Building the World

February 16, 2018
by buildingtheworld
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Do you sing in the shower?

Take the 2 Minute Shower Challenge. Image: “Animated waterdrops,” wikimedia.

Do you sing in the shower? Studies indicate 80% of us do. That quirk of human hum might help to save Cape Town, and maybe other places, too. South Africa’s famous city is suffering from three years of scant rainfall, coupled with rapid urban expansion. While solutions to the water crisis such as desalination of sea water, improved ground water collection, and other water engineering innovations are in development, residents have been asked to limit water use to 50 liters (13 gallons) per day. Cyrene, ancient Greek city-state, was founded in response to persistent drought on Thera (Santorini). Climate migrants fled the parched land to build a new city abundant of water and replete with potent silphium, a magic plant that appeared to foster science, arts, and even amatory expressions. Rome, when suffering a water crisis, built aqueducts to bring water to the city, enough for drinking, bathing, and water sculptures, honored by composer Resphigi in The Fountains of Rome. Music now inspires South Africa’s vision for honoring and saving water. “People like to sing in the shower,” observed Mariska Oosthuizen, head of brand at Sanlam, South African investment firm, that invited musical artists to create two-minute songs, free for download:

TWO-MINUTE SHOWER SONGS:

  • Kwesta, “Boom Shaka Laka
  • Mi Casa, “Nana
  • GoodLuck, “Taking It Easy
  • Fifi Cooper, “Power of Gold
  • Francois Van Coke, “Dit raak Beter
  • Jimmy Nevis, “Day Dream
  • Rouge, “Deja Vu
  • Desmond & the Tutus, “Teenagers
  • Youngster, “Wes Kaap
  • Springbok Nude Girls, “Bubblegum On My Boots

80% of residential water use happens in the bathroom. Showers use 10 liters (2.6 gallons) per minute.  Do you sing in the shower? Take the 2 Minute Shower Challenge and join the chorus in praise of water.

2minuteshowersongs.com

Kammies, Kieno  “MiCasa releases 2 minute shower song to save water.” 17 November 2017. KFMwww.kfm.co.za/articles/2017/11/17/musicians-step-in-to-entice-capetonians-into-saving-water.

Sanlam.”SA’s biggest artists are singing to save water. Are you?”  https://2minuteshowersongs.com.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

September 8, 2017
by buildingtheworld
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21 billion kilometer record

 

“Sounds of Earth” Golden Record, launched in 1977, plays on. Take a listen. Image: nasa.gov.

It’s a shiny gold record compiled by a team headed by Carl Sagan, honored with the NASA Apollo Achievement Award. And it’s also just set a record, as the farthest human-made object from earth. Sending our best in sound from Bach and Beethoven (String Quartet 13) to Solomon Islands’ Panpipes, from the haunting whistle of a train to the coo of a baby and the sound of a kiss, the record contains an homage to our planet. “Sounds of the Earth” also includes greetings in 55 languages including cetic (whale). “Sounds of the Earth” was launched in 1977, on two Voyager space probes. And now, along with space residents who may be receiving the message, you can hear it, too.

Pescovitz, David. “Voyager’s Golden Record still plays on.” 5 September 2017. CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/04/opinions/pescovitz-opinion/index.html

Sagan, Carl. ed. (1973). Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-19106-7. LCCN 73013999. OCLC 700752.

Sagan, Carl. Murmurs of Earth. NY: Random House, 1978. https://books.google.com/books/about/Murmurs_of_Earth.html?id=oD90-PBNyr8C

For your listening pleasure and inspiration: “Sounds of the Earth”: https://soundcloud.com/user-482195982/voyager-golden-record-sampler-1

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

April 23, 2014
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Take Five

Dave Brubeck: Image courtesy of wikimedia.org.

“Take Five” is the best-selling jazz single in history; the song is written in quintuple time, hence the name of Paul Desmond’s jewel performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Five is also a lucky number for Singapore: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Taoist houses of worship have graced the city since the 1800’s. In Singapore, music of five languages syncopates the air: Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil are official, but some say Mandarin might be the most heard. Multiculturalism may be encouraged by educational standards: English is taught as lingua franca but each student in primary and secondary school also certifies in another of Singapore’s official languages. Should North America follow a similar policy regarding: English, French, Nahuatl, Navajo, and Spanish?

For more on Dave Brubeck, whose landmark album Time Out was the result of an international exchange in Turkey, and to hear “Take Five,” please see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/dave-brubeck-take-five-and-his-longtime-collaborator-credited-with-the-jazz-legends-biggest-hit/2012/12/05/6ae17f16-3f19-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_blog.html

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

February 28, 2014
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Monuments, Memory, and Culture

Image courtesy of nih.gov.

Monument to love, built by 20,000 artisans using 43 different kinds of jewels, the Taj Mahal is Shah Jahan’s memorial to his beloved wife, Arjumand Banu Begam, also known as Mumtaz Mahal. The lovers met as teenagers and parted only when Mumtaz died on the battlefield (she traveled with him, no matter the circumstances) giving birth. Roman poet Horace wrote in his last ode, 3.30.1: Exegi monumentum aere perennius – “I have built a monument more lasting than bronze.” Poetry, music, libraries, laws, endowments, buildings, monuments, art – how should we honor, and remember? What is the role of memory in culture?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

April 30, 2013
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Singin’ in the Train

 

SFOT Red Train 4 by James Murray from Wikimedia Commons, at wikimedia.org.

Haunting whistle in the night, hypnotic rhythm of wheels on rail, panting acceleration of uphill runs breathed heavily by a 2860 engine, sigh of brakes — these were sounds quite new in the landscapes of the world until rather recently. The business of constructing rails was introduced in England in the seventeenth century. British mapmaker and engineer Captain John Montressor built the first American railway in Lewiston, New York in 1764. Nearly a century later, the Golden Spike was driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad; it was now possible to traverse the country in 10 days instead of six months. The Transcontinental Railroad (1869), Canadian Pacific Railway (1885) and the Trans-Siberian Railway (1904) introduced soundscape to the landscape — the train whistle. Japan’s Shinkansen(1964) added a new note: each commuter station is announced by an electronic tune, composed to reflect the culture of the district. For a train soundscape, enjoy a listen (and look) via YouTube “Sound of Royal Hudson steam engine with O Canada horn ‘Good Times Express'” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQNQbuXjF2M). Finding music in the midst of urban sound, George Gershwin who included in “American in Paris” the blare of French taxi horns, might agree with Mozart: “Music is continuous, listening is intermittent.” As new trains, and cars, are developed, should musicians be on the team to create the ideal soundscape?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

February 12, 2013
by zoequinn001
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Charles Ives’ “The New River”

London traffic, from The Guardian, at guardian.co.uk.

The American composer’s “The New River” is a song that in title might sound as if it were about England’s human-made waterway, but instead Ives talks about a different kind of river, one of noise. The song for voice and piano has these lyrics:

“Down the river comes a noise!

It is not the voice of rolling waters.

It’s only the sound of man,

phonographs and gasoline,

dancing halls and tambourine;

Killed is the blare of the hunting horn.

The River Gods are gone.

Fortunately, the New River in England continues to preserve its bucolic nature through walking paths designed to help the public admire the English countryside not too far from London. In fact, some would say that without the beauty of the walking paths and their healthy lifestyle, Britain could have been less attractive due to the river of noise. Consider London Monday morning traffic reports.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

June 12, 2012
by zoequinn001
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Low Bridge!

Perhaps you sang it in music class in elementary school, but “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” is not a song about a pet mule. This song commemorates a time in the Erie Canal’s History when mule barges were a common way of moving products down the canal. Later, like in most of the United States, steam became the best way to perform this task.

 

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

April 3, 2012
by zoequinn001
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The Grand Canal Symphonic Suite

Composed for the Chinese government, Zhou Tian’s “The Grand Canal Symphonic Suite” is a 45-minute, 7-movement piece celebrating the oldest and longest canal in the world. In 2010 it was chosen to be the theme music for the Shanghai World Expo. Below is a clip from Tian’s work from that Expo.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

March 20, 2012
by zoequinn001
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London Bridge is Falling Down!

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.

Most children have played the game “London Bridge is Falling Down” while singing the accompanying song. Even today the game is performed on popular children’s shows, such as “The Wiggles.” It is a testament to the longevity of a poem about a bridge that had anything but.

The poem refers to the the number and types of bridges built in that location that led to Henry II’s decision to make one of stone to withstand fire, floods, and invaders. The poem suggests that even if made of steel, the bridge will always require replacement. The most recent London Bridge was finished in 1972 and still stands today. It has a long time to go, however, as the bridge that began construction under Henry II lasted over 600 years!

For more information on the nursery rhyme please visit http://www.rhymes.org.uk/london-bridge-is-falling-down.htm
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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

February 29, 2012
by zoequinn001
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A Trip Across the Bridge

While today’s London Bridge may be a bit more sturdy than some of its predecessors, there is still reason to write about it. Write music that is. From children’s poems to chamber music, this bridge continues to influence the arts. Below you can listen to a piece written in 1926 by England’s own Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) titled, “Six Studies in English Folk Song.” The part most relevant to this discussion is the sixth movement is called, “As I walk over London Bridge,” and can be heard if you skip to 7:10.

This piece exemplifies how the histories of macro-engineering projects go beyond legal and financial implications to culture.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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