Great Musical Mysteries: Van Halen Mishap Remains Unsolved

What exactly went wrong at this botched Van Halen performance of Jump? The discussion continues, though the current running consensus is that a guitar tuning was screwed up, not the sample rate on a performance. (It’s not clear why Van Halen transposed the track from the album version, but that’s near-certainty.) Even the creator of a video supporting the sample rate theory has backed down. Christopher shares his explanation below. Pray that one day your onstage train wrecks will get this much analysis. Mine tend to involve only free produce — not always fresh, sadly.

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Jumpgate Resolved: Van Halen Guitar Sorta Absolved, Keyboard Detuned

Ah, YouTubers. While the rest of us pontificate endlessly, the unfairly-maligned YouTube community painstakingly assembles evidence to prove their point. Lonely girls need outing? YouTube is there. Can’t tell what’s wildly out of tune in a botched Van Halen “Jump” performance? Let’s just listen, shall we? (Too bad, as I had just worked out a really great theory about sun spots, Greensboro’s atmospheric pressure and relative humidity, and a freak wormhole.) Thanks, Wilfred Fumbly. (video’s gone now … more in a moment) So, the original theory holds: most likely a sample rate issue. Well, unless Van Halen is really old …

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Onstage Tech Disasters: Van Halen Goes Microtonal!

Spinal Tap has nothing on this. Via RW70, aka Rob Warmowski: So what happens when you’re Van Halen, the last song in your set list is the million-seller “Jump” with its synthesizer-keyboard opening…and the recording you’re using to play back the synth is accidentally run at 48K instead of 44.1K? What happens is exactly this (recorded in Greensboro, NC four days ago) Yes, just as disturbing as the possibility that your backing tracks could spontaneously introduce a new tuning system in front of thousands of fans, hundreds of thousands more may know about it within days on YouTube. Techs everywhere …

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Tune Your Guitar Via the Web, with Free Tuner and Instructions

Now, truly, no one has an excuse for playing an out-of-tune guitar. howtotuneaguitar.org features a Web-based interface for tuning, and step-by-step instructions in case you’re really a newcomer. The tuner itself goes well beyond the basics, with support for Standard, Drop D, Open C, Open G, Open D, Open G, Half Step Down, Full Step Down, Open E or Admiral tunings. Powered by Flash, you can trigger looped recordings of the strings one by one. The site has chords, scales, lessons, and a forum; you can even see blog-style entries, like one dedicated exclusively to the “D suspended-four” chord. Is …

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TamTam, Music Software for Kids, to be Fully Open Source; One Million OLPCs in Nigeria

The One Laptop Per Child initiative, aka “that $100 laptop” though it will initially cost more like $140, just got its first leg up. Nigeria has ordered one million of the custom Linux laptops. Now the big challenge will be whether the OLPC developers can deliver the machines on-budget and on time, given its wildly ambitious feature set. Interestingly, Intel and Microsoft, after publicly blasting the project as misguided, have each launched their own competing initiatives at significantly higher prices. Nigeria Orders First Million OLPC Laptops at vnunet.com, which also has two videos of working prototypes; via worldchanging For more …

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Powerful Piano Tuning on Windows Mobile: Pocket RCT

Tuning pianos involves some heavy science and art. In other words, Reyburn Pocket RCT has absolutely no relation to that simple guitar tuner you’ve got in your gig bag. It’s a US$900 powerhouse of visual tuning: Reyburn Cyber Tuner / Pocket RCT, for PocketPC (Windows Mobile) This is probably old news if you’re a piano tuner (either this or the Mac/Windows laptop version), but I saw it this weekend while I was staying at my parents’ house and a tuner came over to adjust our Baldwin grand. The tuner was more than happy to show it to me. You can’t …

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