Posts filed under ‘Music’

Door #8: I’m Just a Nutcracker Nerd

I went to see the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker every year from the time I was four until I was in high school. And I spent hours with the Russian dance and the Waltz of the Flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy playing on the phonograph in my bedroom while I improvised my own choreography to the entire Suite.

Nowadays, I’m more of a Hard Nut kinda gal, but I really am a sucker for all things Nutcracker. So it’s not surprising that I thrilled to this version of the Sugar Plum theme assembled entirely from samples of sounds produced by tweaking, banging and plucking various bicycle parts.

And yes, I know it’s an ad, but I still can’t resist. My only complaint: every Nutcracker nerd knows it’s a celesta, not a glockenspiel.


8 December 2007 at 22:21 1 comment

Door #7: Friday Fiddle Tune #5

This was the first fiddle tune I ever wrote. It started out life as “Busshållplatsvalsen” – “The Bus Stop Waltz” — because it popped into my head while I was waiting for the bus.  Later I dedicated it to my friend Betsy in honor of her fiftieth birthday.


7 December 2007 at 22:05 Leave a comment

Friday Fiddle Tune #4

Today’s fiddle tune is a polska I wrote as part of my final project in a music theory and composition course last spring. I wrote the melody on the piano, so it’s a little tricky on fiddle in the B part.


30 November 2007 at 23:57 Leave a comment

Friday Fiddle Tune 3

Here’s a hambo tune I dedicated to my friend Carolyn when she had surgery. It’s called “Krya på dig” — “Get Well Soon” in Swedish.


If you’ve never seen hambo, here’s a video clip of the dance:

23 November 2007 at 23:42 Leave a comment

NaBloPoMo Mid-Month Updates

I wanted to take a moment to mention some of the more unexpected results of this month of blogging. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click the links. All will be explained)

  • I now walk around singing “Moskau, Moskau, come and dance and love the fish! Mr. Disco summoned it! A-ha-ha-ha-ha!” Curse you Dschinghis Kahn with your catchy Euro-Pop! You too, Buffalax, with your nonsensical, yet oddly compelling anglicized lyrics!

[Note to readers: I am not responsible if you too find yourself watching the “Moskau” video and ending up with a brainworm.]

[Note to self: don’t google “brainworm” thinking you’ll find a link to some Wikipedia page talking about the idiomatic definition of brainworm as a song you can’t get out of your head. And especially don’t google “brainworm” over lunch.]

[Update: Before the pictures of the white-tailed deer autopsies had faded from my mind, I realized that a song that gets stuck in your head is an earworm not a brainworm. Maybe I have a brainworm eating my memory.]

  • Many people end up here via a search for Swedish military lip-balm and how to order it. Sadly, I don’t have any advice to offer. I buy two or three tubes every summer when I go to Sweden to visit my friends from my study-abroad year. If I run out, I ask one of my Swedish fiddling friends to buy some when they go to Sweden. If you know how you can get your hands on some without actually going to Sweden, post in the comments and let me know.

[Note to self: bring back extra tubes next year to sell to homesick Swedes and former expats.]

20 November 2007 at 23:50 Leave a comment

Lost in Transcription

One of Mark Liberman’s recent language log posts has turned me on to my latest guilty YouTube pleasure: foreign language music videos subtitled with a phonetic transcription of the lyrics that makes some sort of weird sense in another language.

Here for example is the Russian (?) German [so much for my linguistic acuity] group Dschengis Dschinghis Kahn singing their song Moskau, Moskau with the lyrics transcribed into an English-language approximation with lines like “Moscow, Moscow, please respect the caviar!” The “Golden Horde goes to Vegas”-style costumes only add to the appeal.

Liberman’s post contains links to other examples of this emergent video genre, which his informant, Ben Ostrowsky, has christened “Autour-de-mondegreens.” A mondegreen is a misunderstanding of a spoken or sung text. One of the best-known example might be the mishearing of “‘scuse me while I kiss the sky” as “‘scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Note that some of the video links are definitely not work safe.

A pleasant surprise was finding that these sorts of videos have been popular in Sweden where they’re known as “Turkhits.” Swedish Wikipedia provides links to some of the these videos including the most famous, “Hatten är din” (“The Hat is Yours”), a Turkhits version of the Lebanese song “Meen ma Kenty/Habbaytek.”

17 November 2007 at 23:59 1 comment

Friday Fiddle Tune 2

Here’s another pols tune — this one dedicated to my friend Andrea on her fiftieth birthday.


16 November 2007 at 23:25 Leave a comment

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