The Music of the DC-3 Episode

This is a regular blog post. If you’re looking for show audio or show notes, please check out the other posts.

If you liked the music from the DC-3 summary episode, here are links to full 128 Mbps MP3 files of the music. Please feel free to download and enjoy for your personal, non-commercial use. You can also use it for airshows and similar events, provided that you notify me and credit me to the effect of: “The music is ‘Cold,’ composed and performed by Steve Tupper for the Airspeed podcast.”

I wrote the basic tune a few years ago, but worked it up more fully for the DC-3 episode. The tune is from an album project upon which I’ve been working for years called Songs from the Sheffield: The First Folk Music of the Journey to Mars and Back.”

The project imagines the folk music that will arise out of the first human journey to another planet (presumably, Mars in 20 years’ time). A pre-echo, if you will, of the first folk music of humanity’s next frontier.

Journeys of discovery focus the voyageurs who take them. From rafts to tall ships to canoes to prairie schooners, the journey strips away most things not essential to survival. Yet the journey requires constant reminder of the reasons for which the voyageurs take the risk. Through the ages, the common denominator has been songs and stories. Sea shanties. Chants. Rounds. Calls and responses. Hymns. Simple, yet compelling and memorable. Some sacred, some crude, some profane. All must be capable of performance by voice and/or personal instruments no larger or more complex than a crewmember could reasonably be expected to carry in his or her personal space or mass allotment and that could be played in the zero- or low-gee environment that will comprise at least half of the expedition.

I’m hoping to work these and others up into a demo worthy of a residency at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire in late 2009.

Ambitious? You bet. But remember that I went from average Joe 185-hour ASEL IA to DC-3 type-rated in a little over a month and am nothing if not driven. The application deadline is April 15, 2009, so I have some time, but I really need to nail both the composition and performance. If you happen to be a luminary in the art world and would be willing to be a reference for my MacDowell application, please contact me at and we can talk more about the project and why and how I intend to use the time at MacDowell to create something really special.

In the meantime, watch the short video, MacDowell Moments at to find out why I’m so excited about this possibility.

Here are the three arrangements that appeared in the DC-3 episode.

Mandolin and Xaphoon:

12-String Guitar:

Mandolin, Xaphoon, 12-String Guitar, and Ashbory Bass: