Victimae paschali laudes

As the final project for Choral Composition, my assignment was to write an original choral work. The choice of text was mine, so I decided to pick a little known Latin plainchant and use the text as the basis for my work. It turns out that “little known” happens to only apply to me in this case… Anyway, I found this awesome text called “Victimae paschali laudes”, and decided to write a setting for it.

The piece begins with the tenors and basses singing the original plainchant. The sopranos and altos take over using two part first species counterpoint, appropriate considering the style. Yes, I broke rules, it sounds better that way. The first stanza ends with all four voices, still using my sudo-first species counterpoint. After this, everything outside of the text is original.

I was going to end the work with a fugue using the text “Amen, Alleluia” on a fragment of the original plainchant, but ran out of time and only finished the exposition. The version attached below is the one I submitted, without the fugue.

Victimae Paschali – The full score with piano reduction
Victimae Paschali – piano – A sound file containing the voice parts played by Finale on piano
Victimae Paschali – synth voice – A synthed voice version. It sounds horrible, which I dearly hope is the fault of Finale and not myself.

How to remove a fake antivirus application

Over the last year I have been cleaning up a mess of fake antivirus applications. A pattern has developed which will hopefully allow anyone to remove these themselves.

In a nutshell, you need to kill or bypass the virus in order to run MalwareBytes Free Edition to remove it.

Boot into Safe Mode

First, you need to try to bypass the virus in order to install MalwareBytes. Start by booting into Safe Mode by holding down F8 while booting. You will get a menu from which you should select Safe Mode with Networking.

At this point, if the virus appears, your mouse or keyboard doesn’t work, or you cannot use it for some other reason, continue to the next step. Otherwise, move on to Removing the Virus.

Bypass the Virus using RKill (alternate)

If Safe Mode with Networking doesn’t work, you will need a USB Key (Jump Drive, Flash Drive, whatever you call it; a CD-R or CD-RW would also work) and a second, working computer. On this computer, download and mbam.exe and copy them to the USB Key. Back on the first computer, run as an administrator, by right-clicking on it and clicking Run as Administrator. A command line will appear for a minute, and the virus should disappear. At this point, it will still be on the computer, but you can now bypass it and get to the internet.

Remove the Virus using MalwareBytes

At this point, unless you have mbam.exe on a USB Key, you will need to download it.

Install MalwareBytes and select Update and Run on the last screen. MalwareBytes will download the most recent virus definitions and then the main application will open (if for some reason it cannot download the definitions, MalwareBytes should still work). Select a full scan and run it. At the end of the scan which may last an hour, you will want to remove everything it finds and reboot. If it asks you to reboot while removing, click Not Now and allow the scan to finish. Once you have rebooted your computer, everything should be clean.


Make sure that you have an antivirus application and that it is up to date. If you don’t have one currently, or if your subscription has expired, I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials, a free antivirus application from Microsoft that doesn’t slow down your computer as much as most other products on the market.

Sadly, even having an up-to-date antivirus application isn’t a sure defense against this class of virus. I have cleaned these viruses off of computers that had up-to-date versions of Norton, AVG, and others. Make sure that Windows is up to date by running Windows Update from the Control Panel. Also make sure that you have the most recent versions of Java, Flash, and Adobe Reader. An easy way to verify this is to run the free online Secunia security scan. It will tell you whether you have the most recent versions of many popular applications. If you want a more in depth security scan as well as ongoing alerts, I recommend install the free Secunia PSI. It continuously scans your computer and alerts you if you have insecure versions of most applications. It will even automatically install updates for most recent versions.

New Hymnsoft!

In the list of presentations for the WELS 2011 Worship Conference is a session on the new Hymnsoft player (page 8). Sounds like progress has finally been made.

On another note, I wish I could attend everything there. I was in the high school honor choir last time, and will be going again this year as a full attendee. I will hopefully be in the Festival Chorus…

Some Hymnsoft workarounds

I have had to make Hymnsoft work with increasing adoption of Windows 7 x64 at Salem, and have come up with some workarounds for now.

If you just need to play the hymns, you can rename the .NDX files to be more useful. The files in the SRCHNDX directory are the four part harmonizations and the FNDNDX ones are the solo melody line. The hymns are the files that start with WRD. They are ordered alphabetically by tune names, although it is not perfect. I am attaching a spreadsheet showing the mapping of tunes to file IDs, which I extracted using the code posted earlier. If you want to do some programming, you can write a script to use the IDs to automatically rename all of the files. I would be happy to email people the converted files, except that I would probably get in trouble with NPH for it. If I ever write a utility to rename the files, I will post it (conversely, if someone else does, email me and I will link to it or host it).

I also created an Access database containing the remainder of the Hymnsoft data including titles, hymn numbers, tune names, scripture references, and lyrics. This was somewhat complex, using a modified form of the code posted earlier to create. I am pretty sure that sending people this file without certain proof of Hymnsoft ownership breaks all kinds of copyright laws, so don’t expect me to do so. The code to convert from the Hymnsoft database is posted on this blog. I modified it to create an XML file which I then imported into Access. I had to do an import, delete the data, change the data type of the lyrics field from string to memo, and reimport. I can post the modified code to create the XML file if someone wants it.

I haven’t done any work with the psalms or canticles yet as I have not needed them.

If anyone from NPH wants these files, shoot me an email (or comment) and I will send them to you. I have already done much of the work required to rewrite Hymnsoft, but as the database structure is weird, I would need permission to distribute a modified database. I would be interested in working with NPH to develop a new version of Hymnsoft that could be sold by NPH.

Another option for people using Windows 7 x64 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate is Windows XP Mode. This runs a copy of Windows XP in a Virtual PC emulator under Windows 7 and is free for those running the aforementioned editions of Windows. If you are running Windows 7 (or Vista) 32 bit, a previous post outlines the fixes required to make Hymnsoft work.

Network Neutrality

I just posted a comment on Slashdot in response to a poorly worded summary and thought I would expand here.

The issue that most “thinking” conservatives (i.e. not those who simply parrot whatever various talk shows put out) have with the network neutrality concept is not the ideal of keeping an ISP from blocking or throttling competing traffic (which so far has been mostly self-regulated), but rather the potential side effects from granting authority to the FCC to do that. Currently the FCC has no regulatory authority over the internet and allowing them to simply assume such authority unchecked is rather dangerous. Liberals would not want a conservatively controlled FCC regulating the internet just as conservatives do not want a liberally (modern ideological definition) controlled FCC regulating the internet. A previous poster noted the damage that a Republican controlled FCC with regulatory power over the internet could cause if they blocked all Democrat websites and vice versa. Enforcing internet neutrality between ISPs by introducing total control by an agency of the American government appears to be a bad idea. A well thought out congressional bill to limit ISP interference with traffic is a better idea (although not perfect). Yes, there is a tiny group of liberals who want to use “network neutrality” to control speech on the internet. There is also a tiny group of conservatives who want to do the same thing. I think the majority on both sides agree on this more than they disagree, but as usual that gets lost in the rhetoric.

Fundamentally, the bulk of both ideological groups should start thinking through what is being said by both those in their own parties and in the opposition. The Democrats like to paint conservatives with a broad brush of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, et cetera. Republicans like to do the same thing. If both groups are capable of thinking and not just repeating what leaders say, fringe leaders will not tend to become the voice of the group.

I wonder whether the market is capable of self regulating competitive traffic interference out of existence, or whether such a bill is indeed required. So far, the outcry in response to such practices seems to have kept them in check. Also, the antitrust regulations (the subject of another post), would probably be capable of keeping Comcast from blocking Netflix, causing de facto network neutrality.

UWRF Music Class Papers

As this semester drew to a close, I had put far too much effort into all of the various papers I had to write to just have them sit on a shelf. So I am posting most of them here. I am backdating them so they fit in the flow as they were written. Here is the list of what I have just posted.

Music History I – Martin Luther, the German Reformation, and their impact on sacred music.

Theory II Listening Assignment – Mozart’s 40th Symphony

Theory II Listening Assignment – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6

Music History II Term Paper – Mozart’s Requiem

Theory III Listening Assignment – Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

Theory III Listening Assignment – Schumann’s Dichterliebe

Theory III Listening Assignment – Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor

Theory III Listening Assignment – Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178

Theory III Listening Assignment – Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, Op. 95 “New World”

Theory III Listening Assignment – Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” – 5th Movement

Theory III Listening Assignment – Richard Strauss: Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration)

Child accounts on Gmail using labels and filters

Here is a neat trick using several features of Gmail to create email accounts for kids that are parentally supervised.

Gmail forwards all emails of the form username+[sometext] to The original goal for this feature was to make it possible to track where an email addressed was sourced. However, you can also use this feature to create “sub” accounts within your master account.

Let’s say that Jenny wants her daughter Rebecca to have an email account, but Jenny wants to be able to supervise it. Her current email address is, so she decides that Rebecca’s address will be

Jenny first created a label by going to Settings > Labels, typing Rebecca into the Create New Label box, and clicking Create. She then went to the Filters tab and clicked Create A New Filter. Then she entered into the To: box. She clicked next and selected Apply the Label and Rebecca. She decided that she didn’t want Rebecca’s email cluttering her inbox, so she also selected Skip the Inbox.

After clicking Create Filter, she went to the Accounts and Import tab and clicked Send Email from Another Account. She entered Rebecca into the Name field, and into the Email Address field and clicked Next Step. The box disappeared, and she went back to the inbox.

Now, there is a label below the inbox on the left side of the page that says Rebecca and shows the number of unread emails the Rebecca has received. When Rebecca wants to send and email, she goes to Compose Mail and selects Rebecca from the dropdown box next to the From label.

Facebook prototype glitch

Interesting situation earlier today. I wonder how you accidentally expose a prototype Facebook page layout to the world. One thing I noted that changed is that Facebook chat worked over https while the prototype was live. I use the HTTP Everywhere Firefox addon which secures my Facebook usage from the likes of Firesheep and friends, but breaks chat in the process. I wonder whether that has been fixed internally. I use Pidgin as a workaround at the moment, but it would be nice if https chat was fixed and https was used by default everywhere. It is quite annoying when hijacking someone’s account is that easy.

Fugue No. 1 in D Minor

I finally wrote a fugue. I have loved the style and wanted to be able to for a long time, but finally learned enough about counterpoint to achieve it. The fugue is in three voices and is arranged for organ although no particular instrumentation is suggested. The middle voice switches between bass and treble clef continuously, alto clef would be better but no one wants to read that anymore. I also have included a two stave version.

The subject is two measures long and there is a counter-subject. There are several examples of harmonies (Neapolitan, Augmented Sixth) that Bach didn’t use much and gives a slightly modern feel to the work. There are examples of two and three voice stretto and inversion.

The form mimics that of Bach’s Fugue No. 6 also in D Minor from the Well Tempered Clavier Book 1.

Fugue – Finale recording of organ
Fugue – Organ transcription using lilypond
Fugue – Two stave version using finale

Theory III Listening Assignment – Richard Strauss: Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration)

Richard Strauss was born in Munich, Germany in 1864. His father, an excellent horn player, provided a comprehensive musical education to the young Richard. He was influenced early by the music of Richard Wagner, thus elements of Wagner’s style pervade Strauss’s music. His two primary compositional genres were Opera and Tone Poems. He was a prominent conductor and an excellent orchestrator. He died in 1949.

The tone poem Tod und Verklärung was written during 1888 and 1889. It portrays a man on his deathbed, who is remembering his childhood and life, continuously fighting back death until it finally triumphs. However, death has not really won.
The best description of the story comes from the composer himself. In 1894, Richard Strauss described what happens in the tone poem:

“The sick man lies in bed, asleep, with heavy irregular breathing; friendly dreams conjure a smile on the features of the deeply suffering man; he wakes up; he is once more racked with horrible agonies; his limbs shake with fever.
“As the attack passes and the pains leave off, his thoughts wander through his past life; his childhood passes before him, the time of his youth with its strivings and passions, and then, as the pains already begin to return, there appears to him the fruit of his life’s path, the conception, the ideal which he has sought to realize, to present artistically, but which he has not been able to complete, since it is not for man to be able to accomplish such things. The hour of death approaches, the soul leaves the body in order to find gloriously achieved in everlasting space those things which could not be fulfilled here below.”

The music portrays in detail exactly what is described by Strauss. An irregular figure for strings and timpani represents the beating heart. Beautiful melodies and figures represent different aspects of the artist’s life: childhood, youth, fear of and struggle with death, his will to live, panting, and most importantly the artistic ideal. The artist remembers scenes from his life, repeatedly interrupted by the death motive. Finally, death overcomes in a huge climax which builds higher and higher sliding upwards in the strings. However, a beautiful theme emerges as a triumphant statement of the immortality of the soul. The piece ends in a beautiful C major.

In 1948, near the end of the composers life, he wrote a song called Im Abendrot (sunset) using a text by Joseph von Eichendorff. This song describes the end of a long tiring day, but the last five words (in German) reshape the meaning by asking the question “Is this perhaps death?” At this moment in the music, Strauss reaches back sixty years and quotes the resurrection theme from Tod und Verklärung as an answer to the question. As he lay on his deathbed in 1949, Strauss told his daughter-in-law that “dying is just the way I composed it in Tod und Verklärung.” This certainty is what makes Tod und Verklärung so meaningful and poignant today.


Bromberger, Eric. “Vänskä and Symphonie fantastique program notes.” 4 November 2010. Minnesota Orchestra. 8 December 2010 <>.

Grout, Donald Jay, J. Peter Burkholder, and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music, 8th Edition. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Death and Transfiguration.” 19 November 2010. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 8 December 2010 <>.

—. “Richard Strauss.” 8 December 2010. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 8 December 2010 <>.