According to History.com and most historians, ‘Hurrian Hymn No. 6’ is the oldest extant song, an ode to the goddess Nikkal, composed in cuneiform by the ancients Hurrians around the 14th century B.C.
Clay tablets excavated in the 1950s from the ruins of the city of Ugarit in Syria contain the tune and an almost complete set of musical notations as well as specific instructions for playing the song on a type of nine-stringed lyre.
The Catholic Church, during the middle ages (c. 800-1450), was very powerful and controlled many affairs including music and that is where the extensive and meticulous recording of music notation started.
During that time, only the clergy and a few others learned to read and write and their music notations during that period were written and decorated by hand in either Gothic or Roman notation, using black ink usually on vellum made from animal hide.
By the 15th century, woodblock carving was used for printing music, a laborious process, as were many that followed, but slowly and surely, the printing process improved.
Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1450 which was soon used to also print music.
Although still expensive and labor intensive with having to assemble the moveable type, i.e. each, note, line, beam and so on, into a ‘puzzle’, lined up in the correct order and assembled from left to right and in reverse.
Once locked together, the printing was quick, the types were placed on the printing press, inked and pressed onto paper and, of course, larger quantities could be printed and more people could buy sheet music.
Fast forward to the 1930s, inventor Robert H Keaton was working on his new invention, a music typewriter in his home workshop in San Francisco, California. In 1936 he patented his Keaton Music Typewriter with 14 keys. He continued working on the design and in 1953 patented his upgraded version featuring 33 keys.
The machine was indeed a masterpiece of engineering with a unique circular keyboard which separated the two types of character, printing each character on a staff and showing where the next character would be printed.
“One keyboard is adapted to type one class of music characters such as bar lines and ledger lines, which, when repeated, always appear in the same relative spaced positions with respect to the lines… and a second keyboard adapted to type another class of musical characters, such as the notes, rest signs and sharp and flat signs etc., which may, when repeated, appear in various spaced positions with respect to the lines,” Keaton explained.
This new machine had a curved meter, called the Scale Shift Handle and a Scale Shift Indicator on the left of the keyboard, which made it easy to control where the notes and characters would fall on the page.
Moving the handle up or down a notch to print would adjust 1/24 inch either way and allow the character to fall one musical step either way.
While the Keyton Music Typewriter was not the first, nor the last typewriting machine invented for printing music, it certainly stood out amongst others of that era for its ingenious design and the quality of the printed results.
Sadly, there seems to be no record of how many of these machines were made but they are rare and highly sought after by collectors.
Lil Nas X Song Is #1 In Saudi Arabia, Where Homosexuality Is Illegal Under Sharia Law
Lil Nas X has been on top of the world for weeks now, whether it’s living rent-free in the heads of homophobes or topping the Billboard charts after his smash hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” dominated playlists.
And ironically, the anthem has become the most-played song in Saudi Arabia, the conservative kingdom where open expressions of same-sex love and even private acts of gay sex are punishable by death.
The song, whose video features the artist giving Satan himself a lap dance have dominated news conversations all over the globe, smashed through to the top of the Billboard Global 200, which ranks top tracks in over 200 territories, on Monday.
According to Apple Music, the song is also leading Saudi Arabia’s top 100 charts as the most-played song in the country.
Apparently overjoyed by the ranking, Lil Nas X tweeted: “WE NUMBER 1 IN SAUDI ARABIA WTF LETS GOOOO”
The autocratic kingdom, which has long been governed by a strict yet uncodified interpretation of Sharia law, has an atrocious record on LGBTQ rights and classifies homosexuality as a variety of extremism. N many circumstances, gay sex is punishable by death.
As the Human Dignity Trust explains, “The punishment varies depending on the circumstances: married men and interfaith sex are punished with the death penalty, while non-married men are punished with flogging. Sharia law principles underpinning the criminal law in Saudi Arabia also impose strict dress codes that impact on the gender expression of transgender people.”
However, this does not mean that Saudi citizens abstain from these “illicit” acts. As one fan wrote on Twitter: “Period!!!! Let’s correct the narrative about the Middle East! Shoutout Saudi Arabia.”
However, another user responded: “I lived in Saudi Arabia my whole [life] and if I come out I will literally get stoned and people will be happy about it, saying it’s a ‘narrative’ doesn’t help anyone in the contrary, the middle IS homophobic and change NEEDS to happen.”
12-Year-Old DJ Gets Busted For Hosting ‘Underground Rave’ In Catholic School Bathroom
A 12-year-old boy in the U.K. organized a rave in the bathroom of his Catholic school that managed to last for 30 minutes before it was shut down and his equipment was confiscated. However, his parents are backing the young DJ up.
Cael Bell is an enterprising, up-and-coming turntablist who decided earlier this month that it was time to display his talents for his mates at Urmston in the Greater Manchester region.
So Bell took to Snapchat and began advertising an underground rave that would take place in the lavatory of the private school during lunch period on Dec. 11. The event was open to “all year 8 boys” at the school. Attendees would also receive complimentary soft drinks and Cadbury Twirls.
As Consequence of Sound noted, “while a school bathroom is a below-average setting for such a lunch, it is certainly cleaner than your typical rave.”
Bell managed to sneak his speakers and other gear into the restroom and held a set for 30 minutes before the school’s authorities broke up the underground gig. The school even confiscated Bell’s lights and speakers.
When Cael’s mother, Louise Bell, learned about her son’s transgression she wasn’t peeved in the least bit. In fact, the young mum actually thought that her son’s antics were ingenious. She wrote in a Facebook post: “Am I wrong for finding this funny?”
“I had to laugh. It has been a terrible year and I couldn’t be angry with my son for trying to spread some cheer,” she later told The Mirror in an interview.
“When I got the call, it made perfect sense,” Louise continued. “Cael had been up, dressed and ready to leave for school early that morning which was unheard of in our house. He had the biggest smile on his face so I knew he had something up his sleeve.”
“I asked him what he was so happy about and he told me they were having a rave in school,” she added. “I thought nothing of it, I didn’t think for one minute there was any truth to it.”
“But when I heard what Cael had done, from advertising the rave on Snapchat to actually pulling it off and even providing refreshments, I couldn’t help but see the funny side.”
When Cael’s father also learned about his son’s antics, he was thrilled and encouraged his son, telling him: “go on son!”
“In our eyes, he hadn’t done anything wrong,” Louise continued. “We would have been furious if the teachers had reprimanded him further, past confiscating his things.”
Even the school had to admit that they were impressed by the lad, informing her that they had only confiscated his equipment because it “couldn’t facilitate such behavior.”
“When we asked him why he’d done it, he told us school was boring and that they had nothing to do at lunch time,” Louise said. “I wish there had been a Cael when I was in school, it would have been much more fun.”
“Music is Cael’s motivation and we couldn’t be mad at him for expressing and sharing that passion. It was very inventive of him.”
American Flag Clad Trump Supporters Rock Out To Rage Against The Machine – Band Reacts
Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello shared a video on Twitter Friday night, which showed supporters of US President Donald Trump, clad in American flags and “thin blue line” flags, rocking out to the band’s song “Killing in the Name” in Philadelphia.
The video was also shared from the band’s official Twitter account, with the caption “They just don’t GET IT do they?”
In an interview with Rollings Stone earlier this year, Morello said that lyrics of the song make him think of Frederick Douglass, although it is not clear if he was an inspiration for the song, which Zack de la Rocha wrote.
“‘F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me’ is a universal sentiment. While it’s a simple lyric, I think it’s one of [Zack de la Rocha’s] most brilliant. And to me, it relates to Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass said, the moment he became free was not the moment that he was physically loosed from his bonds. It was the moment when master said, “Yes.” And he said, “No.” And that’s the essence of “F*** you, I will not do what you tell me,” Morello said.
The lyrics for the song also explicitly discuss the connection that police departments across the country have with white supremacy, in the lines “some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses,” and “you justify those that died by wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites.” In fact, these lines account for about 50% of the words in the song, so they are pretty hard to miss.
Morello has previously said that it was encouraging to hear the song chanted at the “Fed goons who are shooting tear gas at American citizens,” but he doesn’t seem very proud of this most recent video.
Political campaigns have a long history of making musicians cringe by playing their music at political events.
In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has been criticized for its use of songs for campaign purposes, including Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which is about how poor people get sent to war, but those who are wealthy or connected with politicians stay out of harm’s way and reap the benefits of the conquests. Many could easily argue that Trump is a representation of the “fortunate son” that is criticized in the song.
He has also used Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born In The USA,” which is frequently misunderstood by politicians and appropriated for political campaigns. Springsteen himself has called the song a “protest song,” partly based on Ron Kovic’s 1976 autobiography Born on the Fourth of July, which tells the story of a Vietnam veteran who becomes anti-war after returning home with a physical disability from the conflict.
Springsteen described how the song was misunderstood in a 2005 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross.
“‘Born In The USA’ is a classic situation of a song misinterpreted by some because of its chorus. My music has been a football where I had people from the far-left to the far-right who misrepresent us. It’s something I live with and I always have the opportunity to go on stage and say my piece about it,” He said.
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