Catherine de' Medici

Catherine de' Medici, was an Italian noblewoman, queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II, Queen mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III from 1559 to 1589. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" as she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France, she was born in Florence to Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino and Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne. In 1533, at the age of fourteen, Catherine married Henry, second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France. Catherine's marriage was arranged by her uncle Pope Clement VII. Henry excluded Catherine from participating in state affairs and instead showered favors on his chief mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who wielded much influence over him. Henry's death thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail 15-year-old King Francis II; when he died in 1560, she became regent on behalf of her 10-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers.

From 1560 to 1563, she ruled France as regent for King of France. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III, he dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life. Catherine's three sons reigned in an age of constant civil and religious war in France; the problems facing the monarchy were complex and daunting but Catherine was able to keep the monarchy and the state institutions functioning at a minimum level. At first, Catherine compromised and made concessions to the rebelling Calvinist Protestants, or Huguenots, as they became known, she failed, however. She resorted, in frustration and anger, to hard-line policies against them. In return, she came to be blamed for the excessive persecutions carried out under her sons' rule, in particular for the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, in which thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris and throughout France; some historians have excused Catherine from blame for the worst decisions of the crown, though evidence for her ruthlessness can be found in her letters.

In practice, her authority was always limited by the effects of the civil wars. Her policies, may be seen as desperate measures to keep the Valois monarchy on the throne at all costs, her patronage of the arts as an attempt to glorify a monarchy whose prestige was in steep decline. Without Catherine, it is unlikely. According to Mark Strage, one of her biographers, Catherine was the most powerful woman in 16th-century Europe. Catherine de' Medici was born on 13 April 1519 in Florence, Republic of Florence, the only child of Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, his wife, Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, the countess of Boulogne; the young couple had been married the year before at Amboise as part of the alliance between King Francis I of France and Lorenzo's uncle Pope Leo X against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. According to a contemporary chronicler, when Catherine was born, her parents were "as pleased as if it had been a boy". Within a month of Catherine's birth, both her parents were dead: Madeleine died on 28 April of puerperal fever or plague, Lorenzo died on 4 May, his title over Urbino reverting to Francesco Maria I della Rovere.

King Francis wanted Catherine to be raised at the French court, but Pope Leo had other plans for her. Catherine was first cared for by Alfonsina Orsini. After Alfonsina's death in 1520, Catherine joined her cousins and was raised by her aunt, Clarice de' Medici; the death of Pope Leo in 1521 interrupted Medici power until Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was elected Pope Clement VII in 1523. Clement housed Catherine in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence; the Florentine people called her duchessina, in deference to her unrecognised claim to the Duchy of Urbino. In 1527, the Medici were overthrown in Florence by a faction opposed to the regime of Clement's representative, Cardinal Silvio Passerini, Catherine was taken hostage and placed in a series of convents; the final one, the Santissima Annuziata delle Murate was her home for three years. Mark Strage described these years as "the happiest of her entire life". Clement had no choice but to crown Charles Holy Roman Emperor in return for his help in retaking the city.

In October 1529, Charles's troops laid siege to Florence. As the siege dragged on, voices called for Catherine to be killed and exposed naked and chained to the city walls; some suggested that she be handed over to the troops to be used for their sexual gratification. The city surrendered on 12 August 1530. Clement summoned Catherine from her beloved convent to join him in Rome where he greeted her with open arms and tears in his eyes, he set about the business of finding her a husband. On her visit to Rome, the Venetian envoy described Catherine as "small of stature, thin, without delicate features, but having the protruding eyes peculiar to the Medici family". Suitors, lined up for her hand, including James V of Scotland who sent the Duke of Albany to Clement to conclude a marriage in April and November 1530; when Francis I of France proposed his second son, Duke of Orléans, in early 1533, Clement jumped at the offer. Henry was a prize catch for Catherine, despite her wealth, was of common origin.

The wedding, a grand affair marked by extravagant display and gift-giving, took place in the Église Sain

Stretched tuning

Stretched tuning is a detail of musical tuning, applied to wire-stringed musical instruments, non-digital electric pianos, some sample-based synthesizers based on these instruments, to accommodate the natural inharmonicity of their vibrating elements. In stretched tuning, two notes an octave apart, whose fundamental frequencies theoretically have an exact 2:1 ratio, are tuned farther apart. "For a stretched tuning the octave is greater than a factor of 2. For example, the piano features both stretched harmonics and, to accommodate those, stretched fundamentals. In most musical instruments, the tone-generating component vibrates at many frequencies simultaneously: a fundamental frequency, perceived as the pitch of the note, harmonics or overtones that are multiples of the fundamental frequency and whose wavelengths therefore divide the tone-generating region into simple fractional segments; the fundamental note and its harmonics sound together, the amplitude relationships among them affect the perceived tone or timbre of the instrument.

In the acoustic piano and clavichord, the vibrating element is a metal wire or string. Each note on the keyboard has its own separate vibrating element whose tension and/or length and weight determines its fundamental frequency or pitch. In electric pianos, the motion of the vibrating element is sensed by an electromagnetic pickup and amplified electronically. In tuning, the relationship between two notes is determined by evaluating their common harmonics. For example, we say two notes are an octave apart when the fundamental frequency of the upper note matches the second harmonic of the lower note. Theoretically, this means the fundamental frequency of the upper note is twice that of the lower note, we would assume that the second harmonic of the upper note will match the fourth harmonic of the lower note. On instruments strung with metal wire, neither of these assumptions is valid, inharmonicity is the reason. Inharmonicity refers to the difference between the theoretical and actual frequencies of the harmonics or overtones of a vibrating tine or string.

The theoretical frequency of the second harmonic is twice the fundamental frequency, of the third harmonic is three times the fundamental frequency, so on. But on metal strings and reeds, the measured frequencies of those harmonics are higher, proportionately more so in the higher than in the lower harmonics. A digital emulation of these instruments must recreate this inharmonicity if it is to sound convincing; the theory of temperaments in musical tuning do not take into account inharmonicity, which varies from instrument to instrument, but in practice the amount of inharmonicity present in a particular instrument will effect a modification to the theoretical temperament, being applied to it. When a stretched wire string is excited into motion by plucking or striking, a complex wave travels outward to the ends of the string; as it travels outward, this initial impulse forces the wire out of its resting position all along its length. After the impulse has passed, each part of the wire begins to return toward its resting position, which means vibration has been induced.

Meanwhile, the initial impulse is reflected at both ends of the string and travels back toward the center. On the way, it interacts with the various vibrations it induced on the initial pass, these interactions reduce or cancel some components of the impulse wave and reinforce others; when the reflected impulses encounter each other, their interaction again cancels some components and reinforces others. Within a few transits of the string, all these cancellations and reinforcements sort the vibration into an orderly set of waves that vibrate over 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, etc. of the length of the string. These are the harmonics; as a rule, the amplitude of its vibration is less for higher harmonics than for lower, meaning that higher harmonics are softer—though the details of this differ from instrument to instrument. The exact combination of different harmonics and their amplitudes is a primary factor affecting the timbre or tone quality of a particular musical tone. Theoretically, vibration over half the string's length will be twice as fast, vibration over one-third of the string will be three times as fast, as the fundamental vibration over the whole string's length.

In the theoretical string, the only force acting to return a part of the string to its rest position is the tension between its ends. If you try bending a short piece of piano wire or guitar string with your fingers, you can feel the wire's resistance to bending. In a vibrating string, that resistance adds to the effect of string tension in returning a given part of the string toward its rest position; the result is a frequency of vibration higher than the theoretical frequency. And because the wire's resistance to bending increases as its length decreases, its effect is greater in higher harmonics than in lower. Tines and reeds differ from strings in that they are held at one end and free to vibrate at the othe

Bar-winged wren-babbler

The bar-winged wren-babbler is a species of bird in the Timaliidae family. There are variations among the populations and three subspecies are named. Sherriffi Kinnear, 1934 from eastern Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh indiraji Ripley et al. 1991 from Arunachal Pradesh, named after Indira Gandhi. Souliei Oustalet, 1898 - northern Arunachal Pradesh Myanmar and S ChinaIt is found in Bhutan, China and Myanmar, its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. Collar, N. J. & Robson, C. 2007. Family Timaliidae pp. 70 – 291 in. A. eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 12. Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona