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The science behind the f-hole

22 Apr


Brendan “Paddy” Finucane: “Sweeps Over France” — Royal Air Force

2 Feb

I dug up some neat historical records on pertaining to my namesake, Brendan “Paddy” Finucane, and have posted them below.  I found his own writing published in the Air Forces News Letter, Vol 25 no. 4 of June 1942, which, according to, “was the monthly official service journal of the U.S. Army Air Forces, published by the U.S. Army Air Forces, Air Force Editorial Office.”

Again from

Articles in the journal chronicle the rapid change in structure of the Air Corps during the first few months of World War II.
Regular content in the journal included instruction from Air Force personnel conveying first hand knowledge gained in combat…
The issues contained messages from top commanders, lifesaving tips, and practical information on aircraft maintenance, gunnery, navigation, and engaging the enemy.

According to Wikipedia, Wing Commander Brendan Finucane was a Second World War Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace, and was the youngest person ever given command of a fighter wing in the history of aerial combat.

Striking to me is the way in which the allied forces shared resources internationally — then Flight Lieutenant Finucane led a famous *Australian* fighter squadron, despite flying for the Royal Air Force.  His rival for top spot among flying aces was a *South African* pilot.  His combat insights were published in the journal of the *US* Army Air Forces.

AirForcesNewsLetter_0202 - Brendan FinucaneAirForcesNewsLetter_0223 -- Brendan Finucane




The Chromawheel Debuts at ILMEA!

30 Jan



Sebastian Lee Teaches Cello

23 Oct

Sebastian Lee (1805-1887) has some idiomatic music for cello that’s ideal for beginners — the best I’ve found.  Maybe he was a cellist himself.  Really great stuff.

In the past I’ve used the Schroeder 170 Foundation Studies collection with students, which contains a lot of material by Lee.  I recently discovered that the solo etudes in the Schroeder are actually extracted from *duets*.  This is amazing because the cello duet is where Lee really shines.  So I’ve shelved the Schroeder in favor of the original Lee collection in which the duet versions appear.

Can’t find the Op. 176, 22 Very Easy Duets on Imslp.  This is a shame.

The 40 Easy Etudes and First Steps In Violoncello Playing are available for free on Imslp though.




I Will Always Love You

22 Oct

As a tribute on the anniversary of her death, I made this video cover of Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You.


Sting playing upright bass and singing

14 Sep

In The Police.  In this tune he uses a straightforward line as a foundation for his vocals


learning to sing while playing cello

14 Sep

In an effort to learn the technique used by musicians like Sting (he sings and plays the fretless bass), Esperanza Spalding, Andrew Bird, and of course lilsharp, over the past year I arranged a few tunes for cello and voice and learned them.   Even after practicing these, the technique is still very difficult for me.  There’s the issue of coordination between hands, rhythm between bow and voice, but the real trouble for me is intonation.

Then, at a concert at Ravinia this summer featuring none other than Esperanza Spalding, Andrew Bird and #lilsharp (as part of Mucca Pazza) themselves, I had a revelation about a way to practice the technique that might make the intonation issue less of a problem for us mortals.  More on this revelation to come!



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