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.
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.
The Flaming Lips Held A Concert Where Everyone Was In A Plastic Bubble
Although many people throughout the United States have started to get back to work, the live entertainment industry is still on hold for the most part.
Some artists and production companies have come up with creative ideas to keep the shows running, but they look nothing like the events of 2019. The most popular style of COVID-era concert this past summer was the drive-in, with many artists touring drive-in theaters that were repurposed as outdoor concert venues.
However, at these shows, everyone is still required to stay in their cars, and it doesn’t feel much like a real concert.
Last week, the popular rock band The Flaming Lips actually played an indoor concert venue but they performed in giant plastic bubbles, and all of the fans in attendance were inside the bubbles also. The show happened at The Criterion in Oklahoma City, where the band used the strange setting to shoot a music video.
The band’s frontman Wayne Coyne told CNN that he came up with the idea when the pandemic began, but didn’t expect the virus to stick around long enough for it to actually be necessary.
“I did a little drawing… where I drew a picture of The Flaming Lips doing a show in 2019. And I’m the only person in the space bubble, and everybody else is just norma. Then (I did another drawing with) The Flaming Lips playing a show in 2020. The exact same scenario, but I’m in a bubble, and so is everybody else….I don’t think anybody would have thought, in the middle of March that this is still going to be going, you know, eight months later. I think we all thought this is a month, this is maybe two months, but we’re going to get a handle on this,” he said.
The band first revealed the idea on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” back in May, and the reaction inspired them to expand it into a full concert experience.
“We do a couple of songs with about 30 people in the bubbles. And we start to think, ‘Well, you know, just from doing that, we start to get an idea that we could actually do it, you know, and it could actually happen,'” Coyne said.
“Since May, the desire to see the live music has just gotten, you know, more, more amplified,” he added.
Although this is the first time that they have required their fans to wear them, the band has previously performed in space bubbles, so they knew exactly where to find them.
“I like the way this looks, because you can get as excited as you want, you can scream as much as you want, you just can’t infect the person next to you, no matter what you forget about, how excited you get. That barrier is still there, they’re protected, and you’re protected… that part of it is what we really felt like was the success,” Coyne said.
“We, as The Flaming Lips, we like the idea that we are doing something different…. I think it could be cool. It could be fun. And we could all have a, you know, a crazy unique experience,” he added.
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