The storyteller speaks: Rare & different fictions of the Grateful Dead (Bellingham: Kearney Street Books, 2010) is a Grateful Dead-inspired collection of literary short stories. Genres represented include horror, romance, time-travel, family saga, zombie, western, science fiction, and mystery noir.
Below, Jerry Garcia discusses storytelling in Terrapin station.
Related article: Dead studies
Filed under Literature, Popular music
Tagged as Fiction, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Literature, Popular music
19th-century acoustical research
The 19th century was a golden age for the invention of acoustical research instruments—tools for measuring audible frequencies or the speed of sound, or for making sound visible.
Advancements in instrument making and voice physiology paralleled advancements in sound recording, reproduction, and transmission. Apparatuses developed during that time included tuning forks, sirens, sonorous pipes, singing and sensitive flames, manometric capsules, and resonators.
This according to “1800–1900: Un secolo di strumenti per lo studio dell’acustica/1800–1900: A century of instruments for the study of acoustics” by Paolo Brenni, an essay included in L’acustica e suoi strumenti: La collezione dell’Istituto Tecnico Toscano/Acoustics and its instruments: The collection of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano (Firenze: Giunti, 2001, pp. 57–72).
Above, a manometric capsule; below, Professor Henry Higgins demonstrates a sensitive flame, using a rotating mirror for isolating the flame’s oscillations.
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Filed under Curiosities, Science
Tagged as Acoustics, Curiosities, My Fair Lady, Science, Technology
An Astrinidīs resource
Nicolas Astrinidis (1921-2010) is a free online resource that documents the life and works of the Greek composer, pianist, and conductor.
Edited by Ilias Chrissochoidis and mainly in English, the site presents a biography of Astrinidīs along with audiovisual documents, lists of works and performances, and a discussion of his life and works in Greek. Below, a work influenced by Greek traditional music.
Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Resources
Tagged as 20th- and 21st-century music, Composers, Nikolaos Astrinidīs, Resources
Lawrence Welk’s chiffon paradise
Lawrence Welk’s hour-long world as presented on The Lawrence Welk show—with its smiling singers, brightly colored sets, color-coordinated male and female outfits, and flawless band performances—were stress-free and wholly detached from the outside world.
His was a sealed-off, accident-free utopia soundtracked by an endless supply of what the maestro called “champagne music”. Once a week, Welk presented viewers with one of the most otherworldly—and most underappreciated—psychedelic chiffon musical paradises ever seen on television.
This according to “The maestro from another planet: In praise of Lawrence Welk’s otherwordly chiffon paradise” by Ken Parille (The believer XII/6 [July-August 2009; online only]).
Today is Welk’s 110th birthday! Below, the maestro celebrates on the dance floor.
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Filed under Mass media, Popular music
Tagged as Lawrence Welk, Mass media, Polka, Popular music, Television
Molly dancing redux
In 18th-century East Anglia, agricultural workers often performed in the streets disguised in blackface and women’s clothing in exchange for largesse; this practice became known as Molly dancing. The dancers, who were often drunk, disreputable, and destructive, were regarded as degenerate by preservationists, and the practice died out in the 1930s.
Four decades later an expansion of the English folk revival fostered an interest in obscure traditions, and a resurrection of Molly dancing ensued. Its new incarnation is marked by a completely different cultural context, improved status of the dancers, and an emphasis on creativity.
This according to “Molly dancing: A study of discontinuity and change” by Elaine Bradtke, an essay included in Step change: New views on traditional dance (London: Francis Boutle, 2001, pp. 60–85). Above, Gog Magog Molly; below, the Ouse Washes Molly Dancers.
- Coco-nut intellectual property
- English dance & song
Filed under Dance, Europe
Tagged as Dance, East Anglia, England, Europe, Molly dance, Traditional dance
Random film accompaniment
Soon after the Cinematograph Act came into force in 1909, small orchestras became more common in London cinemas than the lone pianist that some previous histories have identified.
Rather than responding moment-to-moment to the images on screen in the manner that an improvising pianist might (or well might not), these orchestras played through a number of well-regarded musical pieces in their entirety, which might or might not have had a direct correspondence to some aspect of the film or its theme.
Despite exhortations in the trade press for such a correspondence between music and film, this does not seem to have happened in practice regularly until at least the mid-1910s.
This according to “The art of not playing to pictures in British cinemas, 1906–1914” by Jon Burrows, an essay included in The sounds of the silents in Britain (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 111–125).
Below, we invite you to experiment with random film accompaniment using your own record collection.