This poster has written this Metafilter post of music specially to introduce you to the instruments of the orchestra. There are four teams of players; the STRINGS, the WOODWIND, the BRASS, and the PERCUSSION. Each of these four teams uses instruments which have a family likeness. They make roughly the same kind of sound in the same way. The STRINGS are played with a bow or plucked by the fingers. The WOODWIND are blown by the breath. The BRASS are blown too. The PERCUSSION are banged. Now we have taken the whole Orchestra to pieces. We have no intention of putting it together again. [more inside]
Art restoration is probably best left to the professionals, as vividly demonstrated by an elderly Spanish woman's unauthorized attempt to repair a damaged fresco, “Ecce Homo,” by painter Elias Garcia Martinez. The results speak for themselves.
Vanishing Act. Paul Collins tells the story of Barbara Newhall Follett. The daughter of authors Wilson Follett and Helen Follett, Barbara began writing at the age of 4. As she grew older, she developed a private language of her own, evolved from her view of the world of nature. Her first book, The House Without Windows, was published when she was twelve. In December 1939 Barbara walked out of her apartment and was never seen again. "Some prodigies flourish, some disappear. But Barbara did leave one last comment to the world about writing—a brief piece in a 1933 issue of Horn Book that earnestly recommends that parents give their own children typewriters. 'Perhaps there would simply be a terrific wholesale destruction of typewriters,' she admits. 'An effort would have to be made to impress upon children that a typewriter is magic.'" The entirety of her known writings now resides in six boxes at the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (via longreads)
The Portsmouth Sinfonia to return? In 1974, Gavin Bryars rounded up a group of novices and enthusiastic amateurs, called them the Portsmouth Sinfonia and let them loose in a recording studio. The result: some of the most disturbing classical music ever committed to tape. Intrigued by the concept, the legendary Brian Eno signed up and played clarinet for the orchestra, adding a certain star cachet to the cacophony. On the back of sympathetic TV coverage, there followed a now-legendary concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. Thirty years later, there are plans to release Portsmouth Sinfonia's output on compact disc by way of celebration. A brazen attempt for quck laughs and publicity, a serious exploration of entropy in the musical medium, or simply an early entry in the torture tape experiment?
If you don't expect the Olympics to keep it real, you may appreciate the Nemean Games.
Amateurs, Mere Amateurs still make significant contributions to astronomy [The Canadian Laval group's website is typically enthusiastic] and may yet make a difference in other sciences, according to Freeman J. Dyson in this review of Steve Guttenberg lookalike Timothy Ferris's latest book [Here's an enticing glimpse of his home-made Rocky Hill Observatory.]. I wonder just how much easier it's becoming for amateurs to contribute to specific areas of scientific knowledge? Or is it, in fact, increasingly more difficult? And would it still be strictly limited to the observational sciences?