We didn’t start the bubble…

Over at Ruhi’s blog, on her enthusiastic post about Tumblr, my conversation with Ruhi started with and centred on finding out that elusive detail: what is the business model?

After much toing and froing, it emerges that “nothing much” is the answer.

On a related note, a friend of mine sent me a link which may explain the business model not just of Tumblr but also of many others of its ilk. You can watch it here.

PS: I have had new respect for Billy Joel’s and Elton John’s musical talents, since I began taking piano lessons some years ago. So, sorry, Billy!

I didn’t write the spoof song, it was already online, and I think it’s very fine.
I didn’t write the spoof song, but I blogged about it, because I don’t doubt it.

Oops!

30 thoughts on “We didn’t start the bubble…

  1. Piano lessons! Wow! I envy you! I don’t seem to get the hang of polyphony and chords. The ear discerns, the heart is willing (even eager), but the fingers — well, I seem to be decapollical!

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  2. Piano lessons! Wow! I envy you! I don’t seem to get the hang of polyphony and chords. The ear discerns, the heart is willing (even eager), but the fingers — well, I seem to be decapollical!

    Like

  3. @ Ruhi: Thanks – we aim to please.

    @ Vivek: It may hearten you to learn that my hands do not span an octave. I use a finger stretcher and unlike most women, I cannot keep long nails. Prices we pay.. Besides learning to sheet-read opened my eyes to how many notes I do NOT hear as opposed to how many I do. Never say never, I say!

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  4. @ Ruhi: Thanks – we aim to please.

    @ Vivek: It may hearten you to learn that my hands do not span an octave. I use a finger stretcher and unlike most women, I cannot keep long nails. Prices we pay.. Besides learning to sheet-read opened my eyes to how many notes I do NOT hear as opposed to how many I do. Never say never, I say!

    Like

  5. Shefaly- When I was a new piano player (that was around 14 years back), even my finger never used to reach the octave. I learned how to tilt my hand a bit and how to jump systematically πŸ˜‰

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  6. Shefaly- When I was a new piano player (that was around 14 years back), even my finger never used to reach the octave. I learned how to tilt my hand a bit and how to jump systematically πŸ˜‰

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  7. @ Ruhi: You were a child then and still growing πŸ™‚ I cannot say that about myself. So I have to rely on other tricks. The problem was evident because when I started learning, playing Fuer Elise and Somewhere Over The Rainbow were my stated early goals. The former tests your ear and the latter your hand-span (because the first and second notes are an octave apart). I regret to say since the move in June, my piano has not been tuned as I have had no time but I intend to sort that soon. My neighbour plays the flute beautifully and we have ambitions of an evening playing together.

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  8. @ Ruhi: You were a child then and still growing πŸ™‚ I cannot say that about myself. So I have to rely on other tricks. The problem was evident because when I started learning, playing Fuer Elise and Somewhere Over The Rainbow were my stated early goals. The former tests your ear and the latter your hand-span (because the first and second notes are an octave apart). I regret to say since the move in June, my piano has not been tuned as I have had no time but I intend to sort that soon. My neighbour plays the flute beautifully and we have ambitions of an evening playing together.

    Like

  9. Shefaly,

    I didn’t realise the hand HAD to span an octave. How did the child Mozart manage, I wonder? Or is harpsichord technique different from piano?

    I never tried to learn to read staff notation. But my little background in Indian music did instil enough confidence to play by ear, using one hand, focussing on the dominantly heard notes. Can manage passably (i.e. listeners can recognise) with things such as the opening bars of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” or “Fur Elise”.

    I guess I’d better stop now. From Bach through Beethoven to Bartok, they must all be turning in their graves (in F major); and I also can’t risk offending the sensibilities of the apoplectically inclined among your readers πŸ™‚ !

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  10. Shefaly,

    I didn’t realise the hand HAD to span an octave. How did the child Mozart manage, I wonder? Or is harpsichord technique different from piano?

    I never tried to learn to read staff notation. But my little background in Indian music did instil enough confidence to play by ear, using one hand, focussing on the dominantly heard notes. Can manage passably (i.e. listeners can recognise) with things such as the opening bars of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” or “Fur Elise”.

    I guess I’d better stop now. From Bach through Beethoven to Bartok, they must all be turning in their graves (in F major); and I also can’t risk offending the sensibilities of the apoplectically inclined among your readers πŸ™‚ !

    Like

  11. Shefaly- Maybe you will feel better if I tell you that I don’t have a piano or a keyboard here and I haven’t played anything in the past 3 years, except for a couple of minutes in the Student Union once. But you really need to practice a lot when you are a new player- to learn how to stretch your fingers and to learn how to read and follow the notations at the same time. I took a very long time to get comfortable with it. πŸ™‚ A musical night is always fun. I have played during stage shows lots of time; even judged a competition. It used to be great fun and I really miss that part of my life.

    Like

  12. Shefaly- Maybe you will feel better if I tell you that I don’t have a piano or a keyboard here and I haven’t played anything in the past 3 years, except for a couple of minutes in the Student Union once. But you really need to practice a lot when you are a new player- to learn how to stretch your fingers and to learn how to read and follow the notations at the same time. I took a very long time to get comfortable with it. πŸ™‚ A musical night is always fun. I have played during stage shows lots of time; even judged a competition. It used to be great fun and I really miss that part of my life.

    Like

  13. I found it easier to play in octaves after not playing at all for several years, which was odd. I put it down to possibly having a more relaxed hand, or something (?)

    But some people just have much bigger hands, and you can’t do anything about that. I will never be able to play Rachmaninov, who had a span of an octave and a third I think, and always have to fudge some bits of my favourite Beethoven sonatas. Choose pieces that your hand can play, is my tip!

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  14. I found it easier to play in octaves after not playing at all for several years, which was odd. I put it down to possibly having a more relaxed hand, or something (?)

    But some people just have much bigger hands, and you can’t do anything about that. I will never be able to play Rachmaninov, who had a span of an octave and a third I think, and always have to fudge some bits of my favourite Beethoven sonatas. Choose pieces that your hand can play, is my tip!

    Like

  15. @ Vivek: As Alice points out, one could fudge one’s way through things if the hands are too small and yes, some pieces do require the hand to span an octave.
    Growing up, we had an organ at home and I had the same problem. My aunt was a music professor who wrote her own music which was often tested by her and my father for ‘purity’ etc. I had to be content with listening, seeing as I had zero training then.

    That said, I must say that sight-reading has improved my hearing in an odd sort of way πŸ™‚ It may do for you too, because you will find you can never play with one hand again, since that will mean missing half the notes.

    @ Ruhi: And you will be jealous to know I have a fantastic upright πŸ˜‰ Alas my life means I have not played much in the last 2 years either but I intend changing that now. Somebody, help my neighbours!

    @ Alice: Now that is a great tip. Thanks. One of my grand ambitions is to play The Entertainer but I nearly fainted when I saw the sheet music. It doesn’t need spanning octaves but it sure needs many skills of being a piano contortionist, methinks! Very humbling all this stuff. One must go outside one’s comfort zones deliberately to realise how minuscule one’s existence is in the grand schema of things.. 😦

    Like

  16. @ Vivek: As Alice points out, one could fudge one’s way through things if the hands are too small and yes, some pieces do require the hand to span an octave.
    Growing up, we had an organ at home and I had the same problem. My aunt was a music professor who wrote her own music which was often tested by her and my father for ‘purity’ etc. I had to be content with listening, seeing as I had zero training then.

    That said, I must say that sight-reading has improved my hearing in an odd sort of way πŸ™‚ It may do for you too, because you will find you can never play with one hand again, since that will mean missing half the notes.

    @ Ruhi: And you will be jealous to know I have a fantastic upright πŸ˜‰ Alas my life means I have not played much in the last 2 years either but I intend changing that now. Somebody, help my neighbours!

    @ Alice: Now that is a great tip. Thanks. One of my grand ambitions is to play The Entertainer but I nearly fainted when I saw the sheet music. It doesn’t need spanning octaves but it sure needs many skills of being a piano contortionist, methinks! Very humbling all this stuff. One must go outside one’s comfort zones deliberately to realise how minuscule one’s existence is in the grand schema of things.. 😦

    Like

  17. Shefaly,

    I am very curious: when you say you had an organ at home do you mean a proper organ with pipes etc. or a pedal harmonium (reed organ)? I didn’t know of genuine organs in Indian homes. There were a few (I think about half a dozen across the whole country) in churches.

    The pedal harmonium, on the other hand, was a common feature from the mid-19th century onwards in places which had a music-theatre tradition, such as the nautanki in UP or the sangeet natak in Maharashtra.

    Does the organ in your home still exist, and is it played? What is the brand name? Who does the maintenance and repair?

    Like

  18. Shefaly,

    I am very curious: when you say you had an organ at home do you mean a proper organ with pipes etc. or a pedal harmonium (reed organ)? I didn’t know of genuine organs in Indian homes. There were a few (I think about half a dozen across the whole country) in churches.

    The pedal harmonium, on the other hand, was a common feature from the mid-19th century onwards in places which had a music-theatre tradition, such as the nautanki in UP or the sangeet natak in Maharashtra.

    Does the organ in your home still exist, and is it played? What is the brand name? Who does the maintenance and repair?

    Like

  19. Shefaly:

    Thanks for the tip on sight-reading improving hearing. My overriding interest is Indian music (both Hindustani and Carnatic), in which there is traditionally no polyphony, and whatever is done experimentally (while remaining within the “Indian” framework) does not go beyond shadja-pancham combinations.

    I rarely listen to WCM, and when I do, my interests mainly lie in the period from the Baroque to the Classical and then a straight jump into the modern period. But yes, recently I had occasion to listen to the third movement (presto) of Alessandro Marcello’s Concerto for Oboe and Strings — one of my eternal favourites — with the score sheet in front of me. I agree (despite my near-illiteracy in staff-notation) that it does enhance awareness of the subtleties in what and how much one “hears”.

    Like

  20. Shefaly:

    Thanks for the tip on sight-reading improving hearing. My overriding interest is Indian music (both Hindustani and Carnatic), in which there is traditionally no polyphony, and whatever is done experimentally (while remaining within the “Indian” framework) does not go beyond shadja-pancham combinations.

    I rarely listen to WCM, and when I do, my interests mainly lie in the period from the Baroque to the Classical and then a straight jump into the modern period. But yes, recently I had occasion to listen to the third movement (presto) of Alessandro Marcello’s Concerto for Oboe and Strings — one of my eternal favourites — with the score sheet in front of me. I agree (despite my near-illiteracy in staff-notation) that it does enhance awareness of the subtleties in what and how much one “hears”.

    Like

  21. @ Vivek: By no description would the organ in my dad’s house match one in a church! I did not grow up in a castle you know πŸ™‚

    It is an upright ‘pedal harmonium’ of sorts, which folds down into a purpose-made case. One has to pump the air in to play it. It has a hugely impressive and sonorous tone. I do not know who maintains it but my father has said that I can have it, so soon, I shall have to find someone in the UK to maintain it. I do not recall the brand name either; I have been away from home for nearly half my life now. I shall ask my father if you are interested. Ours is a musically talented family by and large hence the peculiar possessions.

    Like

  22. @ Vivek: By no description would the organ in my dad’s house match one in a church! I did not grow up in a castle you know πŸ™‚

    It is an upright ‘pedal harmonium’ of sorts, which folds down into a purpose-made case. One has to pump the air in to play it. It has a hugely impressive and sonorous tone. I do not know who maintains it but my father has said that I can have it, so soon, I shall have to find someone in the UK to maintain it. I do not recall the brand name either; I have been away from home for nearly half my life now. I shall ask my father if you are interested. Ours is a musically talented family by and large hence the peculiar possessions.

    Like

  23. Shefaly:

    Hardly “peculiar posessions” from a Maharashtrian point of view. Pedal harmoniums (paay-peti in Marathi, somewhat grandiloquently called “organs”) were very common in Maharashtra from roughly the 1880s until the 1940s — the “golden era” of the Sangeet Natak which gave us luminaries such as Bhaurao Kolhatkar, Balgandharva, Keshavrao Bhonsale, Dinanath Mangeshkar etc., all of whom sang to the accompaniment of the “organ”.

    Among the several musically inclined families of Maharashtra too, a few owned “organs”. Their use declined with the Sangeet Natak, but continues to some extent in the performances of Keertans (in Maharashtra this is similar to the Hariktha of Karnataka, not to what is known as Keertan in Bengal). An unknown number of privately owned organs lie collecting dust, fungus, termites and silver-fish.

    The “sonorous tone” you mention could well be due to reeds manufactured by Casrille of Paris. These were considered to be the best, and today enterprising harmonium makers in Mumbai, Pune and Sangli are constantly on the lookout for Casrille reeds to recycle from disused old neglected old harmoniums of both hand and pedal operated varieties.

    Like

  24. Shefaly:

    Hardly “peculiar posessions” from a Maharashtrian point of view. Pedal harmoniums (paay-peti in Marathi, somewhat grandiloquently called “organs”) were very common in Maharashtra from roughly the 1880s until the 1940s — the “golden era” of the Sangeet Natak which gave us luminaries such as Bhaurao Kolhatkar, Balgandharva, Keshavrao Bhonsale, Dinanath Mangeshkar etc., all of whom sang to the accompaniment of the “organ”.

    Among the several musically inclined families of Maharashtra too, a few owned “organs”. Their use declined with the Sangeet Natak, but continues to some extent in the performances of Keertans (in Maharashtra this is similar to the Hariktha of Karnataka, not to what is known as Keertan in Bengal). An unknown number of privately owned organs lie collecting dust, fungus, termites and silver-fish.

    The “sonorous tone” you mention could well be due to reeds manufactured by Casrille of Paris. These were considered to be the best, and today enterprising harmonium makers in Mumbai, Pune and Sangli are constantly on the lookout for Casrille reeds to recycle from disused old neglected old harmoniums of both hand and pedal operated varieties.

    Like

  25. Shefaly,

    //…my father has said that I can have it, so soon, I shall have to find someone in the UK to maintain it.//

    Wonder if the Antiquities Act would allow you to take it out of India (a case could be made that it was acquired by Wajid Ali Shah and used at his court during a performance of Indra Sabha πŸ˜‰ ). And with the kind of nomadic existence you seem to lead, wouldn’t it make more sense to leave it in India?

    //…I shall ask my father if you are interested…//

    Interested in what? The name of the manufacturer or (as my fanciful imagination interprets you!) the custody of the instrument? The former is of purely academic interest. The latter, if that’s what you mean πŸ™‚ , well thanks for the offer but it would be wasted on me.

    For some five years I was custodian of a Himen Roy sitar originally made for Imrat Khan’s son Nishat, gifted by Imrat to a disciple (and my friend). Years later, when she migrated to the States, she left it with me for safekeeping, to be collected later. So here I was with the sitar equivalent of a Strad, and no one to play it. For five years I regularly dusted it, checked the strings for rusting, and tuned it to the best of my abilities). During the earthquake of 2001, the well-being of the sitar was the topmost of my concerns. Fortunately nothing happened to it.

    Getting back to our main motif, if your family has old 78s for which it has no further use, I’d be happy to look at them.

    Like

  26. Shefaly,

    //…my father has said that I can have it, so soon, I shall have to find someone in the UK to maintain it.//

    Wonder if the Antiquities Act would allow you to take it out of India (a case could be made that it was acquired by Wajid Ali Shah and used at his court during a performance of Indra Sabha πŸ˜‰ ). And with the kind of nomadic existence you seem to lead, wouldn’t it make more sense to leave it in India?

    //…I shall ask my father if you are interested…//

    Interested in what? The name of the manufacturer or (as my fanciful imagination interprets you!) the custody of the instrument? The former is of purely academic interest. The latter, if that’s what you mean πŸ™‚ , well thanks for the offer but it would be wasted on me.

    For some five years I was custodian of a Himen Roy sitar originally made for Imrat Khan’s son Nishat, gifted by Imrat to a disciple (and my friend). Years later, when she migrated to the States, she left it with me for safekeeping, to be collected later. So here I was with the sitar equivalent of a Strad, and no one to play it. For five years I regularly dusted it, checked the strings for rusting, and tuned it to the best of my abilities). During the earthquake of 2001, the well-being of the sitar was the topmost of my concerns. Fortunately nothing happened to it.

    Getting back to our main motif, if your family has old 78s for which it has no further use, I’d be happy to look at them.

    Like

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