Scripturient: As Elvis leaves the building, so do we all

No one gets out of here alive. We all die. And with us go into the dustbin the dreams, the values, the ideals, the culture we grew up with, we shared, we ensconced in our daily existence. And the clutter we accumulated during our lives. Elvis has left the building and, sooner or later, so ...

Scripturient: Leonard Cohen deserves the Nobel Prize, too

News that songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature shook the literati worldwide. Here was a pop icon sitting in the august company of Alice Munro, Mario Vargas Llosa, Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter, V.S. Naipaul, Gabriel García Márquez, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Yasunari Kawabata, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling ...

Scripturient: A little musical Canadiana

Among my collection of many (many!) vintage song books and song sheets, I have a bundle of patriotic music from WWI. I was browsing through them again this week and found several songs written and published during the war, either as songs for the soldiers (usually cheering them on to war or hoping for their ...

Scripturient: Boris Godunov

I’m not sure why Boris Godunov, moves me like it does, but it has a curious, emotional effect on me. It’s a sprawling tragedy mixed with politics and betrayal, weighted down by brooding and scheming characters, a fickle mob, a holy fool, a ghost, an imposter as pretender to the throne, and the overthrow of ...

Scripturient: 432 vs 440Hz: Science or Codswallop?

Canadian band Walk Off the Earth posted excitedly on Facebook that they had just recorded a new song. Great. I like WOTE and look forward to their new song. What was really different about that notice was that they also said they had changed their instruments from the standard A440 to A432 tuning, and it ...

Scripturient: Kanile’a Islander GL6

What a difference two strings make. Late last week, I traded my Jupiter Creek steel-stringed baritone, solid-body uke for one of these Kanile’a nylon-stringed GL6 “guitar-leles” which the company calls a “guilele.” It’s really a short-scale guitar tuned like a ukulele: a fourth higher. More like a requinto than a uke. Kanile’a says of the GL6 ...

Scripturient: Updated Ukulele Songbook

Even though our local uke group, CPLUG, is not currently meeting, the songbook has not died. I have updated it with new arrangements and made a few editorial changes to the older content this past fall and winter. I, of course, continue to play the ukulele every day. If you don’t know this songbook, it’s ...

Scripturient: Why Do We Make Music?

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak. I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d, And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d, By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound. What then am I? Am I more senseless grown Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe! ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Will Ferrell does a mock music video of gangster rap – and it’s a scathingly hilarious critique of the genre

This is scathingly funny. Will Ferrell does a mock music video of macho gangster rap. Man, how I despise that music. As Rage Against the Machine said, “So-called rap’s a fraud.” Worse, most of it is disgustingly offensive, as well as hollow and noxious. Bob Marley would roll in his grave. Only new country and ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Will Ferrell does a mock music video of gangster rap – and it’s a scathingly hilarious critique of the genre

A musical commentary, followed by social and political analysis, followed by hilarious spoof rap videos, and more This is scathingly funny. Will Ferrell does a mock music video of macho gangster rap. Man, how I despise that music. As Rage Against the Machine said, “So-called rap’s a fraud.” Worse, most of it is disgustingly offensive, ...

Scripturient: Stop Whining, Elvis Haters

Don’t people who hate Collingwood’s Elvis Festival ever get tired of whining and bitching about it? I guess not. There’s another whining letter about it in this week’s Connection. More than twenty years the festival has been running successfully and they still haven’t figured it out yet. Just because you don’t like the event, doesn’t mean others ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Musical Sources

Trying learn a song from an old songbook or sheet music can be difficult unless you already know how the song goes. Many of our group are introduced to the music in our songbook only through my version when I play in at our meetings. And, I admit, my version may not always reflect the original ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Defining Classical Music

I listen to classical music a lot, even more than before since the arrival of the new classical FM station in Collingwood. But while my listening at home is through a selected collection of CDs, the content played on radio – internet radio included – is more eclectic. Airplay often includes soundtracks, music from musicals, even ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ukulele Workshop Today

I just returned from Orangeville where Broadway Music hosted a two-and-a-half hour musical workshop this Saturday by Manitoba Hal today (which will be followed by his concert tonight from 8-11 p.m. – try to attend, if you can: he’s very talented). Very informative and well worth attending. Interestingly, at least half the participants were my ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Revised CPLUG Ukulele Song Book

I spent the past couple of weeks diligently working on updating and expanding our Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group (CPLUG) songbook. I’m happy to announce it is completed – and that I can get back to my regular blogging. I had put together two smaller songbooks previously for group use, as well as sent along several ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Book List Game

In a recent story titled “Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read,” the eminent astrophysicist listed his top eight book titles – from a Reddit conversation that was going on back in December, 2011. Here are the books he chose back then (check the linked story above ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Classical music matters even more today

The official launch of the new Classical FM 102.9 radio station in Collingwood this past weekend reminded me of my own past history with classical music, but also why it matters so much to have classical music in our lives. And why we need to keep that cultural lifeline to our musical past alive and active. Classical ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Dave Clark Five

We’re sitting on the front deck listening to British Sixties Radio, an internet radio station we like and listen to a lot, and they just played the Dave Clark Five doing Glad All Over. That song came out on the UK charts in January, 1964, reaching North America a bit later. Fifty years ago this ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: WWHWWWH

WWHWWWH is one of two formulae I need to keep in mind when working through my scales on the ukulele and guitar. The other is 2122122. I see the musicians among you already recognize what these mean. I still need to have these written on a sticky note so I will remember when I practice. ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Practice makes perfect

Whenever I’m asked for advice from new ukulele players on how to get better, or what secret they need to know to play better, I tell them it’s simple: Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How many chords?

How many chords does a musician need to know? How many does an amateur musician who plays mostly popular, folk and blues music, need to know? My first answer has always been, “all of them” because you never know when you need them. But that’s not realistic. After all, there are thousands of chords you ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reading music and music theory

I write about reading a lot, because I read a lot of books. There are other kinds of reading – other languages, too – that I don’t write much about. Reading music is one of them. It’s a different language; a symbolic language with its own grammar, punctuation and rules. As far as reading music ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Just Six Songs?

Author, musician and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says all music can be classified into a mere six types of song. That’s part of the premise in his 2009 book, The World in Six Songs. I recently started reading it and it has opened some interesting areas of thought for me.* A mere six fundamental themes in ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Spoon River: Smith, Goodman and Masters

VERY well, you liberals, And navigators into realms intellectual, You sailors through heights imaginative, Blown about by erratic currents, tumbling into air pockets, You Margaret Fuller Slacks, Petits, And Tennessee Claflin Shopes— You found with all your boasted wisdom How hard at the last it is To keep the soul from splitting into cellular atoms. ...