Sagat from Street Fighter II is known for his tiger fireballs and tiger uppercuts. The “tiger” in question is a Minor Third interval from the E-flat down to the C.
For the past week, I've had the Clapper Song stuck in my head—"Clap On, Clap Off"—which is a similar minor third interval from the 5th to the 3rd, but my brain kept resolving to an "uppercut" instead of "the clapper" ending. That's when I realized it was Sagat's sweet swaggering voice that had been singing to me in A-flat major.
Does anyone remember that Street Fighter comic book from the 90s? In the second issue, Sagat sent Ken’s decapitated head in a box to Ryu. He tiger-uppercutted Ken’s head off or something. In the first panel: Ryu sees the blonde hair and then dramatically pulls his friend’s head out for a final full-page panel. I thought it was a little extreme, like they were trying to Mortal Kombatize Street Fighter. This was before Se7en, and I think it actually inspired that climactic What’s-in-the-box? scene.
Yea, Sagat is a pretty cool boss. As a boy, I tiger-loved him and I still tiger-do. I know it’s actually pronounced “sa-GOT,” but he’ll always be a bundle of sticks to me.
My phone’s message tone is the best. It plays a nice E suspended fourth arpeggio that resolves to a high major third. Click below to listen.
It sure beats some bullshit marimba or whatever you have on your phone.
The tone of my phone is so pleasant, I don’t even mind when people text me to “go fuck myself.” What phone is this? I’m not telling. It is the only one of its kind in existence, and I alone possess it.
In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t also include the tab of the above chord.
This cheeky guitar melody from The Sweet Clementines is in C major with a bunch of blue notes to give it that clownish vibe. C major is far too clean a key and should be covered in flats and sharps.
Our melody begins on a major 6, which is always a good sign. After establishing the chord with a C major 3rd, a couple minor 3rds are thrown in, snarkily. The symmetric tritone (Diabolus in Musica) stands firmly in the center of the 4 bars because John Burdick worships Satan and always makes his music Illuminati-friendly. Next comes the minor 7th, bended up from the 6th, a brief nod to the figure from a measure earlier, before sashaying chromatically to a D Major triad (the secondary dominant II chord). Finally, our melody resolves on the major 3rd, a very smooth, clownish and picardy-style resolution after all that came before it.
I hear this melody in my mind’s ear with a kazoo chorus, some whistlers, and a ‘70s falsetto guy. It kinda reminds me of “Bath Tub Gin” by Phish and a little bit Ravel.
Here’s bars 5–8 of The Sweet Clementine’s melody.
Our melody begins with the same 2 bars from before, another spin on the Coney Island carousel as it were, but this time the F# leads into the dominant. Here on the G major chord, we find the classic ascent with the maj.3rd moving up chromatically to the 5th, which sounds so damn fine on an electric guitar. Notice how important the quaver rests are to the melody (music is between the ♫), with the blue notes on the off-beats, evoking the feeling of being stabbed by a clown with a retractable knife. The whole section is nicely complimented by fluid groovy basslines and simple syncopated drumming. I’m no musicopsychologist, but my reading is that: As a boy, John Burdick visited Coney Island and had a traumatic carousel experience that led him to write this song.
Actually, I have know idea what it’s about because I’m lyric-deaf. But I do like this song the more I hear it. There’s a lot of chords and chromatics, which is typical of the Clementines. Spoilers: the end resolves and fades on a pure C major 7th vocal collage, which is a nice picardy-like change of pace after all them blue notes. Good tune, go listen to it. Listen for this 8-bar guitar theme which only occurs a few times throughout the song, as if there were only so many quarters to spend on carousel rides before heading home.
The NY pedestrian signal plays a high F#, like the chirp of some mechanical cricket. It’s about 15 cents flatter than a real F#, but you can still tune to it if you’re busking by the crosswalk. The F# clashes with the usual open keys of our buskers, and even our crickets don’t go that high. Usually, the volume of the signal is such that if you were already blind you’d go deaf crossing the street, but at my intersection, they keep it on the nice crickety setting. Just look to the incandescent man. I♪NY
There’s a place in New York City where the subway sings a recognizable tune. Since the early 2000s, commuters have noticed a musical screeching coming from certain trains like the first 3 notes of “Somewhere” from West Side Story. The first interval is a dominant seventh and resolves down to the major sixth just like in the Leonard Bernstein tune, although Bernstein stole it from Beethoven. Drag over the noteheads to listen to the MTA melody.
It begins on an F#, jumps up to a higher E, and then down to a D# to quote the Bern. The first 3 notes are in the key of B Major. Some of the trains have a few extra notes at the end, modulating down a semitone to B-flat, because this is New York City baby, and there has always been jazz underground.
The MTA says the melody is accidental. Senior subway officials claimed to had never head it before. The Canadian company responsible for the trains said that the newer trains have power choppers. These power choppers emit the tones while generating the necessary voltage to push the train forward.
Yeah, I’m sure it’s all a coincidence that the trains running through the Upper West Side sing a song from West Side Story and not some massive musical conspiracy. Just like that song we all remember by Leonard Berenstain.