Monday, September 26, 2011

Hi Mommy

Hi, Mommy.

I'm your baby. You don't know me yet, I'm only a few weeks old. You're going to find out about me soon, though, I promise. Let me tell you some things about me. My name is John, and I've got beautiful brown eyes and black hair. Well, I don't have it yet, but I will when I'm born. I'm going to be your only child, and you'll call me your one and only. I'm going to grow up without a daddy mostly, but we have each other. We'll help each other, and love each other. I want to be a doctor when I grow up.

You found out about me today, Mommy! You were so excited, you couldn't wait to tell everyone. All you could do all day was smile, and life was perfect. You have a beautiful smile, Mommy. It will be the first face I will see in my life, and it will be the best thing I see in my life. I know it already. ... Today was the day you told Daddy. You were so excited to tell him about me! ...He wasn't happy, Mommy. He kind of got angry. I don't think that you noticed, but he did. He started to talk about something called wedlock, and money, and bills, and stuff I don't think I understand yet. You were still happy, though, so it was okay. Then he did something scary, Mommy. He hit you. I could feel you fall backward, and your hands flying up to protect me. I was okay... but I was very sad for you. You were crying then, Mommy. That's a sound I don't like. It doesn't make me feel good. It made me cry, too. He said sorry after, and he hugged you again. You forgave him, Mommy, but I'm not sure if I do. It wasn't right. You say he loves you... why would he hurt you? I don't like it, Mommy. ... ... ... Finally, you can see me! Your stomach is a little bit bigger, and you're so proud of me! You went out with your mommy to buy new clothes, and you were so so so happy. You sing to me, too. You have the most beautiful voice in the whole wide world. When you sing is when I'm happiest. And you talk to me, and I feel safe. So safe. You just wait and see, Mommy. When I am born I will be perfect just for you. I will make you proud, and I will love you with all of my heart.
... ... ... ... ... ...
I can move my hands and feet now, Mommy. I do it because you put your hands on your belly to feel me, and I giggle. You giggle, too. I love you, Mommy.

Daddy came to see you today, Mommy. I got really scared. He was acting funny and he wasn't talking right. He said he didn't want you. I don't know why, but that's what he said. And he hit you again. I got angry, Mommy. When I grow up I promise I won't let you get hurt! I promise to protect you. Daddy is bad. I don't care if you think that he is a good person, I think he's bad. But he hit you, and he said he didn't want us. He doesn't like me. Why doesn't he like me, Mommy?

You didn't talk to me tonight, Mommy. Is everything okay?

It's been three days since you saw Daddy. You haven't talked to me or touched me or anything since that. Don't you still love me, Mommy? I still love you. I think you feel sad. The only time I feel you is when you sleep. You sleep funny, kind of curled up on your side. And you hug me with your arms, and I feel safe and warm again. Why don't you do that when you're awake, any more?

I'm 21 weeks old today, Mommy. Aren't you proud of me? We're going somewhere today, and it's somewhere new. I'm excited. It looks like a hospital, too. I want to be a doctor when I grow up, Mommy. Did I tell you that? I hope you're as excited as I am. I can't wait.

...Mommy, I'm getting scared. Your heart is still beating, but I don't know what you are thinking. The doctor is talking to you. I think something's going to happen soon. I'm really, really, really scared, Mommy. Please tell me you love me. Then I will feel safe again. I love you!

Mommy, what are they doing to me!? It hurts! Please make them stop! It feels bad! Please, Mommy, please please help me! Make them stop!

Don't worry Mommy, I'm safe. I'm in heaven with the angels now. They told me what you did, and they said it's called an abortion.

Why, Mommy? Why did you do it? Don't you love me any more? Why did you get rid of me? I'm really, really, really sorry if I did something wrong, Mommy. I love you, Mommy! I love you with all of my heart. Why don't you love me? What did I do to deserve what they did to me? I want to live, Mommy! Please! It really, really hurts to see you not care about me, and not talk to me. Didn't I love you enough? Please say you'll keep me, Mommy! I want to live smile and watch the clouds and see your face and grow up and be a doctor. I don't want to be here, I want you to love me again! I'm really really really sorry if I did something wrong. I love you!

I love you, Mommy.

Every abortion is just…

One more heart that was stopped.

Two more eyes that will never see.

Two more hands that will never touch.

Two more legs that will never run.

One more mouth that will never speak.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

God bless the Cistercians (Trappists)

I have so much respect for the Monastic way of life, and especially for those who continue to wear the habit in this day and age. Power to all you monks and nuns! What a noble, glorious, and infinitely blessed vocation you have! May my future little ecclesia domestica be inspired by your example.

Official Website

The Catholic Encyclopedia on Cistercians

On of the best movies EVER

Chant and their history

Testamentum Eternum

In Timore Dei

Life of Cistercian nuns in Wisconsin

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tempo Markings

Fixed Tempo
Prestissimo ~ As fast as possible
Presto ~ Very fast
Allegro ~ Fast, quickly
Allegretto ~ Moderately quickly
Moderato ~ Moderately paced
Andantino ~ Moderately slowly
Andante ~ Slow but moving
Adagio/lento ~ Slow
Larghetto ~ very slow but moving
Largo ~ very slow and broad
Grave ~ very slow and heavy

Variable tempo
Ritardando ~ Gradually slower
Rallentando ~ Gradually slower and broader
Ritenudo ~ Suddenly slower
Allargando ~ Gradually slower and louder
Calando ~ Gradually slower and softer
Sostenudo ~ Sustaining
Accelerando ~ Gradually faster
Stringendo ~ Gradually faster and hastening
Piu allegro ~ more lively
Piu mosso ~ more motion
Meno mosso ~ less motion
Morendo ~ Dying away
Tempo rubato ~ taken freely
A piacere ~ at pleasure
Tempo giusto ~ in exact tempo
Alla misura ~ strict tempo
Senza misura ~ moving freely
A tempo ~ previous tempo
Tempo primo ~ first tempo
L'stesso tempo ~ same tempo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And again, because I am a nerd,...

I decided to write down my notes from my Theory and Analysis class from this semester so far.

The section we are working on now is the first wave of new tonalities in the early twentieth century, beginning with Debussy and his Impressionistic works, and into the American experimentalists (Ives, Cowell, Cage). Mostly, this chapter focuses on the materials and techniques of these composers.

No one can fully understand 20th century music without a first look at Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and his influences. His compositional style has its roots in tonal harmonies, but he ventured forth into very new territory, a bridge from the extended tonalities of the 19th century into what many refer to as "atonality". His style is generally referred to as Impressionism after the name given to the art style of Claude Monet and his contemporaries in which there was a profound fascination with color. Debussy expressed this fascination in music through the use of new harmonies, instrumentation and rhythmic devices.

Example: Debussy. "La Soiree Danse Grenade" from Estampes

Scale Materials

1. Diatonic Modes

Part of the innovative use of new scale materials and chord structures was a renewed interest in the church modes, or the diatonic modes. A diatonic mode is a scale built off any note in the diatonic scale, and only containing notes in that diatonic scale.  In the key of C, the diatonic modes are
  • Inonian - C
  • Dorian - D
  • Phrygian - E
Example: Debussy, "Girl with the Flaxen Hair"
  • Lydian - F
  • Mixolydian - G
  • Aeolian - A
  • Locrian - B
2. Pentatonic Scales
  • Any five note scale
  1. Major Pentatonic
  2. Minor Pentatonic
  3. Hirajoshi
  • Many, I am sure, will recognize the Hirajoshi pentatonic because of it's place in a very famous Japanese folk melody, Sakura.
3. Synthetic Scales

A synthetic scale is a scale built by a composer's imagination. These three are very common and have a symmetrical structure.
  • Whole Tone - composed of adjacent major 2nds (Debussy's favorite)
Example: Stravinsky, "Danse russe" from Petrouchka
  • Octatonic - alternating minor and major 2nds
  • Hexatonic - alternating minor 2nds and minor 3rds
 A scale that Debussy favored is the lydian-mixolydian scale, which is  two juxtaposed major-minor seventh chords with roots a whole step apart

Chord Structures

1. Extended Tertian Harmony
  • 9th, 11th, 13th chords
Example: Ravel, "Rigaudon" from Le Tombeau de Couperin

2. Polyharmony
  • polychords - two or more chords from different harmonic areas sounded simultaneously. The elements of a polychord are called chordal units, and a special kind of polychord is known as the split-third chord. This is a major and a minor chord built on the same root sounded simultaneously
  • bitonality/ polytonality - two or more key centers heard at the same time
3. Chord/Scale connections
  • In this new musical language, the aural effect of sonorities is solidified by scale reference, doubling, spacing and their arrangement, rather then traditional tertian harmonies

4. Quartal and Secundal Harmony
  • Quartal harmony - sonority derived from stacked 4ths, and closely tied to quintal harmony, which is stacked 5ths. There is a close relationship to quartal and quintal harmonies, but the aural effect can be quite different.
Example: Hindemith, Flute Sonata, II
  • Secundal Harmony - chordal sonority derived from stacked 2nds. Three or more adjacent pitches in this relationship is referred to as a tone cluster
Example: Cowell, "The Tides of Manaunaun" from Tales of Our Countryside

5. Parallelism
  • Parallel motion of intervals through a scale. Can be chromatic (intervals do not change values) or diatonic (intervals align themselves to the scale)
Examples: Debussy, "Fetes" from Nocturnes
                                    "La Cathedrale engloutie" from Preludes
                  Bartok, Concerto for Orchestra, II

6. Pandiatonicism
- An attempt to equalize all the tones of the diatonic scale, so one one can tell which one is the tonal center

Example: Barber Excursions, III

Rhythm and Meter
  • Hemiola - an interaction between rhythm and meter that implies a 3:2 ratio
  • Asymmetrical meters - irregularly subdivided meters
Example: Adler, Capriccio
  • Composite meter - meters which can be divided into smaller aural meters (usually part of asymmetrical meters)
  • Mixed Meter - rapidly changing meter signatures
  • Displaced Accent - shifting the accent to a weak beat
  • Polyrhythm - Two or more strikingly different rhythms sounded simultaneously 
Example: Stravinsky, "The Shrovetide Fair," from Petrouchka
  • Ametric Music - music without a regular series of recurring pulses
  • Metric Modulation - an immediate change in tempo created by equating a particular note value to another note value, usually located in the next bar
  • Added Value - Rhythmic irregularity created through addition of a note value or rest to a rhythmic figure
Example: Messiaen, "Dance of Fury for Seven Trumpets",  from Quarter for the End of Time
  • Nonretrogradable rhythms - rhythms that are the same played forward or backward
  • Fibonacci sequence - an infinite sequence of numbers in which each new number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers
  • Golden ratio - a proportion of ration 1.618:1, found in nature and in art and mathematics. The golden section is an area about .618 of the way through the piece which is the most balanced for a climax.
  • Polytempo - simultaneous use of two or more strikingly contrasted tempos
  • Ostinato - a musical pattern that is repeated many times in succession
  • Isorhythm - a modern term for a rhythmic technique associated with Medieval motets and masses. Today it combines a repeated rhythmic figure (talea) and a repeated pitch sequence of a different length (color)
  • Tempo Canons - Canons in which individual voices are presented at different tempos

Monday, September 19, 2011

An Investment of Love

On building genuine relationships

In the book Same Kind of Different as Me, Deborah Hall was a true light to all dark places in which she walked. She had a spark and her spark was contagious, because instead of staying safely in her personal bubble, she ventured forth into the souls of all she met, “infect(ing) em with love.” Her ministry was effective and life-changing because she made a personal investment of time and energy in the people she met at the mission, especially Denver. If we wish to make a difference in the lives of others, we must be consumed with a sincere desire to know and love them fully, to become part of their lives.
Any interaction between persons can be called an encounter, but while investing in the lives of others, every encounter must become an engagement, a relationship. Denver's analogy of “catch and release” illustrates perfectly Blessed John Paul II's idea of the personalistic norm, that all interactions and relationships must be focused on the persons involved. The person must cease to become a brushstroke of color on the canvas of your life, and be “blown up” into life-sized proportions, filling the screen with their unique and irreplaceable character. In our engagements with others, we must treat each and every individual as though they were the only person in the world.
When you meet someone for the first time, don't just pass them by, averting your eyes and ignoring them. Look into their eyes and smile. Even if it's just for a second, make every moment the highlight of someone's day, a someone in whom the image and likeness of God is crying out for love. We must also not forget those closest to us, our family, who strangely are most often the recipients of our uncharitable words and deeds. We must go the extra mile to imbue our parents, our siblings, our spouse, or our children with the truest sense that they are important to us. In his opening convocation address to the freshman class of Benedictine College, Dr. Robert George said that “each one of us is an investment of love”, and we are most profoundly an investment of divine love. Let us all, then, capitalize on that investment of love by coming to know that beautiful an unique person for whom divine blood was shed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Poem of the Day

Lady, as Thy fair Swan

-Gerald Bullett

Lady, as thy fair swan doth in self-love 
His clear reflection prove
So thou, again, 
If thou wilt look without distain
Shalt profit in that kind
Here in my heart thine own perfection find

Yet prithee look not long in me thy glass
Lest thy proud eyes, alas
Enamored be
And fall to loving that they see;
So should we live and die 
Rivals for thy possession, thou and I


Friday, September 16, 2011

Voice of the Martyrs

"In a surprise decision, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Aug. 28 invited Turkey’s Christian and Jewish communities to reclaim long-confiscated religious property. The decree came 75 years after the Turkish government seized land and buildings owned by the Greek, Armenian, Syriac and Jewish communities. The seized property included schools, churches, cemeteries, stores, hospitals, orphanages, houses, apartment buildings and factories, which the Turkish state had re-registered as public or foundation property. The new decree states that owners of property that was sold by the state to third parties will be reimbursed at market value. Thank the Lord for this development. Pray that the transition will go smoothly and that there will be no resistance or negative reaction to the decree." - VOM Weekly Prayer update

Praise be to God! Many blessings on the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and may God grant him many years!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Karamazov Unrestraint

In honor of the Feast of the Exultation of the Life Giving Cross

My first reaction upon meeting someone who is homeless or in dire financial straights runs along two different avenues. In my experience, there is a way to be poor and suffer homelessness with a profound dignity and there is also poverty which draws out the meanness in man, makes him petty and fills him with despair In the first case, I am humbled and encouraged by the sight of hope and virtue in the midst of suffering. The idea of redemptive suffering is central to the Faith, and for those who meet their homelessness and trials with dignity and virtue, their salvation is being worked out here on this earth. Their purgatory is a twice blessed one because it was done in out midst, so that we might witness the supreme joy of purification.

In the latter case, however, there is a constant, unchanging question that springs to my lips every time I encounter deprivation and despair . Like Dimitri in Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, I ask the question “why?” Why is there despair, why is there poverty? Why do people cry and weep, where is their food? How can one have more than another, when that other lies starving? And I want to do something, so that there will be no more children crying, no more tears from anyone from now on, and it must be done immediately, without delay!

Jesus said in Mark 12:17 “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick...” In His earthly ministry he sought out the marginalized with a passion and brought the brightness of His Self into their lives. If we are to be Christians, little Christs, we must also bring His Divine Self into the hearts and lives of those we encounter by our actions and words. The poor are ever close to Christ because they share in His suffering, and if we would share in His Glory we must also share His Cross. Therefore, let us do as Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta and her Missionaries of Charity, who lived in full communion with those to whom they ministered, going out in love with Karamzovian unrestraint.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Self Knowledge

Overcoming Personal Prejudice

Personal prejudice is a cancer in the heart that feeds on ignorance, a weed that chokes the true fruit of charity through selfishness, pride, and social convention. While prejudice is something everyone experiences in themselves at some time, it is possible to overcome such a divisive agent.

The first step in confronting personal prejudice is to recognize that one has these prejudices and recognize a need to change. After this, an excellent way to follow up this desire for change is to do research, discover what is fact and what is fiction in what you believe about other people. For example, many Catholic and Orthodox Christians will lay down numerous theological and historical divisions that supposedly exist between these two lungs of the Church, but very few ever take the time to do extensive research into the teachings of the common Church fathers and saints or examine the historical motives of actions which, through misunderstandings and misrepresentation, have driven us apart. Ignorance breeds bigotry, and thus education is an essential tool in overcoming prejudice.

The most radical way to confront one's personal prejudices is to live with or have constant close contact with a person who possesses the irksome traits. For example, a person who is irrationally prejudiced against obese people could consider taking an obese person as a roommate.
There are many singular ways for someone struggling with personal prejudice to combat this dark disposition of their heart, but to be truly successful in this endeavor, one should draw from multiple methods and resources. Micah 6:8 reads, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” The bible paints out quite clearly for us that the Lord calls each and everyone of us to do justly in our actions, with a spirit of kindness, what is written in humility on our hearts. The natural law of love is inscribed on the souls of all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, weight or any other aspects of the person created in the image and likeness of God, and it is also written on our hearts to recognize this glory, treating all with the same dignity and respect as though they were Jesus or the Blessed Mother themselves, come to visit us in the disguise which challenges us the most to love. The love of Christ is demanding and as Christians, called to the imitation of Christ, we must follow Him in His outreach to the poor, the marginalized, the sinful, and the unwanted, not only with our actions, but bringing them into the sanctuary of our hearts, making a home there for Jesus in all his disguises.

Photo Editing

And here is another one.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Photo Editing

Hmm, maybe I am not so bad at this after all.