Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Thinking about the relative paucity of nonsense syllables in Anglophonic song in the period between Shakespeare and doo-wop, I remembered cowboy songs. (“Dip-de-dip-de-dip” is one of the finest lines the estate of the late great lyricist Lorenz Hart refused to accept credit for.) Could cowboys have gotten the idea from minstrelsy? Sure. Did they? Dunno. (Did nonsense syllables exist in minstrelsy? I’m guessing they did, on the evidence of Stephen Foster’s faux-minstrelly “Camptown Racers.”)


The other night I reviewed a piano recital by William Chapman Nyaho and said that outside of a few Bach pieces, the program was probably unfamiliar to everybody in the hall. I have no way of knowing the truth of that statement, and I would bet that a couple people in the hall had heard a number of the pieces. This question is secondary to the beauty of the recital, of course, despite one of its beauties having been the reclamation work performed by Nyaho on behalf of not-widely-known, wonderful music by composers of African descent.

In the same review I said that the composer and pianist Margaret Bonds arranged spirituals for Jessye Norman. A web search tells me my memory of Mr. Nyaho’s remarks was faulty. Bonds arranged spirituals for Leontyne Price.


Last night I mentioned having gotten 2/3rds of the way through a new song. Today I scrapped the melody. I’m going to have to sing this one out & figure out chords later. Here’s hoping.

Despite today’s setback, I’m excited. Got closer to the feel I wanted in my planned cover of Dionne Warwick’s “Alfie.” A stripped down bare-bones rubato ruminative conversational take on it. With feeling. (Rumination and conversation can be emphatic. Of course you know this.)

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