Monthly Archives: January 2011

Social network – Facebook’s functions today


Facebook, which was founded by student Mark Zuckerberg, is only 7 years old and already has several million users. The secret of this social network’s popularity lies in its practical viability: the users can chat with each other, send messages, post their creative thoughts of the day or invite their idol as a friend. Facebook also gives them a unique opportunity to build vivid profiles with posh pictures.

According to Facebook’s statistics, people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the site, an average user has 130 friends, and about 70% of users are outside the United States. It has been said that people who have many friends are perceived as more sociable. Others claim that a big number of virtual friends only shows how lonely the user is.

Lately, I read a very interesting article on wordpress.com, 5 reasons to quit Facebook. Its author shares his personal opinion about Facebook with readers. In his opinion, Facebook is a very good source for crackers and other dishonest people, as Facebook’s users tend to post very personal information, sometimes their credit card numbers. Also, Facebook can sell information about its users to advertisers. Moreover, the author of the article accurately observes people’s tendency to join the network just because their friends are there.

Avon and Somerset Police, UK, tried to find 25-year-old Jo Yeates’ killer by using Facebook: the users could see a special advert, which appeared on the site, Jo’s murder- can you help? Also, police were searching Jo’s Facebook account to find any trace of her murder.

Undoubtedly, apart from TV shows a social network is one of the most important entertainments in contemporary society, but not the only one. First of all, it’s a good source for PR campaigns, journalists, and sadly – for criminals.

 

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The art of singing


Sometimes, when I speak to singers, they try to explain singing techniques and things like enunciation, vowel sounds or diminuendo. And I let them talk and pretend that I don’t know what they’re sermonizing about, as I can imagine what singing means to them.

So, what is singing? In plain terms, it is our voice’s natural ability to make musical sounds. A singer’s voice is also his musical instrument, so he needs to take care of it very well.

A few years ago, I studied singing at the State Music School in Lublin, and I would say I know all the secrets of this art: I look at a singer and see and hear what she/he shall improve. Singing is not only about a nice, natural voice. Correct voice emission or proper breathing for singing are also very important, not mentioning emotional layer of tunes.

Every professional singer or student – singer has a teacher or instructor, who practises with him and gives him advice.  During 5 years of studying, I had 2 teachers and one of them was very special – Ms Alina Naumowicz. For us students, she was a coach, accompanist, psychologist, and mother and at the same time a very strict critic. She used to say, ‘Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you like it?’ and I was always surprised by what I saw there. She was harsh, but on the other hand, she was the one who was gained respect from people within the school.

She taught us that ornamental singing is unpleasant to the ear, and mormorando should be the first exercise before starting singing.  She used to repeat that a flat sound is not music at all and she never said to anyone ‘You should resign from singing and start playing double bass or drums.’

I would not agree with those artists whose singing is limited to performing only what listeners want to hear from them. Smart vocals, when we don’t put our souls into them are just a masquerade or a miserable attempt of selling fake music.

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Mozart’s timeless music.


Mozart is undoubtedly one the most famous the composers in the history of classical music, as probably there is no one in the civilized world who has never heard of him. This can be proved very easily: when you ask the average man in the street which classical composer he knows, he will probably answer, ‘Mozart’. Maybe he would not be able to give you any names of Mozart’s work or at least will mention the great Symphony no. 40 or the serenade Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Many people are familiar with this composer and his works because of the biopic ‘Amadeus’ (1984). American Film Institute ranked the film at number 53 in its 100 Years…100 Movies.

Despite of his short life (he lived only 35 years), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed over 600 music pieces and wrote in every major genre of the classical epoch. His work included: opera, symphony, piano sonata, and string quintet, string quartet and solo concert. He also wrote religious works such as masses and also dances and serenades.

 The style of Mozart’s music is very characteristic; it is balanced, clear and somehow cheerful. If we compare his work to pieces which were composed by baroque artists, we can see that his music was completely new. Precisely, in his music we can see that the heavy baroque sounds were replaced by more informal and more individual textures; however, there were not as effusive as those which came later with romanticism.

 These days his music is used in many different experiments:  surely many of as have heard about the so-called ‘Mozart effect’, a concept described by French otolaryngologist, Alfred A. Tomatis in his book’ Pourquoi Mozart?’ who believed that listening to Mozart’s music has an effect on human brains. Today it is thought that listening to his music might improve both children’s’ and adults’ health. It might also help with many physical and psychological disorders such as stress, problems with sleeping, depression and different fears. Moreover, Mozart’s music is used in treating ADHD, ADD, autism and dyslexia.

Israeli scientists proved that prematurely born children who listened to Mozart’s music, put out on weight more quickly and were stronger than their peers. Furthermore, Amadeus’s music is used to develop intelligence, imagination and creativity and is applied to improve concentration or effectiveness in work.

It looks like Mozart’s music has been reduced merely to an applied art. However, this does not change the fact that it is immortal and will always be the work, that defines the canon of beauty.

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Was 2010 a good year for the world?


2010 was announced as The International Year of Biodiversity by The United Nations Organization (UNO); it was proclaimed The Year of Frédéric Chopin in Poland. In Italy the year 2010 was designated as The Year of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the most notable Italian Baroque artist, and Lithuania celebrated the 600 anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald 1410.

 In 2010, the Burj Khalifa – the biggest structure in the world – was opened in Dubai; the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria married Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland, and the radioactive chemical element with the atomic number 112 was named Copernicium after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Definitely it was a year of new faces on the political scene; in January, Sebastián Piñera won the second round of the presidential election in Chile; Ivo Josipović became the president of Croatia; Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych became the president of Ukraine; in May David Cameron became Prime Minister of the UK; in June, Juan Manuel Santos  won the presidential election in Columbia, Benigno Aquino III became the president of the Philippines and  Julia Gillard became the first Australian woman Prime Minister. Also, in November, a political science professor, Alpha Condé, won presidential elections in Guinea.

It was a year of natural disasters; in January Haiti suffered from a 7.0 magnitude earthquake while 230,000 people died; February brought floods on the Portuguese island Madeira and an earthquake in Chile rated a magnitude of 8.8. In March there was an earthquake in Elazığ, Turkey and in April there was an earthquake in China’s Qinghai province and one of the smaller ice caps in Iceland – Eyjafjallajökull – erupted. In May and June there were floods in Central European countries (Poland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine) and in Brazil. In July Pakistan floods affected above 15 million people and in July and August Russia suffered from forest fires.

Many famous people died in 2010, including 41-year-old British fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, whose clients among others were Charles, Prince of Wales and Mikhail Gorbachev. A Winter Olympics competition in Vancouver, Canada was marked by the death of a 21-year-old Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died of injuries after his fatal crash during the training. On April 10 the president of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 others were killed in a plane crash on the Tupolev Tu-154M near Smoleńsk, Russia. Also, in April John Forsythe died, the star of an American prime time television soap opera – Dynasty, and singer and bassist  Peter Steele, the member of the gothic metal band from Brooklyn – Type O Negative. In May the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar’Adua died and Kama Chinen, a Japanese super centenarian also died, 8 days before her 115th birthday. In October the King of Rock and Soul, American singer Solomon Burke,who was famous for his hit Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, passed away.  In November one of the most outstanding Polish contemporary classical composers, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, best known for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, died. Also, a few weeks before Christmas Canadian actor and comedian, Leslie Nielsen died.

2010 was also the year of brave decisions:  Ecuador’s police rose in revolt against its President Rafael Correa, the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved into 5 constituent countries, Iceland refused to pay for the UK and Netherlands debts and in their national referendum, the Swiss rejected a proposition of law according to which animals would be represented at court by state-funded lawyers.

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