Category:
Music

Symphony with Airplane Propellers

American composer George Antheil scored his Ballet Mécanique (or Ballet for Machines) for sixteen player pianos, two conventionally played pianos, four brass drums, three xylophones, a tam-tam, seven electric bells, a siren, and three airplane propellers. Here's what happened during its first U.S. performance in 1927, according to Nicholas Tawa in The Great American Symphony:

Regrettably, when Ballet Mécanique was put on in Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1927, the airplane propellers created such a powerful blast that they blew the first-row attendees out of their seats. The concert was a complete and ignominious failure, musically and in composer-audience relations. Hardly anyone believed any sort of "music" had been heard. Both the general audience and the American avant-garde rose up against Antheil. Press coverage was widespread. Mockery mingled with condemnation...

He was labeled a charlatan and was forced to retreat to Europe. All the while, the New York fiasco haunted him like a nightmare. His reputation remained in ruins.

Baltimore Sun - Apr 17, 1927



While the inclusion of the airplane propellers provided a dramatic flourish, apparently it was the attempt to synchronize the player pianos that was the real technical challenge, and impossible with 1920's technology. In a 1999 Wired article, Paul Lehrman describes an effort to perform Ballet Mécanique with the help of computer technology.

While over at logosfoundation.org, one can find a description of a more recent project to perform Antheil's symphomy with full-scale propellers... because apparently previous performances, for safety reasons, never used full-sized propellers.

Thanks to Virtual in Carnate for alerting us to the existence of Antheil's propeller symphony.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 04, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, 1920s

Michael in Wonderland

Michael Jackson takes a Magical Mystery Tour.



Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 04, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Music, Surrealism, Cartoons, Psychedelic, 1970s

Grand Overture with Vacuum Cleaners

Malcolm Arnold's "Grand, Grand Overture, Opus 57" is scored for three vacuum cleaners, one floor polisher, four rifles, and a full symphony orchestra. It was originally commissioned for the 1956 Hoffnung Music Festival Concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London. It sold out within two hours after the box office opened, breaking all records up to that time for the Royal Festival Hall.

I found a recent performance of it posted on YouTube, but disappointingly the vacuum cleaners are difficult to hear over the orchestra. And the part (around the 8:00 mark) where a gunman pretends to shoot members of the orchestra is gonna make audiences a lot more uncomfortable nowadays than it did back in 1956.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 02, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Music, 1950s

Dark Side of the Rainbow

For those who may not have heard of this classic urban legend of music, Jan Dirk Blom provides this explanation in his Dictionary of Hallucinations:

The term Dark Side of the Rainbow denotes a peculiar pattern of thematic similarities that can be discerned while one is watching The Wizard of Oz while simultaneously listening to The Dark Side of the Moon. With the aid of this somewhat unusual procedure, over a hundred instances of perceived interplay have been reported by fans.

It is not known who first established this pattern of thematic similarities, but from 1994 onwards it was widely discussed on internet sites such as the Usenet message board alt.music.pink-floyd and in the popular media.

As the Pink Floyd band members (save Roger Waters) have always denied deliberate attempts to synchronize their album with the movie, the Dark Side of the Rainbow is commonly designated as a cognitive illusion and attributed to a process called apophenia, i.e. an excess of perceptual or heuristic sensitivity leading to the discernment of patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

If you're curious to experience this phenomenon for yourself, someone has helpfully posted the entirety of the Wizard of Oz on YouTube, synced to Dark Side of the Moon.

Though this raises the biggest problem with the theory: Dark Side of the Moon is about 43 minutes long, while the Wizard of Oz is over an hour long. In the video below, this is solved by simply looping the album.


Some of the synchronicities to look for:

2:20 Look for a triangle hanging in the tree, that looks kinda like the triangle on the cover of Dark Side of the Moon.

8:03 Bells start playing just as Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch) rides onscreen, ringing the bell of her bicycle.

19:34 The song 'Money' starts playing when Dorothy first lays eyes on the Yellow Brick Road, which was often seen as a metaphor for bricks of gold, or money.

29:10 When the Wicked Witch, dressed in black, appears out of a cloud of smoke, the lyrics say "black, black, black..."

37:15 As Dorothy is first talking to the Scarecrow, and (in the movie) he begins singing "If I only had a brain," the song "Brain Damage" starts to play.

42:30 When Dorothy meets the Tin Man and bangs on his chest to listen for his heart, the album ends and fades to a heartbeat sound.

More info: Wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 04, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Movies, Music, Synchronicity and Coincidence

Maestro


Maestro from Bloom Pictures on Vimeo.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 23, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Music, Special Effects

Steamboat Springs Ski Band

Can they be said to be a "marching" band, or not?



Article here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 21, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Music, Seasonal, Performance Art, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

Rock Music

Archaeologist Jean-Loup Ringot, specialist in prehistoric music, demonstrates a Lithophone.





via TYWKIWDBI

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 17, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Music

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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