Monday, July 21, 2014

A Beef and a Quiz

NewMusicBox has an essay up titled "The Dangers of Secondhand Music" that bemoans the ubiquitous presence of background music almost everywhere you go. That is certainly a beef I share! Yesterday I had lunch at a very fine restaurant in a very high-class hotel. The menu was original and creative and the preparation and presentation outstanding. The service was courteous and attentive. Everything was excellent. With one exception: there was a constant thumping, very bad, background music--just a bit too loud to be really in the background making it impossible to ignore. What was so bad about this music was its industrial quality. There were no vocals, it was just instrumental tracks that were vaguely like Electronic Dance Music, but without any trace of creativity. I would much have preferred regurgitated 60s hits! They brought a little comment form to the table, so I made sure to point out how horrible the music was. We will see if anyone takes note.

So that's the beef. Now the quiz. The Guardian has a quiz on the Beatles up on their site. Let's see how we do.

Well, I did pretty good with ten out of a possible thirteen correct. The average score is six. No fair looking anything up! I really had no idea what Stones song John and Paul sang backing vocals on, so I picked "I Wanna Be Your Man" because John and Paul wrote it and then gave it to the Stones to record. And I had no idea what song kept Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane from the number one spot. Anyway, a fairly fun quiz if you like that sort of thing.

I am tempted to do one of my quizes, but the last one so demoralized my readers that I'm afraid to! Maybe a really short one?

  1. What is a "tam-tam"?
  2. How many strings on a mid-16th century lute?
  3. On Sylvius Leopold Weiss' lute?
  4. What is the order of instrumental solos on Archie Bell and the Drells' 1968 hit "Tighten Up"?
  5. What is "automatic double-tracking"?
  6. What does MIDI stand for?
  7. How many cents in a semitone?
  8. Who was Janáček's muse?
  9. What solo instrument did Chopin write for other than the piano?
  10. Who wrote the longest string quartet ever composed?
Oh, darn, I think I came up with another really daunting one! All of these can be answered easily with Google, except maybe the last question, but it is really more fun to do without a search engine. Just like the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle. In pen.

Bonne chance!

And some music to end with, a suite for Baroque lute by Sylvius Leopold Weiss. And no the illustration is not of a Baroque lute (that's a Renaissance lute) so you can't answer the question by counting the pegs:

UPDATE: Anyone want to have a go at the quiz? Or should I just put up the answers?


Robin said...

I will have a go at the quiz:

1. A tam-tam is a large orchestral gong
2. I am going to guess 6 courses for 15 strings for that time period
3. and by Weiss, maybe 13 courses, so 25 strings idea
5.we used to do this in analogue recording, a second voice added to the original via tape delay
6. MIDI is musical instrument digital interface
7. 100
8. Kamila . . . . . cannot remember her last name
9. Voice?
10. Feldman

Bryan Townsend said...

Excellent! We have a winner! Seven out of ten. I will put up a post with all the answers.

Rickard Dahl said...

Been busy the last couple days and seems like I missed a lot. I know you've posted the answers but I haven't seen them so I will give a try on the quiz (just for the sake of fun):

1. An instrument similar to a gong. Or basically a gong-like instrument.
2. My guess is 10.
3. Guessing more than 10, so 12.
4. No idea but will guess. I assume it's the typical standard set of drums, bass guitar, electric guitar & singer. I also assume the singer doesn't do a solo. Hmm, my guess is drums, bass & electric guitar.
5. It sounds like a type of music effect. Maybe you add automatically add a copy of the original track to the original track and manipulate it in some ways (silly guess).
6. MIDI= Music Instrument Device Interface sounds reasonable.
7. I've most likely read it somewhere but didn't pay attention to it. Well, cent= 1/100 I suppose. But 1/100 of what? My guess is that a semitone is 100 cents (although it could be 100 cents for an octave instead).
8. I've probably read it somewhere but forgot.
9. Cello?
10. Feldman, he composed some very very long pieces.

Alright, time to check the answers.

Rickard Dahl said...

Seems like I got 1., 7., 9. & 10. correct. 2., 4., 5. & 6. were nearly correct. Robin is still the winner.

Bryan Townsend said...

Congratulations to both of you for attempting the quiz without the aid of Mr. Google! I'm told my fun little quizzes are actually really hard.