Archive for the ‘Interesting Musical Trivia’ Category

I haven’t had an opportunity recently to just surf through the varied offerings on Youtube.com.   A lot of what you view is just not really worth the time you spend there, but once in a while you find a real gem.  This is one of those.

Meet Corey Vidal, a 21-year-old video artist and official “YouTube partner” from Canada, which basically means that Youtube.com actually pays him to make videos.  He’s also a dancer, choreographer, and singer – a real Renaissance man of many talents.  This video, however, required something different from him than any he had made before. 

The first time I viewed this video, I was struck by the breadth and depth of creativity involved to produce this final product.  I mistakenly thought that Corey had taped himself singing each part, then somehow looped them all together.

The thought of one individual singing the range of all four parts was staggering, much less putting them together and overlaying them into one video of four individual parts playing simultaneously.  I didn’t know that that was exactly what I was supposed to think. 

Then I got to checking further into the video itself through information provided by Corey Vidal on the Youtube site which led me to my favorite researching website – Google.com.  What I found, amazingly enough, is that what he actually did was even more difficult than I originally thought. 

The audio track of this salute to John Williams is, in reality, from a comedic acapella group called Moosebutter, also from Canada.  According to their website, their music is “Music for Your Inner Lizard” – yes, extremely tongue-in-cheek.  🙂


With Moosebutter’s blessing and a collaborative effort with Corey Vidal, the four-minute+ video was first choreographed into four individual parts, and Vidal then had to learn each one perfectly in order to create the illusion of being the sole singer.  The video took more than a month to make and received 10,000 hits in the first 48 hours after posting onto Youtube. 

I will say that it’s a pretty convincing video.  If it had not been for Vidal’s own clear attribution to Moosebutter and additional links to other sites, including  11Alive News here in Atlanta, I would have been taken in.   Even after learning the truth, I am amazed at what he has done.  Tonight as I finish this post, the counter on this video is over 1,000,000 hits, more than 175,000 since I first viewed it just this morning, and it’s only been uploaded for twelve days. 

For a look at Corey’s other videos, check out his Youtube channel.  

Interested in what those lyrics to “Star Wars – an Acapella Tribute to John Williams” were?  (Yes, you did hear what you thought you did.  Those are pretty realistic “Wookie” calls.)  Visit Moosebutter here and then be sure to check out some of their other recordings – Harry Potter, for one.

You can also buy the track from them for $0.99 if you really like it.  (Got a Star Wars fan in your home?  Think Christmas gift.  They’ll love it!)


H/T goes to Tabby Worthington

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My friend, Molly McGinn, at Kindermusik International has a certain knack of writing that is irresistible to make you stop and read her writings, whether it’s her writing for Kindermusik, her blog, or her own songs.  Many of you have benefited from and enjoyed her work without even realizing that it was hers. 

When I caught the headline tonight on her blog, it grabbed my interest, especially after reading the first few sentences.  Made me think and wonder how many serendipitous gifts I may have overlooked in my hurry to get things done, how many roses I haven’t stopped to smell due to my busyness of life. 

 Read this intro from Molly and then find your way over to the article on the Washington Post.  I, too, was shocked to find out the name of the individual who willingly stood in a drafty, impersonal Metro station during  rush hour on a cold Friday morning in January and filled it with the glorious music of his priceless Strad violin.  Wish I could have been there.  Makes me wonder – would Atlanta be any different?


From Molly’s blog:

A real musical experiment with the world’s greatest violinist, disgused as a street player in the Washington Post.  As an aside, I audibly gasped when I read who was the street playing violinist.

Hat tip Kindermusik with Miss Terri and Friends

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?


Listen to the full audio performance here of what most Metro patrons ignored as they walked on, oblivious to the talent before them.  And, yes, my Sonific Songspot is playing the Bach Partita No. II, “Chaconne”, that you hear on this audio.

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Kindermusik has a “sister” company, Do Re Me & You! that provides fabulous educational materials for children of all ages.  Listen to this song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd” from “America the Musical” ( page 10) and see if you can follow the secret code within the song. 

Underground Railroad

While slave owners thought they heard singing in the fields, the slaves were really passing on a message telling each other how to escape. The “drinking gourd” refers to the constellation we call the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper always hangs in the northern sky—the direction you go if you’re fleeing to Canada to escape slavery. “Left foot, peg foot” describes a one-legged man who would help the slaves on the way, the rest of the song describes the route. 

See if you can match the clues in the song to the stories and pictures on the quilt pictured above.

Order the “Follow the Drinking Gourd” story and song and others that make up America’s history in the online Kindermusik store.

Many thanks to Molly McGinn!

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One of the benefits of being a Kindermusik educator is the opportunity to network with other Kindermusik educators through our online email loop, known as the KMLoopers.  This morning, I received an email from another educator about an interesting website that I think lots of you will enjoy – and not just the kids!  It’s called oddmusic.com and you can spend as much or as little time as strikes your fancy, listening to some really and truly weird instruments!

One that caught my eye was the armonica.  Yes, the a-r-m-o-n-i-c-a.  Invented by Benjamin Franklin, it is a series of glass bowls, individually tuned by size, mounted one inside another with cork on a metal spindle.  The glasses are made to spin with a flywheel attached to a foot pedal. Since they are individually tuned, they don’t need to be filled with water, although the player does use moistened fingers to play it.  If you have ever rubbed a wet finger around the rim of a wine glass, then you, my friend, have all it needs to be an armonica-player!

Benjamin Franklin and his armonica        Benjamin Franklin's armonica

Even Mozart, being into Oddmusic himself, composed two of his works specifically for the armonica! 

You can listen to a sample of Mozart’s Adagio for glass armonica here.

For further information about armonicas, visit the website of William Wilde Zeitler, American Glass Armonica artist.

For further exploration of some truly weird, wacky instruments, be sure to check out Oddmusic.com.

Many thanks to Daneille for sharing the link with us!

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How many of you remember 78 RPM records?

I didn't think I'd see many hands in the air!  (Mine and Daneille's, I suspect.  Possibly one or two more.)

Well, my dh, David, sent me an interesting article that just points out that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  🙂

 Man's inventiveness is only surpassed by his ego. 

 And, yes, I remember when cassette tapes and 8-tracks were bally-hooed as the downfall of the LP!  What, you say?  What's an 8-track?

Go ask your mother!



From  Composer's Datebook for June 20, 2006 – www.publicradio.org

Mendelssohn and Rodgers make recorded history
Today in 1948, about 50 members of the press were invited to New
 York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for a demonstration of a new kind of
 phonograph record.
A Columbia Records employee named Edward Wallerstein stood between a big stack of heavy, shellac 78-rpm albums, the standard for recorded music in those days, and a noticeably slimmer stack of vinyl discs, a new format which Wallerstein had dubbed "LPs" — "long playing" records that spun at 33 & 1/3 revolutions per minute.
Before 1948, if you wanted to buy a recording of a complete symphony
or concerto, it meant the purchase of up to a dozen separate 78s, each
playing only 4 minutes a side. In developing their new LP-record,
Columbia's goal was to fit complete classical works onto a singledisc.
"I timed I don't know how many works in the classical repertory,"
 recalled Wallerstein, "and came up with a figure of seventeen minutes
 to a side. This would enable about 90% of all classical music to be
 put on two sides of one record."
Columbia's first LP release was a recording of the Mendelssohn Violin
 Concerto, with Nathan Milstein the soloist and the New York
 Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter.
The following year, Columbia struck pay dirt when it released the
 original cast album of a brand-new Broadway musical by Richard
 Rodgers. The 1949 Columbia LP of Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza singing
 the hits tunes from "South Pacific" became a best-seller, and by 1951
 the LP-record had won: No one was making 78s anymore.

 Play today's show:


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