: How a paranoid fringe group made musical tuning an international issue.
The petition had its origins in one of the strangest conflicts to have overtaken classical music in the past thirty years, and many of these luminaries were completely unaware of what they’d gotten themselves into. The sponsor of both the petition and the conference that featured Tebaldi was an organization called the Schiller Institute, dedicated to, among other things, lowering standard musical pitch. ...
But behind this respectable front lurks a strange mélange of conspiracy, demagoguery, and cultish behavior. At its founding in 1984, its chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche laid out the Institute’s role in surprisingly apocalyptic terms
Originally published at The Believer
Western musical intervals are derived from speech tendencies,
according to Duke scientists. Specifically, "most of the 12 chromatic scale intervals correspond to peaks of relative power in the normalized spectrum of human vocalizations." A somewhat more layperson-friendly summary of the study is here
. [more inside]
It’s not what you say, it's the way you say it--Part 2.
This observation was cleverly illustrated by Prof. Howard L. Chace in Anguish Languish
, an exercise to demonstrate to his French Language students that intonation is key to understanding spoken language. Here
is the complete text. You can read
his best known Furry Tell about a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull or hear
it read.(Warning-has sound.)
I first found out about Howard Chace from an article
in The Whole Earth Catalog and certain phrases have rattled around my head ever since. Here
is a discussion of Anguish Languish if you want to write your own. Like this version
of Gender Cyst
from the Homely Babble