BIT Studio

January 1, 2018

Keith Loach

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 1:31 pm

Recent & Upcoming Paper Presentations

Toronto Public Library Seminar
June 13, 2017 – S. Walter Stewart Library, Toronto
International Conference of Dalcroze Studies
August 3, 2017 – Laval University, Quebec City
The Dunfield Retirement Residence Speaker Series
August 19, 2017 – The Dunfield, Toronto
International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation
Sept 13, 2017 – University of Guelph (Jazz Festival), Guelph
Toronto Public Library Seminar
Nov 3, 2017 – Don Mills Library, Toronto
Toronto Public Library Seminar
May 2, 2018 – Northern District Library, Toronto


February 1, 2018

Music & Brain

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 7:15 am

  I will be delivering a paper, Music and the Brain, as part of the Toronto Public Library Health Series on Wednesday May 2, 2018, 6:30-7:30 pm, at the Northern District Library (Yonge & Eglinton). Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, creativity, improvisation, Dalcroze, health care policy. Everyone welcome!

October 1, 2017

Musicking, Science and Health

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 7:07 am

  Join us! Music and the Brain. Friday 11/3/17, 2-3 pm, Don Mills Library. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, creativity, improvisation, Dalcroze, health care policy.

September 5, 2017


Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 1:07 pm

I will be presenting a paper on Music & Brain at the GUELPH JAZZ FESTIVAL Colloquium (International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation – on Wed Sept 13, 2017 at Guelph University. Great jazz, int’l speakers. Join us! #musiceducation #musictherapy #neuromusic

June 9, 2017

Music and the Brain

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 10:21 am

  Join us! Music and the Brain. Tues 6/13/17, 7-8 pm, S. Walter Stewart Library. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, creativity, improv, health care policy.

April 15, 2017

Dalcroze Improv Paper

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 9:15 am

 International Conference of Dalcroze Studies. July 30 – August 3, 2017. Laval University, Quebec City. I will be presenting a paper: Improvisation in Neurorhythmics. Join Us!


September 6, 2016

Hertz Too Much

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 3:10 pm

 The sweet spot of intra-brain communication is 40 Hz (Gamma waves) and studies have shown that people with certain forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, have decreased brain activity in the 40 Hz area. Recent research by Lee Bartel et al has shown that exposure to 40 Hz vibrations in as little as six sessions of 30 minutes each can have a significant impact on mental stability, specifically an average gain of 12 per cent on the total Alzheimer’s test (Young, 2016).

The standardization of A at 440 Hz was established in the 1930s so that recording studios in New York could sync harmonically with recording studios in Los Angeles. Before then, there was no worldwide standard on pitch. A432 was commonly used because it was based on a C256, which has binary implications (that is, two to the eighth power is 256). But every country, even every city or concert house, had their own opinion regarding pitch.

When the note A is tuned to 440 Hz, low E on the piano is at 41.2 Hz and low Eb is at 38.9 Hz. So, 40 Hz is located about halfway between E and Eb. What are the implications of a low E being close to 40 Hz? Many stringed instruments have an E as the lowest and/or most important string, such as the lute, guitar, sitar, double bass, and electric bass guitar. And what about chanting and meditation? What pitch was the original OM? Is a low E at 40 Hz where our forefathers intended our E to be?

Ancient medical practices were not developed without reason; acupuncture is effective and some herbal medicines, typically created over time through trial and error, inexplicably work. So what about sound? Did early civilizations naturally gravitate to a 40 Hz fundamental in pursuit of inner peace and harmony? Did our society lose sight of the holy grail of pitches to accommodate the needs of the recording industry?

A427 is where A would be if a low E is set to 40Hz. Setting A to 427 Hz is not a major deviation from the norm: In the early 1700s, Joseph Sauveur was the first to propose a standardized pitch, and he recommended A427; The Paris Opera House in 1811 used A427 for their orchestral tuning. Given that the sweet spot of intra-brain communication is 40 Hz, is an A set at 440 Hz too high? If 40 Hz is the optimal frequency for brain connectivity, perhaps we should move to an A427 standard so that our brains are given the best environment for success.

As an interesting exercise in brain-massaging pleasure, I recommend listening to Mozart’s Adagio for Violin and Orchestra K261, written in the key of E, then remixed through the magic of 21st century technology (that is, use an iTunes app to lower the pitch by one half of a semitone) to be…wait for it…Mozart’s Adagio K261, written in the key of E and performed in the key of Eb and a half.

As mentioned earlier, the Paris Opera House in 1811 tuned to A427. It would not be a stretch to imagine that the premiere of Mozart’s Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra, composed in 1776, was performed using an orchestral tuning of A427 featuring a low E at an enlightening and brain-friendly frequency. Enjoy your 40 Hz fix!

May 9, 2016

Solar Office

Filed under: Solar — webmaster @ 11:10 pm

  The Armageddon-Lite Project was conceived after the December 2013 power failure in Toronto. We were without heat for three days in subzero weather and we decided that if we had had heat, life would have been (relatively) comfortable. Our furnace is a natural gas boiler-radiator system that requires 460 watts of electricity to drive the PLC, circulating pump, and exhaust fan. I put together specifications for a solar-driven battery backup system to run our furnace, freezer, iPhones and iPads in the case of a prolonged power failure.

Our current electrical backup system has five solar panels (500 watts), two 100Ah deep cycle 12 volt batteries, one 1000 watt pure sine wave AC inverter, one 1200 watt gas generator, and one 12 amp 120VAC-to-12VDC inverter. The panels typically generate 8 amps of power in medium sunlight, which means that in Canada (three or four hours of direct sunlight per day), the system can generate about 25 amp-hours of electricity per day. In emergencies, the system is capable of running the furnace on solar power through the daylight hours. At night, two or three hours of gas generator operation top-up the batteries sufficiently to run the furnace through the night.

The original non-emergency version of Armageddon-Lite operation was fairly simple. My intent was to power a mini-fridge (230 watts) and mini-freezer (240 watts) every day. While the off-grid system was adequate for powering the fridge and freezer in daylight hours, the 24/7 nature of the appliances required grid-powered battery charging for four hours per night to charge and maintain the battery level. Although operationally successful, it was a lot of work to monitor and sustain.

So… the current state of Armageddon-Lite, non-emergency mode, is powering my home office. I turn on the 1000 watt inverter in the morning and this powers my computer, three lights, a single-cup coffeemaker (yay!), and minor office peripherals throughout the day. Also, on most days I am able to plug my hot water tank into the system. The office and water heater draw less power than the solar panels provide and at the end of the day, the batteries are fully charged (i.e. over 13 volts) and ready for the next day’s use.

The Armageddon-Lite Project is an evolving work-in-progress. Our next step involves the addition of one more deep cycle battery to increase the capacity of evening storage. The new hardware will connect easily to the existing framework and provide sufficient capacity to run the home office, the mini-fridge, and the mini-freezer without requiring nighttime inverter-to-battery support from the grid.

It is not much, but it keeps us prepared for the next power outage and maintains a small portion of the house as officially “off-grid.” Fun stuff!


November 30, 2015

There Yet?

Filed under: Composts — webmaster @ 7:28 am

  Approaching end of PhD 01 (first term, first year) with papers, projects, presentations, and panic attacks. Suffering from severe impostor syndrome! Many thanks to family and friends for your unending support and caring.



September 30, 2015

Complex Adaptive Systems

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 6:14 am

  Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) has been applied across many industries to create infrastructures that identify and respond to incremental change in an organized and timely fashion. Used in professional sectors such as manufacturing, stock market, computer algorithms, health care, and economics, it has proven itself successful in identifying and quantifying core values and producing tangible results.

Dr. Sholom Glouberman and Dr. Brenda Zimmerman (recognized expert on Complexity Theory and former Director of the York University Schulich School of Business Health Industry Management Program) identify three categories of problems: simple, complicated, and complex. “In simple problems like cooking by following a recipe, the recipe is essential. …Recipes produce standardized products and the best recipes give good results every time. Complicated problems, like sending a rocket to the moon, are different. …High levels of expertise in a variety of fields are necessary for success. …In some critical ways, rockets are similar to each other and because of this there can be a relatively high degree of certainty of outcome. Raising a child, on the other hand, is a complex problem. …Although expertise can contribute to the process in valuable ways, it provides neither necessary nor sufficient conditions to assure success. …As a result there is always some uncertainty of the outcome.”

The design of Complexity Theory solutions focuses on building a framework based on simple rules. They are not static and they adapt to change through processes built upon simple questions identified at a meta-level. CAS requires an interactive infrastructure. Dr. Zimmerman writes “Complex systems are non-linear and exhibit a great deal of noise, tension and fluctuation as they interact with the rest of the environment.”

The power of reframing a problem within a new paradigm cannot be understated. For many years, international arts and culture conflicts were dealt with as cultural exemptions through GATT agreements and World Trade Organization rulings. Neither of these forums were able to quantify and measure the value of culture and results were typically unfavourable. In 2000, the cultural problem was rebranded as a need for cultural diversity, a strategy that not only by-passed a frontal attack on WTO mandates, but also created a rallying cry for all countries to recognize the importance of their own cultural heritages and to join forces in an international effort (UNESCO Convention 2005) to separate culture from the existing world trade infrastructure.

Another reframing example happened during the AIDS crisis. Brazil chose to address the World Health Organization questionnaire by posing complex questions versus complicated questions. Reframing the problem as being open-ended and flexible (complex) rather than monetized and quantified (complicated) resulted in a 50% improvement over WHO casualty forecasts. In simplistic terms, they did not like the answers so they changed the questions, which ultimately changed the outcome.

Complex Adaptive Systems are able to produce solutions that, through communication, discovery, and continuous adaptation, address problems with a deep level of insight obtained through reworking many of the questions inherent in established systems.


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