Author Archive

“Opening” from Glassworks by Philip Glass – Corrected Score

I was under the impression that the Sheet Music Plus company was a reputable source of musical scores when I bought a PDF copy of Philip Glass’ Opening from them. I was wrong! The score had at least 6 mistakes! I struggled for months with it, until I listened to Glass play it (many, many times) and identified the errors. This was not a quick process, mostly because I trusted that Sheet Music Plus must be selling accurate copies. It took me from last August 2022 until May 2023 to get it all figured out.

When I contacted Sheet Music Plus to notify them of the mistakes and request a refund, they dismissed me out of hand. There were no refunds on PDFs, period, even defective ones. After I posted several negative online reviews, then they replied that I should have notified them immediately. Well, I just couldn’t figure out the problem immediately, I’m not that great a musician!

So, for anyone else who’s been burned on this score, here’s a corrected PDF. If Philip Glass requests its removal, I will comply. “Opening” from Glassworks by Philip Glass – Corrected Score

The Zhaltar at Makers Day

The Zhaltar won for Best Thing That Makes Sound on Makers Day at the Hillsdale Public Library!

The Zhaltar display at Hillsdale Public Library
Playing the Zhaltar

Customized Sax Case

Sometimes the case you have is not optimal for the sax that needs to fit in it: the case could be too generic, it could be old and in need of repair. It could be a low-A bari case that your Bb bari is swimming around in. The example I am using is creating a snug home for a C-melody sax out of a tenor sax case.

To create my custom-fit case, I bought some new lining fabric (I found some cool leopard-print velvet on-line) and an aerosol can of expandable insulation foam from the hardware store. I draped the fabric inside the case with lots of spare fabric to fit into the folds of the case. Then I uncovered one side of the case and sprayed about a 1″ layer of foam all over the inner well where the sax lies. I covered the foam back up with the fabric, then uncovered the other side and repeated the process, filling the well about 1″ deep. This used up the can and I covered the wet foam with the fabric.

Then, with a deep breath, I put the sax into the case, closed it and wrapped it with wire to keep it closed.

24 hours later I opened it: the foam had expanded enough to conform to the shape of the sax, but not so much I couldn’t get the sax out. Whew!

I trimmed the edge of the cloth to about 1/4″ inside the case zipper, then glued down the edges to the old liner fabric with transparent glue. There are a couple of pockets inside the case for the neck and mouthpiece, I cut and glued the fabric to fit as well as possible into them.

The end result is a perfect fit for my sax with absolutely no movement when it is inside the case, plus a custom look for the interior. Here is a photo:


Swabbing out a bari sax

And they said it couldn’t be done!

Homemade Leak Light

For occasional home use, it’s handy for a sax player to be able to check for pad leaks. Here’s one I built for just a few dollars, it’s long enough to check my bari and skinny enough I don’t have to remove any pads to use it.

Leak Light

I started with a coat-hanger, straightened it out and bent a small crook at one end.
I wrapped it with two-strand wire. The gauge is not too important. Both voltage and current are low.

At the unbent end, I soldered a battery adapter. 9-volt is convenient because you can just clip it on to turn it on.

At the bent end, I glued a grain of wheat bulb. I used a 12 volt lamp with wire leads. Using it with a 9-volt battery will help it last forever.

Leak Light Bulb

The main down-side is you have to use it in a dark room. Works for me!

Official Facebook plugin for WordPress – SSL Error Solved

This took a day to get working, mainly because of a badly worded Facebook error message. After installing the Facebook plugin on a site, an error message appeared at the top of every Dashboard page:
“SSL must be enabled on your server for Facebook Social Publisher to work.” Seems clear enough doesn’t it?

This WP installation was on a virtual host server, so I studied up on configuring SNI using mod_ssl, created the virtual host section in the Apache config file, bought an SSL cert, installed it, debugged permissions to get the whole thing working. 1 day gone.

Except that didn’t fix the error message! It was still there on each dashboard page. Googling revealed no useful information. So I headed over to the Facebook Developer site to file a bug report. Their bug report form had a bug in it: it would insist you had to enter information in the Tag field, even though I already had done so.

I finally got the answer on the WordPress support forums. It’s nothing to do with SNI or SSL or any of the above. You have to install the curl program to work with PHP on the server. I did so and the error message went away. Talk about a misleading error message… Thanks for wasting my time, Facebook!

New Music Concert Series

Early-onset dementia? Hereditary insanity? Whatever the cause, I am hosting a new music series starting this September. The Ivanhoe Artists of Paterson are allowing me to use the Ivanhoe Wheelhouse, a 19th century mill building with excellent acoustics. All concerts take place on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 1pm.

The focus for this series is a cross-genre survey of experimental music, including free jazz, new classical, electronic and ambient styles. Most of the musicians will be from New Jersey, but I’ll also be showcasing some artists from New York and Pennsylvania.

If this sounds suitably quixotic, please give the Facebook page a Like, or go to the web site and subscribe and you’ll get concert announcements as they happen. Thanks!

Facebook: musiXplore FB

Web: musiXplore main site

M-Audio NRV-10 – machine gun sound, bad caps

I’ve had my M-Audio NRV-10 Firewire interface for over 4 years. It’s a combination mixer and audio interface, which I find quit handy. Last time I went to plug it in, I heard a loud repeating percussive static coming from the monitors. My first thought was that the AC-DC adaptor was bad. It’s 12VDC 3500mA, not a size you can get at Radio Shack, but I had another with a larger amperage. Plugged it in, similar sound.

After digging around on-line, I discovered this is becoming close to a common problem for NRV-10s. For some period of time, they used bad electrolytic capacitors (see Capacitor Plague). These capacitors die within a few years of manufacture. After M-Audio discovered the problem, they extended the warranty to 3 years, but my machine went down after that. I suspect that in a few years there will be very few functioning NRV-10s from before 2008.

There is a helpful video on Youtube that details how to open the unit to check the internal power supply board. The photo shows what my bad board looks like:

NRV-10 power supply with leaking and bulging capacitors
















8 out of 9 caps are leaking black goo and/or have bulging tops. Only the one in the upper right corner is still OK.

M-Audio is owned by Avid now. Avid charges for ALL tech support contacts. They want $14.95 for me to tell them I have one of their defective products. As an alternative strategy, I registered on their forum, found the thread for the bad capacitor problem and found the recommended information below:

We are currently out of stock on these capacitors, but in case you or anyone else needs the info, here is the information you’ll need to replace the capacitors on the NRV10 power board:
Remove the 8 capacitors located at C5, C6, C9, C10, C12, C13, C15 and C16 and replace with PANASONIC- EEU-FM1E681 (Capacitor, Electrolytic, 25V, 680uF, Low ESR, 20%, 10x20x5mm)
Remove the capacitor located at C8 and replace with PANASONIC – EEU-FC1J181S (Capacitor, Electrolytic, 63V, 180uF, Low ESR, 20%, 12.5x15x5mm)

I decided to substitute the Panasonics with Nichicon caps. Nichicon has a good reputation. I also increased the voltage rating on the ones I got to give them more robust power handling and longevity. Nichicon UHE2A181MHD (35V) for the 8 caps C5 – C16 and Nichicon UHV1V681MPD (100V) for C8. These cost $1 each at Mouser ( instead of $0.67 each for the Panasonics. They are slightly taller, but there is loads of room in the NRV-10 case.

Mirror of VL1 patch site added

Ken Berry has been maintaining a page of patches for the VL1/VL1m since 1995. He has very graciously allowed me to mirror this part of his site, ensuring better availablity of these patches to VL1 users. VL1 Patch Mirror

Tedesco Studios

My band ArtCrime recorded a new album for the Unseen Rain label this week and the sessions were at Tedesco Studios in Paramus. Tom Tedesco has been running this homey place for 20 years. I recommend it for several reasons.

He has a really nice selection of choice instruments. A very good Steinway, a Hammond B3 and a funky old Wurly E.P., among others. His gear is very good: a classic 1940s Neumann condenser, a beautiful Neve console, individual headphone mixes for each performer. The location is ideal for anyone coming from Manhattan or New Jersey.

But the best, I saved for last. He has a 20th anniversary special on: $250 for an entire day. You can record for a week and it will cost the same as 1 day at a studio in the city. Tom is knowledgeable, laid-back and a pleasure to deal with.

Tedesco Studios