Archive for Language and music

"Mirrors" composer rejects Richard Feelgood and Donald Trump

Jon Jackson, "Writer Behind Trump's Rally Music Wants to Distance Himself From QAnon", Newsweek 9/20/2022:

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday appeared at an Ohio rally for J.D. Vance, a Republican nominee for Senate. Afterward, Trump received much attention for what many people have claimed was a QAnon element to his appearance.

When Trump took to the stage, people in attendance felt they recognized his entrance music. Many in the crowd raised a one-finger salute as a reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory. They did so because the song they heard sounded nearly identical to QAnon's unofficial theme song, "Wwg1wga," which stands for the QAnon slogan, "Where we go one, we go all." (Although the index finger salute is used by QAnon, some people have claimed its use is also a reference to the "America First" slogan.)

Aides for Trump have denied to multiple media outlets that the song played last weekend was "Wwg1wga." Instead, they identified the tune that the former president used at the rally as a royalty-free track called "Mirrors," written by composer Will Van De Crommert.

However, Van De Crommert wrote to Newsweek that he did not authorize the use of "Mirrors" for Trump. He also emphasized he wasn't happy about his music being associated with QAnon.

"I do not support Donald Trump, and I do not support or espouse the beliefs of QAnon," Van De Crommert said.

That "Mirrors" was mistaken for "Wwg1wga" is understandable. When De Crommert's song is played to the music-identifying service Shazam, the result given back is "Wwg1wga," which is credited to an artist who goes by Richard Feelgood.

"Richard Feelgood's claim on the song 'Mirrors' (retitled 'Wwg1wga') is patently false. The recordings of 'Wwg1wga' and 'Mirrors' are identical, and the master was unlawfully retitled, repackaged, and redistributed to streaming platforms by Richard Feelgood," Van De Crommert said.

He added, "I am not Richard Feelgood, I do not represent Richard Feelgood, and Richard Feelgood is not a pseudonym that I have ever or will ever employ."

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"Semper Supra"

A performance of the new U.S. Space Force anthem:

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More Q-song copying?

In a comment on yesterday's "Q song?" post, AntC wrote:

Investigating Feelgood's (alleged) oeuvre further, other than the vacuous stuff, there seem to a diverse range of 'soundscapes' from 'grunge' to 'house' to (almost) lullabies to vaudeville. All of them very derivative. I greatly doubt they were the fruit of one mind; I suspect they're all just ripped off. Many on Silver Cloud 5 have Q-aligned titles.

So I thought I'd spend a couple of minutes checking it out — and so far, it appears that AntC is correct.

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Q Song?

Update 9/21/2022 — See "'Mirrors' composer rejects Richard Feelgood and Donald Trump" for confirmation by the original composer of the plagiarism documented below.

Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, "Trump Rally Plays Music Resembling QAnon Song, and Crowds React", NYT 9/18/2022:

Former President Donald J. Trump appeared to more fully embrace QAnon on Saturday, playing a song at a political rally in Ohio that prompted attendees to respond with a salute in reference to the cultlike conspiracy theory’s theme song.

While speaking in Youngstown in support of J.D. Vance, whom he has endorsed as Ohio’s Republican nominee for the Senate, Mr. Trump delivered a dark address about the decline of America over music that was all but identical to a song called “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.”

As Mr. Trump spoke, scores of people in the crowd raised fingers in the air in an apparent reference to the “1” in what they thought was the song’s title. It was the first time in the memory of some Trump aides that such a display had occurred at one of his rallies.

Aides to Mr. Trump said the song played at the rally was called “Mirrors,” and it was selected for use in a video that Mr. Trump played at the conservative meeting CPAC and posted on his social media site, Truth Social. But it sounds strikingly like the QAnon theme song.

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"Sound" at the center, "horn" at the periphery: the shawm and its eastern cousins, part 2

For a good example of how music and musical instruments, together with the words to designate them, could travel long distances in antiquity, we have already taken a look at the case of the shawm:  "The shawm and its eastern cousins" (11/16/15).  Since writing that post nearly seven years ago, a few more interesting facts about the shawm family have come to light, so it's time to revisit this raucous instrument.

I first encountered this melodic noisemaker in the guise of the Chinese suǒnà 嗩吶.  Inasmuch as the Sinographic form has two mouth radicals, that could be to emphasize that it has to do with making sounds, which is definitely true, but that might also indicate that it is a transcription of a foreign word, which is certainly the case.  The latter is underscored by the fact that it has the variant orthographic form with a metal radical on the first character:  鎖吶.

So where did the suona come from, and how did it get to China?  By investigating suona's linguistic ancestry, we can get a pretty good idea of the route by which it came to the Middle Kingdom.

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The Musical Origin of the Seven-Day Week

[This is a guest post by Sara de Rose.]

Calendars, old and new, are based on astronomical cycles: the yearly cycle of the sun; the monthly cycle of the moon. But there is one unit of time that doesn’t adhere to any celestial rhythm: the seven-day week.

Celsus, a second century Greek philosopher, wrote that the week-day order is based on “musical reasons…quoted by the Persian theology.” 

Persia (Iran) was the neighbor of Mesopotamia (Iraq). Archaeological artifacts suggest that the two cultures shared the same musical system, and cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia have allowed archaeologists to re-construct this system. The consensus is that, from at least 1800 BC, the Mesopotamians used a seven-note scale that is the ancestor of our modern major scale – and the structure of this scale was understood to be related to the sequence 4,1,5,2,6,3,7. 

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"C’est carré comme en Corée" / It's square like in Korea

Article by Clara Cini in Le Monde (4/27/22):

« C’est carré comme en Corée », de la fascination des rappeurs pour la dictature au tic langagier

"It's square like in Korea", from the fascination of rappers for the dictatorship to the language tic

[The above French to English translation is from Google Translate.  Since the entire article is in French, I will provide selected English translations done by Google Translate, with minimal editing by me.]

 

Preface

The expression from rap referred to the North Korean regime. Decontextualized, devoid of its “from the North”, it has lost its meaning and is now used mechanically.

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Singaporean song supposedly in Chinese

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Me, myself, and I

This morning, while washing my face and still not fully awake, I heard a rap song on the radio that kept repeating "me, myself, and I".  It started to bother me.  Why would anybody say that?  Why would they say it over and over?  What do they mean by it?

Emma Bryce (TEDEd [8/28/15]) tells us that " 'Me' is an object pronoun, 'I' is a subject pronoun, and 'myself' is a reflexive or intensive / emphatic pronoun."  Well, so what?  What's the point?  What statement are they trying to make?

According to YourDictionary, "me, myself, and I" implies "Only me, me alone, me without companionship."  Fair enough; that makes some sense.

Wiktionary agrees that "me, myself, and I" emphasizes the speaker's aloneness, i.e., only me; myself alone.

English Language & Usage Stack Exchange (5/6/16) tells us that "Me is the physical aspects. Myself is the soulful aspects. I is the spiritual aspects."  I'm not so sure about that, but at least somebody believes it.

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Canine intonations

I live in a duplex.  Even though the two houses are separated by a thick brick wall, I sometimes hear sounds coming from my neighbor's place.  The most conspicuous are the vocalizations made by her dog, Izzy.

Izzy is some kind of South Carolina coon hound.  We live in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, but my neighbor got her female dog from a rescue service in South Carolina.

Izzy is quirky.  She is unique.  I have never heard any other dog like her.  She doesn't just bark; she talks.  Izzy's voice projects emphasis, querulousness, inquiry, complaint, displeasure, joy, dismay, and a whole range of other emotions and intentions.  Sometimes she seems to be talking to herself (muttering and mumbling), and sometimes she seems to be communicating with her owner or other people around her.

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Disfluencies as music

From an album "The Sound of Thinking" that dropped yesterday:

[h/t Chris Cieri]

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Drive my car / Doraibu mai kā

Questions from Nancy Friedman:

I'm writing something about the Best Picture nominee "Drive My Car," whose Japanese title is "Doraibu mai kā." Is there a name for this sort of transliteration from English into Japanese? Why would a Japanese writer–the source story was written by Haruki Murakami–choose a transliteration instead of a translation? (Beatles reference, maybe?)

From David Spafford:

It’s definitely a Beatles reference. I don’t know this particular Murakami work, but he’s well known for his Beatles references: think "Noruuei no mori", which is an obvious reference / mistranslation of the Beatles song, "Norwegian wood".

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Tang (618-907) poetry in Min pronunciation, part 2

This is a supplement to "Tang (618-907) poetry in Min pronunciation" (10/14/21).  The following remarks are by Conal Boyce:

So far it seems the artist’s viewpoint is missing from the discussion. At the top of the thread, Victor Mair mentions two musical compositions of mine, and also kindly cites my unpublished Ph.D. dissertation in References. But the music and the thesis (both of 1973-1976 vintage) are almost wholly unrelated. (What is related tangentially to my compositions from that period is my paper called ‘Min sandhi in verse recitation,’ Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 1980, 8:1-14.) What do I mean by ‘the artist’s viewpoint’? My main task during 1973-1976 in Taiwan was to finish writing my dissertation on the rhythms used by my informants in their recitation of Sòngcí ([VHM:  Sòng lyric meters] sometimes in MSM, sometimes in Min) — nothing to do with music per se (except the abstract connection through ‘rhythm’).

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