Tuesday, November 13, 2018

This Midterm Was The Revenge of The Pollsters

Almost all the results in the Midterm elections have come in with about 9 House seats still too close to call and with the results almost finalized we found out how the majority of pollsters [with the exception of the questionable Rasmussen poll] nailed the results.

Real Clear Politics which takes the average of a compilation of legitimate polling firms, had the Democrats clearly winning the House with at least 225 members [they are now at 227 with 9 undecided]- the Republicans [with no toss ups] winning 2 or 3 Senate seats [they did win exactly 2 senate seats] and the Dems picking up 7 Governorships [the Dems did pick up 7 Governorships].  Pretty darn close!

Nate Silver's 538 web site nailed it even closer as his final prediction just before the polls closed on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018 [6pm ET] had the Dems winning 38 House seats and 2 Senate seats.  When the dust is settled, it looks the Dems will win either 36 or 37 or 38  House seats and 2 Senate seats.  I don't know how he does it, but Bravo, Nate Silver!

Nate Silver's 538 prediction just before the results announced
And on Meet The Press this last Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, host Chuck Todd noted how on the last NBC poll of presidential approval, they had 46% approve, 53% disapprove for a negative spread of 7%.  They also had the generic ballot at +7% for the Democrats.  Guess what? With almost all the votes in, it looks like the percentage of people voting for the Republicans will be 46% [the same number as the NBC poll had the president's approval rating] and the percentage of people voting for the Democrats will be 53% making it a 7% spread for the Democrats...the exact generic number the NBC poll had.  Pretty amazing how their poll nailed it, I think.

Chuck Todd host of Meet The Press
Only the Rasmussen poll which was the only poll, as they neared the election, that had the president's approval in positive territory [one day at 52% approval] and the generic ballot close to even.  If their poll was anywhere near close to being accurate there is no way the Dems would have won the House, and they probably would have lost members.

So, yes in the past people may have been scratching their heads over the pollsters, but this Midterm was indeed, 'The revenge of the pollsters'.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Happy Veteran's Day!

I want to wish all veterans of the US Armed Forces a very Happy Veterans Day.   On a personal note may I speak for my family in honoring my hero, my Dad, an Army war veteran, who passed on December 9, 2007. 

Thank you to all United States veterans [and those serving now] for serving our country and having kept America free, exceptional and the greatest nation on earth. May God Bless.

Happy Veterans Day!  May God Bless you all!
US Coast Guard Song [Semper Paratus-Always Ready]:

US Army Song [The Army Goes Rolling Along]: 

US Navy Song [Anchors Aweigh]:

US Air Force [Wild Blue Yonder]:

US Marines [From the Halls of Montezuma]:

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Major or Minor, That Is The 'Key'

If you ever go to a symphony concert near where you live and are hearing a piece for the first time, you might wonder what that piece will sound like, what is the mood of the piece.

Here is a tip that you can use that will help you understand what you might be about to hear. Look to see if the key of the piece is in a Major or a minor key.  For ex., is it in C Major, D Major, C minor, D minor, etc.  Here is why you do that. [From a Tales post from 5 years ago - "The Key is the Key"]: 

"a classical piece in a major key almost always portrays a bright happy and sometimes playful [mood], while a piece in a minor key [most of the time] portrays a dramatic, and sometimes has a stormy dark mood.  So, when you hear a classical piece for the first time and wonder what the mood of the piece will be,  just remember that the key is the key."
C minor Key signature

C Major Key signature                   

Of course, like everything in classical music, that is just a rule and there are exceptions. You might hear a dramatic piece in a major key or a happy playful piece in a minor key, but those would be exceptions. 

What is good is that you won't actually have to look at the written score of the piece to determine what the key is because the piece will almost have the key of the piece in the title of the piece.  For ex., piano concerto in C Major or Symphony in D minor, etc. 

To show you examples of how the key of the piece will determine the mood of the piece, I turn to three of my favorite composers, Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn.

From Mozart I have two piano sonatas, one in a major key and one in a minor key. Listen to how Mozart's sonata in C Major has a bright, happy, and playful mood; and then listen to his sonata in C minor to hear a more dramatic and serious mood.

Now while most of Beethoven's pieces contain some kind of drama, even in his pieces scored in a major key, listen to how sunny and even playful his piano concerto in C Major is as opposed to the serious very dramatic [at times tense] mood of his piano concerto in C minor.  

Note:  The first movement of the Beethoven C-minor piano concerto will at times switch back and forth between its minor key home to a major key, but it will be the home minor key that delivers the serious dramatic flavor.

From the melodic Felix Mendelssohn I have two symphonies, one in A Major [the first movement] and one in A minor.  Listen to the bold, sunny first movement of his "Italian" symphony in A Major as opposed to the more contemplative, and almost at times sad mood [in my opinion] in the first movement of his dramatic "Scottish" symphony in A minor.  
Please turn up the volume and enjoy some great music from 3 of the greatest composers ever and see if you agree with me that 'major or minor, the key is the key to the mood.'

W.A. Mozart: Piano Sonata #16 in C Major, Movement 1, Allegro:

W.A. Mozart: Piano Sonata #14 in C minor, Movement 1, Molto Allegro:

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1 in C Major, Movement 3, Rondo Allegro Scherzando:

L.V. Beethoven:  Piano Concerto in 3 in C minor, Movement 1, Allegro con brio:

Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony #4 in A Major, "Italian", movement 1, Allegro Vivace:

Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony #3 in A minor, "Scottish", Movement 1, Andante con motto - Allegro un poco Agitato:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Fish Out Of Water

Franz Schubert [1797-1828]
What were you doing at age 22.   If you were Franz Schubert you would have been composing one of the most well known chamber pieces ever.  Schubert's piano quintet, known as the "trout" [for the theme in the 4th movement of the piece], is one of this Austrian composer's most beloved pieces.

This fish may be out of water, but it certainly seems right in place in the chamber.

Schubert's "trout" is written for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass and it has five movements. All five movements of this chamber piece are great examples of Schubert's melodic style. This is one of my favorite chamber music pieces.  

The smooth, pleasant [sometimes with an edge] fourth and final movements of the "trout" is a nice way to start out the day. 

So, turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy some Franz Schubert melodic magic.

Franz Schubert: Piano Quintet in A-Major, "The Trout", Movement 4, Theme and variations:

Franz Schubert: Piano Quintet in A-Major, "The Trout", Movement 5, Allegro Giusto: