Monthly Archives: February 2014

Double Exposure


Herbie Nichols used compositional devices that were years ahead of their time.  These songs, for example, were written in the early 1950s.  They can sound slightly “Monkish”, partly because the melodies seem to power through inappropriate harmonies under their own pianistic logic.  The difference is that while Monk used internal movement within chords to create dissonance, Nichols moved the chord structures as a whole, resulting in atonal sequences of major, augmented or suspended chords.





If you change your various passwords often (and really you should), but worry about finding a handy mnemonic device, try playing the top rows of your computer keyboard like a piano.  You can generate a seemingly random sequence of characters, and all you have to remember is a melody.  An ideal password contains letters, numbers and “non-alphanumeric” characters.  So:

1. Assign a key on a piano keyboard to one on your computer keyboard using “=”

2. Play a melody using the qwerty line as the white keys and number line as the black keys

As an example, I’ll notate the bass line I’ve played more than a few times in my life, Journey’s “Dont Stop Believin”.  The lowest note is E, so I’ll assign that to the “q” key.  This means “w” represents F, skipping “2” because there’s no black key between E and F.  The “3” becomes F#, etc. up to a high G at “p”.  Using this system, the bass line can be written:


Now I have an unlimited supply of strong passwords.  One song can also generate many passwords; the same bass line can be rendered    1=d#q34t7878ir8iq   or   q=dw45y8989ot9ow.  You can also play games like inverting the black and white keys (1=e1we5yuyu84u81) or the entire keyboard (0=e0iu6rere37e30).

The bass line to Raymond Williams’ “Cryptography” can be written:   q=ae7o9ttreeee

Cryptography 1




This song comes from the Jackie McLean album “Fire & Love”.