« What's the difference between Fox News and the Republican base? | Main | Where was Obama? Really? »

January 08, 2015


As banishments go (thanks, Ugh!), this has to be the coolest one yet. :-)))

My kids are 5 and 3. They like The Wiggles. It will be the end of us all.

Not a kid, obviously. My favorite band is Kitaro, Tangerine Dream a close second.

I've got an album by A Taste of Honey, that I bought just for the song "Sukiyaki". What a bummer it was to find that none of the other songs on it were remotely similar.

Aside from that, a lot of Anime sound tracks. Especially from Ah, My Goddess.

My obscure recommendation: Pavel Fomitchov. Used to be a lot of his stuff on MP3 dot com, before the RIAA took down all the perfectly legal content that wasn't licensed through them.

Oh, forgot, wj - you're banned! Gonna make this place into redstate if it kills me...

That sounds like a song lyric for some reason.

Open thread, from Jon Stewart, gaining him a lot of respect from me:

I think we'd all agree 2014 was not a great year for people. But I think the hope was that 2015 would bring sort of a respite from the kinds of terrible events that have become all too familiar for us, but ... our hearts go out to the staff of Charlie Hebdo and their families tonight, I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn't have to be that it shouldn't be an act of courage, it should be taken as established law. But those guys at Hebdo had it, and they were killed for their cartoons.

Stark reminder that for the most part, the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not, in any way, the enemy, for however frustrated and outraged the back-and-forth can become, it's still back-and-forth, a conversation between those on, let's call it "Team Civilization." And this type of violence only clarifies that reality.

I was given a Best Buy gift card for my birthday last year and just used it to buy 3 viking metal albums + the Toumani & Sidiki Diabate kora duet album. Toumani's album Djelika remains one of my all-time favorites. The eponymous song here.

I haven't bought any music, really, for a while now. I did buy some stuff to use in English classes, but more often, because you can rent cds here, I can get anything new that way. I'm probably not supposed to rip them, but I'm also supposed to eat less.

Also, I hear of something interesting and I usually just find it on youtube and then listen to it for a while. Russell mentioned James Booker a while ago, before that, it was Moondog. Kora duets sound like the next ticket!

How do I know how far out of it I am? Well, I thought disco wss bad enough that I didn't pay much attention to popular music in the 70s. Result, a couple of years back, discovered a new (to me, anyway) group that I rather like: ABBA.

Or as vaguely related note: during the 30s, there was a lot of popular music which was just music, lyrics. But since then? Songs, but music only pop music is damn rare. Or can someone who is a little more current (i.e any of you) tell me that things have changed? And does anyone have some thoughts on why?

There were also solo instrumentals in the 1950s and 1960s, as I recall it - Theme from A Summer Place (to which we made up words: "Theme, This is the Theme, this is the Theme, from the Place, From a Summer Place . . ."), Rebel Rouser and 40 Miles of Bad Road by Duane Eddy, Spanish Flea and A Taste of Honey by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, etc. (There are a few more lurking in my subconscious.)

What I saw (in my lifetime) as the big change in pop music was the rise in the mid-1960s of the singer-songwriter, two roles which had been conventionally separated earlier. But suddenly it seemed as if everyone wanted to be The Beatles or Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen and sing their own stuff.

Which may tie in with the original question. The singer-songwriter seemed to be more "authentic," singing lyrics that were meaningful to him/her, and this (IMHO) made listeners pay more attention to the words, which might contain some kind of significance . . .

Or I might be talking out of another orifice entirely. We natter; you decide.

he singer-songwriter seemed to be more "authentic," singing lyrics that were meaningful to him/her

I have been stuck in the late sixties/early seventies musically because of this. My preferences are songs where the lyrics are emotionally significant, sung by the songwriter and, almost always, a live version where available. Elton John, CSNY, Dylan, Jackson Browne, Poco, The Eagles, Carole King,The Band, Cohen, Arlo Guthrie, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris, some versions of the James Taylor song. Then a plethora of Allnan Brothers type guitar bkues/rock(Skynrd,Marshall Tucker, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Hiatt, Paul Butterfield, Al Kooper, Clapton after Cream. Over the years the additions have been few, mostly female for some reason. My kids, knowing my taste, send me music, which really my only vehicle for finding new stuff. With hundreds of hours of playlists on Spotify sifting through the radio crap to find the nugget just doesn't seem worthwhile anymore.

P.S. Not quite in complete contradiction to all that, I have two decades worth of rock albums on vinyl. Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Zeppelin, The Who, Animals, Cream, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, etc. that I rarely get listen to, I just don't have the stereo to go them justice anymore.

A quick add, I always have preferred live music but the concerts/clubs I attend are further between. In the last 15 years or so l did get out to see Paul Simon, NIN, Bonnie Raitt, Luther Johnson, Tom Waites and Leon Redbone plus a few local groups. I'm always curious what people go to hear live.

Plus I know the lyrics to most every song Kristofferson ever recorded.

One of my realizations over time is that I am less tied to today's music because, badly quoting Eric Church, melody's are memories. The rush of first time events, and first feelings and emotional learning slows over the years, instead of a new song for a new memory, these days I more often go back to an old song for that emotional comfort or security.

I make a note of all the songs my partner hears and likes on the radio (or wherever) and for Christmas make her a compilation CD of as many of them as I can find (also an excuse to sneak a couple of tracks on that I think she *should* like but alas these are consistently skipped over). So we stay pretty current with modern pop.

What I'm really waiting for, though, is some kind of music recommendation engine that doesn't just recommend music by bands that other people who liked your music like; I want new stuff that sounds like the old stuff. Take electro/shoegaze progenitors Curve, who gave up about 10 years ago now - search for them on Spotify or Grooveshark or whatever and you will as a matter of course be recommended Garbage, Republica, Elastica et al, but absolutely nothing that came out in the last 18 months.

last record (well, set of MP3s) that i bought was Nirvana's first record, Bleach, because i discovered that i didn't have it. being a completist, i could not let that hole continue. plus, i needed a song from it. also Iron Maiden's first record, for the same reasons.

before that, records from Captain Beefheart, Dylan, Animal Collective.

i've also been trying to broaden my knowledge of blues legends, so there are a lot of giant collections from guys like Little Walter, Magic Sam, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin Hopkins, etc.. you can get 50-song collections for most of these guys (and many more) for like $4. same thing with early jazz (Django, Jabbo Smith, Armstrong, Ellington, etc.).

but lately i've been listening to Beatles records because i'm reading a book called All The Songs which goes through each of the Beatles' releases, in order and talks about the writing and recording of every song they officially released. sounds dry, but i find it fascinating. and it's changed a lot of my opinions about the members, and the individual songs. John comes across like a completely miserable bastard, but i appreciate him more as a songwriter and singer, and arranger, and producer, etc., now. and it somehow gave me fresh ears when it came to the songs themselves.

This is incredibly beautiful to my ears. Possibly my favorite from this band.

I immediately knew both song and artist for numbers 3, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 23, and 26, cleek. I won't say which was the song you needed, so as not to screw up your contest, but somehow I knew it would be that song before I even heard the clip.

put your answers in the comments there. you'd be in the lead! :)

My personal musical favorites tend to be from guys that died a century ago or more.

I am open to newer influences though (the 1930ies had a few decent musicians ;-) )

As for modern stuff, a bit of Arkona* here a bit of Icelandic** or Norwegian** stuff there.
I also admit to like the music from the Girls und Panzer anime series (the series itself too).
Btw, animes that reach the big screen (and a few that don't) often have good music and sometimes very beautiful title songs. This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIP41E4B-bI is an all-time favorite of mine.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkona_%28band%29 (highly selectively though)
** e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81rst%C3%AD%C3%B0ir or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hera_Hjartard%C3%B3ttir
*** e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigrid_Moldestad

put your answers in the comments there. you'd be in the lead! :)

Hmmm...I also knew the artist on a few others. But I shy away from such intense competition. Is Ugh no longer in the lead, with his many point(without an s)?

Some Russian and Norse preferences as might have been guessed from the above.

Old: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYCY0fNJS68

A wee bit more modern: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr0WwY5Bulw

I love orthodox chant with a certain predilection for the Bulgarian style

I do not speak Russian and my Icelandic is still rather rudimentary though.

sadly, Ugh has slipped into second.

musical favorites tend to be from guys that died a century ago or more.

Do you know a better performance of the Bach Partita No.2 than that by Nathan Milstein ?
My unfulfilled quest...

Back on topic, recent(ish) kids' introductions...
Florence & the Machine
Of Monsters & Men
The Dolls Of New Albion, A Steampunk Opera

Other "lurking" instrumental hits from the 1950s:

- Cherry Pink & Apple-Blossom White (Perez Prado); all-time record for instrumentals (10 weeks at #1), finally displaced by Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock"!

- The one-word (otherwise instrumental) hit still played by college bands: Tequila!

Not that anyone else out there cares, I just needed to rummage through and clear out my virtual attic.

And amid the rise of the singer-songwriters, I forgot to mention Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Silly me.

I don't listen to music much, in recent decades. I can't work if the music has English lyrics, so if I have music on to drown things out it's usually classical, often Baroque.

In the car I listen to some classic-rock stations, whoever is playing the Beatles, and have several classical music stations on my list.

What I know about the music of Kids These Days is mostly from DJ Earworm's mashups and from fan music videos, a little from my own Kids These Days.

Very amusingly (and heart-warmingly), Sprog the Younger has become a big, big fan of Mr Doctor's favorite folksinger, Gordon Bok. She gave him a big collection of Bok on CD this Yule and for his birthday, and they often have long "have you heard this? You'll love it!" conversations.

And yes, Gordon Bok is one of hilzoy's cousins, and Mr Dr & I learned about him because we're close friends with another of their cousins.

I don't listen to music much, in recent decades. I can't work if the music has English lyrics, so if I have music on to drown things out it's usually classical, often Baroque.

Basically the same with me. Another advantage is that one cannot get angry abouty lyrics one does not understand in the first place. I e.g. love some sacred compositions but the effect is spoiled by my strong resentment against the message (and occasionally barbarous mistreatment of the language). Quam olim Abrahae (???) indeed.

I attended a concert of baroque Christmas music a couple of weeks prior to Christmas, conducted by Juan Carlos Zamudio. He also performed both vocally and on violin.

Small ensemble. One guy playing what looked to be very old wooden oboe, shifting to an equally archaic-looking wooden bassoon as required. One guy playing a rather old trumpet with only one loop and open finger-holes (no valves). About half a dozen violins, one viola, one cello (sans spike; the cellist held it between his knees as sole means of support). One violone (six-stringed bass viol) player. A young woman playing a very compact organ whose exact designation I forget. Oh, and just a few vocalists, one of which was a quite talented soprano (Evelyn Nelson), another was a nearly equally talented mezzo-soprano.

Relatively small ensemble of very talented musicians, there. Bloomington is a relatively small town containing quite a bit more treasure than you might expect.

Hartmut makes an interesting point. Although I suspect that most people don't think all tht much about lyrics, even if they are singing along.

For example, if you actually look at the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, you will notice that it could very well be the theme song of jihadists today. OK, maybe not the last verse, but definitely the rest of it. Interesting, if you think about it.

Vaulting over from another thread, hairshirthedonist said this: When people make sounds that observe rhythmic and/or melodic and/or harmonic patterns to affect other people or themselves, it is music.

Uh. No. Poetry without discernible melody has been chanted and intoned for millennia without it being automatically considered "music." Sometimes accompanied - effectively - by what is recognized as music (esp. strings: lute, harp, or guitar), epics and expressive pieces from the ancient Greeks through Beowulf to Vachel Lindsay (The Congo; General William Booth Enters Heaven, etc.) to the Beats to today's poetry "slams," many artists have used words and rhythms to tell stories and "affect other people" without this expression generally falling under the rubric "music."

I know next to nothing about rap. I know of its existence; the minimal exposure I have had to it does not inspire me to seek more nor regard it as "musical," but I am open to persuasion that it is music, on the grounds that it involves melody/tonality as well as rhythm. Without that, it falls within the long and oft-honored tradition of spoken verse instead.

I recently enjoyed watching the Korean drama series, Tomorrow's Cantabile, due, in part, to all the music in the series being European classical.

rap is no less 'music' than Subterranean Homesick Blues is.


Poetry without discernible melody has been chanted and intoned for millennia without it being automatically considered "music."

...epics and expressive pieces from the ancient Greeks through Beowulf to Vachel Lindsay (The Congo; General William Booth Enters Heaven, etc.) to the Beats to today's poetry "slams," many artists have used words and rhythms to tell stories and "affect other people" without this expression generally falling under the rubric "music."

I kind of expected someone to respond with something along these lines. I actually don't disagree. The exactitude of what I wrote - as a brief blog comment - using the word "sounds" was not comprehensive enough to give a full and proper exposition of what is music.

It was expansive in response to a far too narrow definition of music, which goes along the lines "if I don't like it, it's not music, at least sometimes" (whether it has the required elements or not).

Some rap could be considered spoken verse, and some rap could be considered spoken verse accompanied by music (which generally makes the production, as whole, music), while other rap is undoubtedly music, both vocally and instrumentally. But those aren't the sort of distinctions people usually are making when they make the blanket statement "That stuff (I know almost nothing about) isn't music."

The question is, is there music without melody or tonality? Can music be purely percussive and unpitched? (Which would justify my and/or formulation, putting aside verse.)

From another angle: this

We can also get into an argument about whether there can be poetry without structure. It doesn't have to be rhyme and scansion, necessarily, as anyone who has encountered Old English alliterative poetry will be aware. But if it has no structure at all? Count me dubious.

(Note: I am not saying that rap falls into the "no structure" category. Not at all. This is a separate position, probably a minority position as well, on a related topic.)

is there music without melody or tonality?

sure: drumlines in marching bands.

the different drums do have different pitches, but they're not really used to create melodies per se.

or, even simpler: a tap dancer. a good one can set up a basic rhythm and throw fills and phrases on top of that, play with tempo and phrasing, build tension, etc.: everything music does, except tickle the parts of the brain that listens to melody.

bare rhythm isn't as interesting long-term as percussion + melody, but rhythm by itself can be music.



Therein lies the rub. We're not answering a math problem when reponding to "What is music?" I could simply take that position that no one get's to tell me what affects me musically and is therefore music. (One could think me insane or idiotic for finding some things to be music, of course. Maybe that's the same thing. OR MAYBE IT'S NOT!!!)

We're not answering a math problem when reponding to "What is music?"

true, it's more of an evolutionary psychology and neurological problem. here's an interesting book (which i just finished):

one of the interesting things that it talks about (which i will brutally mangle by describing) is that there is a very primitive part of the brain which runs short-term timers. we use these to control things like breathing, walking, foot tapping, speaking, and drumming. and interesting rhythms tickles this part of the brain by getting it to set up timers which sync with the various beats; and then when the rhythm syncopates, or changes where the beats land, or speeds up or whatever, we get a little jolt of interest (hey, what was that!? this thing i was watching didn't happen when it was supposed to!) and then we figure out what happened and we like it (aha!).

One could think me insane or idiotic for finding some things to be music, of course.

yup. i have friends who really love noise bands (and play in noise bands and run a record label that distributes noise bands). most of it just grates on me, but they dig it.

and then when the rhythm syncopates, or changes where the beats land, or speeds up or whatever, we get a little jolt of interest (hey, what was that!? this thing i was watching didn't happen when it was supposed to!) and then we figure out what happened and we like it (aha!)

That perfectly describes what I like so much about Meshuggah.

For what it's worth, I'm not putting down rap, or drumlines, or talking blues. When they are accompanied by tonality (as in the chord structure for Subterranean Homesick Blues - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSwMxdMuFUU - or as when a drumline is part of a marching band that's playing melody/harmony, etc.), then they're music, as HSH as 3:01 suggests. I've never heard it argued that tap dance, however intricately rhythmic (and delightful) was music, however.

I just feel that it's semantically useful to distinguish "music" from "not-music" - even though the borderlands may be contested, as with most definitions - and in my mind this distinction has to do with pitch/tonality/melody, not with which centers of the brain it activates. You (whoever) are of course free to define it otherwise, but be aware that your definition is not in sync with the way the term has conventionally been used for centuries, and as such has restricted utility.

On whether poetry requires "structure" I'm more agnostic. It has to have *something*, but whether this is formal structure, or rhyme/assonance/near-rhyme, or - as some have argued - a certain type of imagery I don't know. Robert Frost said that writing "free verse" was like playing tennis without a net, but as I understood it that was expressing a preference for more rather than less structure, not necessarily denying it the status of "poetry."

As for Hartmut and WJ on lyrics, generally I'm not fussed too much about whether I like or believe them. (As an atheist singing in a church choir, I can't afford to be.) But every now and then one grates on me, especially when we're supposedly taking it solemnly and seriously. I sang a lovely - musically - Christmas anthem (Here is the Little Door https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7PqbGQIyv8) by Herbert Howells more than once before I really listened to the second (last) stanza about the Christ child.

Bend low about His bed,
For each He has a gift;
See how His eyes awake,
Lift up your hands, O lift!
For gold, He gives a keen-edged sword.
(Defend with it thy little Lord!)
For incense, smoke of battle red,
Myrrh for the honored happy dead;
Gifts for His children, terrible and sweet;
Touched by such tiny hands,
and Oh such tiny feet.

This is written in the immediate aftermath of World War I. As I hear it, he's saying God Bless Us for killing Germans.

And so I stopped singing it.

One can almost always cthulhufy such stuff ;-)
It's a bad sign when the result is less horrible than the original.
Take this https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/1006 for example.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
I’ll sing Thy power to save,I’ll sing Thy power to save,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

I am not surprised that the annotations say that the author succumbed to insanity in the end.

The question is, is there music without melody or tonality? Can music be purely percussive and unpitched?

In addition to styles that satisfy/mostly satisfy these criteria mentioned above, you also find these dynamics played with in the less-mainstream reaches of electronica. There are purely percussive electronic pieces (though they usually will include some minimal melody, not all do), and there are some that eschew rhythm and stray pretty far from tonality. I understand those who would call them noise instead of music, though I'd tend to disagree. Still, I'd probably hedge and call them "mood pieces".


On the subject of lyrics, I actively stopped listening to "meaningful" lyrics in my early twenties when I realized that I wasn't really listening to them but just running them through my head. These days, the vocal stuff I listen to is either emotional in content, non-anglophonic, or both.

I'm good with rap as music, Not much of it I like, but some, especially once they started sampling more old stuff. I think there is lots of percussion primary, maybe only music. Our Sat night drum circles are completely percussion. I try not to discount anyone's expression as "not music". There were lots of open mic nights in my youth that beat poets and bad musicians dominated our consciousness'. Maranatha houses evoked better songs but often worse music, and lots of melodic chants.

What about beat-boxing?

One of my favorites.


These lyrics are, AFAICT, meaningless, but sung with great intensity, the vocals being greatly enhancing of the music, at least to people who like (the) Melvins. This is not the only Melvins song like this. It's kind of freeing not to have to think about whether or not you have the words right when you sing along.

Los ticka toe rest
Might like-a sender doe-ree
Your make a doll a ray day sender
Bright like a penalty

Exi-tease my ray day member
Half lost a beat away
Purst in like a one way sender
War give a heart like a fay

'Cuz I can Ford a red-eed
Only street a wide a re-land
Diamond make a mid-evil
Bike a sake a like a re-caste

'Cuz I can Ford a red-eed
Only street a wide a re-land
On a re-land, find a re-land

You sink a my swan
Rolly a get a worst in
Maybe minus way far central
Poor forty duck a pin

Milk maid dud bean
Master a load a head
Pill pop a dope a well run
General hash pump a gonna led

'Cuz I can Ford a red-eed
Only street a wide a re-land
Diamond make a mid-evil
Bike a sake a like a re-caste

'Cuz I can Ford a red-eed
Only street a wide a re-land
On a re-land, find a re-land

I love Jerry Jeff, I like this

Well, Marty, so much for LJ's hypothesis.

Also - back to Hartmut - if you have problems with the message of "Quam olim Abrahae . . ." you can try the version of it in Britten's War Requiem where the Latin mass text is set against Wilfred Owen's version. From Wikipedia:

One striking juxtaposition is found in the Offertorium, a fugue in the repeating three-part-time scheme 6/8, 9/8, 6/8 where the choir sings of God's promise to Abraham ("Quam olim Abrahae promisisti, et semini eius" – "which you once promised Abraham and his seed"). This frames Owen's retelling of the offering of Isaac, in which the angel tells Abraham to:

'... offer the ram of pride instead of him.'

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
and half the seed of Europe, one by one.

As the male soloists sing the last line repeatedly, the boys sing "Hostias et preces tibi, Domine" ("Sacrifice and prayers we offer thee, Lord"), paralleling the sacrifice of the Mass with the sacrifice of "half the seed of Europe" (a reference to World War I). The "reprise" of "Quam olim Abrahae" is sung in inversion, diminuendo instead of crescendo.

I've sung this. It's powerful.

in my mind this distinction has to do with pitch/tonality/melody

Yeah man that's way to narrow, I think. Here, check it out.

The oro seco, a really old all-drums form.

bougourabou, a newer West African style. Check out the mind meld between the drummer and the dancers.

The graceful and beautiful Alan Dawson.

The ingenious constructions in wood and metal from John Cage.

Music is a very, very, very big ocean.

Also, the distinction between poetry and music is very very hazy indeed. Traditionally, poetry was sung, or at least chanted in a way that would be so close to music as to be indistinguishable.

I hardly ever listen to music just for enjoyment anymore. Mostly I'm learning tunes for a gig, or studying or transcribing something, or just trying to hip myself to something I'm curious about.

Over the holidays we always listen to a lot of really old music, pre-Baroque, mostly vocal but also instrumental. The paths of art and popular music converge in some nice places that far back.

My wife is much more knowledgable about classical repertoire than I am, she has a lot of nice choral stuff that we pull out at this time of year. Mostly English composers, but also others.

I stopped listening to pop music somewhere in the early 90's. I just couldn't keep up anymore. Plus, beginning sometime in the 80's, technology - specifically computers and digital technology - really began to make its presence felt in popular music, and I just didn't dig it. The surface was just too harsh and brittle, and it had (to my ear) no grease.

I respond much more to the hand-made stuff. Or, at least, analog.

I stumbled across the Bruno Mars Uptown Funk thing recently. It was perfectly adequate, but I found myself thinking WHERE IS THE FREAKING FUNK!! I felt like somebody was yelling at me, instead of inviting me to a really fun party.

Geezer. I've learned to embrace it.

For the geezers among us

I was not fastidious enough to do vinyl.

You only *think* pre-Baroque is old --

Sumerian music, for real. Newsweek article.

dr ngo, my problem with Quam olim Abrahae is not with the message but with the rape of the name. It should either not be declined at all* or it should be Abrahami. And there seems to be a conspiracy among composers to repeat that very phrase ad nauseam by doing that part of the mess, pardon me, mass as a canon or fugue with the emphasis/accent on the -hae. :-(
One could be pedantic and say that Quam olim as part of a verse would of course turn into 'Quolim' which would leave room for a proper Abrahami but elision went out of fashion before the mass text was codified.
(for the real pedants: Yes, I know that a proper result would be Quolabrahami since olim ends with an m too next to the opening vowel of the next word).
At least they got the pronoun right. Given the abominations Middle Latin often commits one would almost expect suo or sui instead of eius (one of the most common errors around with students).
As far as 'message' goes, about any pious ejaculation about Mary gives my pyrosis. The Stabat Mater is surprisingly correct as far as the language goes but to me that text is emo prawn** and theologically highly questionable. Although I consider myself to be an agnostic*** I was raised Lutheran and thus see this obsession with Mary as a dangerous diversion from what the crucifixion really signifies. And it spoils a lot of fine music (take Dvoraks take on it for example) for me because my Latin is good enough to follow the text.

*enter bad pun here
**you know which word I mean but the NSFW filters don't
***in the Central European not the Anglo-Saxon understanding

Doc Science, until now I only knew renditions of that Mesopotamian music by scientists (who are rarely professional musicians too), e.g. the lament of the infertile lady. There was a series of lectures on ancient music around here some time ago with practical demonstrations. I was surprised at how complex the musical theory was long before the Greeks took it up (or what complicated playing techniques for kithara and lyre can be found in the old texts that would put many a modern pro to shame).

This was another thing that I saw a while back that seems appropriate


lj, within the first 15 seconds of that video I thought immediately of Oliver Sacks and the transformative experiences of his early research with dopamine, etc, and then there he was.

It is remarkable that something as obvious as the magic, psychically healing powers of music has been so ignored as "a way in" to the experiences and memories of the sick and especially the elderly who may suffer from dementia-related illnesses, especially in institutional settings.

As Sacks points out, the miniaturization of sound technology has enabled individuals to now enjoy their music privately. I guess it wouldn't do in an institutional setting to have Cab Calloway's big band sound blaring in a nursing home, especially for the Schubert-lovers down the hall.

In fact, what I really wanted to see happen in that video was the Calloway-lover cast off his wheelchair and bib and dance his way, like a lone Nicholas Brother, toward the exits and make a run for it, maybe dancing halfway up a wall or two as a diversionary tactic while the attendants and nurses close in.

If anyone has the chops to get me into a setting like that (good luck) when it comes time, and that time is becoming a palpable presence, I'm going to have my Ipod set to the Beatles catalog and when I hear, say, that nervy, exuberant, fantastically weird opening chord of a "Hard Day's Night", I'm going to toss my volume of Proust against the wall as a diversion, and be off like the Fab Four, down the fire escape and into the night, except that I'm going to run TOWARDS the girls so they can rip my hospital jammies off and perhaps snip a lock of my remaining hair (projecting forward here) to save as a reliquary of my presence on this strange planet.

Should there be any ... girls, that is.

By that point in my escape, the Ipod will be at "You're Going to Lose That Girl", one of the coolest early Lennon/McCartney songs (great fun to play on acoustic guitar and even more fun if you have two extra singers to fill in the great McCartney/Harrison backup harmonies), now pretty much forgotten (it's in "Help", in fact, that segment was really one of the first music videos, the Beatles back lit at the mics, filmed from the side instead of head-on in a studio-like setting, the word "cool" hardly does them justice).

I wrote "and that time is becoming a palpable presence" in the context of the large amount of time I've spent the last four years or so in my dementia-ridden mother's home in another city helping to care for her.

When you spend time over a period of weeks with someone in that condition, you think about the approaching ignominies and indignities of age that your own self will be experiencing at a now roughly identifiable time, not too far away as the years whip past in a blink, regardless of the great physical condition (knock on wood=my skull) I am lucky to enjoy at present.

My mother has always been 23 years older (so when she dies, the clock begins its countdown for me .... 22, 21, 20 .. and here comes the bullsh*t called Death -- really a bad idea) than me and here she is now, remote, barely knowing who I am. This once vital, wonderful, responsible woman can no longer walk, can barely stand, eating is a long-drawn out affair of coaxing and cajoling (Yuck? Whaddaya mean Yuck? that's your recipe, Mom, and quickly on to the ice cream); she hallucinates time periods of her childhood -- in fact, at times, the room is filled with her relatives from long ago, or her five children as little kids, but she might not know me or my brothers and sister, sitting right there in beside her.

It's a peculiar thing to be asked by your mother where your 5-year old past self is when your 63-year old self is sitting right there.

The bathroom is apocalypse now and then again, day after day.

She can still talk, which becomes unfortunate for everyone else, during the regular periods of extreme agitation she experiences. My dear mother becomes mean as a snake, especially as we (my brother and me along with in-home caregivers) wrestle her in the bathroom.

I probably shouldn't divulge this, but two weeks ago she bit me and given what I (at that moment she hadn't a clue who I was, just some strange man who somehow got into the house and was manhandling her in the intimate setting of the bathroom) we were doing in the bathroom and I can understand her point of view, but still, it's peculiar, on almost a metaphysical scale, to have the woman who raised me, even through whatever short "biting period" I went through as a toddler along about the time Mays and Mantle were emerging, and who would dive to the bottom of the Marianas Trench to retrieve 11 gold doubloons if I asked her, bite me right on that tendon that goes from your neck to your shoulder.

I suppose I deserve it.

Anyway, we're facing decisions about the next step in her care, which will violate her wish to live out her days in her home, but things are past untenable.

Music: my mother, in her youth was the organist at her small-town church in southwestern Ohio and was an accomplished pianist as well - she could play Chopin and Debussy up and down the keyboard -- was a music major for roughly two years of college and had to quit to help out at home, and then job and marriage, and the piano faded away.

We bought her an upright about 30 years ago, and for a time she made a go of playing and practicing, but life, the bastard, always intervenes just when you are beginning to have a little fun.

Anyway, I want to say that piano music on CD, early on in this latest Alzheimer's ordeal, was a balm for her as well. She would light up and quiet down and listen.

We didn't do enough of that. Now, it may be just noise to her, depending on the time of day and her relative alertness.


Enough with the sad, here's some Dionysian happy sound, despite the lyrics:


the Magic of Music. LJ"s post brings to mind visiting my dad in the hospital when he was recovering from a serious stroke. The stroke had badly effected control of his vocal chords and his recall of words. A vocal therapist would stop by daily and Dad would growl through some tedious exercises. One afternoon I stopped by and jokingly started to sing 'Lazy Bones', he joined me in a fairly clear and melodic voice. In the second verse I had the word recall failure but he completed the song without a fault. I hadn't even suspected he was a Readbone fan.

Redbone fan

It's quite the universe we live in, Count. Hang in there, brother.

One of the great treasures about YouTube are the deconstructed songs -- vocal only tracks for example -- so you can learn the parts and bang away on the acoustic guitar:



And this, for Christ's sake:


The harmonies!

These people could sing.

It's fun, if you have access to good mics in a studio to try to replicate those harmonies.

And still can: be back in a minute with the next one.


I sing while I drive, but listen to the professionals do it:


Sorry, I inadvertently linked Your Going To Lose That Girl twice.

The second one should have been this -- You Never Give Me Your Money -- vocals only


And then you can find stuff like this too to hear and see these songs emerge from the songwriter like Athena from head of Zeus, in the studio:

Brian Wilson and the Wrecking Crew working on Wouldn't It Be Nice".


Beatboxing reminded me that Sing Off is a new can't miss for me. Professional a cappella singing across time and genre. It is so fun to listen to.

music is basically the nearest thing to magic that i'm aware of.

i know some folks who round out their gigging schedules by playing in nursing homes. sometimes for money, sometimes not. all of them feel like it's giving a gift to themselves, being able to lift people out of sadness, depression, dementia, and just general miserableness, even if just for a little while. it really is hard to overstate how profoundly and deeply music engages and touches us.

i love hearing the beatles deconstructed stuff. those guys were just irreplaceable, just an amazing, once-in-many-lifetimes combination of exactly the right four guys, at exactly the right time. they were putting out 2 and 3 albums a year in their early days, all of it very good, much of it amazingly good, as in songs for the ages, and almost none of it throwaway or filler stuff.

they gave the filler to other folks to record.

i never, ever, ever understand guys who put ringo down. there is not one single note he ever played that didn't make the song better, and didn't make you want to move yourself. loose, swinging, but totally and deadly accurate, in the pocket, relaxed but exciting, every note exactly the right thing to play at just that time. no flash, no hot-dogging, never distracting from the total sound and feel of the ensemble, just the exact right thing at the exact right time, every time. ringo was and is a musical genius who just happened to play the drums.

the brian wilson stuff is also just amazingly hip, sophisticated music, not just for pop but for pretty much any style. all the most happening cats in LA - burning jazz players, A-list session guys - used to love working on beach boys sessions, because the music was just really interesting and well written, full of subtleties and surprises.

a young friend once speculated that the soul must be made of music, because of how respond to it. really, all the arts have the power to touch us, but music also seems to have this added ability to draw us in to a common, shared experience. people who have little else in common, and may in fact be otherwise disinclined to hang out together, find themselves in communion with each other, through sound.

other than hanging out with my wife, playing music is hands down my favorite thing in the world.

lol, oh yeah, the opening chord on hard days night! that's what i meant to comment on and got carried away with hearing myself talk.

apparently randy bachmann, from bachmann turner overdrive, was invited by giles martin to hear the original tracks from his choice of anything in the beatles catalog, right at abbey road studios.

he asked for the opening chord to hard days night.

here's a writeup, here is a performance.

basically, it's three things combined:

george playing F9 on the 12 string with G in the bass
john playing Dsus4 on an acoustic guitar
paul playing D in the bass

the writeup has the Dsus4 on the piano, either way it's in there.

go try it at home!!

I prefer instrumental but when it come to professional a cappella singing across time and genre these kids are hard to beat

" he joined me in a fairly clear and melodic voice."

IIRC, this is fairly common, the brain processes singing sufficiently differently from ordinary speech that it's actually common for a stroke that interferes with speech to leave singing largely untouched.

The write-up doesn't go into how they came up with the chord(s). I have to wonder if it was a idea they developed by searching purposefully for the right sound or if it was a happy accident, even just as the starting point from which they refined it further.

Were they just screwing around and happened to play a couple things at the same time that made their collective hair stand on end, like "Wooah! What the hell was that? Let's do that again! We have to use that!"?

Pentatonix won season 3 of Sing Off. The Season 4 guys were good too, they had s one night challenge before Christmas that was interesting. One of the teams added a sampler so they could sample their voices live. It wad too weird.

the brain processes singing sufficiently differently from ordinary speech

If you want to remember something, make it into a song.

the book i mentioned above says the director of the Hard Day's Night movie wanted a 'cinematic' sounding intro for the tune. this was before they had the budget to bring in a symphony, so they probably just took all the instruments they had available and figured out how to build that giant chord out of them.

Why Pygmies Aren't Scared By The 'Psycho' Theme

Musiques pour la danse mbenzele: Anduwa

Touching on some of the Count's comments, and something else near the beginning of the thread, I was once going to make a mix tape called, with my characteristic pomposity, "Seeking a sense of the eternal". One of the pieces intended for the tape was a recording of the ancient greek hymn to nemesis:


Still makes me want to go a-marching.

Another one of the songs I thought would fit the album was the Beatles' Every Little Thing:


something about the evenness of the beat . . . but perhaps that sense of evenness was amplified by the fact the first version of this song I heard was the Yes cover! (which I am not going to link to)

TV Commercial of the day:
Watching the NFL playoffs, and there is a commercial from Fox News. They are howling "Censorship!" . . . because apparently Dish Network has decided to drop Fox News from their offerings.

It's being reported that Dish Network has lost about 90,000 subscribers after dropping Fox News and Fox Business.

But it's not censorship by Dish Network for having dropped them.


Earlier, I wrote an article outlining my opinions on the matter. As it always seems to happen in articles that merely broach the subject of politics, strong feelings from both sides were expressed. In the article, I was accused of having a political agenda. Let me be clear: this is a business dispute between DISH and Fox and should treated as such. Inserting politics into this debate only muddies a clear contract dispute.

For the record, neither Fox nor DISH have raised the subject of bias. In the end, DISH doesn't care about the political makeup of Fox's viewer base -- it should be mentioned advertisers do care, but more on that later. Only the audience size, hours viewed, and other viewing metrics matter to DISH Network.

That said, I did agree that DISH did the right thing, as I interpreted it, in rejecting Fox's contract offer. On a pop-up website, DISH founder Charlie Ergen explained Fox wanted to raise the amount his company pays for an unrelated channel that is still under contract, in addition to Fox News and Fox Business. Multiple websites have reported this assertion, but recently Fox EVP Tim Carry has pushed back on this claim by stating, "the negotiations broke down over core issues to Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network."


As far as DISH is concerned, acquiescing to Fox’s demands now would be akin to throwing chum into shark-infested waters. First, it emboldens future stations to follow the same tactic. And in the event a channel's contract is renegotiated before its expiration, even though it doesn't have the viewership to support the higher fees, the floodgates could open for programmers wanting to break existing contracts at unreasonable rates. Applying a Kantian view, imagining every programmer follows this playbook, your pay-TV bills would explode.

If Fox is claiming censorship, that suggests they are losing and opening another front.

Why, you'd think Roger Ailes, the little minx, the gamine, was a svelt shop girl with an interesting private life working at Hobby Lobby and expecting a corporate health plan to pick up the tab for her morning-after murder pills.

This is America, by God! Since when are Dish's bottom line business convictions not accorded the same importance as corporate religious convictions.

I thought they were one and the same.

Perhaps once the Republican Party runs all three branches of government, PBS will be ousted from the budget altogether and FOX will be accorded the title of exclusive Federal Government News Outlet with free access to all broadcasting, cable, satellite, and internet bandwidth and every American will be mandated to watch 24 hours daily, our eyelids propped open with toothpicks.

As pig vermin Ted Cruz pointed out not too long ago regarding net neutrality, limiting FOX's access to the Dish Network is Obamacare for the airwaves.

Charlie Ergen is more al Qaeda than he is Charlie Hebdo, even more so than the Left, who will now have to be satisfied with being just like Boko Haram, according to FOX News.

I wish to formally admit that I was wrong. We have wildly different tastes in music. But we seem to be perfectly capable of discussing the subject in a civilized manner.

Glad to have been wrong.

Applying a Kantian view

Hilzoy is working at Disk network now?

If Fox is claiming censorship, that suggests they are losing and opening another front.

I took it to mean thst they (Fox News) are hurting. And so felt it necessasry to try to attack on another front. And if they are going to the length of airing statements aimed at Fox Sports viewers, it seems like it hurts bad.

I wish to formally admit that I was wrong.

geez, get that guy out of here! He's going to corrupt us all!

Applying a Kantian view

If I lived in the US, I'd be inclined to subscribe to their network just for that - never seen before in a corporate PR, I suspect.

Still, even in the benighted UK, we get a chance to mock Fox's reporting from a dystopian fantasy world...
An American terrorism commentator speaking on Fox News has been forced to apologise for describing Birmingham as a "Muslim-only city" where non-Muslims "don't go "

You're missing a "7" at the end of that:


Sorry about that.

In recompense, some mildly amusing #FoxNewsFacts....


My favourite:
The Fox News guy has apologised and called the city of Birmingham 'beautiful'. The guy can't get anything right, can he? #FoxNewsFacts...

Let me be clear: this is a business dispute between DISH and Fox and should treated as such. Inserting politics into this debate only muddies a clear contract dispute.

This kind of thing has occurred regularly for a number of years now, probably with every provider. Sometimes the station wants more money or they want their station to be bundled in the basic package for better distribution. Every local station where I live can be counted on to run an alarming message at the bottom of the screen warning of the dire emergency at hand if the cable provider doesn't come to their senses. People who would see this as Progressive political blackmail are probably the same ones decrying the War on Christmas.

...are probably the same ones decrying the War on Christmas.

I guess you haven't noticed that almost all the Christmas decorations are gone. Christmas is losing, and badly.

IT'LL . . . BE . . . BACK!

It may be just a contract dispute. But the commercial Fox News has put out is just way too reminiscent of their tenuous grasp of fact-based reality in their "reporting". Which is to say, they got right that Dish has (at least temporarily) dropped them. But after that, . . . . paranoid fantasyland.

P.S. Nigel, those collected FoxNewsFacts are just delightful. (At least from this side of the pond.)

I spent several hours yesterday trying to find the FREAKIN FUNK. I must admit I started with Kool and the Gang, then (speaking of gangs) got off on a James Gang tangent but finally found the FREAKIN FUNK.

The first link was supposed to be Funk #49

yeah baby!

A while back I listened to Terry Gross interviewing Allen Toussaint on "Fresh Air". They were talking about all of the covers of stuff Toussaint had written and/or produced.

They got onto the Devo cover of "Working In A Coal Mine", originally done by Leo Dorsey.

Toussaint said, "Yeah, that was pretty funky"

Gross asks, "Funky, really?"

Toussaint replies, "Well, no actually."

"Birmingham cult Judas Priest have released LPs called Killing Machine, Screaming For Vengeance & Defenders Of The Faith"


I am perpetual. I keep the country clean.

I think Devo's cover of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is extrememly funky, if in a nerdy, white, art-school kind of way. (Aw, crap! That's probably what he meant by "Well, no actually.")

lj: geez, get that guy out of here! He's going to corrupt us all!

Busted! Well at least it looks like nobody else noticed....

those collected FoxNewsFacts are just delightful. (At least from this side of the pond.)

Pretty funny here, too.

Though we're a little puzzled why anyone would need to make up fake reasons for avoiding Birmingham.

I wasd particularly taken also by one of the Economist's correspondent's comment that "Erasmus has often reported from that city, and some parts of it, though certainly not all, are still comfortable places for non-Muslims to live and go about their business."

Unfortunately, the dry British humor involved apparently went right past one of the commenters on the blog post.

That was really funny russell. I love getting prompted down s musical rabbit hole I hadn't been down for a while. Although, I have to say Uptown Funk is a nice tune, not hard to listen to.

that riff in Funk 49 is an absolute joy to play. i just love hammered/pulled chord tunes and that one is the tops. Beast Of Burden is pretty awesome, too.

The comments to this entry are closed.