Posts Tagged ‘Wagner’

A new unit of time: The Wagner

After a full evening of writing music, I am proposing a new unit of time. The Wagner (abbreviation Wg). One Wagner is equal to one thousand minutes, approximately the length of the entire Ring Cycle. Here are some useful conversions:

1 day = 1.4 Wagners

1 year = 511.35 Wagners

1 minute = 1 milliWagner (1 mWg)

This unit will be particularly useful for superficially evaluating the works of other composers:

The entire works of Anton Webern can be contained on about 6 compact discs with a total running time of 36 centiWagners.

Or making us composers feel crappy about our own productivity:

After sitting at the piano for the entire evening, I realized that I was only able to compose about .5 milliWagners of usable music. Furthermore, my maximum rate of composition rarely breaks the 1 mWg/h mark.

Anyone know anyone over at ISO?


Oct 2011

More #Operaplotting

Instead of working on my own opera I seem to be spending the night trying to summarize other operas in under 130 characters. Hmmm… Maybe in a few years people will be trying to summarize Failing That in under 130 characters. Assuming I’m finished in a few years.

Here’s the latest batch:

La Boheme

“OMG, so, it’s like a remake of ‘Rent’, only they used, like, CLASSICAL music. What a cool idea, right?” Cue facepalm. #operaplot (via GenY)

Turn of the Screw

Mix one part Mary Poppins and one part Sixth Sense. Turn until screwed. #operaplot

The Ring Cycle

How do you summarize an opera with over 130 characters in under 130 characters? Damn you Wagner. #operaplot

Das Rheingold

Something about three girls in a river and a dwarf stealing their gold. Ummm… never made it past the first scene. #operaplot

OK. That’s enough. I need to try to get some “real” work done.


Apr 2010

Is opera kid’s stuff? Or just silly?

A friend of mine commented on Facebook that “the bulk of [his] generation’s exposure to classical music has been through Looney Toon cartoons.”  Upon reflection, I think he’s absolutely right.

A quick search shows that listverse has already compiled the “Top Ten Uses of Classical Music in Classic Cartoons” list for us. And who do you think topped that list?

Not much of a surprise, really. “What’s Opera, Doc”, the send-up of Wagner’s ring cycle.  (Ah.  “Kill de wabbit.”  Definitely something we can thank Wagner for.  Nazism, maybe not so much.)
Here’s an excerpt from around the 2:15 mark:

When I heard that bit, I was reminded of the mini-operas for the toddler set on Nick Jr. The Wonder Pets.

It’s interesting that both of these excerpts exploit one of opera’s great flaws (to great comic effect).  When you set text to music (particularly music from the classical period), you often end up needing to repeat yourself. The phrasing practically demands it. In both of these excerpts the same line is repeated several times in progressively higher registers to indicate increased tension.  To modern ears this sounds clunky, even silly. Hey Linny, instead of singing about the phone, just PICK THE DAMN THING UP! It’s a great example of the demands of the music working directly against the demands of the theater.

This gives me some ideas for future blog posts.  I expect we’ll be seeing more of these excerpts in the weeks to come…


Feb 2010