Slim, Vout, and All Kinds of Hep Conlangs

Slim Gaillard, musical Renaissance ManThe world became a little more grar-sa on this cee-met-o in 1916. That’s when Mr. Bulee “Slim” Gaillard first graced the universe with his unconventional presence. Actually, the date of Slim’s birth, his birthplace, as well as his lineage are still being disputed. What is known about this remarkable fellow is that he was one of America’s most innovative performers. Gaillard was something of a Renaissance Man. He was a clever songwriter, jazz singer, guitarist, and thoroughly mesmerizing pianist. For an entertaining sampling of Gaillard’s vocalese variations, drop by the Internet Archive’s collection of Slim’s collaborative tunes with Slam Stewart or listen to the embedded selections below.

Gaillard also constructed his own language, a lingo called Vout. Slim’s tongue-in-cheek speak is sometimes referred to a conlang or constructed language. Wikipedia has an engrossing list of constructed languages that features communicative creations of authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. Also of interest is the Wikiportal devoted to constructed languages.

Note: The picture accompanying this post was constructed from an image that was originally posted to Flickr by Never Slim at The original image is licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

Sounds Good to Me: Audacity 2.0


I can’t believe I missed this. Audacity 2.0 (for Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems) launched on March 13th! I’ve been so swamped with making a living that this long awaited development passed right by me and I didn’t even notice. Thank goodness thenextcorner over at Hacker News was kind enough to make a post about the topic. If you’re looking for a reliable (no-cost) means of audio editing. Audacity is well worth exploring.

I promptly downloaded and installed Audacity 2.0 and played with it for a little while. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily I was able to import different flavors of audio into the application. I also checked out the built-in help and related tutorials. I think users will appreciate all of the improvements.

tubalr: Tune In!

tubalrRemember when MTV had good music and videos? Seems like ages ago. If you’d like to enjoy an artful blend of video and tunes reminiscent of the better days of Music Television, check out tubalr. Cody Stewart, tubalr’s maestro has channeled some excellent music through his site. Be sure to explore the offerings under genre. Just be ready to blow off everything else you’ve planned for the day while you tap your feet and sing along.

Related: For more information about Cody and his rockin’ site, read the Daily Dot’s Tublar Makes YouTube Totally Tubular.


History, Poetry, Music, Math, and Science…a Perfect Storm of Learning


On this day, November 10th, in 1975, the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald (a taconite carrier) sank during a storm on Lake Superior. All of the crew, 29 nine men, perished. The event was memorialized in the lyrics of singer Gordon Lightfoot‘s popular ballad, the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Though sad, this historical event presents an engrossing opportunity for students and teachers to collaborate and engage in interdisciplinary research. It’s a perfect storm of learning.  Delving into what lead up to the tragedy allows pupils to explore elements of:

Diving into this and other historical events, using them as case-study investigations into why and how things happen, makes learning more rewarding and allows students to integrate technology resources in a more meaningful manner.

Related resources:

Setting the Right Tone for Learning: ToneMatrix

Playing with sound is fun. Don’t believe me? Check out ToneMatrix over at aM Laboratory and you’ll immediately understand what I’m talking about. In fact, there a number of intriguing items worthy of inspection in Andre Michelle‘s repository of cognitive coolness.


Aside from just being wonderfully fun to play with and listen to, ToneMatrix is an excellent example of what learning ought to be like. The people I’ve talked to tell me that it’s practically addictive. Why isn’t learning about Mathematics, Science, History, Literature, and other academic pursuits like this? What does it take to make exploring a concept, process, or viewpoint habit-forming? Any thoughts?

Related links:

  • If you like ToneMatrix, look at a project called Muxicall. It was created by Diana Antunes as part of her work for the New Technologies of Communication degree at the University of Aveiro in Portugal. A particularly spiffy feature of Muxicall is that Diana integrates ideas proposed by good old Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) creating a pleasing, visible interface between notes of music and color.

Music to My Ears: CCMixter

The past few days have been a blur. I’d say I’m ashamed for not posting but I’ve been happily busy doing worthwhile work for and with the teachers that I support. I like blogging but I love helping people. Today, for instance, I had the great pleasure of working with educators at Martha Smith Elementary in Jesup, Georgia. All year long, the folks at MSES have been collecting all kinds of digital content for a restrospective/culminating video presentation. As part of their task, the teachers will be including audio. When one of the participants asked where good, royalty-free music and sounds could be found, I smiled.

“Make a point to check out CCMixter,” I suggested, “because it’s a site that has so much to offer!” I went on to extol the virtues of the wonderful community music site.


Have you, gentle reader, sampled the excellent tunes at CCMixter? If not, do so soon! It’s an audio orchard–a veritable garden of tunes where remixes licensed under Creative Commons bloom and grow into entirely new varietys. CCMixter is a place where visitors can tune into, borrow, incorporate, or experience the music without guilt or copyright restrictions.