Newsletter February 2003, Issue 59
Published by Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

You can find the online version at:

- Scientific Findings Show That Music Making Helps Make Active Older Americans Healthier
- Cities and noise:
European Environment Agency - Noise, Managing Urban Noise in Cities, Noise Free America, Aircraft noise
- Extra-Audionary - Mobile "Toys":
Media2Go, Pocket PC device for those who are blind
Metadata: MusicBrainz Metadata Initiative 2.0, Music Classification Systems, Sony Computer Science Laboratory
- For musicians: REAKTOR SESSION, Arturia's Emulation of the Moog Modular System 3C
- Conferences & Events


Scientific Findings Show That Music Making Helps Make Active Older Americans Healthier

A breakthrough study demonstrates that group keyboard lessons given to older Americans had a significant effect on increasing levels of human growth hormone (hGH). Human growth hormone is implicated in such aging phenomena as osteoporosis, energy levels, wrinkling, sexual function, muscle mass, and aches and pains. This announcement follows the release of findings last month from the same study that showed significant decreases in anxiety, depression and loneliness - three factors that are critical in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system, and improving health.

Frederick Tims, Ph.D., MT-BC, Chair of Music Therapy at Michigan State University, who was also principal investigator for a University of Miami Alzheimer's project on music therapy, led a highly respected team of researchers to conduct the study. Joining in the project were specialists from the Aging Institute at the University of South Florida; the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami School of Medicine; Karolinska Medical Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Appalachian State University; The University of Kansas; and Western Michigan University. Speaking for the research team, Dr. Tims said, "We feel very strongly that the work we are doing here suggests that abundant health benefits can be achieved by older people learning to play music in a supportive, socially enjoyable setting."

Full article at:



Cities & noise

European Environment Agency - Noise
Noise is a serious issue - levels over 40 Ldn dB(A) affect our well-being, while there is evidence that levels over 60 Ldn dB(A) can affect our physical and psychological health.
While the last two decades have seen significant reductions in the noise produced by all sorts of vehicles, the rapid growth in transport – particularly air and road – has resulted in well over 120 million people in the EU being exposed to noise levels above 55 Ldn dB(A) on the front facade of their houses.

Managing Urban Noise in Cities
by Douglas Manvell, Peter Henning, Lars Winberg, Peter Larsen (Spectris Technologies Inc., USA)
The tasks involved in managing urban noise in cities are many and varied - from solving noise complaints to noise mapping, from noise monitoring to noise abatement and zoning. In addition, there are a wide variety of noises from different sources such as industry, transportation and many different forms for recreational activities. Each of these often requires different management, measurement and evaluation approaches due to the differing nature of the sources. However, an integrated approach to the overall problem of urban noise management has the potential to make this task more effective through the sharing and reuse of data, optimisation of noise abatement activities and prevention of new problems arising.
More at:

Noise Free America
Noise is a serious health hazard. Noise is linked to hearing loss, sleep deprivation, aggressive behavior, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, and declining school performance. Noise is especially damaging to children and women.
Noise pollution is getting worse. In the last 15 years, noise levels have risen six-fold in major US cities. The Census Bureau reports that noise is Americans' top complaint about their neighborhoods, and the major reason for wanting to move.
Noise Free America is dedicated to fighting noise pollution, especially from boom cars, motorcycles, leaf blowers, and car alarms.

Aircraft noise
Noise is considered the most important environmental concern for many people who live or work near to an airport. As one would expect, in general, the greatest noise levels are experienced close to the airport, however, disturbance can also occur many miles away under aircraft approach and departure routes.
The growth in air traffic is occurring more rapidly that the improvements in noise technology. In consequence the noise climate around many major airports is at risk of deteriorating.


DETR Noise Exposure Contours
Link to noise exposure contours for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

The Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise - claims to be the world's largest anti-noise group.

Citizens for the Abatement of Aircraft Noise (USA).

NPC Noise Clearing House
The NPC provides a useful list of links and noise related articles - largely American but still many topics are applicable to the UK.

Aircraft Noise Levels
Noise levels for U.S. Certified and Foreign Aircraft.

Airport Noise Report
Claims to be the only newsletter published exclusively for those interested in noise (USA).

Airports with Noise Levels Listed by Country
Provided by Boeing - an A-Z of links.

Noise Contour Maps (Nashville International Airport)
An American site - good intro to noise contours.

Department of Transportation - Federal Aviation Administration - Noise Mitigation Measures
Notice of Final Policy - establishes a distinction between remedial and preventative noise mitigation measures - worth a look.


The Club of Amsterdam

The Club of Amsterdam is an international think tank, which reflects our future: How we want to live, to communicate with each other and what tools, cities we need, how we want to commute and how culture or industries should develop. In brief: what we want our future to be.
The Club of Amsterdam provides a bridge between industry, education and science. We organise events, seminars and workshops.




Extra-Audionary: Mobile "Toys"

The Media2Go software platform is based on the next version of Windows CE .NET, code-named Macallan. "It will always be upgradeable," Debby Fry Wilson, Director of Windows Embedded at Microsoft told me, "to avoid obsolescence."
<<"Media2Go" is the current code name for a software reference platform designed to build and power the next generation of smart personal media player devices that enable you to enjoy your video, music, and pictures on the go. Watch the latest sitcom as you commute. Entertain your kids with their favorite video in the back seat of the car. Share your favorite tunes with your friends at a party. Or take your entire collection of photos and home videos with you to show the grandparents on your next visit. "Media2Go" gives you the personal freedom and convenience to easily enjoy your best video, music, and pictures on the go.>>
1) High quality video experience to play your personalized digital video and home movies in Windows Media® Video and MPEG formats.

2) High quality audio experience to play your digital music and playlists in both Windows Media Audio and MP3 formats.
3) Upload, store, and view thousands of pictures from your digital camera for home slide shows or digital camera photo storage on the go.
4) Play your subscription services music and video through integrated digital content protection software.
5) Media2Go" can be updated with new capabilities and support for emerging media technologies over time to help keep both your device and your entertainment experience fresh and current.
6) Using advanced Windows Media compression technologies, you can store the equivalent of 40 gigabytes (GB) of content on a 20GB device including up to: 175 hours of VHS-quality video, more than 8,000 CD-quality songs or more than 30,000 2MP digital pictures

Pocket PC device for those who are blind
Freedom Scientific announced today they began shipment of the PAC Mate BNS, the world's first and only accessible Pocket PC device for those who are blind. This definitive hand-held computer provides access to everyday Windows-based desktop data and software applications via Pocket PC applications including Word, Outlook and Internet Explorer. PAC Mate is available in two models - the BNS with its eight-dot Braille keyboard, and the TNS for users familiar with QWERTY-style keyboards. Both units offer the same great functionality utilizing JAWS for Pocket PC technology.
"The PAC Mate is going to change the entire complexion of assistive technology, as we know it today, and how we use it in the future," said Karl Smith, owner of Axis Technology in Salt Lake City, Utah. "This is the first time a person who is blind or vision impaired will be able to work on the same competitive level with those who are sighted. For my own business, it allows me to transfer and manage my Excel data flawlessly. Whether it is in the professional, educational or home environment, PAC Mate, to me, is the next generation of technology for the blind."



Sonaris supports




Metadata is data that describes data. In this case, it’s the logic and terminology we use to illustrate the properties of music. This includes genres and labels, but also goes deeper, attempting to empirically assess the more emotional aspects of music.

MusicBrainz Metadata Initiative 2.0

MusicBrainz is a community music metadatabase that attempts to create a comprehensive music encyclopedia. Automatic Audio CD and digital audio track identification using community supplied and maintained data is the first goal of MusicBrainz.
In the future, MusicBrainz will have a genre system and a comprehensive geneology of music, tracking not only music releases, but also detailed information about who contributed to a piece of music. MusicBrainz will keep track of which artists/performers/engineers contributed to a piece of music, and when these contributions took place. The system will also keep track of artist influences on each other and many more pieces of information to create a comprehensive geneology of modern music.
The MusicBrainz Metadata Initiative is designed to create a portable and flexible means of storing and exchanging metadata related to digital audio and video tracks. The MusicBrainz Metadata Initiative is a content description model for audio and video tracks on the Internet.
The MM Initiative uses RDF/XML to facilitate the exchange of audio/video related metadata. This document describes an RDF namespace that should be used in conjunction with the Dublin Core metadata recommendation.
This specification will be used by the metadata server to communicate metadata queries. All the data returned from the server will be in the MM/Dublin Core RDF format. Furthermore, this format will hopefully be used by the Open Source audio codec Vorbis to store audio/video metadata with the audio/video tracks.

Music Classification Systems
by Mark McKnight. Music Library Assocation
Due to the distinctive nature of music as a separate "language" that non-musicians are often unable to read or understand, the cataloging and classification of music materials may frequently present special challenges. In response to this often problematic situation, this book, the first in the Music Library Association's Basic Manual Series, is designed to introduce the principles of music classification to beginning music catalogers, as well as to non-specialist catalogers and others who only occasionally deal with music materials. It will relieve the stress level for general catalogers with no special background or knowledge of music by providing some practical guidelines in the classification of music materials; it also clarifies and explains the most commonly used classification systems in the United States--the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), the Library of Congress Classification (LCC), and the Alpha-Numeric System for Classification of Recordings (ANSCR).
McKnight also presents a general historical overview of music classification, from early attempts to organize specific collections, to the efforts of Oscar Sonneck and others to adapt fundamental principles of classification to the distinctive characteristics of music materials. At the same time, the book addresses the special needs of the users of those materials. Presenting a number of illustrative examples, the manual combines theoretical principles with practical "how-to" advice, written in a user-friendly way by a practicing music cataloger.
Book available from Scarecrow Press:

Sony Computer Science Laboratory
Music research at Sony CSL Paris is concerned with three areas: the multiple facets of interaction in music, the challenges of robust music description, and mechanisms of musical evolution. Dynamic relationships may exist between gesture and system response or among communities of connected users. Meta-data spans the space between high-level personal taste and low-level sonic content. Computer simulations help to understand the origins of musical form. This work leads to the creation of systems that implement intelligent musical systems and propose new modes of access to music and interaction with sound.


For musicians

REAKTOR SESSION is the key to a world of fascinating software instruments. Featuring REAKTOR 4’s audio engine and core instrument library, REAKTOR SESSION is an outstanding collection and an entry to the vast world of REAKTOR. REAKTOR SESSION includes a vast range of powerful synthesizers and resynthesizers, samplers and beat-loopers, groove and drum machines, surround and innovative effects, and revolutionary creations never seen before. REAKTOR SESSION also includes access to the ever-growing online library at the Native Instruments web site for a virtually unlimited collection of instruments. Each instrument includes a wide range of preset sounds for instant use, while innovative patch handling makes saving, sorting, intelligent randomization, and morphing between sounds easy.
The highly-optimized DSP algorithms of the 32-bit REAKTOR 4 engine and support for 192 kHz sample rate ensure a matchless sound with surprisingly efficient CPU usage.

Arturia's Emulation of the Moog Modular System 3C
The Arturia's Modular system is based on a new set of algorithms created by Arturia's sound engineers and gathered under the name TAE - True Analog Emulation. TAE avoids aliasing; it also emulates the typical instability of hardware oscillators and brings the warm sound of the vintage synths. In addition to the replication of all the functions of the original, the Arturia's Modular system comes loaded with more than 400 presets made by a selection of sound designers.



Conferences & Events

Club of Amsterdam Events:
Wednesday, January 29, 2003: the future of Global Economy
Monday, February 17, 2003: the future of Urban Development
Wednesday, March 26, 2003: the future of Mobility
Wednesday, April 23, 2003: Senior Citizens & future Technology
Wednesday, May 28, 2003: the future of Medicine
Wednesday, June 25, 2003: the future of Countries & Democracies


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Copyright © 2003 Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written permission is prohibited. Sonaris Consulting cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of information supplied herein or for any opinion expressed.