Mozart wrote a song called Leck mich im Arsch or ‘Lick me in the asshole’, a minute long song for six male voices―castrati preferred. He also loved ‘farted on‘ jokes. The oldest recorded joke from Sumeria is of this style.
Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.
Even Stravinsky, who is as dry as can be in his Poetics of Music, and dull to a T in his autobiography (as if he never farted on anybody), can’t resist making musical funnies. The classic Augurs chord from The Rite of Spring showcases Stravinsky’s unwitting wit. It is a dissonant double-chord, consisting of an E Major with an Eb Dominant Seventh chord on top. Easy to play on piano, it takes 2 or 3 guitarists to get.
Hilarious right? Mmm, quite.
This section of The Rite paraodies a basic I → IV chord progression, the classic progression of folk music. The first Augurs chord, a muddy E Major tonic, is accented in odd-time off-beat patterns by a second chord, a dissonant subdominant A Major. Over each chord hangs a displaced Eb Dominant 7th.
This is how someone with a completely abstract sense of humor makes a joke. He takes the chord progression you know and love and takes an E-flat Dominant shit on top of it. This little passage caused riots in 1913 when it premiered in Paris. The audience laughed and booed, and eventually erupted into fist-fights.
Spike Jones was inspired to pursue musical comedy after witnessing Stravinsky’s performance of The Firebird, where the conductor’s shoes, squished in time with his music. Frank Zappa―the sex magick love child of Spike Jones and Stravinsky―loved to quote from The Rite of Spring, for joke.
Later, the Augurs Chord predicted the birth of prog-rock, math-rock, fusion, and stoner what have you.
Maybe he’s just rolling because graves are so damn uncomfortable, or maybe Stravinsky actually finally gets his own joke. Or maybe the Devil hath farted on and on.
Wrong of Spring for the Casiotone MT-46