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Approaching the Bergschrund at Night


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Near the top of the mountain, it is important to avoid the crevasse caused by the separation of the glacier from the summit. Often hundreds of feet deep, it can be a formidable obstacle in the wind at night.

Near the peak of Mt. Olympus

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The winds tend to howl at this elevation, especially when the storms blow in from the Pacific. Warm wet clouds this evening had a eerie sound as they blew up the glacier from the west. In this case, a descending utonality from 3:2 to 6:5 to 1:1 to 12:7 to 4:3 to 12:11 to 1:1. How do they do that?

Birds of the Olympic National Forest

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If you’re going to do a story of a trip down a river, you need some birds. There are lots of birds along the Hoh River. The U.S. National Forest Service has a wonderful map and pictures at that link, with the names of some of the birds in upland, forest, and wetland habitat of the river. Thanks to the Peterson Guides for the bird calls in this collection.

HABITAT: Olympic National Park old-growth rainforest of moss-draped maples, black cottonwood, conifers; wetlands, Hoh River.
BIRDING: Riparian deciduous trees rustle with Hammond’s Flycatchers, Warbling Vireos, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Downy Woodpeckers. Stately conifers sustain Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Chestnut-backed Chickadees. Ponds host Green-winged Teals, Ruddy and Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers.
VIEWING: Walk 0.7-mile Hall of Mosses loop, 1.2-mile Spruce Nature Trail.
ACCESS: From Hwy 101 at milepost 178.5, turn east onto Upper Hoh Rd. Drive 19 miles. Park at Olympic National Park Visitor Center.
MORE BIRDING: For seriously hardy birders, 18.5-mile Hoh River Trail ascends to alpine meadows for Gray-crowned Rosy Finches, Black Swifts.

That’s where it gets interesting. This was mixed with Csound.

Through a patch of very rough water on the Hoh River


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As you descend from the 1000 foot level, there are a few turquoise rapids that are especially tough after the rains melt the snow on the western slope of the Olympic glaciers. The lower reaches of the utonality series are equally challenging.

In the Hoh River Valley


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The Hoh River descends from the Mount Olympus in Washington’s Olympic National Park to the ocean for 56 miles through a temperate rain forest. This place is very wet, probably close to the wettest spot in the 48 contiguous states. It’s cold, but it’s a damp cold.

Adding a few new instruments to the mix

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I’ve added a few new instruments to the mix. It now includes Marimba, Cello, Harp, as well as the Finger Piano and tuba. I’ve also added the option to stay in place for a while and change little, or not.

More Wandering around the Incipient Tonality Diamond

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Playing around with the random start times for notes. Instead of starting all notes in a chord at the same instant, I perturb the start times by a small random amount, as if the finger piano player arpeggiated the chord, not up or down, but rather up, down, in, out, all ways.

Sketch made while wandering about in Partch’s Incipent Tonality Diamond

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There was an article back on 12/31/08 in the Boston Globe called “Striking a chord“, in which author Marc Hirsh cataloged all the pop songs over the past few years based on what he dubbed the “Sensitive Female Chord Progression”, which he described thusly:

So what is the Sensitive Female Chord Progression, exactly? It’s simple enough for the music theory-inclined: vi-IV-I-V. No good? Well, for a song in the key of A minor, it would be Am-F-C-G. Still confused? Here’s an easy way to see if a song uses the chord progression: Just sing Osborne’s lyrics, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” over the suspect four chords. If it fits, you’ve just spotted one in the wild. Once you’re attuned to it, you’ll hear it everywhere.

And the Sensitive Female Chord Progression was indeed everywhere in 2008, which started off with OneRepublic’s “Apologize” enjoying its chart afterglow. Since then, it’s popped up in songs by Aimee Mann (“Borrowing Time”), Secondhand Serenade (“Fall for You”), Katy Perry (“Fingerprints”), Moby (“Every Day It’s 1989″), Sugarland (“Take Me As I Am”), Carolina Liar (“I’m Not Over”), T.I. (“Whatever You Like”), Natasha Bedingfield (“Angel”), and, in a last-minute shocker, Guns N’ Roses (the chorus of “Shackler’s Revenge”).

Well this chord progression can be found, sort of, in what Partch called his “Incipient Tonality Diamond”, as long as you replace G major with Ab major, which changes the character drastically, but that’s o.k. by me.

I was noodling around the notes in the diamond and came up with today’s sketch. Partch described the Incipient Tonality Diamond in Genesis of a Music. Here’s a picture. It’s basically the 4:5:6 of the overtone and undertone series.