Archive for Language and music

Yibin, Sichuanese, Cantonese, Mandarin…; topolect, dialect, language

From Charles Belov:

My Apple Music subscription served me a folk-pop hip-hop song "Yibin BBQ" by Yishi Band at the tail end of a playlist mostly made up of rock from the former Yugoslavian republics.

Googling this band reveals that they sing in a dialect called Yibin.

I thought I heard a final consonant stop at 0:57-58 and 1:10 but I imagine that's a mishearing as the Wikipedia entry for Sichuan dialect does not list any consonant stops as possible finals. Also, as someone who doesn't know Mandarin, I fear this could be standard Mandarin without my knowing it. That said, when I try to match the first few words, what they rap doesn't quite match the printed lyric, and in particular, the character for the number one appears in the printed lyric and I'm hearing something that sounds like the number one in Cantonese and not in standard Mandarin.

(I took three semesters of Cantonese but never became fluent.)

I couldn't find this on YouTube and hope you either have streaming or know someone who can stream this for you.  Hope you can find and enjoy this.

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No one likes us, we don't care

At the parade celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl victory today, Eagles center Jason Kelce (decked out in a Mummer suit) led the crowd in a rousing chant that fits the team's underdog mentality:

No one likes us, no one likes us
No one likes us, we don't care
We're from Philly, fucking Philly
No one likes us, we don't care

It was the capper to an amazing five-minute rant, which should be enjoyed in its entirety (uncensored video here, transcript here). Kelce also sang the chant with fans on the sidelines of the parade.

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Negative concord in music

Alex Baumans sends a link to a new album Double Negative by the band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing.

Negative Concord would be a better title, in my opinion.

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Blues in Moore flat

I've previously noted that Donald Trump sometimes introduces semi-chanted passages into his political oratory — see "Trump's prosody"; "Trumpchant in B flat"; "Tunes, political and geographical".

Here's another example, from his 12/8/2017 campaign rally for Roy Moore in Pensacola:

So get out and vote for Roy Moore!

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Annals of endless redundancy: "Keep On Keepin' On"

Just heard that song on the radio.  It was sung by Curtis Mayfield.  I had never heard it before and was puzzled by its meaning, so I went to Wikipedia for enlightenment.  Lo and behold!  I found this disambiguation page:

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Bump of Chicken

Photo by Ross Bender, taken near Osaka Castle last month:

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Record-high operatic pitch?

Zachary Woolfe, "Hyper-High Notes", NYT 11/10/2017:

I wrote this week about the highest note in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, an A above high C currently being sung by Audrey Luna in Thomas Adès’s “The Exterminating Angel.” In my brief rundown of high-note history, I referred to the French soprano Mado Robin “shrilling” up to a high B flat; my infelicitous phrasing got called out by some Mado fans, one of whom was kind enough to send along a couple of her highlights. Recorded live, this is, my reader tells me, a French version of one of the big Miliza Korjus showpieces from the 1938 MGM musical “The Great Waltz.” Its climax takes her up to what I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) is quite a lovely sustained B flat, half a step above Ms. Luna’s achievement.

If the cited youtube clip has not been juiced, Mr. Woolfe is indeed wrong — the note in question is a (quarter tone above) a sustained B6, around 2006 Hz.

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Mnozil Brass speak Mandarin

Listen to these Austrian fellows introduce themselves in Mandarin (from around :50 to around 2:00):

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Serious earworm infection

I had heard "Let Me Love You" by D J Snake featuring Justin Bieber many times on the radio and was intrigued by several things:

1. Who / what is D J Snake?

2. In what way is the super famous Biebs "featured" on a record by a D J named Snake?  In other words, what was the nature of their collaboration?

3. Above all, who was making that manic, beyond yodeling sound in the background (was it Biebs? D J Snake? somebody else? a machine / instrument?), and how were they making it?

So I went looking for a music video in hopes that I might be enlightened.

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Sorry, my Chinese is not so good

Music video by a trio of English musicians singing about learning Chinese:

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Whistled language

In "Transcendent Tonality" (11/5/15), we examined this topic a couple of years ago.  That post focused more on the philosophical and ethereal aspects of this type of communication, although it also introduced some of the basics of interhuman whistling and its congruence with melodic musicality.

Additional research takes us further toward understanding the linguistic, neuroscientific, and evolutionary biological dimensions of articulate whistling, as reported in this BBC article:

"The beautiful languages of the people who talk like birds:  Their unusual whistled speech may reveal what humanity’s first words sounded like." (David Robson, 5/25/17)

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Rapaganda

The Chinese government has grown mildly addicted to the use of rap for disseminating propaganda.  I'm going to call this new variety "rapaganda", but I am not the first to do so.  The use of this portmanteau word might have started here:

"Chinese Communist Party Modernizes its Message — With Rap-aganda" (China Real Time Report, WSJ, 12/29/15)

WSJ's China Real Time Report just used it again:

"Video: China’s New ‘Rap-aganda’ Tells You What President Xi Cares About " (3/10/17)

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Silent Night

Dave Cragin asks, "How did 平安夜 come to mean Christmas Eve?"

Now that's a good seasonal topic if ever there were one.

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