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Top 13 Bloggies for Dummies

Blogs are for dummies. Dumbed down. Bolden and linked. Dck jcks. Fragmentary sentences in broken textspeak. Bloggers on pop sites talking down to you like u’re a t33nagr. It’s the new Tee Vee. And even better: it gives you the illusion of more control when you actually have less. The Net wasn’t designed to enlighten you, but rather to make you its bitch—to use the language of the Netscape.

This here blog is six years young, which is actually quite old in Net time, and probably too esoteric for its own good, though it does rely on the memes of the Net—the colorful jay-pegs and dragable widgets hung on the wall, the cozy youtube player centered on the post, the obscene sarcasm that some would mistake for wit, and all of it lost in the author’s neurosis—a sonic vision more reflective of their own sick desires than a reflection of the world.

Today’s high-speed Net favors lickety-quick, disposable content, both on the surfer end—because we demand instant gratification—as well as by the content creators who dumb everything down for what is believed to be the common denominator—a dummy. Does Hollywood make dumb movies catered to the needs of the international market, or do they set he agenda, knowing that the “useless eaters” (to borrow a Kissinger phrase) in America and China and everywhere in between are so dumb that they’ll eat anything you throw at them? They’re both probably true, and this here author is no better. That ain’t no humblebrag; I’m actually very stupid.

Lo these six years, this blog has had one simple purpose: to inspire musical thought. Whether you’re a composer or listener, musical imagery is a fine thing; along with the smile of a babe and the singing of wine glasses, it’s one the finest things in life.

The Inner Game:

As it states in The Inner Game of Kickball, if we’re gonna get good at kickball, we should play with kids who are older and better than us. In this way, we attain mastery. To use the terms of the book, we allow our Self 1 to take a backseat while our Self 2 takes over. Self 1 is your consciousness: the bright vibrating space of your mind. Self 2 is your unconscious: the bottomless pit of your brain, the great abyss of your body. Self 2 is infinitely smarter than Self 1, but Self 2 is only good at sports and playing the violin. Self 1 can write music, listen to music, and tell you it loves you.

When seeking mastery, we must always return to our zen mind beginner’s mind, to the simplicity of our Self 2s. Just as the mind should be polite to the body, the body should seek not to offend the mind. In this way, we become a kind of Self 3 and attain a level of mastery. (Ibid.)

This blog never aims to speak down to you, dear reader, like your some goddamn teenager, but rather to treat you like a friggin’ genius, possessed by little genies, genuinely dreaming and certainly seeming to enjoy your Self 1.

So here’s Los, reminding you to see sharp and be natural.

After the jump:

What do you think; do you like to let your stupid show, let it hang out all over the place, in order to learn and grow and become better than everyone else? Or would you have liked an actual list of thirteen items as promised by the title bait?

Top 13
1.Major Seventhsthe one that started it all.
2.Owlisimo Stravinsky’s inspiration for this blog
3.Crying Codasnothing makes a man cry like a coda
4.Never Jam After Midnight an interesting choice perhaps. but the jam is the tightest on the site.
5.The Bleepthe tone matches the tone. and i do love profanity.
6.Musical Phone Tonesthe strange dissonance of the bitonal telephone and a killer scene from short circuit 2.
7.The Mourning Dove this bird is great and so is Stevie Nicks.
8.Audience Licksa topic that is very dear to me. underrated post.
9.Adult Sing-Alongs in Contemporary Filmanother one that is too serious for words.
10.Bar-Mangled Bannera light-hearted one. and who doesn’t love a good musical boner?
11.American Indian War Chant probably the best widget here. this should be higher up.
12.Sporting Even Melodies let’s face it. music = sports.
13.The Train in Spain Falls Majorly on the Fadea classic widget. classic bloggies.

Coming up next: 11 Ways to Play Music in the Nude

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Zelda’s Lullaby

Link from Legend of Zelda is the original warp whistler. He plays the ocarina in Light World and in Dark. Even his shadow plays the ocarina. It’s a fairy ocarina, and Link carries it with him, somewhere on his person, along with bombs, jugs, and silver arrows.

zelda lullaby

“Zelda’s Lullaby” is a song passed down among the Hyrulean royals and sung to Princess Zelda in her infancy. It can repair broken signs, unlock secret areas, and the Princess loves it. The controller directions pictured above are said to represent the Triforce. The notational shape of the melody also resembles the sacred triangular relic.

Split into three phrases, we begin with three notes that go up then down like a triangle, then played again—another triangle, and the final phrase is a larger triangle that contains the previous two just like a Triforce.

Though the lullaby is in G Major Quadratonic, the tonic G is only played in passing before the final note. Compare this to mogwai song.

“Zelda’s Lullaby” was composed by Jap 6 Jam Champion Koji Kondo. The full version can be heard here.


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Wolf Whistle

The Wolf Whistle is the way we show our appreciation for the feminine form. And the ladies love it! From construction worker catcalls to cartoon wolves, blown in private or openly with two fingers, the “wheeeet-whooo” is a distinctly sexist melody. Can a melody be racist? Is there Classist Music?

Tex Avery used the Wolf Whistle in his Warner Bros. cartoons, but it originated in the Boatswain’s Call—a navy melody to signal all hands on deck. Fellow sailors repurposed the call in whistle form to signal an attractive woman on land.

Like other casual melodies, the Wolf Whistle follows the natural interval of an Octave (8va). It is similar to the Postprandial Tone, but in reverse. It has a palindromic quality, up an octave, down an octave, at a slow sultry tempo. The mouth Es wide in anticipation, then Os out in release. Though it isn’t inherently sexist, the Wolf Whistle is undeniably sexy.

Sexy as fuck.

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Wonka Bars

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has one of the most famous examples of the mystical flute TV trope. From out a secret pocket in his velvet frock, Willy pulls a penny whistle and plays a quick ascending melody to call upon his loyal oompa-loompas.

Check out this Wonka Bar. Of course, Willy would be into some proggy shit.

Normal Speed / Slowed Down

Like Wonka himself, the melody is all over the place and it is difficult to pin down to an unambiguous tone. It must be taken apart note by note to appreciate its horizontal effect.

Beginning on Middle C, moving up a fourth to an F, followed by a broken octave of B-flats, then another fourth between the A-flat and D-flat, transposed up a half-step from the D-flat, up to the D and A for a final fourth interval moving down now, and the last tritone between the flat-A and final D, so as not to resolve too perfectly.

Wonka’s Bar is a far cry from the inviting happy “hello” melodic meet-and-greet from Close Encounters. It has more in common with the Secret Item Melody from Zelda. Willy doesn’t go for that diatonic shit. He likes the mystic melody, a private passage of notes that we outsiders aren’t supposed to fully hear, played shreddingly fast for the ears of little people who answer back with bouncy Minor ballads—doopity-doo.

Can you think of more examples of the mystical flute cliché in TV and film? Put them in the comments below and get a free prize!

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Promethean Melody

The 2012 movie Prometheus features a race of ancient astronauts called “Engineers” who created humanity from a black goo. That’s not a white goo, mind you, like the kind found here on Earth, inside each and every one of us—no, this is a black goo. It’s a distinctly Luciferean substance.

So in the scene above, one of the Engineers plays his tiny flute to unlock the ship’s holographic control panel. We know of this TV trope because they created it long ago, just as they created us. You see, Jesus was a hybrid human-alien—no goo required. The ancient pantheon of gods are nothing more than spacemen, who used their heightened gravity advantage to seem divine like a spacejam.

The Engineer plays his lick in E Phrygian (E F G A B C D). A triplet in descrescendo: E G F, E G F, e g f…

The background score drops a low E on the bass just before the flute melody, letting you know what key we’re in—E Phrygian.

The cliché of the hand-flute, either to summon a little servant or unlock a secret room, can be traced back at least a century or so. Coming up next, we’ll look at one of the most famous examples of the mystic flute cliché. Can you think of it? Guess which movie in the comments below to receive a free prize!

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Chromatic Melodies

I like chromatic melodies, especially when they descend in tuplets. It can be mystical like a mystic cave, mundane as playground song, or silly and sad like a Catholic carnival.

Let’s take a look at Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair”. This song features a highly-sexualized celebrity daughter whipping shots of paint into the faces of her classmates. In other words: it’s a little too racy to feature on this blog, which is far more concerned with eroticizing language.

whip it

“Whip My Hair” is a kind of playground song with a chromatic hook in the key of A minor. Chromatics closely mimic the tonality of human speech which jumps up and down in small intervals. Even without the lyrics, the melody has a mocking quality with the repetitive echo and the chromatic descent.

moogleThis next example from the RPG classic Final Fantasy VI is more like it. This melody descends chromatically in triplets.

final fantasy

Full Song

The 7/8 theme “Another World of Beasts” was composed by game master of melodies Nobuo Uematsu—the Beethoven to Koji Kondo’s Mozart. The chromatic triplets resolve on certain “sweet notes” of an Eb Harmonic Minor scale, from the fifth to the third to the seventh back to the fifth.

warp whistleKoji Kondo uses the downward chromatic tuplet in Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Warp Whistle melody. This short solo flute figure has a mystical flavor, similar to the Final Fantasy example, like a warping wind that sweeps your sprite into the clouds (which look suspiciously like white bushes).

The chromatic melody has a lazy kinda sound like the end of a sentence that lands on the gentle sigh of a period. Depending on tonal context, it can sound whimsical, childish, or otherworldly. Can you think of any chromatic hooks? Do they descend in tuplets? If so, put them in the comments below.

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Morse Code

Morse Code is in G. It’s a minimalist monotonal music that relies on rhythm for comprehension. Drag your cursor over the black stemmed noteheads.

The Morse G can be played in two lengthsthe quaver (1/8 note ) and the semiquaver (1/16 note), or dit and dah. Try spelling out some of these words. Don’t forget to rest, one dit’s worth between every note, three dit’s worth between each letter, and five between words.

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