Archive for the 'music' category

ccmixter: Red Hat soundscape, shared with you

If you’ve ever watched a video from Red Hat Magazine, you’ve probably heard the soundtracks in the background. Whether it’s the remixable Birdsong video or one of our other interviews or overviews, the music we use is often created in-house by our soundscape specialist. Napoleon creates custom music and animations for various Red Hat projects, as well as commercial materials and custom beats, lyrics, and compositions. In his free time he enjoys sampling 70s soul records to create beats for local hip-hop artists. And now he’s here to share some of his work with you.

Everybody wants to be heard. Some of us have a rhythm to go along with it.

I was introduced to ccmixter a couple months ago and have been hooked ever since. It is a utopia of sound for music makers and mixers alike.

From acapellas and samples to remixes, ccmixter wants you to download, sample, cut-up, and share music of all types. Some artists post entire albums for the community to remix.

Best of all, it’s all licensed under Creative Commons so there’s no worries.

Check out my page of remixes.

If you create a remix and want to get in touch with Napoleon–or just have a question–feel free to leave a comment (or contact information) on this post.

Open source for the future. Art, music, and sustainablity at Monome

My name is Adrienne, and I’m a graphic designer at Red Hat—I create meaning using type and image. The other day I stumbled upon a story involving music, sustainability, and open source. Needless to say, I was intrigued.


Fig 1. the original Monome

Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain are the artists and creators behind Monome. At first glance, this cool device is simply a white square with a grid of buttons. It produces music and the buttons light up. It seems random, but the lights and music are synchronized.

Monome is a musical interface that connects to a computer–and is controlled by the applications the computer runs. It respond to the keys being pressed, and the LEDs light up–it is, at its simplest, a programmable controller for music, video, games, or art.

The beauty of an open process allows people to build on the idea, creating more than anyone could originally imagine (just like Fedora). People have manipulated Monome to do a number of things. » Read more

JavaOne: Day 1

Today was the first official day of JavaOne. I visited a couple of non-JBoss sessions that sounded really interesting, and they were–so now I share them with you. The first is about an improved web recommendation system, and the second is for improving collaboration with your off-site coworkers.

But first, if you’re here with us…
Come visit us at the JBoss booth in the Pavilion. We’re straight back and on the right when you come through the door. Every day, we’re holding 15-minute mini-sessions in the booth on the hour. You can meet the core developers and ask your questions in person. We’ve also got JBoss t-shirts and free entitlements of JBoss Developer Studio.

Also, the JBoss technical sessions are all still ahead of us. So if you’re here at JavaOne, be sure to check them out. If you’re not, keep reading this week to hear more about what’s going on.

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Creative Commons Artist Spotlight: Philippe Mangold

In this week’s Creative Commons Artist Spotlight, we interview French artist Philippe Mangold about his CC-licensed work available at

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Creative Commons Artist Spotlight: Monsieur Madame

In this week’s Creative Commons Artist Spotlight, we interview French artists Monsieur Madame about their CC-licensed album Et Maintenant, available at

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Creative Commons Artist Spotlight: Convey

Today we’re proud to introduce a new feature: Creative Commons Artist Spotlight, which Red Hat Magazine will be producing in association with Every week, we will introduce our readers to emerging musical artists who choose to release their work under Creative Commons licenses.

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Squeezebox brings online music into your living room

Years ago, we had some great radio stations in Raleigh. One of the greatest was WRDU 106.1. They dominated the airwaves in this town for years; in fact, RDU was consistently voted one of the top rock stations in the country by readers of Rolling Stone magazine. I was one of those readers, and I looked forward to the opportunity to vote for RDU every year. They had top-notch DJs who knew their rock and roll. They were amazing at balancing music I knew and loved with music I didn’t yet know, but would come to love.

Last week, WRDU became “The Rooster” — a Clear Channel codename for “the best country music of yesterday and today, as defined by our algorithms, with no live DJs ever.” The best part: it’s not even the only station called Rooster Country 106. Clear Channel has another Rooster Country 106: WSTH in Columbus, Georgia. Not to be confused, of course, with Rooster Country 93.3 in Jacksonville, Florida — which for some reason can be found at

Some people around here are calling it the end of an era. Some people on Wikipedia are claiming that it’s a stunt, and that WRDU will be back in a few short months on the other end of the dial. Other people apparently don’t care for that interpretation of events, and have re-edited the Wikipedia entry accordingly.

And me? I was disappointed to hear about the format change, and amused to discover that it has evidently spawned a wiki war — but the reality is that, for me and a lot of people like me, RDU died years ago when Clear Channel came to town. I’ve been tuned-out of America’s radio airwaves ever since.

Just because I stopped listening to the radio, didn’t mean that I stopped loving music. It just meant that I had to go about loving it differently.

For me, and for most of my friends, that meant using the internet. Between internet radio and the file sharing revolution, I discovered that I had more opportunities than ever to discover lots of music — some of which was new, but most of which was just new to me.

These days, the online distribution of music is completely mainstream. Apple is working hard to convince everyone that it’s all about iTunes and the iPod. But there’s still a lot of room for innovation in online music delivery — and some of that innovation is happening with the help of open source development.

Slim Devices produces the Squeezebox and the Transporter, both of which are receiving rave reviews from all over for their seamless integration of online music into the home stereo environment. The magic behind both of these devices: SlimServer, a network music server available under the GPL.

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Commentary: Guitar tablature builds a market around making music

When I first wanted to write about guitar tablature, I’d intended it as a feature about the Online Guitar Archive (OLGA) and the community that has grown around the site. But in the week that I began researching, OLGA went offline. That’s when it became a different story. You can read what happened here.

I started playing guitar when I was six and took lessons until I was 15. I stopped playing three lessons after I backed our pickup truck into my guitar teacher’s car. Learning to play the guitar suddenly became a lot less important than learning how to drive.

Until about 18 months ago when watching my 15-year-old nephew shred AC/DC riffs with my old guitar reminded me how much I used to enjoy playing. So I started again, but after a few days I’d exhausted the short list of songs I remembered how to play. Somehow “More than Words” and “Bad Medicine” haven’t quite held on to their late-80s street cred.

Just when I was ready to push the guitar back under the bed, I did a Google search for “Radiohead” and “guitar” and found OLGA.

Which brings me to the irony of the publishing industry shutting down these sites.

In the time that I’ve been playing again, I have become a very good sheet music customer. I’ve bought a stack of books and magazines, some songbooks, some instructional, all with the official, authorized versions of songs–none of which I’d have purchased if not for inspiration from OLGA. Not one.

So in my experience, OLGA didn’t replace sheet music sales, it created them.

Which begs the question. Was OLGA creating a market bigger than the one it was claimed to be taking away? Guitar sales are at an all-time high in the UK. And here in the US, superstores like Guitar Center are raking in profits. Two years ago I wouldn’t have bothered to walk in a guitar store, now I do it every weekend.

Of course my experience may be unique. It is possible that tab sites are taking money away from artists, songwriters, and the organizations that support them. In all seriousness, no one wants that to happen. I love music. I buy CDs, go to live shows, take home t-shirts. And I want the people who write and perform my favorite music to get paid for it. Otherwise they might stop.

But I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the tab sites were allowed to peacefully co-exist in a world with real sheet music. To consider these sites as simplified, community-generated, typically incomplete or even incorrect versions of these songs. Like sheet music training wheels.

It’s easy to appreciate the quality of accurate and professionally transcribed sheet music. Guitar players know there’s a big difference between the quality and completeness of songs on the free tab sites and the ones you buy in books. (Assuming the free versions weren’t copied directly from the sheet music.)

Guitarists also know the number of songs that have been officially transcribed is small and generally limited to mainstream music. I can’t imagine a song from a local indie band will ever be worth a professional transcriber’s time. So why not make a business out of it. Let the community tab, and find a way for the artists to get paid. Whether through advertising, subscriptions, whatever.

The law is the law. And while the music publishing industry may claim copyright infringement, and they may succeed in that claim, especially when the lyrics are involved–I can’t help but wonder if they’re missing a bigger opportunity.

In the same way that they tried to stop sheet music sales. Or railed against the cassette mix tape. Or when former Motion Picture Association President Jack Valenti said the “VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.”

This industry is one that historically resists change, is ultimately is forced to evolve, only to find themselves in a market more lucrative than the one it started with. Now might be the time to try evolving.

Jamendo: Music the way it was meant to be

Pioneering musicians have been releasing music into the Creative Commons since the first versions of these licenses were first developed almost four years ago. In the early days, it wasn’t easy to find this new “open source music”; persistent Google searches would turn up pockets of music here and there, but it took real dedication to find music under a Creative Commons license. And when you did, honestly, a lot of it wasn’t very good.

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Making music with Fedora Core 5

I never promised you a rose garden–that was somebody else. However, I have just succeeded in making my laptop an Audio and MIDI workstation using Rosegarden, and I managed to do it all this morning, just before lunchtime. If that sounds promising, read on.

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