Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
But more importantly... Accordian jokes!
Q: What is the definition of an optimist?
A: An accordion player with a pager.
Q: What is the difference between an Uzi and an accordion?
A: The Uzi stops after 20 rounds.
Q: What do accordion players use as a contraceptive?
A: Their personalities.
Q: What's the range of an accordion?
A: Twenty yards if you've got a good arm!
Q: What's a gentleman?
A: Somebody who knows how to play the accordion, but doesn't.
Q: What's the difference between an onion and an accordion?
A: No-one cries when you chop up an accordion.
Q: What's the difference between an accordion player and a terrorist?
A: Terrorists have sympathisers.
Q: What's the definition of perfect pitch?
A: When an accordion is thrown down the toilet, nothing but net (er, blue water).
Q: What's the difference between an accordion and a concertina?
A: The accordion takes longer to burn.
Q: How do you protect a valuable instrument?
A: Hide it in an accordion case.
Q: What's an accordion good for?
A: Learning how to fold a map.
Q: What's the difference between a chainsaw and an accordion?
A: A chainsaw can be tuned.
Q: Why is it good that accordionists have a half-ounce more brains than horses?
A: So they don't disgrace themselves in parades.
Remember, an accordion is a bagpipe with pleats.
Monday, November 28, 2005
In Cognition: remembering words vs music, and music helping us to remember things better.
In Encyclopedias: what chemistry and music have in common.
In Education: what physics and music have in common at Andover.
In Art: the influence of music on some paintings. (I don't particularly like these. There are many paintings in the halls of the Performing Arts Center here, including a series on "Sound in Color" by Leonardo Nierman. These paintings on impressions of Ravel, Mahler, Bach, and others please me more than those by Dr. Lin.)
In Philosophy: Wha Hah Hah Hahh! = Armageddon.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
If you're new to blues music, or like it but never really understood the whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:
1. Most blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."
2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."
3. The blues lyrics are simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes - sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."
4. The blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch...ain't no way out.
5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the blues. In the blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
7. The blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and Nawlins are still the best places to have the blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.
8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chomping on it is
9. You can't have no blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster
10. Good places for the blues:
c. Empty bed
d. Bottom of a whiskey glass
11. Bad places for the Blues:
b. Gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. Golf courses
12. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person and you slept in it.
13. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
a. you're older than dirt;
b. you're blind;
c. you shot a man in Memphis;
d. you can't be satisfied.
a. you have all your teeth;
b. you were once blind but now can see;
c. the man in Memphis lived; or
d. you have a 401K or trust fund
14. The blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues
15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other acceptable blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee
The following are NOT blues beverages:
d. Slim Fast
16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another blues way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken-downcot. You can't have a blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.
17. Some blues names for women:
b. Big Mama
d. Fat River Dumpling
18. Some blues names for men:
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
20. Blues Name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Peach, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
a. Blind Lemon Jefferson
b. Pegleg Lime Johnson
c. Cripple Peach Fillmore
21. I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues, period.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Star Wars: 4 + 8 + 3 + 2
Empire Strikes Back: 9 + 9 + 6 + 3
Monday, November 14, 2005
I do want to point out that Jaquandar has finally taken up my film music meme, willingly undertaking the longer list. To answer his question, the course will be on all uses of music in films, including source music. I also want to point out that not all source music is diagetic, nor all underscoring non-diagetic. A literal definition of "diagetic" is being produced by the narrative. One can imagine cases where source music is not directly part of the narrative, and there are plenty of cases where the underscoring is a direct result of the narrative (in Amadeus, Mozart imagines the music he is composing, which we hear in the underscore).
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I have sung countertenor since 1966 and have more than once felt the insult of gender discrimination. Regardless of one's musical tastes, it is simply wrong for the same reasons it's wrong to exclude women from practicing medicine. However you dress it up or rationalize it, gender discrimination is what it is. In California, it's illegal as to professional singers working for a non-religious employer. When public funds or facilities are involved it's illegal, period. I'm a lawyer by trade, and I'm itching for the right case to litigate this issue, which I'll gladly do pro bono. And by the way, the Episcopal Church has a specific canon against gender discrimination in all aspects of lay ministry. This isn't a musical taste issue, but a human rights issue.
I don't accept that this issue has to be about gender discrimination. Vocal performance is about more than just the tessitura. The timbre of a countertenor's voice is quite different from that of an alto, just like the timbres of a harmonica compared with a clarinet. No one would suggest that it is discrimination to prevent a harmonica player from auditioning for an all-state orchestra, even though that player could play the same notes as a clarinetist (or flutist or violinist). This issue is not about male versus female, it is about blended versus unblended tonal colors. Others have made the argument that countertenors can blend with female altos or sopranos, and I can accept that possibility. I can also accept the possibility that the Texas Board was influenced by gender stereotypes in making their decision, which is wrong. But to assume that this has to be the case, that is unfounded in my opinion. The Episcopal Church sees no contradiction between its canon against gender discrimination and its many Men and Boys Choirs, which do not allow female membership. Nor with its Girl choirs which do not admit males. Neither do I.
I have to say, I'd really want to read #4, 8 and 10.
1. Uncertainty in Music: A Definitive Survey
2. The Catalan Influence on the French Augmented Sixth Chord in the Music of Engelbert Humperdinck
3. The Voicing of the Final Chord in Music of the Classical Period
4. A Syncategorematically Recursive Hedra-Lattice of Poly-PC Postponement: A Theory of Atonal Silence
5. Heinrich Schenker: Threat or Menace?
6. Prolonging the Agony: A Schenkerian Approach to Muzak in the Dentist's Office
7. “Where Are All My Favorite Notes?” A Statistical Tabulation of Every Pitch-Class in the Serial Music of Webern
8. A Violist Walked into a Barline: Rhythm and Meter in the Structure of Viola Jokes
9.Three Times a Lady: Triple Counterpoint in the Music of Britney Spears
10. The Whole Step: Our Misunderstood Friend
All About Eve
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Bringing Up Baby
Le diner de con
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Four Weddings and a Funeral
The Gold Rush
Good Morning Vietnam
A Hard Day's Night
His Girl Friday
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Lady Killers
Monty Python's Life of Brian *
National Lampoon's Animal House
The Odd Couple
Shaun of the Dead
A Shot in the Dark
Some Like it Hot
There's Something About Mary
This is Spinal Tap
To Be or Not to Be
Toy Story *
Les vacances de M. Hulot
When Harry Met Sally...
Withnail and I
Films Whose Presence in the Canon I'm Particularly Gratified to See (pick up to five): Airplane!, Blazing Saddles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, This is Spinal Tap, Toy Story
Films in the Canon Whose Presence Should Not Be (pick up to five): Austin Powers, Dodgeball, A Hard Day's Night, Shaun of the Dead, Sullivan's Travels
Films I'd Pick to Replace Them (pick up to five): City Lights, What's Opera Doc?, One Night in the Tropics, Stripes, It's a Mad Mad Mad World.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
2) I got an early birthday present: The Lord of the Rings exhibit. (Which was really cool.)
3) I got another early birthday present, teas from Adagio Tea. (Mango, Berry Blues, and the Green Tea sampler.)
4) We thought my wife's purse was stolen, complete with birth certificates from our trip to Canada. So cancelling credit cards, putting alerts on our bank accounts, filing police reports.
5) The university orchestra concert.
6) We decided to stop looking for a house to buy, and instead started to look for a house to rent for awhile.
7) Pumpkin carving.
8) Mask painting.
10) Candy eating.
11) Advising students on course scheduling for next semester. Each day I seem to get more students advising with me, including those who already have other advisers.
12) We discovered that the purse was not stolen, but left at the university library. Yet we are without credit cards until the new ones arrive. Fun!
So I'm finally back blogging, spurred by a request to advertise a fine classical music resource in Vancouver. Classical Vancouver is a web portal with concert calendars, lists of artists and resources, and links to arts-related news. I think this is a great idea for all larger cities to emulate. A one-stop-shopping approach to the fine arts makes it easier for artists to find each other, and for audiences to find concerts to attend.