"...mournful, joyful, delicate, or kind of badass..."
February 7, 2014 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Got 57 minutes to spare? Then sit back and let David Garland, host of WNYC's "Spinning On Air" take you on a whirlwind tour (with insightful commentary) of over 50 excerpts from pieces of music that all use a common musical DNA: the Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord, aka the The Andalusian Cadence, aka the world's most used musical sequence. Check it out.
posted by flapjax at midnite (29 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

Iirc, also featured in Jesus Christ, Superstar when Jesus asks "Why should I die?".
posted by Jpfed at 8:10 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

no "Stray Cat Strut"?
posted by thelonius at 8:22 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]

This is a god damn home run. Thanks for sharing, flapjax at midnite.
posted by andromache at 8:22 AM on February 7

Wow! I just came back from a concert and this was a perfect little dessert. FABULOUS.
posted by mdonley at 8:29 AM on February 7

I don't have time to listen just now, but as I was reading the blurb, I hummed to give myself the idea and ... the first thing that came to my mind was "Hit the Road Jack." Why that one, I don't know. I'll have to give this a listen later.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:30 AM on February 7

Got as far as the Moondog piece, then started nosing around Youtube for Moondog stuff, then found these cheeky kids absolutely killing "Bird's Lament", so, you know, day: seized.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:46 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]

Iirc, also featured in Jesus Christ, Superstar when Jesus asks "Why should I die?".

I have a terrible ear, but when he sang the notes, I immediately heard that song.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:49 AM on February 7

Oh, bless you Flapjax. This little 4-note sequence has been stuck in my brain for decades. Someone taught me a dity on the piano when I was about 10, and it's only grown since. :-O

At least now I can give a name and appear sophisticated. LOL
posted by Goofyy at 9:06 AM on February 7

JPfed: Now you mention it, the dity was based on Superstar, IIRC. Which means I was older than 10. Or 2 tunes just melded together. Pretty easy to do when they share a bass line.
posted by Goofyy at 9:10 AM on February 7

I paid my five dollars to leave this here: 25 or 6 to 4.
posted by rekrap at 9:11 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]

Here's my favorite. Dear Diary, The Moody Blues
posted by Goofyy at 9:18 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

David Garland is a treasure. So much of the music I love, I first heard on his show.

And to add to the list....this (which samples this) is a particular favorite.
posted by neroli at 9:35 AM on February 7

uncleozzy-- Hit the Road Jack is the featured video discussion on Stackexchange. Is Andalusian Cadence is complete or hauntingly incomplete, "simultaneously caus[ing] the feeling of necessary return to tonic at the end of a phrase and also the feeling of momentum pushing us forward from the beginning of the next phrase."
posted by ohshenandoah at 9:38 AM on February 7

I paid my five dollars to leave this here: 25 or 6 to 4.

Too many notes!!
posted by grog at 9:57 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]

Ooh, are y'all taking contributions? - Joy Division/Decades
posted by carter at 10:07 AM on February 7

Neat! I guess I never realized that when I thought "descending bassline" this sequence is exactly what I thought about every time, probably because of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" and "Hit the Road Jack" burning it into my mind.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:12 AM on February 7

Then there's the 1961 example of Runaway by Del Shannon, which uses it for the whole "A" section.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:14 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

This is great: Thank you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

Next up: a detailed index of all the "Pachelbel"-based songs!

Also, great post!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:14 AM on February 7

"Andalusian Cadence"? We used to DREAM about an Andalusian Cadence!

Yer tell the young folk that nowadays, and they don't believe yer...
posted by El Brendano at 11:16 AM on February 7

Wonderful! I thought I'd just dip into it but wound up listening to the whole hour. When it got to Monteverdi's "Lamento della ninfa," possibly the most hauntingly beautiful piece of music ever created, I was simultaneously thrilled and prematurely traumatized: "Don't cut away! Don't cut away!" And... he didn't cut away, he just let it play and play. Well done!

Note for those who like "Miserlou": it was featured in a great post (and great thread) from 2007. (Alas, many of the musical links are now borked.)
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on February 7

This is pretty much everything post-rock ever.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:16 PM on February 7

When I paused the podcast between Set 2 and Set 3 to cook dinner, my internal DJ served up this one.
posted by jaruwaan at 4:01 PM on February 7

It's kind of killing me that every one I think of to link here is already on the list. Thanks for another great one, flapjax at midnite.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:08 PM on February 7

'Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord' is a magnificent, sonorous phrase. I just want to keep saying it: Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord. Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord. Man.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:55 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]

Got 57 minutes to spare?

Shit, for you, Flap... I got fifty-eight.
posted by Rykey at 6:28 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

This is wonderful! Thanks flapjax.
posted by Miko at 10:51 AM on February 8

One of my first really wonderful memories of moving to New York (around 1990) was lucking onto David Garland's "Hawaiian War Chant Extravaganza" one summer afternoon. Several hours of non-stop, back-to-back versions. I knew then I'd like it here.
posted by cleroy at 6:09 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Can someone help me with a semi-random question? I wanted to listen to the Lamento della ninfa piece on its own, and I found this. Why are the first and third parts scored using modern notation, while the second part is scored in (what appears to be) mensural notation? I mean, I understand that that's how it was probably written in the original manuscript -- or at least something resembling that -- but I thought most things these days were transcribed to the modern notation. Do vocal performers prefer one notation over the other?
posted by Rhomboid at 2:53 AM on February 9

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