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Well, Tracy had gone to work, but at the same time he had also written three lines to a song.

Lost song from Tracy's Tiger by William Saroyan

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Here’s Thomas Tracy’s song from Tracy’s Tiger by William Saroyan, published in 1951. It’s a wide-interval diddy in C major so I thought it would sound nice on a glockenspiel.

Tracy's song

Try it at home: E C B C E B E F G

However, Tracy didn’t think too fondly of it:

The three lines of Tracy’s turned out to be as so many other things turn out to be, dirt. The song faded away, the very scrap of paper on which Tracy had so carefully written the words were lost, the melody was forgotten.

Well, I like it. I want to make a pop song out of it with intervals sung wide. It’s got the major third lead-in like the bell song and the door bell, but it jumps an octave down to a low C. It would make an interesting vocal melody.

I think music is too small; we need to widen it up a bit with big intervals.

Show in N.N.Y.

We’re playing the Wherehouse in Newburgh once again. Come join us for great food, drinks, and music.


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Stranger Tones

Occasionally, this blog is relevant—really relevant. Like shilling for a new Netflix Original series relevant.


Stranger Things is a comfy creature feature throwback to the glorious ’80s with a strong Speilbergian vibe. The music also has a nice Carpenteresque feel to it.

John Carpenter often composed the music for his movies, with several iconic electronic soundtracks to his name such as Halloween and The Fog. In the ’80s, Carpenter was King of the Arpeggiator, as can be heard in The Thing and my personal fave, Big Trouble In Little China.

The Theme from Stranger Things opens with a synth heartbeat just like The Thing (actually written by Ennio Morricone to sound Carpenteresque), and there’s a nice smooth arpeggio of a C major 7th chord. I’ve often called this chord, the Chord of Love, but context is important. It takes on some of those qualities—mystery and longing, but the lack of progression, also gives it a stalking, foreboding quality like being pursued by a hungry CGI monster. The overtones of the 7th, the B, add some Lydian flavor to the theme with an implicit F#, even though there are no fourths provided. The Lydian mode is often used to evoke the far reaches of outer space and inner dimensions.

(Click on the score to play/stop. Sorry, I couldn’t make a perfect loop in Flash.)

Simple. Haunting. Effective. Very Carpenteresque. No melody. Just arpeggios. His soundtracks were sound-oriented rather than musical.

The ’80s now seem like how the ’50s seemed in the ’80s. Anyway, Stranger Things was a good watch. I definitely recommend it, if you’re going to Netflix and chill with that special someone. It captures that wonderful magic of youth and adventure from The Goonies and E.T., which kinda makes me think I missed out on something, like young hot teen love. Or maybe just D&D with the bros. Or Winona.

UK Ringback Tone

Stately, the UK ringback tone plays a whole tone chord. So soft and yet so dissonant.

The North American ringback tone also features the chord with a G and A, but the rhythm is different; it holds for a half note and then rests. In the UK version above, the double tap is reminiscent of our busy signal. It’s arguably more musical than the North American version and is therefore featured in many classic tunes.

You can hear the UK ringback at the end of Pink Floyd’s “Young Lust.” Such a dank, rank tune! The G and the A of the UK ringback tone work well over the E minor pentatonic key.

Another musical use of the UK tone can be heard in the keyboard part to Space Hog’s “In the Meantime.” It’s not the same notes, but I think it was probably inspired by it. Check it out in the intro.

I like the piano coda in that song. Piano codas were really popular for a hot minute in the 90s, because of Faith No More’s Epic—one of the finest piano codas next to the Rach Two. Not sure why they had to kill Björk’s fish for the video though. Oh well, ooppa dobba deeba dobba, I guess.

New Single: Homebody

I remember still—the memories and melodies of home.

As a band of brothers, we’ve always loved popular telephone songs such as “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone, and so we thought: Wouldn’t it be neat to sing the actual dial string from a landline phone, harmonies and all? Our new single, “Homebody” (hōm’bŭd’ē), features the band’s childhood phone number sung in this manner. The two tones of a DTMF phone signal make for some unusual chord progressions in the chorus, slowed-down and dancey, while the verses are upbeat and Beatlesesque, describing the dank basement which gave birth to the so-called “phoney songs of home.”

To stay thematically consistent, “Homebody” was recorded at our home studio in the mountain valley town of New Paltz, New York (featured in the song). While phone songs may be naturally catchy, the melody of “Homebody” is like sonar to our ears, reminding us of our lost suburban home on Long Island (also featured) with its quintessential American ’80s upbringing: Divorce, Cults, and Videogames.

Please enjoy “Homebody.”



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Tiger Third

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.

Like this: Tiger_Uppercut.wav

* * *

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 reveal. 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.

Compare Sagat’s tiger third with the same interval and key used in the Sega bumper. It’s also reminiscent of the old playground melodies.

Bob Sagat…