Stuff from the B-Side

Stuff from the B-Side

United States

What is the story behind Stagger Lee? Why would astronauts need a DJ? Join Mark and John as they explore everything from the president's record collection to the future of digital music in Stuff From The B-Side, a podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

Episodes

Before They Were Robots: Early Kraftwerk  

Kraftwerk is a legendary German electronic music band that has actively influenced the development of modern popular music. In this episode, Mark and John trace the development of Kraftwerk, as well as its effect on other bands and musical genres.

The Birth of a Folk Song: Stagger Lee  

In 1895, Stagger Lee killed William Lyons in an argument. Usually, a crime like this would disappear into the footnotes of history, but this event was different. Learn the true story behind one of America's most popular folk songs in this podcast.

The World's Oldest Music Company  

At over 380 years old, the Aedis Zildjian cymbal manufacturer is the world's oldest musical company. Learn more about this company -- and cymbals -- in this episode.

Who was Harry Partch?  

When American composer Harry Partch didn't enjoy the conventional 12-note scale, he created his own scale. He also built his own instruments upon which this scale could be played. Join Mark and John as they explore the musical pursuits of Harry Partch.

Are heavier records better than others?  

A standard vinyl record is between 120 to 140 grams, but audiophiles often think this is too flimsy -- why? Join John and Mark as they explore the eccentricities of vinyl records and determine whether or not the weight of a record makes a difference.

Is an encore necessary?  

During many concerts, bands return to the stage after their performance to crank out a few more tunes as the audience screams 'encore.' Explore the history of the encore -- and the philosophy behind the practice -- in this episode.

The Great American Songbook  

From the 1920s into the 60s, the Great American Songbook covers iconic music of the stage and screen. Yet there's no definitive list of the songs and songwriters involved. Learn more about the history of the Great American Songbook in this episode.

What causes feedback?  

Everyone's familiar with the ear-wrenching screech that unexpectantly blasts from speaker systems during a public address -- but what exactly is it? John and Mark investigate the unpleasant phenomenon of feedback in this episode.

A Seasonal Guide to Music  

How do you feel about the seasons? Whether you're in love with winter, summer, spring or fall, odds are that certain tunes remind you of the turning seasons. Join John and Mark as they present a guide to the seasonal music in this episode.

What is a mondegreen?  

Have you ever misheard a lyric? If so, then you've heard a mondegreen. Mondegreens are surprisingly common throughout musical history. Join John and Mark as they explore perplexing -- and humorous -- mondegreens in this episode.

The History of The Grand Ole Opry  

As the oldest continuous radio show in the US, the Grand Ole Opry is a crucial part of country music's history. Listen in as Mark and John explore the history of the Opry -- including some controversial performances -- in this episode.

Why does NASA have a morning DJ?  

For an astronaut in orbit, the sun appears to rise every 90 minutes. This extreme change disrupts the usual cycle of waking and sleeping. Luckily, NASA cooked up a creative -- and surprising -- solution. Tune in to learn more about DJ CAPCOM.

How does a tuning fork work?  

Tuning forks have been used since the 1800s, and are still common today. Yet tuning forks aren't just for music -- they're also used for watches and medical evaluations. Tune in and learn more about the rise of the humble table fork in this episode.

Music Theory 101: Intervals  

The term 'interval' refers to the distance or relationship between two notes. In this continuing series on the basics of music theory, the crew examines different types of intervals, as well as their respective roles in classical and modern music.

The One-Armed Pianist: Paul Wittgenstein  

Many people assume that most musical instruments require two hands. Yet after the famous pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right arm in World War I, he resolved to continue his career. Listen in and learn more about Paul Wittgenstein in this episode.

How Didgeridoos Work  

Used for centuries by indigenous Australians, the didgeridoo was originally played as musical accompaniment to ceremonial functions. Join Mark and John as they explore the history of this unique instrument, from prehistoric times to the modern era.

Why were singers castrated?  

During the 16th century, European boys with good singing voices ran the risk of castration. Join Mark and John as they explore the bizarre world of castrated singers -- and the reasons behind the practice -- in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

What makes an instrument's sound unique?  

Most people can easily hear the difference between an oboe or a sitar, even when the instruments are playing the same note. Join the hosts of Stuff From The B-Side as they explore the science behind the fascinating concept of timbre in this podcast.

Can a building be an instrument?  

As David Byrne biked through the urban landscape, he was struck with an enormous idea: Could an entire building become a musical instrument? Learn more about Byrne's idea -- and how he pulled it off -- in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

What are the highest and lowest notes ever played?  

Join Mark and John as they look back through the history of opera and world records to find the highest and lowest notes ever reached by human voices. Learn more about the amazing range of the human voice in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

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