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Friday, 27 May 2011

Throat Singing?

Having a frog in your throat presumably means that you're good at French, or good at catching flies maybe?  I'm not sure. Anyway - I don't think anyone ever croaked from it.

I only mention this because of what happened yesterday. I mean - how would you react if you clearly heard Charles Aznavour being brutally strangled  - and it was all happening in someone else's backpack?

The shapely blond  teenager sitting next to me on the bus quickly admitted to the crime. "That's my ringtone" he owned up sheepishly.

Well, I'd hardly even had time to mentally digest our favourite french crooner's lucky escape, when an eerie voice coming out of my own left trouser pocket dragged me into the next phase of this bizarre saga.

"Tuvan Throat Singing" I heard the voice cry out from my trouser pocket - inappropriately clearly. You'd at least have expected it to be a two-tone froglike gravelly grunt. But - putting aside the tonal quality - what in blazes was going on??

I took out my mobile which also happened to be in the same trouser pocket.  And there it was on the screen: the answer was quite simple really. The red Record button said it all. I'd inadvertently opened up an App that automatically records and then sorts music into appropriate genres,  and it had decided that a strangled Aznavour best fits into the Tuvan Throat Singing genre. It even gave me a sample video so that I could judge for myself.

That gave me an idea.  Could the App also sort out background sounds into musical genres - I wondered?

I started with the Hairdressers up London St.

First I recorded a couple of minutes of general chatter and ambient noise before asking the App to put it into the right category.

Well well. Barbershop - it declared confidently. Made sense I suppose.

Next came the piano shop. Honky Tonk according to my trusty AppThe Crown went into Scrumpy & Western; the sweet shop was Acid Rock; the Pet Shop got Jitterbug; the charity shop went into Ragtime; and the Catholic Church was categorised as New Age Soul.  

But - where would it put the Mustard Seed?  I waited as it processed.  It was thinking. Glam Punk perhaps? Or Hip Hop? Fandango would be fun. I was just hoping it wouldn't be Doom Metal ... 

Nope - there it was.  Rhapsody .  Interesting choice.  I asked it to define Rhapsody.  "A form coming out of spontaneous inspiration and sense of freestyle improvisation producing something that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, and featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality".

Sounded to me like the Mustard Seed all over - but then who am I to judge? If it's not Nana Mouskouri then it's all Greek to me.

P.S. Have you signed up yet for the Anniversary Celebration Party in the Corn Exchange on the 11th June? 
Come for all of it - or part of it! 
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Everyone warmly welcome - to a Special event to celebrate a Special shop!
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