on. Relating it to 4’33, in terms of noise, anything with a rhythmic beat or something that is familiar could be considered music to a degree or a form of art. But, even such as silence or close to, can have a deep(er) meaning/impact when it comes to performances, conversation, body language etc..


2: Prompt 1 Re-visit: Leslie Laskey

Recently the art that I have been surrounded by has been Christmas related/decorations if that counts. I enjoy this time of year for a few reasons but one of them being the lights/decorations that people around the world and here in Victoria put up. I have enjoyed going for late even walks throughout my neighbourhood to go look at lights and decorations put up by the city and neighbours. It is a good way to stay fit while being inside most of the time for school and its fun and happy to see. I myself have a small tree that I have put up with a little snowman in the corner of my room that I enjoy as well! Being lucky enough to live in the neighbourhood I do, something that I would consider powerful as corny as it may sound is the Christmas celebration or spirit I guess. Many houses around each year put up many lights and decorations! The city/businesses put up lights down the main strip as well which is a site to see, as well as the fire station which looks like it could be used for a cheesy Christmas movie set! Some of the sounds that I have heard recently have changed because I have been able to go out for a hike between my final exams. I haven’t done much hiking, but I enjoy it. Even though the sound, some may consider silent (like we were mentioning in the topic above), I disagree. I was able to hear the trees/bushes move as it was windy, birds singing, the water moving and distant construction going on in a new housing development it looked like. As in terms of free time, I think that you have to take away time from your priorities (breaks) and I believe that it can/is a good idea to periodically do so, so you can minimize being burnt out and in return stay productive.


3: Prompt 2 Re-visit: Golden Records

This time I would go about my 3 choices as a timeline of humanity. Obviously with only 3 choices, I cannot be super detailed and many ideas, years, progressions etc.. will be skipped. But I thought that the idea of showing where we were, where we are and where we might go ie: past, present, future is a cool idea. Hopefully the aliens would not take advantage to see where we are at and then decide to attack..  My first choice would be the sound of fire. I choose fire because it is an essential element that humans used way back when, but also today. It could be used for many reasons/intentions. To follow, Id insert the sound of computers and additionally the sound of keyboards. The reason why I would choose this is that computers or any sort of computer tech are an essential tool that the entire world uses for literally millions of things. A couple that I could mention are communication, library of knowledge (learning), creation, entertainment  reasons etc.. In my life, I use computers for the listed above, one big thing right now is school itself due to Covid-19. For these reasons, I believe computers are a good choice for something that represents our recent years and an overall ‘present’. Lastly, I would include the sound of electricity and more specifically electric cars. Although they may be considered silent, there is a sound they make, even though some of it may be artificial, the sound and electric cars represent the possible future for humanity.  Electric cars may not be the most environmental free way or energy for transport but it is the next step to get there as we see more car companies create electric vehicles and it is better than gas from what we here. Although battery replacement and the making of electric vehicles are quite bad as well. Instead of songs and sounds picked at random, I think it would be more beneficial to pick 3 that are related to one another, to create more meaning. If it were to reach an alien species that have enough tech to find the capsule and have space travel then most likely they are intelligent enough to find the patterns!


4: Prompt 3 Re-visit: Goldberg Variations

Lastly for my choice cuts, id like to come back to this prompt and edit/add a bit to it, kind of like the whole idea of the original prompt itself funny enough. As Goldberg’s Variations, sometimes new, better and improved ideas, experiences or skills over days, weeks and years come as we grow and learn. if you are able, why not re-visit an old piece or work that you can improve. When I was creating some music (mostly for fun) on garage band back in high school, I came back to it day after day, and weeks later it had changed plenty from what it started as, and in my mind for the better. This idea can be tied to today’s current music and more so than older music (to my knowledge). I say this because, today’s music I believe you can see more examples of songs that have been re-done/edited which are known as ‘remixes’. Remixes are essentially tied to Goldberg’s variations and the modern take at altering an original piece and sometimes with added performers as well. This is an idea I believe is pretty valid that I did not think of until re-visiting the topic as well.