Caturday felids: Dante and Schoenberg

August 1, 2009 • 5:45 am

Two classical kittehs today; the first is a photo of Dante in a bookshop window, sent by a friend in Poland.

The sign reads, “I’m alive, I’m asleep!  Do not knock on the window.  Dante, cat.”


Fig. 1.  Dante at rest.

And here is a video of cats playing Schoenberg, Opus 11, part 1, compiled, note by painful note, by Cory Archangel.  As Tom Service says in a description of this video in the Guardian:

This comes close to genius. Or borderline obsessive compulsion: Cory Arcangel‘s re-creation of Arnold Schoenberg’s Three Piano Pieces, op. 11, edited from YouTube’s sub-culture of piano-playing cats. All 170 of them.

Cory spent “a few months of free time” making these videos, with the help of a software program called Comparisonics, that allows you to search for similar sounds in audio files, using Glenn Gould’s recording of the Schoenberg as his litmus test to compare with YouTube’s cats. And the result is one of the great victories of transcendent, purposeful purposelessness on the internet.

For those masochists who love Schoenberg (or kittehs) enough to want more, here are the other two parts.

part 2

part 3

And here is the piece Archangel was trying to copy: the original performed by Glenn Gould.

15 thoughts on “Caturday felids: Dante and Schoenberg

    1. I’ve heard of this guy before. He’s a dingus. He’s participated in some of the “debates” on the pro-ID side. I file him along with Berlinski and Fuller in the “I’m a cheese-doodle relativist who learned in philosophy class that with enough obfuscation you can make anything sound plausible” category.

      These guys basically took the postmodernist equation of truth and power to its logical conclusion, and found you can make quite a bit of cash peddling pseudoscientific sophistry.

    2. Crimony – another philosopher!

      “As an atheist, [Monton] defends ID not because he thinks it is true. Rather, he shows how it raises important questions and how many critics, in their enthusiasm to kill the baby in the cradle, are short-circuiting a discussion that needs to happen.” -Dembski.

      Um, in every instance where the discussion has taken place, it apparently creates such dissonance in the ears of the IDiots that they cannot hear. Given that the au is apparently at Boulder, you’d think he might understand that this has been going on for 150yrs, and that philosophers are 150yrs too late to the debate, or at the very goddam least recognize that the issue is not new. Per the second reviewer, Monton “thinks [ID] is most likely false”. Yet this does not stop him from writing a book arguing that ID “deserves serious consideration as a scientific theory”. Anything for a book royalty.

      At least we don’t have philosophers evaluating new drugs at the FDA.

  1. Schoenberg’s pieces already sound like a cat walking on a piano… this is just about the most redundant and pointless waste of time i have EVER seen! kudos?

  2. Schoenberg = random cat steps.

    Finally it makes sense.

    When Schoenberg was a young child, he dreamt of growing up to create music that would give people headaches. Also, it should be playable by cats…

  3. I’ll be the lonely dissenting voice here and say I actually like some of the atonal composers like Schoenberg and Webern. Definitely not the kind of thing I’d listen to all the time, but there’s a sort of eerie coolness about their music.

  4. “I’ll be the lonely dissenting voice here and say I actually like some of the atonal composers like Schoenberg and Webern.”

    You’re not alone: those three pieces are beautiful. Gould’s performances of them are quite good (better than his Mozart, but that’s not saying much), although I prefer Maurizio Pollini’s.

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