Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thanks to Pandora Radio

Posted by Webster 
One of my favorite discoveries of 2009 is Pandora Radio. It’s a Web service that allows you to create your own radio station. As a Catholic I find it useful because I can gather in one place the kinds of religious music that I find most inspiring—stuff I didn’t even know existed. You start Pandora with a “seed” and it proposes other similar music to add to your station. You accept what you like, reject what you don’t, and slowly build your own list. Then you can listen to it at work (from your desktop computer), on the road (from your laptop), or even out for a walk (from your iPhone or Blackberry).

And now—I can share it with my friends! That’s right! Being the technical wizard I am (not), I have just figured out how to share an entire Pandora station with you. (OK, true confessions: Frank figured it out.) The secret is at the bottom of this post, so read on.

Several months ago, I named this station Bingen Radio, in honor of Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century religious and mystic who also happens to be the first composer of music of whom we have a detailed biography. I wrote a bit about her previously here. The image of Hildegard’s statue is cribbed from James Woodward’s fine blog, which I’m now going to follow, having once discovered it.

On this station you will hear a selection of mostly a cappella choral music from Hildegard to Arvo (Part), with stops along the way for Gregorian Chant, Josquin Desprez, Tomás Luis Victoria, and William Byrd, to mention but a few. No, I don’t know fact one about most of these folks. I only know that listening to this beautiful selection of music puts me in an entirely different space the moment I launch Pandora.

Another cool thing about Pandora is, once you download my Bingen Radio, you can make it your own. Every time a piece comes on, you can give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Pandora will continuously adjust the mix of music to your taste. You can start brand-new stations too. I have half-a-dozen, including Chopin Radio (piano-oriented classical) and Knopfler Radio (named for the Dire Straits front man who is my favorite pop musician).

So here’s what you do: Go to our fan page (YIM Catholic) on FaceBook, become a fan, and click on the link posted there. The Pandora station “Bingen Radio” will download to your computer. And the next time you join us at YIM Catholic, you can hum along.

Update: See the righthand sidebar for a link to the YIMCatholic Pandora stations=====>>>