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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

A Latinate Bach

A cross-cultural probing by Ethan Hein

What is great about Ethan Hein’s participation in the public discussion of music isn’t simply that he writes exuberantly about the making, the distribution, and the consumption of his subject, or that he ably employs images to point out the Venn Diagram that is funk or the constellation of pop that orbits a single sampling data point, but that on top of it all, he uses music itself to pursue ideas. For example, he explored a Bach invention by using MIDI to apply the note sequence to the Latin percussion pack that is part of the popular music software suite Ableton. The effort is doubly effective because in addition to sounding out Bach’s classical piece in what, cultural context might suggest, is a more populist instrumental realm, Hein also connects back to the piano being, for all intents and purposes, a well-tuned percussion instrument itself:

Here for reference is the Bach in question performed on, you know, a piano:

Hein’s work originally posted for free download at More from Hein at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 2 ]


  1. Ethan Hein
    [ Posted January 18, 2015, at 7:00 am ]

    Credit where credit is due: the concept for playing back the MIDI file of that Bach piece on percussion comes from my advisor/mentor Alex Ruthmann, who laboriously entered it into a hardware sequencer back in the day. It took me about ten seconds in Ableton. The vast ocean of classical MIDIs on the internet is a seriously untapped resource for electronic musicians.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted January 18, 2015, at 7:29 am ]

      Thanks for explaining the connection back to Ruthmann’s work.

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