You came this way: Home > Stevenarntson > Blog

Stevenarntson (Artist)

Mini Profile


Stevenarntson's Blog

stevenarntson on 08/07/2017 at 02:30PM

Songs, Instrumentals, and Yodels

I'm happy to post today an album I've been slowly working on for the past few years. Without Haste, Without Rest is Attribution-Noncommercial licensed music that includes a mix of classical instrumental compositions, instrumental yodels, harmony singing, and songs. I hope people enjoy listening to the material, and also find the tracks useful and suitable for reuse. Thanks to the FMA for providing a good place to post this type of work!

» 2 COMMENTS Share
stevenarntson on 10/29/2012 at 07:33PM

Top 5 DJ names at the Seattle Public Library


I know it can be tough to find the perfect DJ name. Many of the best names are already taken, and so many good name sources have been tapped out for years. Although I am not myself a DJ, still I thought I might contribute in some small way to alleviating this problem by suggesting a new source for excellent DJ names: the alphabetical range cards on the ends of the aisles in your local library. To give the name-searching DJ a sense of the considerable untapped potential here, I've created this list:

» 1 COMMENTS Share
stevenarntson on 10/09/2010 at 07:26PM

The Yodeling Concertinist

image (c) Anne Mathews

I'm a yodeling concertina player in Seattle, Washington. (I wonder if I could say, "I am the world's only yodeling concertina player"?) I've released a couple of efforts here on the FMA, and am placing two tracks from my newest here under a CC Attribution license.

The album, titled Bildungsroman, consists of some heartfelt yodels interspersed with solo concertina instrumentals influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." The tracks were recorded in a two-mile-long abandoned train tunnel hidden off a mountain pass here in Washington State.

I'm releasing one yodel and one instrumental on the FMA, and I hope people will trade and sample them. I think they have potential! I also hope you'll buy the whole album if it seems worthwhile. I'm selling it at Bandcamp through my website, Click the music link and you'll go straight there. This is somewhat of an experiment for me--I've never tried to sell my music online before, but I thought I'd give it a whirl. Viva the hybrid economy!

» 0 COMMENTS Share
stevenarntson on 01/05/2010 at 02:41PM


I’m going to try to make a biweekly blog post this year (of the twice-per-month variety, not twice-weekly). When I asked for advice about what theme(s) I should pursue, I was encouraged to focus on my interests, so I’ve decided to call this series Enthusiasms. As my enthusiasms tend toward the fitful, I hope they’ll make entertainingly brief blog entries. I’m a musician and writer with an aimless but sincere interest in classical and avant music, poetry, world traditions, and prog rock.


I ended 2009 unexpectedly fascinated with yodeling, spurred by my purchase of World Music Network’s excellent 2006 CD The Rough Guide To Yodel. Yodeling, which had always seemed silly to me, suddenly seemed great. Rather than trying to help singers keep their voices from cracking, yodeling asks that they make a virtue of necessity. Physiologically, yodeling involves a basic fact of human vocal production: there is a boundary, or break, between singing registers, commonly termed “normal” voice and “falsetto.” There is also considerable debate about the nature of the mechanism, with some suggestion that yodel effects may be produced differently by men and women (see the link to Timothy Wise’s essay, further down). Here is a video from the UW of a vocal endoscopy that shows the switch between normal voice and falsetto.


Outside of European art music, there’s been considerable yodeling. An excellent essay from Excavated Shellac covers some theories about the development of the practice, and references this beautiful recording of alpine yodeling, hosted at the Free Music Archive:



» 1 COMMENTS Share
stevenarntson on 10/12/2009 at 08:08AM

The Absent Second: An Explanation

In 1931, the Carter Family recorded a song called "Can't Feel At Home," a spiritual about storing up treasure in heaven in the face of the world's cruelty. The chorus contains the line "I can't feel at home in this world anymore." The catalog of copyright entries produced by the Library of Congress Copyright Office contains the following notice for A.P. Carter:

Can't feel at home ; words and melody by A.P. Carter. © 1 c. Aug. 25, 1931; E unp. 45219 ; Southern music pub. co., inc., New York. 21378

A.P.'s lyric and melody is substantially equivalent to another song called "This World Is Not My Home," by Albert E. Brumley, who copyrighted his words and melody in 1936, five years after Carter. Despite the suggestion of authorship suggested by these copyrights, the song is older than either of these versions. In his essay, "Roots of Bluegrass Music," Richard L. Matteson Jr. charts its history, which reaches back in print to a 1909 hymnal and likely long before that in the oral tradition. There are two recordings that predate that of the Carter Family. One is by Sam Jones, from 1924, and the other is by The Kentucky Thorobreds, from 1927.

Sometime in the late 1930s, Woody Guthrie heard a version of the song and penned a parody of it titled "I Ain't Got No Home," which considerably changes the tone of resigned worldly rejection of the original spiritual. The line "Angels beckon me to heaven's open door/And I can't feel at home in this world anymore," becomes "Rich man took my home and drove me from my door/And I ain't got no home in this world anymore." The earliest recording of "I Ain't Got No Home" that I know of is from 1940, made by Folkways chronicler Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress.

Sixty-eight years later, in 2008, I heard "Can't Feel and Home" and "I Ain't Got No Home," and felt the latter lyric connected well with some lyrics I was writing for what would become The Emerald Arms suite. I decided to arrange "I Ain't Got No Home" as the second movement. After creating the recording and sheet music of the entire work, I set out to discover whose permission I should ask before giving the suite away online as free recordings and a score.

» 13 COMMENTS Share
1-5 of 5 Per Page: 01