I chanced across this 5-line staff liner on Amazon—a pen with five ballpoint tips in a row, for musicians to quickly write musical notation—and impulse bought it. I can’t read or write music, but it’ll make a great gift for someone else who can’t read or write music.
These pens are formally known as rastra, and old ones are bizarre and beautiful. Stylophiles sometimes lament the astronomical prices they fetch at auction. An Etsy seller from Ukraine will make you a handsome handmade ballpoint rastrum for a more reasonable price.
Rastrology [is] the study of the use of the rastrum, is a branch of music manuscript studies that uses information about the rastrum to help find the date and provenance of musical materials.
Someone on eBay sells five-pointed nibs for a few dollars, if you insist on dipping the ink and don’t have a grand to blow on vintage finery.
See also the Stravigor, a more precise (but less versatile) gadget that uses a roller instead, invented by Igor Stravinsky himself. Here’s a modern derivative in action:
A ruler available in Japan called the Lineslider offers another method.
And theres always the musical typewriter:
From a statement that Stevie Wonder released yesterday, titled “The Universe Is Watching Us — Stevie Wonder In His Feelings”: “As time is evolving, it seems so much has changed. So much is moving to a different rhythm. The way we work, live, love, meet, and greet. Can’t you feel we’re changing the way we… READ THE REST
French singer and recording star Juliette Gréco, whose career spanned more than six decades, died September 23 at her home in Ramatuelle, France. She was 93. Gréco was one of the few remaining living contemporaries to Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Cocteau, Albert Camus, and other Existentialist artists, writers, and filmmakers. She is described… READ THE REST
Born on this day in 1926, the great John Coltrane. Here is Saint John performing his civil rights elegy “Alabama” composed after members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 167th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young Black girls and injuring more than a dozen others. “You can play a shoestring if… READ THE REST
With all the streaming services you’re subscribed to now, do you really need cable anymore? Sure, local channels provide content that streamers can’t match, but what else are you watching on cable channels that justifies that massive monthly cable bill? We’re all trying to save cash, so cut the cord permanently but smartly, but dumping… READ THE REST
DevOps moves so fast they had to mash two words together into the job title so they could be said faster. It’s a process of lightning-fast experimentation and iteration. Try something, see if it works, optimize it, and move forward. It’s a constantly charging sequence of events that requires more than just the development talent… READ THE REST
In our new reality, you’ve undoubtedly been looking for fun and inventive new ways to enjoy an evening. So if you’re not exactly feeling comfortable spending a night out at your favorite Italian restaurant right now, why not have an inspired date night or host a small gathering of social distanced friends while an 84-year-old… READ THE REST