Margaret Marks’s entry “Pronouncing English words in German texts” reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to blog for a while. I’m reading Anton Gill’s book A Dance Between Flames: Berlin Between the Wars (which I recommend to anyone interested in Weimar Germany), and on p. 127 I came across the following quote (a reminiscence by Curt Riess):

A frenzy for dancing seized the city. People made music everywhere, people danced everywhere. And people were interested in spending, not saving: inflation had taught them the futility of saving. All modern pop music was called ‘yats’, which is how we pronounced ‘jazz’, and there was hardly a street without its night-club, however small—six tables would be enough. Free Love spiraled upwards. Cocaine became fashionable—all the hotel and restaurant lavatory attendants sold it… Homosexuality was so trendy that some pretended to be, who were not…

Among the interesting features of this passage, the one I want to call attention to here is the pronunciation of Jazz. I believe it is now pronounced more or less as in English; does anyone know when the change happened? (The change from a nativized pronunciation to one more faithful to the original is similar to that from CAL-is to ca-LAY for Calais in English.)


  1. Howard Peirce says

    From a jazz history perspective (finally, a chance to use my Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies–take that, guidance counselors!), I’d guess the immediate postwar period.
    First, most German pop of the 1920s bore about as much resemblance to American jazz of the same period as ABBA does to NWA. And the sound of jazz of the mid-forties was radically different from either 1920s jazz or 1920s Euro-pop.
    Second, during the 30s, the Nazis had banned most jazz and even jazz-like elements (e.g. no saxophones at all, no backbeat or syncopation) from the public sphere (all part of the “Negroid-Jewish” degenerate art conspiracy, don’cha know).
    So, immediately post-war, you’ve got a generation of young teenagers with no prior exposure to jazz, listening to music (courtesy of US occupiers) that sounds nothing like the “yats” their parents knew, and so they learned what to call the new music not from their parents, but from US and British troops.
    The pronunciation change was probably very abrupt, and fueled by a period of disuse, by politics, and by teenage rebellion, which must’ve been keenly felt in Germany at the time.
    Mutter: “Turn down that yats!”
    Jugend: “Please, Mother, it’s called ‘chaz,’ and everyone’s listening to it.”

  2. Not to be confused with Yat, the fabled New Orleans dialect which gets its name from the expression, “Where y’at?” To outsiders it sounds something like Brooklynese, allegedly because New York and New Orleans have similar histories of immigration.
    But you knew that.

  3. Howard: Thanks for the extremely plausible explanation, and you can give your guidance counselors a Bronx cheer from me.
    Prentiss: Ah did indeed, bless yo dawlin’ hawt, and Ah’ll have a french fry po boy with gravy and mynase.

  4. For the record, Adorno hated jazz too, and I’ll never forgive him for that. May he cook in hell.
    Stravinsky, Ravel and Bartok had a mild interest in jazz and blues. Maybe Berg did too, but by and large the Germanic mind is not receptive to fun things of any description.
    I BET there was some generational conflict. My sister-in-law has an Nazi grandfather who is apparently unreconstructed, though it’s hard to distinguish his politics from his schizophrenia.
    When reading Old French up to 1600 or so, you have to forget the things that were so hard to learn in French class. A lot of now-silent letters were pronounced. And always remember: “Old French didn’t have rules, but only tendencies”. My favorite line from any grammar book ever.

  5. I meant to insert a “/stereotyping” in the above after my comment about the Germans, but the software ate it.

  6. Don’t forget Adorno hated the cinema, too. So there go two of my very favourite things in the world.
    I don’t mind Composing for the Films, though. There are some interesting ideas in there, even if you do have to dig around for them a bit. (This book, while credited to Eisler, was actually a collaboration with Adorno.)

  7. There was also a highly popular “jazz opera” called Jonny Spielt Auf (“Jonny Strikes Up”) by Ernst Krenek, which premiered in Leipzig in 1927. According to my source, the music includes “a Teutonic brand of jazz constructed from simple melodies, repetitive rhythms and seventh chords”. Probably not very authentic then. I haven’t heard this work but it was recently recorded by Decca in their “Entartete Musik” series of music banned by the Nazis.
    Adorno hated Sibelius and lots of other good stuff too. I’ve never been able to get into the twelve-tone music by Schoenberg, but my admiration for him as a man went up considerably when I learnt he loathed Adorno.

  8. I watched Caberet at the weekend, or at least the watchable parts given my indifference to Christopher Ishertwit’s sex life, from which I infer that “Yats” is the bastard offspring of Dixieland and Oompah bands, and not at all likely mistacken for jazz.
    It’s still “yass” in uncareful Scandewegian, though (cf. Garland Elision’s “I have no zed and I must snore!”).

  9. I’m smug with having kept Adorno third-hand at his closest, and feel no need for a deeper look, thanks to the comments here.

    The perspective that can trivialize “Dixieland” and “Oompah” bands is consumerist and lacks dimension.
    Music advances through the instruments of genius players; the greater the genius, the greater the advance. There’s a math to it, an inevitability, and from this end an obvious progression, but at the moment it’s only what it is. The names come after.
    There’s no break from that first grass blade buzzing in the fingers of God knows who, to Roscoe Mitchell’s sopranino graphing the rise and fall of Ethiopian civilization in seventeen minutes.
    Read Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter for a poet’s clear take on the immediacy of a musician’s living breathing being. Buddy Bolden as Prometheus.

    For the Weimar transit, Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg is as amped and frenetic, and then as colorlessly glum, as it must have been for all too many.
    With a bonus of evidentiary paranoiac complexity, and the subtle indiscernible slide into the exigencies of capitulation. A Calvinist/Lutheran Cabaret.
    Any movie that stars David Carradine opposite Liv Ullman…

  10. Coming Through Slaughter enthusiastically seconded.

  11. Thanks for the kind words, LH. I’m a big reader of the blogs, but usually refrain from posting because of my massive ignorance of politics, language, economics, etc. But when someone asks about jazz, I’m on it. Glad I made some sense.
    In addition to the odd post about history, I also use my BM degree to play music in bars for pocket money and free beer. Which I’m off to do right now. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll address msg’s lyrical, poetic, inspiring, and completely bogus “great man” theory of stylistic development. But that’s kinda off topic for a language blog.

  12. Adorno studied music with Schoenberg, who told him that he (Adorno) had no time sense. I’m not sure S. hated A., though.
    Cartoons spoiled a lot of early jazz for me. Someone or another, perhaps Disney, either bought up some catalogs or else hired some musicians to play behind cartoons. I actually like both cartoons and early jazz, but not together.
    Disney also ripped off the Rite of Spring for Fantasia, pissing Stravinsky off royally not only because of the cheapening effect, but also because Disney didn’t respect copyright and resisted paying anything.
    Craft’s series of books of conversations with Stravinsky is great. Stravinsky knew lots of people, was a good talker, and was malicious enough to make things lots of fun.

  13. Disney didn’t respect copyright
    Few people could resist adding a little emphasis to that line; kudos for tossing it out there with a completely straight face. Buster Keaton comment of the week. (Take that, Mickey!)
    Howard: I’m certainly glad you broke your self-imposed silence. Don’t you know this is Blogovia, where massive ignorance is practically a requirement? At any rate, I hope you make a few bucks tonight (I don’t suppose you’re in NYC, but if you are, let me know and I’ll try to make it to a gig sometime), and I look forward to your single combat with msg. (Hmm… maybe I can sell tickets…) And it ain’t off topic if I say it ain’t, which I do: go to my Hats page and scroll down to PORKPIE HAT for a quick runthrough of my enthusiasms.

  14. Howard, think of the Kantian categorical imperative. What if EVERyBODY kept their mouth shut if they didn’t know what they were talking about, and what if EVERYBODY tried to stay on topic?
    It’s sort of like priming the pump with deficit spending. Without Keynesian pump-priming, the tight-money blogosphere would collapse like a child’s balloon. And then the child would probably try to swallow it and choke and turn blue, and have to be rushed to the hospital. And the similes would just get continually worse and worse from there, and it would be basically your fault.
    Sort of a cold, blue-grey, steely blue, not sky-blue or robin’s-egg blue,….

  15. Welcome to Chuck Palahniuk night at Language Hat. On behalf of our gracious host, let me thank one and all for their discerning attention.
    One, anyway.
    Say, I just had a few jokes flown in from Chicago, and boy are they tired!

    I was hoping an MC routine would get me out of paticipating in the main event, but evidently not.
    But seriously folks- Bob Dylan said somewhere that real musicians don’t become musicians because it seems like a good way to make a living, but because they have to, because there’s nothing else they can do.
    I’d like to agree with that, and then expand the definition a little, and then disagree with it.
    Imagine dissonant blue notes wafting through the portcullis in the wall of a medieval French castle. Weird blats from the post-horn that caught more than notice. Raucous, irreverent, catchy, carried to England by a young jongleur; transcribed to the clavichord as a lark, then lost, as note for note anyway, but the irreverence lingering.
    Bent mandolin strings dropping into the self-satisfied hush left by florid technical brilliance, the Tudor-beneficed lutist aghast, and the mandolin player out on his ear, his best hope now a brightly painted wagon and a company of whoring players.
    The world we have before us is upside down in its most particular. Musicians actors and whores were once the stuff in the catch-basin, interchangeable dregs at the barrel’s bottom, and were treated accordingly. Now they’re the most adulated and revered, the most famous; the wealthiest are the exceptions sure, but still…
    We think all was as most was, and we think it the more the farther back in time we look. There was jazz in the middle ages, that’s my point there, but it didn’t get into the hymnal. It wasn’t recognized as what it was.
    It was like that all along, I do believe. Until now, when the extremes are sought and everything’s dispensed, and no stone’s left untuned.
    The Incredible String Band were part of a tradition that walked out of India with the first Gypsies, and it was ancient even then. Not entertainment, something closer to the fire, closer to what we are without the costume and disguise of cultural norms. The mask with bad breath. The fool. Spellcasting dancers accompanied by rhythm and melody we know from another world, another life.
    So when I say musician that’s what I mean.
    You may be in the pick-up band when Bo Diddley plays town, or you may be George Shearing’s favorite guitarist, or you may be in a hospital for the criminally insane, and the piano in the Occupational Therapy room may be yours from 3:00 to 3:30. You may be singing in the subway in Montreal, or teaching migrant laborer’s kids do re mi in a modular classroom. You may be a high-up CFO with a vintage Les Paul, or maybe you’re in the Rock Bottom Remainders. You may be a musician one night a week because it feels good, or maybe you sit with the door closed and a bottle open and your eyes closed moaning 12 bar changes, because you feel bad.
    Union dues won’t make you a musician, not exactly, not the way I mean it.
    But yeah it’s going back to it night after night, when it hurts, when it feels almost degrading to get out in front of people who don’t have an inkling what you’re doing; or what you might be doing if they did. And when you feel unworthy, knowing the need’s bigger than your axe, hands shaking maybe too much this time, memory’s drifting, and you get up there anyway and give it all you have.
    That’s real, people defer to that, and they should.
    What a musician is has become like what a poet is, a profession, what you make your bread doing, how you feed yourself.
    I didn’t mean that without Charlie Parker there would be no Roscoe Mitchell. Though in a way there wouldn’t. There’s a conjunction, all of it meets, and it all comes through, we’re all doing this, music is necessary, it’s what we are. That has something to do with movement through time, I still don’t understand exactly what or how, but those genius guys pull that all together, and they take it where it will go anyway, but it hasn’t, not yet, not until now; it’s not that they’re doing it so much as it’s being done to them, through them, to us, through us, and it’s all right there and like I said, inevitable, it’s mathematical progression; it has to be, it is, like the changes, it wants to go there, and if you serve the muse, that’s where it’s going to go.

  16. Taking so much time to write means you should always reload the page you post to in case someone has written something brilliant that wasn’t there when you began so that the brilliance won’t go unrecognized by virtue of your reply being to something that was there before that brilliance was there.
    Even if as in this case it were an almost grotesque brilliance, a cyanotic brilliance, a stillborn metaphor turning in a bell jar…

  17. There was jazz in the middle ages
    Yeah, them lutes vrilly swung hard.

  18. Well, as it reads, that came out a bit flip, but I’d say there’s no jazz without the African rhythmic influence. I doubt there was a lot of this around in Europe (I’m inferring the geographical location from the mention of lutes and mandolins) in the middle ages.

  19. The Crusades brought a lot of things back with them from Afro-contiguous Jerusalem. The Silk Road had an oceanic parallel.
    There were trade movements among native populations in America that went the distance, and why would they not? One tribe to the next, and to the next and so, on?
    Were there Nubian slaves in Augustan Rome? Yes? Did elephant shit enter the Alpine food chain? A homeopathic trace. How much does it take?
    It’s not about everybody grooving to jungle rhythms. The seemingly obscure point is that much more gets moved around than gets recorded. How many intrepid freaks went south across the Mediterranean and just kept on going? I mean way back when. Way back. None? Because you know of none there were none?
    My point, exactly.
    I’ll concede the history of jazz as originating in turn-of-the-century New Orleans (see Ondaatje, above) though that’s the word more than anything (back to topic).
    But for a definition of jazz, of what it is, I’ll bow to Louis Armstrong, who famously said,
    “If you have to ask, you’ll never know.”

  20. “If you have to ask, you’ll never know.”
    As the wise man once said, unknown unknowns abound, but we don’t know anything about them. (Please excuse inelegant paraphrase.) Fine with me if you want to conceptualise jazz as a wider phenomenon, but I prefer to think of it as the finest and most original contribution that the USA has made to world culture, rendered possible by a long and quite specific series of historical confluences.
    What time is Howard getting home?

  21. I think this is now officially my Favorite Comment Thread.
    And yeah, Howard, it’s your turn at the mike and the customers are getting restless!

  22. Not so sure about global jazz, but I’ve heard a Chinese banjo-fiddle duet which sounded vaguely Irish. These was traditional Chinese music on traditional instruments, not contemporary pop. The various sorts of stringed instruments circulated the world independently of their original cultures and partially independently of musical styles. Last I heard, steel guitar style was thought to have been invented by Hawaiians who had a guitar but no guitar teacher.
    I read an interesting book about this once buy a guy named Hans Sachs. (No, not the one in the opera.)

  23. So anyway I got on a world music kick and found this site which has enormous detail about Irish music: http://www.standingstones.com/sitemap.html .
    One of Sachs’ ideas was that harmonic music was found in S. Africa (e.g. Zulu music, Paul Simon or no) and the far north (Ireland and Scandinavia) but in between stretching from the Mediterranean to China was a monodic or polyphonic area. Here’s some things specifically on Celtic or Norse harmony, as represented especially in the Orkney Island manuscript. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&q=Orkney+%22parallel+thirds%22&btnG=Google+Search

  24. OK try this. It’s a RE-joining. Celtic complexity and semantic art married on the momentary bridge to authentic primitive truth.
    The other view is we’re not related. Mine is we are. Separated, then rejoined, we recognize that tone, that face, that way of moving.
    The other view is we’re all from different planets.
    We’re not, we’re related, closely. Gene science seems to bear this out.
    Jazz as a word was brand new a hundred years ago, jazz as a musical thing was an inseparable part of that not-yet-jazz thing that came just before it, and that unbroken line goes all the way back, as I think I mentioned, to that grass blade between the thumbs (ever do that?) and even further to the “crazy” people who imitated the sounds of more normal folk in rhythmic ways and rhymes, when we moved naked and small through dangerous climes.

    I was a folk guy from the get. Simple minor/major modulations, Elizabethan sentiments, like that. There’s a song called “Fair Beauty Bright” my uneducated guess is it’s from one of those antique wars, Roses, Hundred Year, an inauspicious courtship curtailed, a sorrow compounded, and that pure tale carried down to this day.
    Five notes can carry the echo of an empire, if they’re the right notes played by the right player. To say that Jazz is uniquely American is a good and true thing, but again I’ll insist it’s a semantic distinction, just as “American” is, most appropriate to dissect and redefine here at L.H., a thing to talk about.
    The music has other concerns.

    I had the same problem with Chinese music I had with jazz. Squawk squawk squeek and shriek abruptly stopped for no discernible reason, then my God they’re starting up again. So I had this Chinese orchestra recording and I used to play it while I cleaned house, chores and stuff, in the background, as discipline, intellectualizing that they were too serious and ancient to be as barmy as they sounded.
    One day I realized I knew where the pipa guy was going next, and I could feel the emotional logic of the piece as it went here and, no longer randomly, there.

    Jazz used to make me feel like a hillbilly. Then I got a job in a river-front dive, amongst a diverse crowd of rough customers and slumming wine-tasters. Long hours low wages free beer. A berth on a half-sunk trimaran. And four nights a week “jazz”. From trad to not-so-hard bop. Same thing eventually. Foggy Day in London Town vocal starts right….there! Piano up and in, staccato run bang run pause, and…there! the guitar comes back…..now. Yes.
    Getting past the elitist nonsense and the exclusionary insecurities, down to the joy and sweat.

    You want to hear what moves me?
    This guy. This song.
    #22 Kara Orman
    (tr. Black Forest?)
    at Old Tatar Songs
    An old mp3 of an old cassette of an old 78 of an old guy in an old room, a long time ago.

    (Tatar-Tartar what gives? Same guys? Why are there Tatars in Karelia AND Turkey?)

  25. Tatar-Tartar what gives? Same guys?
    Yup. As the OED says, “The original name (by which the people in question either called themselves or were designated by their neighbours) is generally held to have been, as in Persian, etc., Ta¯ta¯r, as to the language and meaning of which various conjectures have been put forth; but in Western Europe, they appear from the first as Tartari, Tartares, or Tartars, their name being apparently associated with Tartarus, hell.” And the name being so vaguely applied (“First known in the West as applied to the mingled host of Mongols, Tartars, Turks, etc., which under the leadership of Jenghiz Khan (1202-1227) overran and devastated much of Asia and Eastern Europe; hence vaguely applied to the descendants of these now dwelling in Asia or Europe; more strictly and ethnologically, to any member of the Tâtar or Turkic branch of the Ural-Altaic or Turanian family, embracing the Turks, Cossacks, and Kirghiz Tartars”), you find folks of that appellation all over the map.
    I had the same experience with Chinese music when I was living in Taiwan; I never got as familiar with it as you did, but I definitely got to the point where I heard it as music rather than screeching. Same with Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor; it took me years to get accustomed to their sounds, but eventually it kicked in (in those cases, enough so that I fell in love and started buying CDs). And it’s reminiscent of my experience trying to understand the meters of Greek and Latin poetry: when I was in high school and college I tried and tried to hear the meters so clearly laid out for me with long and short marks on the page, with no success; then one day I looked at a stanza of Sappho and there it was, ringing in my ear, as clear and undeniable as iambic pentameter or “Mary had a little lamb.” From that point on I could make sense of the most complicated strophes of dramatic choruses or Pindar—the quantitative metrics, so alien to my own language, had sunk into my ear and made themselves at home. And now that I think of it, some of those choruses are kind of jazzy.

  26. I never heard, say, Change of the Century or This is our Music as anything less than fully coherent musical statements — I mean, they’ve got a good dose of blues in there, the solos are almost pert, and they definitely swing — but I suspect this stuff sounded a bit diferent when it came out. I know a lot of people thought it was just a bunch of unmusical bullshitting. Perhaps I’d already internalised the style from other sources.

  27. Bop and cool jazz were pretty formalized styles with definite rules even if they sounded wild and crazy to outsiders. So Ornette sounded all wrong to them because he was doing something completely different.
    I’ve listened to Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” dozens of times and still always seems perfect. It seems impossible that that could be free improv but those guys were pretty wired to each other. When my son was about six he put on one of my albums and set the needle on that cut, so you can learn the taste pretty young.
    Most of the Chinese music I heard in Taiwan was syrupy pop — is there a word stronger than syrupy — and hopeless songs of lost love that all sounded the same. One exception is a group called Ch’iu-ch’iu / Qiu-qiu which was American-style pop, but had several memorable songs including a song about the legendary Yi shooting nine suns out of the sky and lewd song about a rooster which involved lots of imitation of animal sounds. (Ch’iu was Confucius’ taboo personal name.)
    I do have a taste for the rasty Tibetan music which drives out devils, among other things, and some Chinese music seems to be a weak version of that.

  28. I assumed (from his description) that by “Chinese music” he meant Chinese opera, which is what I was talking about. Chinese pop is as you describe; there’s no problem “getting” it, just a problem getting away from it.

  29. It was serious official Chinese orchestral music. As much lyrical depth as any Bavarian, and as melodic as Satië. I came to love it.

    You want modern Chinese rock, check out – Hang On The Box – grrl punk but filtered, like how kids do the Nippon/US thing, but way different, and not syrupy at all. Neither is the astonishing Faye Wong.

    Well hey.
    There’s the red light blinking.
    And my Language Hat allotment’s used up ’til February.
    Time to go.
    Thanks all, sweet dreams, and G’night Rita, wherever you are.

  30. I’ve listened to Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” dozens of times and still always seems perfect. It seems impossible that that could be free improv but those guys were pretty wired to each other
    It is perfect. But it isn’t totally free. Ornette wrote the head, the rest comes later. Mini-composition + experience + logical exposition = success.

  31. At the risk of repetition — like I’d be the first! — I’ll chime in as taking issue with the assertion that “there was jazz in the middle ages but it didn’t get into the hymnal”.
    Personally I think that to the extent labels and genres are useful — and they are, within reason — it makes more sense to recognize them as historically grounded in a time, a place and a tradition. Certainly there was improvised music in Europe and elsewhere, and it’s ridiculous to claim that Europe was always rhythmically impoverished while Africa was entirely ignorant of harmony, yet it was the confluence of these things in a specific African-American milieu that created jazz.
    Once the meme of jazz was brought into existence, of course, it didn’t want to stay in the definitional box where it was born. The eschewing of boxes is a 20th (and presumably 21st) century obsession, especially for an adventurous creature like jazz. Jazz both absorbed other traditions and spread to other contexts until a folky European ensemble on instruments not unfamiliar to medieval shepherds, say, could plausibly claim the jazz label for lack of a better one. (Or for a better example, always improvisational and rhythmically complex Indian classical music becomes jazz “fusion” whenever Zakir Hussein and Pannalal Ghosh experiment with nontraditional instruments and structures.) But to call improvisational music of the European middle ages “jazz” is like calling certain precolonial Australian art pointillist — an interesting metaphor but an anachronism if taken literally.

  32. African music, according to Sachs, did have harmony. It didn’t have the complex harmonic structures and chromaticism made possible by equal-temperament though — neither did the music of India.
    Blues can be defined as a form and once you do that, it’s pretty historically specific. The clincher is the “blue notes” which are slightly flatted but not fully flat. These presumably come from Africa. Then jazz comes from blues. Ravel wrote something he called a blues but he really didn’t get it.
    Seems to be a demand for a music blog out there! Volunteers? (Not me). What I’ve chanced on has been mostly buffs of a particular style, and then record-collecter completists.

  33. MusicFilter was supposed to be such a site, but it died from lack of enthusiasm and knowledgeable participation.
    What we have here is a conflict between the Dionysian and Apollonian styles of music appreciation.

  34. complex harmonic structures and chromaticism made possible by equal-temperament
    I agree that precise articulations of massive symphonic structures are enabled by equal temperament, but wouldn’t an equivalent number of sound sources in various temperaments produce something that was more harmonically complex, rather than less?
    Also, “blue” notes can be out of tune, but needn’t be — they’re the ones which are outside the “correct” scale implied by the chord.

  35. Basically, it’s equal temperament which is out of tune — all the fifths and fourths are off by a defined amount which piano tuners tune to. Blue notes aren’t “out of tune” — they’re a different temperament.
    Hindu musicians and theorists divided the octave into, as I remember, 54 divisions. They didn’t use a 54-not scale — they just had more notes to put together five or seven tone scales. IIRC, in the key of C they had four different F# depending on what the other notes were (for them F# was NOT = g flat).
    From what I’ve read, Hindu musicians chose a keynote and scale from the system and stuck with them, whereas in tempered music a composer can go from C to G minor to D major and back to C. That’s the harmonic complexity I meant. Wagner could do what I just said in a few measures, whereas Beethoven et al did it more liesurely.

  36. We’re talking across each other here, which is why we probably need Howard to come back from his gig and arbitrate with some authority — I’m only a bass player know-nothing. But consider this — you can play blue notes on a piano. Ask Monk.

  37. Monk said so. I think that he may have been playing E-flat against E or something like that (if so, Bartok did it too). I love Monk like crazy — except for Charlie Christian, he’s the first jazz musician I care a lot about.
    But playing a guitar or singing, there’s an easier way to get the blue note.
    I listen to jazz a lot and hardly to classical at all any more, so it’s not like what I called harmonic complexity is the big thing with me. It’s just one of the things that classical types use against other forms of music.
    Yeah, where’s Howard? Hope he didn’t have too much fun. And he’s the man here on this thread, too.

  38. Bob Thomas, of the galactically infamous Golden Toad purportedly won the Berkeley fiddle contest, back in oh-I-don’t-know-exactly, and then had his title stripped away for playing what was deemed, by the myopic judges, a not “true” fiddle; the instrument being an ancient three-stringed proto-violin of medieval provenance. Or so I remember it from the Berkeley Farms record.

    A fretless lute can play any note you want including “blue”. As will sinew strung from a bow.
    My excessive verbosity is excited by the generalist’s dominance of historical what-isness. Or what-wasness.
    Just because most all, or what survived of, or what we know as, or what was transcribed as, or on and infinitely on, of any particular “kind” “type” or “genre” of “named” “music” is accurately described, fixed in time, picked out as distinct, or in a general sense sui generis, does not mean, in my possibly void of humble reason opinion, that
    there were not some, or one, now and again, who played so far outside the given realm of community-recognized “music”
    that like the aforementioned Bob Thomas, they were disencumbered of recognition, while yet establishing themselves permanently in the minds of those whose lives were graced by their witness. Said witnessing as well not always making it into the “book”, as it were.
    And therefore not to be spoken of in future times as having been. As though it never existed, so to speak.
    Past that I have no case, no bone to pick; I have no quibble, and no shame, clearly. I have no case, yet rest it now, nonetheless, Selah.
    Adieu. Reprise. Coda.

  39. I think that he may have been playing E-flat against E or something like that
    Done this quite a few times on the bass. Makes the whole band sound horrible, but you might as well use all available resources.
    The absolute Monkiest of intervals is the minor second, which would be playing F over an E chord. And then sitting on it.
    (Psst — maybe Howie got lucky!)

  40. jean-pierre says

    msg, i just listened to the Kara Orman song. It moves me too. Had to play it for the household after i heard it on headphones, as i readied myself to go running. as the IRC folk say in abbreviation, “ty!”

  41. Yeah, forgot to mention that I too was bowled over by it. Thanks for sharing it.

  42. Tell me how old it is.

  43. The real MusicFilter never died.

  44. Perhaps that’s true, but the only offshoot filter surviving is this one. Please excuse my parisanship.

  45. More importantly, where’s Howard? That gig has got to be over by now!

  46. [spam URLs removed].Thanks.

  47. You’re welcome.
    *still waiting for Howard*

  48. A worthless comment designed solely to awaken the interest of 2018’s Hattics in this ancient thread, which so clearly displays how the blog is about our Hat.

  49. David Marjanović says

    To answer a question asked near the top…

    and by teenage rebellion, which must’ve been keenly felt in Germany at the time.

    Nope. It was carefully pent up till it broke out with a vengeance in 1968.

  50. If we’re talking about “go-out-into-the-streets-and-smash-the-system” rebellion, then you’re right. But if we’re talking about “listen-to-music-and-wear-clothes-the-parents-hate” rebellion, which I think is closer to the topic, that started at least already in the early 50s when Rock’n’Roll swept over the Atlantic.

  51. David Marjanović says

    Typically, I had forgotten about Rock’n’Roll.

  52. Yes, not long after the war there was a “listen-to-music-and-wear-clothes-the-parents-hate” rebellion over most of the West, including Russia (stilyagi).

  53. David Marjanović says

    I keep forgetting to mention that my brother once came across Jazztrompete pronounced with [jats] in something old and considers it one of the top 5 wackiest things he’s ever heard.

  54. Trond Engen says

    des (way back): It’s still “yass” in uncareful Scandewegian, though

    Careful or uncareful, the Norwegian form is [jas]. I can’t think of anyone saying [dZæ:z] except as a deliberate codeswitch to American, and more likely in unspoken quotation marks as a reference to a certain era than to convey sophistication. The nativized form sjess must have been common around WW2 or so, but isn’t even marginal anymore. It barely survives as a jocular reminder of our less sophisticated grandparents.

    (I’m just replying beause I’m sulky for not being able to go to the last concert of this year’s Parkjazz [¹park.jas].)

  55. /jatsi/ remains the current pronunciation in Finnish. I have never heard anything along the lines of ˣ/jassi/, and even the citation loan form /džässi/ ~ /džäz/ is rare. Probably even jatsi could be found as an occasional humorous spelling (though jazz is definitely the default).

  56. I finally got around to replacing the first URL in the post with one that works (thankfully, Margaret’s blog is still going). Also, I’m still waiting for Howard to return.

  57. > Scandewegian

    No [j]-pronunciation in Danish. I think the most common one is [d͡ʑæs]. Den Danske Ordbog online treats the initial consonant of both jazz and djævel (devil) as /dj/, but I think I make a vague phonemic distinction where jazz uses [d͡ʑ~d͡ʒ] and djævel uses [dj~d͡ʑ].

    Any pronunciation with long æ or voiced z sounds jocular or affected to me.

  58. BTW, all those consonant phones should be devoiced, but with the coarticulation/affrication, I gave up on getting that right.

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