Archive for the ‘acoustics’ Category

Leo Delibes – Lakme

November 12, 2007

French composer Leo Delibes composed opera Lakme in 1883. Here I am giving synopsis from encyclopedia Opera by Andras Batta (that huge book I bought last summer, and I really enjoy discovering new things in it ever since)

The wordly love of the Indian priestess Lakme for an Englishman is sanctified by her courage and self-sacrifice. Her european lover, who cannot understand her foreign culture, is left to mourn and admire her.

Even those who are not fans of opera, can recognize the famous Flower Duet (in above video sung by Elina Garanca and Anna Netrebko), which is the most famous sequence of notes from this opera. But recently I found another beautiful aria from Lakme that I liked very much, and its name is Les Filles de Cadix. I heard it on french Mezzo channel and it was sung by a french opera singer whose name I cannot remember now. But I managed to find clip on youtube where russian soprano diva Anna Netrebko sings this aria. Here it is. Enjoy :)


all I NEED (now) is radio ga ga

January 20, 2007

Radio – radio
I’d sit alone and watch your light
My only friend through teenage nights
And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio

You gave them all those old time stars
Through wars of worlds – invaded by Mars
You made ’em laugh – you made ’em cry
You made us feel like we could fly

(taken from the song by band Queen – Radio Ga Ga)

We are living in a time when we are thinking about concerts on DVD’s and about 7.1 speakers, but what happens to inspiration and awe of good old radio? What happened to that medium which was absolutely amazing before television? Nowdays we can listen to radio that is propagated by radio diffusion and FM modulation, and Internet radio stations which are there on the net, of course there are another modulations for ordinary radio which are more rare, and some lucky countries even have digital radio such as Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) or Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).

But my main question for this post is – would you consider buying hi-fi radio receiver? You know, those marvellous looking devices that you can add to your hi-fi system and receive radio programs. I know some people who are giving large amounts of money for hi-end tube amplifiers (in order to avoid quantization noise at least in that component), but they say they would never buy a receiver as another component (I guess they would spend money on another component). And my opinion, oh well, I do not have money to buy hifi right now – but I would buy a receiver. I would like to listen radio on such device. And what is your opinion?

My favourite internet radio stations are and Piano Whisperings and one fusion jazz station, I forgot now the link and the name.

No we must not forget the radio, and this is my appeal to all people who are working on radio, to give their best to make that media once more popular. Everything can be done through careful planning of all details. We simply have to have quality radio shows. And to end with Queen’s song again

Let’s hope you never leave old friend
Like all good things on you we depend
So stick around ‘cos we might miss you
When we grow tired of all this visual
You had your time – you had the power
You’ve yet to have your finest hour
Radio – radio

P.S. What is your favourite internet radio station? Share your opinion and the link here in comments please.

Why are Stradivari violins sooo good?

January 18, 2007

Believe it or not, there is opinion that it is because of borax, chemical that Stradivari used to protect wood from wood worms.

Who got such idea? Professor emeritus of Biochemistry at Texas A&M University Dr. Joseph Nagyvary. On his homepage we can read

It appears that the art of violinmaking in Cremona during the Golden Years ( ~1550-1750) was shaped by historical coincidences in wood acquisition and preservation. Stradivari and his colleagues were likely the beneficiaries of a local technology without being aware of it. For protection against woodworm and mold, chemists were known to apply a chemical solution to the surface of the wood, and this solution was often a slurry made with a powder the alchemists called “the salt of gems”. According to historical accounts from Cremona collected by V. Grivel, these sophisticated materials were provided by the local apothecary to a variety of wood workers. Presumably, neither the apothecary nor the violinmakers were conscious of the profound acoustical effect of the chemicals which were used routinely on all fine furniture.

On that site you can find mp3s that are comparing Stradivari and Nagyavary violins. For me very interesting were those comparison frequency diagrams.

Be sure to check out article Stradivari ‘owes it all to worms’ on

And what Wikipedia says on Stradivari violins, well, check out by clicking here. Also, especially interesting is article about famous violin duel in September 2003.