Boomwhackers, Luke Skywalker's Piano-Playing Prosthetic, and More
Here's a hefty link roundup this week, full of interesting reads and, yes, some holiday cheer.
- To start things off, a few year-end "best-of" roundups from the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and NPR Music. Keep an eye out for one of our own early next week!
- The Boston Globe's Zoë Madonna asks: "How much Christmas music is too much?" Follow her journey through the Little Drummer Boy Challenge (which I failed almost immediately after Thanksgiving).
- Did you know that a French scientist figured out how to record sound more than 17 years before Thomas Edison did? It's true - read about it here, and then (this is the coolest part), go listen to the recordings.
- Ever wondered how much bacteria your instrument harbors? Well, now you will - researchers found that the clarinet is the dirtiest instrument in the band.
- Actor Christoph Waltz, known for his work in movies like Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, is making a leap from movie sets to opera stages. He's directing Verdi's Falstaff, in New York this month.
- Alright, now for some fun stuff. Here's an oldie but goodie that has resurfaced this week - a Bach prelude played on weird musical tubes called "boomwhackers:"
- Everybody loves karaoke - even opera stars. Paul Groves and Susan Graham are particular fans.
- This church choir discovered the best way to pass the time during a road trip is - you guessed it - a sing-along:
- Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a prosthetic hand that allows its user to control each finger individually, which makes it possible for this musician to play piano again:
- A different set of researchers have discovered that turning hurricanes into music can help us understand them better. Here's what Hurricane Sandy sounds like, for example: