Sunday, November 04, 2007


You may recall in an earlier post that I'm still, after some 52 years, trying to decipher an odd sentence I read in Mad magazine.
The sentence being: "I'ts crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide".
The words that need translation are: crackers, rozzer, dropsy, and snide
I have already found "rozzer" on the telly in a channel nine British police drama.
It means "copper" (not the metal) or "pig" or "the heat" or "les flics" slang for policeman.
Anyway we've been there.
Last night toward the end of a Jonathan Gash "Lovejoy" book I found the word
"dropsy" it refers to the practice of sneaking fake antiques into an assemblage of genuine ones for nefarious purposes. Or a real into the fakes. I forget which or the practical reasons therefore.
Now, "crackers" implies some sort of moral judgment, either it means "a good idea"
or it means an "insane" idea.
"Cracking good toast, Gromit"
"Cracking up"

"slip" and "snide" go together, as in "put something into something else sneakily"
A "snide" remark, slid sideways into a conversation.

So, as best as I can figure, the sentence means "to give a policeman something on the sly is a good (or bad) idea".
Or perhaps just a necessary act that is somewhat risky.

"Dropsy" could refer to evidence, I suppose.
Or even a disease.

Anyway, I watched channel nine's Doo-Wop program last night. Even though the stuff is nothing more than simply constructed 3 minute croons romanticizing teenage hormonal maturation agony, it is still quite moving, little miniature operae.
Watching wrinkly oldsters, (even older than me, some of 'em) singing stuff like "ramalamalama" "diddywop, diddywop" and cetera, is fantastic mainly because it works so well in spite of being absurd.
Besides I couldn't do it in nine thousand two hundred and forty three years.
My own absurdity has little entertainment value

As far as I can tell the only thing that humans can really do that the saner animals can't is sing.
Don't even try to tell me about whales or dolphins.
If you consider that "singing", you and I are in disagreement, and you are wrong.
Interesting and no doubt useful to the animals in question, but I doubt that there's a hit record in the offing.

I took the Volvo to the emission testing place (runs fine again, btw) but was too late. (closes at 1:00) I'll do that Monday.
For some reason they are sending new license plates again.
What's that all about?
Nothing wrong with the old ones.
For 25 bucks you can keep the old ones.
Makes no sense.

My kinda people.


Blogger butch said...

Yes, I do clearly recall your earlier post. I also recall my very astute endeavor to dicipher the MAD paradigm. Perhaps you could find my response, and reprint it here, where it will be more appropo. So yup, "It is just nuts to slip a cop a fake on the sly, sir." 52 years is a long time to ruminate about anything, except a poem, or a lost love, or a memory of something so beautiful if makes your weep to reconjure it to the surface.

I never got the Doo Wop scene. It seemed lame to me in 1957, and from then on, kind of like the Rap of its day.

doo-wop or doo·wop (dū'wŏp')
A style of rhythm and blues popularized in the 1950s and characterized by words and nonsense syllables sung in harmony by small groups against a stylized rhythmic melody.

[Imitative of the vocals in such music.]

doowop doo'-wop' adj.

Following would be the ABC's of Doo Wop, a kind of list of memories and moments of Shoopa Mow Wow.

ABC's Of Love - Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Again - Concords
Alice From Above - Leon Peels & The Blue Jays
All Because of Love - Charts
All I Want Is You - Miracles
All My Love]] - The Teen Queens
All Of My Life - The Aladdins
All That's Good - Johnny Woodson & The Crescendos
All That Wine Is Gone - The Echoes
Alladin's Lamp - The Flares
Alone In This World - The Five Trojans
Angel - Volumes
Angel Baby - Rosie & The Originals
The Angels Sang - The Solitares
Arline - The Starliters
Arrow of Love - Six Teens
At My Front Door - The El Dorados
Aurelia - The Pelicans
Automobile - Shifts
Angels Listened In - The Crests
Away - The Concords
All Because of Love - Charts
At The Hop - Danny & the Juniors

Babalu's Wedding Day - The Eternals
Baby Oh Baby - The Shells
Baby Talk - Jan & Dean
Barbara Ann - The Regents
Beside You - The Swllows
Blue Moon - The Marcels
Book of Love - The Monotones
Baby Come Back to Me (Morse Code of Love) The Capris
Been So Long - The Pastels
Bim Bam Boom - The El Dorados
Barbara - New York Temptations
Bonnie - Avons
Bad Girl - Miracles
Believe Me - Royal Teens
Blanche - The Three Friends
Baby Blue - The Echoes
Boy From New York City - Ad-Libs

Can I Come Over Tonight - The Velours
Can't We Be Sweethearts? - The Cleftones
A Casual Kiss - Leon Peels & The Calvanes
A Casual Look - Six Teens
Cherry Pie - Marvin & Johnny
Church Bells May Ring - The Willows
Close Your Eyes - The Five Keys
Close Your eyes - The Skyliners
Come Back My Love - The Wrens
Come Back to Me - Margot Sylvia and the Tune Weavers
Come Go with Me - The Del Vikings
Come Softly to Me - The Fleetwoods
Coney Island Baby - The Excellents
Confidential - Sonny Knight
Could This Be Magic? - The Dubs
Cruise to the Moon - Chaperones
Cry and Be on My Way - DeMilles
Crying in the Chapel - Sonny Till and the Orioles
Crying my Heart Out - The Symbols
Closer You Are - The Channels
Chapel of Dreams - The Dubs
Church Bells May Ring - The Diamonds
Cards of Love - Tico and the Triumphs
Crazy for You - Aquatones
Crazy for You - The Heartbeats
Church Bells May Ring - Four Seasons
Cry Little Boy Cry - Tico and the Triumphs
Charlene - Johnny Staton
Castle in the Sky - Bop Chords
Countdown to Love - B. Q. E.
Cora Lee - Little Bobby Rivera and the Hemlocks

Of course, there is D through Z if your are interested, as Zorba used to say.

I think that there once was a hit song, by John Denver, or Neil Diamond, or Dame Elton John that had whale singing in it; a real haunting sound that, but no more so that wolves, coyotes, or stray dogs pointing their snouts at the moon and howling, or the cacophany of clucks that rise up from a 1,000 hens and ten roosters, or the sound of 500 horses galloping together across the white acrid desert swirling up pale dust, or the braying of 50 burros tired of their burden, or that lovely song of 150 dairy cows as a machine pulls their udders, or the strident mew of 50 cats in an old woman's house as they eat her on the fourth day after she died, or that buzz that fills the sky when locusts or grasshoppers rub their legs and wings together. Perhaps it is only the birds who can sing, can hit specific notes --if you consider that singing. Hell, I hear songs in the wind sometimes, and in the rain on my windshield, and in traffic, and in a jackhammer, or the sound of a hammer against steel, or the chorus of ordinance that shake my office from 25 miles deep in the forests of Ft. Lewis, or the screech of an eagle, or the cawing of crows angry with the song of sea gulls. What the duece do you mean, sir, implying, or coming right out and falsely accusing the earth, and the creatures of this planet of not having any music in it, or them? Your premise is absurd. Yet another example of your intellect baiting we mortals, pushing our buttons, tieing cans to our tails.

LOVEJOY was a very interesting, and well written, and wonderfully acted BBC TV series, that ran for 71 hours episodes from 1986-1994. Lovejoy was an antiques dealer who had an amazing talent for finding treasures and ferreting out fakes.
It starred the mercurial Ian McShane. Did you ever see any of them? Even in my vast collection I have none of them. I guess, from what you say, Jonathan Gash created the character.

I find myself disagreeing with you a lot this morning. Even in 9,243 years you would find yourself just as droll, just as maddeningly witty, just as intelligent, and you have done for several lifetimes I believe. And my God, sir, nothing could ever be more "entertaining" than your absurdity, or mine, or all the rest of them. Absurdity trumps rationale, and checkmates logic, which is after all an illusion, like control, like making a plan.

Maybe the license plate scam has something to do with keeping convicty labor busy. I mean why else would they charge you to keep your rusted dented old plates? The DMV is a place of absurdity as well.

Odd that your Volvo is just called, " the Volvo". It has no surname, no Christian name, no nickname. Perhaps it should. Perhaps it could be called Gunner or Olie or Oly or Swen or Bruce, or Buster cuz it is light brown. I named my light tan Toyota Buster once upon a time. It had burned some compression rings, and my mechanic put some kind of industrial foam in the cylinder to even things out. It ran on 3 cylinders under 30mph, but ran fine for 3 years at higher speeds, until the engine finally just froze up one fine winter's day. My passionate red Isuzu is called, "Izzie". Our desert sand Camry Hybrid is called,"Minnie Pearl". Get with the program, sir. You named the amphibian after all. And several of your other creations. Just because the Volvo was constructed by Swedes in Sweden, you don't have to disrespect it and not name it.


6:53 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Hey, on another note, I finished reading Sherman Alexie's book, LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN. It was a wonderful pastiche of poetic prose, held together with memories and reoccuring characters. I think it was one of his first big things to get published. Like in 1993. By 1998, Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute got him to write a screenplay, using this book as the foundation. He called it SMOKE SIGNALS. It was released by Miramax in 1998. It was a festival hit, and a fizzle in the big BO of the mainstream, the multiplex media, and the pensive self-absorbed desensitized over-stimulated public. I loved it. I rewatched it yesterday. It was marvelous to see how he reshaped and respun, and set up new scenarios. I loved the song, JOHN WAYNE'S TEETH. It starred Adam Beach, Gary Farmer, and Tantoo Cardinal. His book really knocked me out, as you knew it would. It pulsated with muscular prose written much as free verse poetry, run-on thoughts, and an imagination not bound by the sky or the heart. Great stuff. I ordered INDIAN KILLER next. It was kind of hard to find a used copy. I will save RESERVATION BLUES for later.

I don't know if I am one of those sad white-eyed Indian wannabes, or just proud of my Cherokee blood, on my mother's side of the family --but those Injuns have always fascinated me. My week on the Yakama Rez still resonates deep within me. Even the wind on the east side of Mt. Adams is magical. I was not healthy enough to try out the sweat lodges. Several of the VA employees who tried it passed out from the heat and the steam or the shock of the icey water in the stream immediately after; lightweights we white eyes; especially me.

I am impressed and envious that you met Sherman at your Book Club function. Someday maybe I, too, will look into his eyes, and bask in his mundane genius.

It certainly fires up my poetic pen, makes me want to lock myself into some silence, and leap into my own visionquest, and come out with thoughts so natural, so profound, so "Indian", that they could pass for the real deal. But then, that's me. It is like the Beat poem I wrote after reading Kerouac and Burroughs, or the dog poem I wrote after reading Janet's. Perhaps I am only a talented mimic, just the kind of sketch artist who can only "copy" that which touches him, having NO original thoughts, no original creativity. Whoa, says Keannu, that's harsh.


7:27 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

The Volvo is named "LYA" or Leah.
Because of her orig. lic. plt.
LYA 440 now the plate says 322 LUU
Soom it will change once more.
I was in some scenes for Sherman's movie "Fancy Dancing" or something like that. Probably didn't make the final cut, haven't seen it yet.
Coup'la years ago.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who sez "animals can't sing"??
Ever heard a bird???
-- Anonomann

1:37 AM  
Blogger butch said...

So, Lane Savant was in a movie and Doug Palmer never bothered to mention it until now. Man, that is cool. I had not heard of Alexie's film version of his book THE BUSINESS OF FANCYDANCING. He directed the film in 2002, and IMDb tells me he filmed it on Vashon Island, and of course back on the Rez in eastern WA. I have ordered a copy of the DVD. After I peruse it, I will check it out for the Palmer physiogomy, and then loan it to you. My VHS copy of SMOKE SIGNALS is not in perfect shape. One of these days I will have to get that on DVD as well. On Amazon, I found:

As seen in this ambitious low-budget feature, The Business of Fancydancing can be very tricky indeed. Shot on digital video, the directorial debut of novelist-poet Sherman Alexie is both profound and problematic, embracing the emotional legacy of Alexie's Native American heritage (and the rich layers of his literary work) while displaying the stylistic pitfalls of a first-time effort. What emerges, most effectively, is the bicultural identity crisis faced by many Native Americans--in this case a celebrated gay poet named Seymour (played by Evan Adams, costar of the Alexie-scripted Smoke Signals) whose ambitions transcend the "Rez" (reservation) where he was raised. Though occasionally hobbled by amateur performances, this is a deeply moving drama about reconciling one's birthright with a quest for new horizons, and Alexie poses difficult questions without settling on trite or convenient answers. For anyone who has ever felt removed from their cultural background, this Business offers a resonant ring of truth. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description
While in college, Spokane Reservation best friends Aristotle and Seymour took different paths. Aristotle went back to "the rez," while Seymour began a new life for himself as an openly gay poet. Sixteen years later, the two are reunited, but mutual feelings of hurt and resentment stand in the way of their friendship

Evan Adams who hit perfect pitch as Thomas Builds-the-Fire in SMOKE SIGNALS, will be interesting as the lead in FANCYDANCING. He seemed odd and effeminate in SIGNALS. I wonder if he is also gay, and this was a way to bring grace to the Indie. Probably just a good job of acting, as they say.

After I went to all the trouble of digging up my comments on the quote from MAD magazine, then in a hurry I posted it on the wrong comment of yours. What a Dork I have become, trying to squeeze in so much around my actual work duties.

Tell us more about how you ended up in some scenes for FANCYDANCING. I'm sure it will be fascinating fare.


6:10 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Animals and other segments of nature make pleasing sounds.
But I don't think that you will ever see four robins singing close harmony together. Or a bunch of eagles performing an opera.
Wildlife song is to singing as this blog is to literature.
Just random noises that sometimes amuse. It's really just another biological function. Like farting.
A person in our book group worked with Mr Alexie at Falls apart productions (?) so when he was shooting an interior scene
(a reading at a bookstore) there was a call and I responded. I was in the crowd that was listening to the poet read. All I had to do was sit there then rush up for an autograph.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Or wind chimes, thats nice but not singing. Eh?

11:25 AM  
Blogger butch said...

As per usual in terms of our individual perspectives, we are both right, and both half right, and both wrong, enit?

The poetry reading would have been done in FANCYDANCING by Evan Adams as the gay Indian poet. I have now ordered the DVD, so it would be great if your mug showed up in the film. That would put you in the rarified air of the catagory of "ex-movie star"; much like myself.

Hello, Anonomann, nice to hear you chirp in on this subject.

Your points, Doug, are well taken. Music created by animals can be catagorized as pleasing and/or non-pleasing sounds. Of course to them a piece by Mozart might not sound too sweet either. So in the greater scheme of things, it is like giving our pets humanlike qualities, and assuming that they really do understand us when we talk to them. "What, Lassie? What, girl? Did Timmy fall down the well again?" Badda-bing. So is it more "poetic" to hear music on the wind, or from birds, or wind chimes? Damn rights it is. And there is something about you that is the poet, the frustration of reducing the miasma of reality to a few fecund lines, and the great joy when you succeed, or not.

Alexie was told by a very successful agent that he needed some grooming with his writing, and heavy editing. He shitcanned her, and a month later found someone else and got published, and the rest was wonderful literature and personal history.

FANCYDANCING was shot on a shoestring budget in a couple weeks. It did not have Robert Redford and Sundance endorsement, or Miramax in its corner. It was Alexie's baby. He really stuck his neck out. I am curious as to how successful he may, or may not have been.

So now we come down that special part of the universe that you consider "music"; that stuff you can write down, and read, and have others play on actual instruments, including their voices. This, in fact, is your purvue, your rice bowl, and although you profess to not having the technical prowess you desire for composition or playing instruments, here you are in the teeth of this, building instruments with your bare hands, and composing incredible music with the help of your computer and your creativity. The dissodence (?)is huge, sir; both realities, both concepts residing in the same skull, the same mind, the same room.

By the way, in terms of noises that animals make, and music, didn't you create a concerto out of cat meows? A good one too, or at least a significant shift in what most consider "music".


12:16 PM  
Blogger butch said...

Looking at the long range forecast, it looks like rain, followed by rain, punctuated by more rain. We have the plumber come out on Saturday to put in sump pump #2 in our basement --and that should address the issue of flooding; we hope. Do you ever get excess water in your basement? You used to in the Queen Anne house if I remember right. What's the news on your brother-in-law? Does Janet ever read FFTL? What kind of gas mileage does Leah get in town? Can she still get up there above 70mph on the freeway? What particular instrument, or instruments are you working on presently? What home decor and repair comes onto your agenda after the kitchen cabinets become completed? For the benefit and curiousity of the readership, I saw your home done tile job in the kitchen, and it looks great and was masterfully done; especially cutting out around edges of appliances and odd corners. What's the news on Keth? What book are you reading now? What's the last movie your saw? Do you still dream of Emily?

As to MUSIC, sir, and its roots and infleunces:

Music is found in every known culture, past and present, varying wildly between times and places. Scientists now believe that modern humans emerged from Africa 160,000 years ago. Around 50,000 years ago these humans began to disperse from Africa reaching all the habitable continents. Since all peoples of the world including the most isolated tribal groups, have a form of music, scientists conclude that music must have been present in the ancestral population prior to the dispersal of humans around the world. Consequently music must have been in existence for at least 50,000 years and the first music must have been invented in Africa and then evolved to become a fundamental constituent of human life[1].

A culture's music is influenced by all other aspects of that culture, including social and economic organization, climate, and access to technology. The emotions and ideas that music expresses, the situations in which music is played and listened to, and the attitudes toward music players and composers all vary between regions and periods. "Music history" is the distinct subfield of musicology and history which studies music (particularly western art music) from a chronological perspective.

The development of music among humans occurred against the backdrop of natural sounds. It was possibly influenced by birdsong and the sounds other animals use to communicate. Some evolutionary biologists have theorized that the ability to recognize sounds not created by humans as "musical" provides a selective advantage. (See animal music).

Prehistoric music, once more commonly called primitive music, is the name given to all music produced in preliterate cultures (prehistory), beginning somewhere in very late geological history.

Traditional Native American and Australian Aboriginal music could be called prehistoric, but the term is commonly used to refer to the music in Europe before the development of writing there. It is more common to call the "prehistoric" music of non-European continents – especially that which still survives – folk, indigenous, or traditional music.

The prehistoric era is considered to have ended with the development of writing, and with it, by definition, prehistoric music. "Ancient music" is the name given to the music that followed.

The "oldest known song" was written in cuneiform, dating to 4,000 years ago from Ur. It was deciphered by Prof. Anne Draffkorn Kilmer (University of Calif. at Berkeley), and was demonstrated to be composed in harmonies of thirds, like ancient English gymel (Kilmer, Crocker, Brown, Sounds from Silence, 1976, Bit Enki, Berkeley, Calif., LCC 76-16729), and also was written using a Pythagorean tuning of the diatonic scale.

Double pipes, such as used by the ancient Greeks, and ancient bagpipes, as well as a review of ancient drawings on vases and walls, etc., and ancient writings (such as in Aristotle, Problems, Book XIX.12) which described musical techniques of the time, indicate polyphony.

One pipe in the aulos pairs (double flutes) likely served as a drone or "keynote," while the other played melodic passages.

Instruments, such as the seven holed flute and various types of stringed instruments have been recovered from the Indus valley civilization archaeological sites. [1]

Indian classical music (marga) can be found from the scriptures of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four vedas describes music at length.

The term Early music era may also refer to contemporary but traditional or folk music, including Asian music, music of India, Jewish music, Greek music, Roman music, the music of Mesopotamia, the music of Egypt, and Muslim music.

Early music is a general term used to describe music in the European classical tradition from after the fall of the Roman Empire, in 476 CE, until the end of the Baroque era in the middle of the 18th century. Music within this enormous span of time was extremely diverse, encompassing multiple cultural traditions within a wide geographic area; many of the cultural groups out of which medieval Europe developed already had musical traditions, about which little is known. What unified these cultures in the Middle Ages was the Roman Catholic Church, and its music served as the focal point for musical development for the first thousand years of this period. Very little non-Christian music from this period survived, due to its suppression by the Church and the absence of music notation; however, folk music of modern Europe probably has roots at least as far back as the Middle Ages.

Medieval music

While musical life was undoubtedly rich in the early Medieval era, as attested by artistic depictions of instruments, writings about music, and other records, the only repertory of music which has survived from before 800 to the present day is the plainsong liturgical music of the Roman Catholic Church, the largest part of which is called Gregorian chant. Pope Gregory I, who gave his name to the musical repertory and may himself have been a composer, is usually claimed to be the originator of the musical portion of the liturgy in its present form, though the sources giving details on his contribution, date from more than a hundred years after his death. Many scholars believe that his reputation has been exaggerated by legend. Most of the chant repertory was composed anonymously in the centuries between the time of Gregory and Charlemagne.

During the 9th century several important developments took place. First, there was a major effort by the Church to unify the many chant traditions, and suppress many of them in favor of the Gregorian liturgy. Second, the earliest polyphonic music was sung, a form of parallel singing known as organum. Third, and of greatest significance for music history, notation was reinvented after a lapse of about five hundred years, though it would be several more centuries before a system of pitch and rhythm notation evolved having the precision and flexibility that modern musicians take for granted.

Several schools of polyphony flourished in the period after 1100: the St. Martial school of organum, the music of which was often characterized by a swiftly moving part over a single sustained line; the Notre Dame school of polyphony, which included the composers Léonin and Pérotin, and which produced the first music for more than two parts around 1200; the musical melting-pot of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, a pilgrimage destination and site where musicians from many traditions came together in the late Middle Ages, the music of whom survives in the Codex Calixtinus; and the English school, the music of which survives in the Worchester Fragments and the Old Hall Manuscript. Alongside these schools of sacred music a vibrant tradition of secular song developed, as exemplified in the music of the troubadours, trouvères and Minnesänger. Much of the later secular music of the early Renaissance evolved from the forms, ideas, and the musical aesthetic of the troubadours, courtly poets and itinerant musicians, whose culture was largely exterminated during the Albigensian Crusade in the early 13th century.

Forms of sacred music which developed during the late 13th century included the motet, conductus, discant, and clausulae. One unusual development was the Geisslerlieder, the music of wandering bands of flagellants during two periods: the middle of the 13th century (until they were suppressed by the Church); and the period during and immediately following the Black Death, around 1350, when their activities were vividly recorded and well-documented with notated music. Their music mixed folk song styles with penitential or apocalyptic texts.

The 14th century in European music history is dominated by the style of the ars nova, which by convention is grouped with the medieval era in music, even though it had much in common with early Renaissance ideals and aesthetics. Much of the surviving music of the time is secular, and tends to use the formes fixes: the ballade, the virelai, the lai, the rondeau, which correspond to poetic forms of the same names. Most pieces in these forms are for one to three voices, likely with instrumental accompaniment: famous composers include Guillaume de Machaut and Francesco Landini.

Renaissance music

The beginning of the Renaissance in music is not as clearly marked as the beginning of the Renaissance in the other arts, and unlike the Renaissance in the other arts, it did not begin in Italy, but in northern Europe, specifically in the area currently comprising central and northern France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The style of the Burgundian composers, as the first generation of the Franco-Flemish school is known, was at first a reaction against the excessive complexity and mannered style of the late 14th century ars subtilior, and contained clear, singable melody and balanced polyphony in all voices. The most famous composers of the Burgundian school in the mid-15th century are Guillaume Dufay, Gilles Binchois, and Antoine Busnois.

By the middle of the 15th century, composers and singers from the Low Countries and adjacent areas began to overspread Europe, moving especially into Italy where they were employed by the papal chapel and the aristocratic patrons of the arts, such as the Medici, the Este family in Ferrara, and the Sforza family in Milan. They carried their style with them: smooth polyphony which could be adapted for sacred or secular use as appropriate. Principal forms of sacred musical composition at the time were the mass, the motet, and the laude; secular forms included the chanson, the frottola, and later the madrigal.

The invention of printing had an immense influence on the dissemination of musical styles, and along with the movement of the Franco-Flemish musicians throughout Europe, contributed to the establishment of the first truly international style in European music since the unification of Gregorian chant under Charlemagne seven hundred years before.

Composers of the middle generation of the Franco-Flemish school included Johannes Ockeghem, who wrote music in a contrapuntally complex style, with varied texture and an elaborate use of canonical devices; Jacob Obrecht, one of the most famous composers of masses in the last decades of the 15th century; and Josquin Desprez, probably the most famous composer in Europe before Palestrina, and who during the 16th century was renowned as one of the greatest artists in any form.

Music in the generation after Josquin explored increasing complexity of counterpoint; possibly the most extreme expression of this tendency is in the music of Nicolas Gombert, whose contrapuntal complexities influenced early instrumental music, such as the canzona and the ricercar, ultimately culminating in Baroque fugal forms.

Portrait of Renaissance composer Claudio Monteverdi in Venice, 1640, by Bernardo StrozziBy the middle of the 16th century, the international style began to break down, and several highly diverse stylistic trends became evident: a trend towards simplicity in sacred music, as directed by the Counter-Reformation Council of Trent, and as exemplified in the austere perfection of the music of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina; a trend towards complexity and chromaticism in the madrigal, which reached its extreme expression in the avant-garde style of the Ferrara School of Luzzaschi, and the late century madrigalist Carlo Gesualdo; and the grandiose, sonorous music of the Venetian school, which took advantage of the architecture of the Basilica San Marco di Venezia to create a music of antiphonal contrasts. The music of the Venetian school can be seen on the cusp of the Renaissance and the Baroque eras, and included the development of orchestration, ornamented instrumental parts, and continuo bass parts, all of which occurred within a span of several decades around 1600. Famous composers in Venice included the Gabrielis, Andrea and Giovanni, as well as Claudio Monteverdi, one of the most significant innovators at the end of the era.

Most parts of Europe had active, and well-differentiated, musical traditions by late in the century. In England, composers such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd wrote sacred music in a style similar to that written on the continent, while an active group of home-grown madrigalists adapted the Italian form for English tastes: famous composers included Thomas Morley, John Wilbye and Thomas Weelkes. Spain developed instrumental and vocal styles of its own, with Tomás Luis de Victoria writing refined music similar to that of Palestrina, and numerous other composers writing for a new instrument called the guitar. Germany cultivated polyphonic forms built on the Protestant chorales, which replaced the Roman Catholic Gregorian Chant as a basis for sacred music, and imported wholesale the style of the Venetian school (the appearance of which defined the start of the Baroque era there). In addition, German composers wrote enormous amounts of organ music, establishing the basis for the later spectacular flowering of the Baroque organ style which culminated in the work of J.S. Bach. France developed a unique style of musical diction known as musique mesurée, used in secular chansons, with composers such as Guillaume Costeley and Claude Le Jeune prominent in the movement.

One of the most revolutionary movements in the era took place in Florence in the 1570s and 1580s, with the work of the Florentine Camerata, who ironically had a reactionary intent: dissatisfied with what they saw as contemporary musical depravities, their goal was to restore the music of the ancient Greeks. Chief among them were Vincenzo Galilei, the father of the astronomer, and Giulio Caccini. The fruits of their labors was a declamatory melodic singing style known as monody, and a corresponding dramatic form consisting of staged, acted monody: a form known today as opera. The first operas, written around 1600, also define the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque eras.

Music prior to 1600 was modal rather than tonal. Several theoretical developments late in the 16th century, such as the writings on scales on modes by Gioseffo Zarlino and Franchinus Gaffurius, led directly to the development of common practice tonality. The major and minor scales began to predominate over the old church modes, a feature which was at first most obvious at cadential points in compositions, but gradually became pervasive. Music after 1600, beginning with the tonal music of the Baroque era, is often referred to as belonging to the common practice period.

The music of the Classical period is characterized by homophonic texture, or an obvious melody with accompaniment. These new melodies tended to be almost voice-like and singable, allowing composers at the time to actually replace singer(s) as the focus of the music. Instrumental music therefore quickly replaced opera and other sung forms (such as oratorio) as the favorite of the musical audience and the epitome of great composition. This is not to say that opera disappeared. Indeed, during the classical period, several composers began producing operas for the general public, in their native languages (previous operas were generally in Italian).

Along with the gradual displacement of the voice in favor of stronger, clearer melodies, counterpoint also typically became a decorative flourish, often used near the end of a work or for a single movement. In its stead, simple patterns, such as arpeggios and, in piano music, Alberti bass (an accompaniment with a repeated pattern typically in the left hand) were used to liven the movement of the piece without creating a confusing additional voice. The now popular instrumental music was dominated by several well-defined forms: the sonata, the symphony, and the concerto, though none of these forms were specifically defined or taught at the time as they are now in the field of music theory. All three derive from sonata form, which is used to refer both to the overlying form of an entire work and the structure of a single movement. Sonata form matured during the Classical era to become the primary form of instrumental compositions throughout the 19th century.

The title character from a 19th century performance of Wagner's opera SiegfriedThe early Classical period was ushered in by the Mannheim School, which included such composers as Johann Stamitz, Franz Xaver Richter, Carl Stamitz, and Christian Cannabich. It exerted a profound influence on Joseph Haydn and, through him, on all subsequent European music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the central figure of the Classical period, and his phenomenal and varied output in all genres defines our perception of the period. Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert were transitional composers, leading into the Romantic period, with their expansion of existing genres, forms, and even functions of music.

In the Romantic period, music became more expressive and emotional, expanding to encompass literature, art, and philosophy. Famous early Romantic composers include Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bellini, and Berlioz.

The late 19th century saw a dramatic expansion in the size of the orchestra, and in the role of concerts as part of urban society. Famous composers from the second half of the century include Johann Strauss II, Brahms, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, and Wagner.

Between 1890 and 1910, a third wave of composers including Dvořák, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Puccini, and Sibelius built on the work of middle Romantic composers to create even more complex – and often much longer – musical works. A prominent mark of late 19th century music is its nationalistic fervor, as exemplified by such figures as Dvořák, Sibelius, and Grieg. Other prominent late-century figures include Saint-Saëns, Fauré, and Franck.

The 20th Century saw a revolution in music listening as the radio gained popularity worldwide and new media and technologies were developed to record, capture, reproduce and distribute music. Because music was no longer limited to concerts and clubs, it became possible for music artists to quickly gain fame nationwide and sometimes worldwide. Conversely, audiences were able to be exposed to a wider range of music than ever before. Music performances became increasingly visual with the broadcast and recording of music videos and concerts. Music of all kinds also became increasingly portable. Headphones allowed people sitting next to each other to listen to entirely different performances or share the same performance.

20th Century music brought a new freedom and wide experimentation with new musical styles and forms that challenged the accepted rules of music of earlier periods. The invention of musical amplification and electronic instruments, especially the synthesizer, in the mid-20th century revolutionized popular music and accelerated the development of new forms of music.

NOW, Dougie, here is a bit of research on:

Animal Music

In the world of music science, there is a lot of interest in "animal music", or, perhaps more precisely, in those animal sounds that are plausibly analogous in some way to human music.

The Origins of Music (MIT Press 2000), edited by Wallin, Merker and Brown, contains a section "Vocal Communication in Animals" with eight articles about different animal calls and their possible relationship to human music. Groups of animals considered to be of interest include primates, birds and whales.

The very existence of terms like "birdsong" gives testament to our tendency to perceive the sounds that other animals make as forms of music. There is also an apparent level of creativity in some forms of animal song; in particular whales and some birds are found to invent new "songs".

But we must be very cautious about over-interpreting our own human reactions to these non-human compositions and repertoires. Music is a very subjective phenomenon, and subjective phenomena are exactly the one category of phenomena that we can't study in animals (at least not until we have a full understanding of the relationship between subjective phenomena and physiological phenomena in the human brain, which we could then apply retrospectively to our observations of animals – but this would imply that we had already solved the problems that we were studying).

The more mundane explanation of most animal calls is that they are forms of communication. The frustrating thing about trying to explain music is precisely that it is not a form of communication. The only thing we "learn" from hearing an item of music played is that the particular item has certain subjective effects on us. If the composition of music is a "communication" of some important information, one would have to wonder why the ability to communicate this information is restricted to that tiny percentage of the human race that actually knows how to compose new music.

For those animals whose "songs" have an apparent degree of creativity, the most straightforward explanation is that the creativity is done for the benefit of a listener who appreciates creativity.

Sexual selection can explain arbitrary features of animal structures and behaviours, and such features are in effect super-stimuli for themselves. So if the male of some species of bird sings a certain mating call, and the female bird responds to "creative" variations within that mating call, then there will be a selective pressure for the male bird to evolve a tendency to be as creative as possible. In "Birdsong Repertoires" (Chapter 4, The Origins of Music) Peter Slater cites C.K. Catchpole ("Temporal and sequential organisation of song in the sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Behaviour 59:226-246) and M. Eens, R. Pinxten and R.F. Verheyen ("Male song as a cue for mate choice in the European starling." Behaviour 116:210-238) as giving evidence that female birds of some species choose sexual partners based on size of song repertoire.

My theory of music is also a theory about a super-stimulus, but it is a different kind of super-stimulus, and in particular I do not suppose that music is a super-stimulus for itself. Rather I suppose that music is a super-stimulus for the perception of "musicality", where musicality is a perceived attribute of normal speech. Thus the theory relates music to speech, and speech is obviously communication, but the theory denies that music is a form of communication.

So what does this tell us about animal music? Applying the full logic of my theory to non-human animals, the following can be concluded:

The sounds that animals make are in almost all cases sounds that serve a communicative function.
Human music is a super-stimulus for the perception of musicality in speech, and speech is a system of human-generated sounds with a communicative function.
If some species of animal had an ability to perceive "musicality" similar to how humans perceive it, then there could exist some form of music for that animal such that the relationship between the animal's music and the animal's normal communication sounds was analogous to the relationship between human music and human speech.
Since no animal has a language that sounds like human language, any form of animal music would not be expected to sound like human music.
Given that human music is difficult to compose, quite likely animal music would also be difficult to compose, and, in particular, the animals themselves would not be clever enough to know how to compose their own music.
Some day, when we understand enough about music, we may be able to apply rational rules of musical composition to compose music for other animals. But for now, the ability of composers to compose music depends on their intuition derived from their own subjective experience of appreciating music, and, since there is no easy way to subjectively experience what non-human animals experience, there is no way to develop an intuition about how to compose music for those animals.
Therefore, animal music exists as a possibility, but not as something that animals themselves can currently create and appreciate in the way that humans do.
A final question is whether the perception of "musicality" is something that non-human animals would want to or be able to do. My best guess as to what musicality represents is that it is a perception of the level of conscious arousal in the speaker. It seems reasonable to suppose that other animals do have some form of consciousness similar to human consciousness. We cannot know whether animals subjectively experience consciousness, but we can make judgements about what sort of problems consciousness is used to solve, and observe that other animals have some degree of success in solving those types of problem.

Whether or not other animals need to be able to perceive each other's consciousness is another issue. An ability to perceive the current state of consciousness in other individuals would seem most relevant to those animals that were both intelligent and had complex social lives. Candidates for such a requirement would include (non-human) primates, especially the great apes, and perhaps other intelligent social mammals such as elephants, dolphins and whales.

I hope some of this data helps to explicate the way Anonomann and I feel about natural animalistic sounds still belonging to a musical genus; to be added to the lexicon of possibilities, and not discounted as mere "noise", without specific meter, beat, or notes.


6:02 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Well, yeah that's an objective look at it. I'm thinking subjectively and relatively.
By the same comparison that I'm using to separate birds from "Bubbles", try comparing my "singing" and Pavoratti's
Sure it's all singing, but the quality is varied, to put it mildly.

8:33 AM  
Blogger butch said...

So, are you saying that perhaps animals do perform and have music as we have suggested, and you originally nay sayed? You might be onto somehthing though. If Janet was the first "dog poet" and I was the second, could not you become the first "animal music composer"? You could get recordings of all these wonderful noises and put together something cohesive! On line I have listened to "supposed" Sasquatch screams tha would raise the hair on the back of your neck. You could compose some percussion background beat and put in all the trills, bleats, growls, screams, roars, and squeals, as well as the various birdsongs; create a concerto for non-humans, by a composer who himself resides in a unique niche in terms of his humanity.

Now subjectively, that is a whole different kettle of fish. Subjectively I could listen to the Blues for untolled hours. The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, and ZZ Top have all gone to the slide guitar to ape Robert Johnson and Leadbelly and Muddy and Lightning. I prefer ballads to polkas, and almost spoken lyrics like Leonard Cohen does, because they are songs I can sing in the car without sounding like a Dork. What determines our musical preferences; past lives or socialization, or instinct, or a trained ear, or an education? I may never fully appreciate opera because I know so little about it. You and Anonomann live and breathe the stuff.

Remember that perception is all, and each of us comes to that appreciation of this "reality" that we co-created with a different ear, with different eyes, with different lifestyles and life experiences. Could Rap continue to exist if several generations of angst-ridden gangster black wannabe white kids had not adopted it? Is it music? Is it poetry? Is it bullshit for morons?


9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for supporting the proposition that animals do make some kind of music, even though not as sophisticated as that by Lane Savant.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Lane:
I came to the Mecklenburg State Library this evening to read election news at
There was lots there, and I hoped to find a few items on this blogsite, but didn't.
What are Lane's and Butch's on the results? Or have you no comments.

The LL says regards to you, Meredith, and Keth; ich schicke meine, auch.

9:14 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Pretty cute actually to post a comment on Sunday, and just let it ride, building up comments like moths to a flame, like metal scraps to a magnet. Whatever works for you if fine. We still prostrate ourselves humbly at the mere mention of your handle.

I gave another listen this morning to your latest composition tape. I swear on the clarinet solo "live", I can hear, several times, an infant whimpering, crying, burping, and fussing. Am I losing it or did you include such "noise" like the scream and gunshots on earlier compositions?

Gosh, to think that Anonomann, clear over there in Germany, cares enough about local WA politics, Puget Sound shenanigans, to check on it from there. I voted, but even after reading the damned voter's phamplet, it was hard to know which way to plummet. Both sides presented fairly convincing arguments several times. Voting becomes like a crap shoot at that point. All I heard on the news was that the 100 billion dollar Traffic Bill went down.

Is Fidelio grounded for wetness at this point? Have you been busy, ill, or lazy for the last several days, sir?


12:14 PM  
Blogger butch said...

My goodness, why are you people badgering my lovely Doug? His points are valid, and his views are extraordinary. In my day no one would have ever suggested that animals create "music"; sometimes they create piles of dung, and most of them are pretty good eating, but how can some of you compare rats rutting to Shubert, Mozart, Beethoven, or even Neil Diamond (who I have learned to love recently)?

MAD magazine is excellent reading, and represents some of the finest parody and humor on the planet. I am proud that Doug still recalls much of what he was exposed to as a child, or a young adult. Now that he is a senior citizen, it is appropriate that he spend some time revisiting his youth, getting reacquainted with his inner child. That is, after all folks, his creativity, his urge to compose, to write, to lovingly craft muscical instruments out of scrap wood, to create automobiles that no one has ever seen before, and may never see again.

I do fret though when he goes a whole week without posting a comment. I fear that he has lost the love for us, for the rant, for the "cultural events" he frequents. In some ways Doug is a refined George Carlin, a nay sayer, a malcontent; but funny as hell, with a sense of humor so wicked the liberals feel a need to protect it, to savor it, to bathe in it, to bask in its light--and then to bitch about it. That is "their way".

Gosh, do you think Hillary Clinton really has a shot at becoming Madame President? That would be way cool, having a woman in the white house who was responsible for more than the social events and the decor. We must remember though that she has already lived in the white house as First Lady, and besides "standing by her man", as a lawyer, a feminist, and a smart cookie, she cajoled her husband Bill and the country into several deals. Remember that great old movie, KISSES FOR MY PRESIDENT (1964) with Polly Bergen as Leslie McCloud, the Madame President, and Fred MacMurray as Thad, the "First Gentleman"? I think Eli Wallach and Arlene Dahl were in it too. The film was kind of corny, kind of a one joke wonder, but those scenes where hard-as-nails Polly dictated policy were breathtaking. If Hillary makes it (and by the way I doubt that America is truly ready for the "right thing to do"), what would we all call Tom Cat Bill? They still call him Mr. President, so would the Clintons be Mr. & Mrs. President? It boggles the mind. Of course Obama would shake things up too, and he is such a smart man; and can he ever work up the crowd and give a heart-stopping foot-thumping speech! But the conservatives will fix it so that neither a woman nor a black man will have the "ultimate" power; even though George W. Bush is living proof that one's cabinet can run the world thank you very much, and just work the President as a figurehead, just a marionette on strings who has the IQ of a stink bug, and the personality of an armidillo high on mescal. The only people he can bully are the Mexicans, and even they think of him as a jokester that they can whip thier asses on. Hispanics are now a much larger "minority" than blacks. What's that all about?

So Butch and Anonomann, you both need to appreciate my Dougster more. He breathes rarified air and walks on fires for us all. One day, perhaps in 2008, he will get more noteriety, become accepted in social circles, have his music taken seriously --and you need to ready yourselves for that event, that wonderful day. Savant rules and Doug is my infinite sweetheart.


6:17 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Actually, I have been on drugs, for some more of this cold. Sleeping a lot and reading.
The clarinet solo was recorded live at Soundbridge during the Composers salon. The vocals were provided by RUBY, my nephews daughter.
Alan Hovahness wrote a symphony that included some whale song.

12:05 PM  

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