People in the 40′s used to laugh in major keys. Man’s guffaws and woman’s’ cackles were tuned to each other―an octave apart―and the glee of their sons and daughters lol’d like a pop choir. But those were jazzier times then, when it was okay for boys to laugh like birds, and girls to cry like dolphins. People didn’t just eat their words in those days, but full sentences as well, and whole songs too.
One such song from the Golden Age of Joke Songs with cow-bell-slinging kazoo-toting Spike Jones and nice-and-keen shaven Benny Bell, is the Woody Wood Pecker Theme that features Mel Blanc’s major laugh melody below.
The laugh is an F# Major chord in Second Inversion meaning the root is transposed to the 5th, the C# in this case. The whole thing ends with a series of triplets on the major 3rd, the A#. Though the melody is in F#, it only hits the root in passing in the rising triplets.
The Woody Woodpecker laugh sounds suspiciously like the “Charge Melody” played at Basketball games. They are both Second Inversion Major chords, played in the same arpeggiated manner. Did the Woody laugh melody inspire the early NBA organists to quote the well-known leitmotif in their charges?
Yes; yes it did.