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Thread: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tune

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    Default Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tune

    https://www.newscientist.com/article...or-a-new-tune/

    Is this the same for humans and the mandolin? No more triplets?
    Does anyone know if there were tunes that were very popular at a certain time and then suddenly it was a different one?

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Maybe it's a Canadian thing. Humans shorten words here too. Bank of Montreal has become "BMO." Toronto is "Trawna" or "Chrawna." Edmonton is "Emmintin." Like the sparrows, we don't have the time to say complicated words like "Canada" anymore. Things ain't what they used to be since teachers aren't allowed to correct children any more. My generation had absolutely no self-esteem, but we were terrified out of mumbling.

    Actually, music is going the other direction. Everyone with a formal musical education seems to think that straightforward fiddle tunes can be improved by adding counterpoint or diminished ninths. Triplets won't disappear; they'll become octuplets.

    Hope all our Canadian mandolinists and luthiers had a good Canada day in these isolated times. There were no public fireworks or concerts here in the capital, but, in my neighbourhood, folks got together and put on quite a fireworks display in the park across the street.
    Last edited by Ranald; Jul-02-2020 at 10:16pm. Reason: added comment
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Maybe it's a Canadian thing. Humans shorten words here too. Bank of Montreal has become "BMO." Toronto is "Trawna" or "Chrawna." Edmonton is "Emmintin." Like the sparrows, we don't have the time to say complicated words like "Canada" anymore. Things ain't what they used to be since teachers aren't allowed to correct children any more. My generation had absolutely no self-esteem, but we were terrified out of mumbling.

    Actually, music is going the other direction. Everyone with a formal musical education seems to think that straightforward fiddle tunes can be improved by adding counterpoint or diminished ninths. Triplets won't disappear; they'll become octuplets.

    Hope all our Canadian mandolinists and luthiers had a good Canada day in these isolated times. There were no public fireworks or concerts here in the capital, but, in my neighbourhood, folks got together and put on quite a fireworks display in the park across the street.
    Hi Ranald, I tried to employ the unusual strategy on July 1 of going into Ottawa that day to avoid traffic congestion ;/=. Didn’t work cause I forgot the keys to the place I was checking on and gave up on the trip. Best to shelter in place now till the Queensway/Covid double lockdown is o’er! That was the most uneventful Canada Day ever....

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    https://www.newscientist.com/article...or-a-new-tune/

    Is this the same for humans and the mandolin? No more triplets?
    Does anyone know if there were tunes that were very popular at a certain time and then suddenly it was a different one?
    Well as every birder south of the 49th parallel knows the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) does not sing "Oh sweet Canada Canada Canada" anyway rather the bird is actually singing "Old Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody"
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    This is the bird actually singing.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    This is the bird actually singing.
    It's singing, "Oh my sweet Cana, Cana, Cana, eh," unless it's from east of Quebec. There, the white-throated sparrow sings, "Oh my sweet Cana, Cana, Cana, Cana, wha'?"
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Well as every birder south of the 49th parallel knows the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) does not sing "Oh sweet Canada Canada Canada" anyway rather the bird is actually singing "Old Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody"
    Bernie, listening to your video, to my Canadian ear, it sounds like... I'd better quit before I trigger off an international incident.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Bernie, listening to your video, to my Canadian ear, it sounds like... I'd better quit before I trigger off an international incident.
    Ha ha. Well we are both in North America it's all good!

    Actually bird song is something I have been keenly interested in for many decades - -since the 1950s or so? The use of memorable phrases that to describe a bird's song or call is called mnemonics (new-MON-icks) and really it is just a memory/learning tool to help associate the song with the species of bird making it

    About 20 years ago I used to survey birds every spring of the US Geological Service Biology Division and also for other federal and state government organizations. Bird song is a preferred way to count birds because even if the bird is hidden in a tree, or in tall grass or if the light is low (like before dawn) you can still hear the song or call note and make the ID that way.

    Back in those days I knew the calls of around 500 species of birds. But today my ear is "rusty" and I would be pressed to identify more than 150 -- maybe 200 of the most common species. But I have enjoyed the study of bird song since I was a teenager.
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    The older call reminds me of a straight march...the new call reminds me of how we would "swing" the same tune back in New Orleans street bands.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    The older call reminds me of a straight march...the new call reminds me of how we would "swing" the same tune back in New Orleans street bands.
    I hate to say it, but that's also happening to Canadian music. One symptom is that there's now much more clapping on the offbeat (American style) than there used to be.

    Bernie,
    I too enjoy the sounds of birds, though I can't identify a great many, more than the average person can. There's a woods, with meadows, across the street from my urban home. Right now I'm going to drench myself with sunscreen and mosquito (and blackfly) repellent, put on my hearing aids so I don't miss any birds, and head over there. I especially enjoy the pileated woodpeckers with their axe-like pounding and "Woody" laughs. They don't like posing for my camera though.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    I hate to say it, but that's also happening to Canadian music. One symptom is that there's now much more clapping on the offbeat (American style) than there used to be.

    Bernie,
    I too enjoy the sounds of birds, though I can't identify a great many, more than the average person can. There's a woods, with meadows, across the street from my urban home. Right now I'm going to drench myself with sunscreen and mosquito (and blackfly) repellent, put on my hearing aids so I don't miss any birds, and head over there. I especially enjoy the pileated woodpeckers with their axe-like pounding and "Woody" laughs. They don't like posing for my camera though.
    The part on Canadian music my wife and I used to go to the Maritimes almost every summer. We especially like Cape Breton but would go to PEI too. Newfoundland was on our list but that won't happen now unfortunately. We used to love the live concerts in the churches and village halls.

    I have a pretty big collection of recorded Canadian fiddle tunes -- few countries have such a number of different and brilliant fiddle traditions, with such variety, as Canada I think?

    On clapping on beat or off beat -- neither do I prefer. I like clapping AFTER the tune is finished!

    The only thing I have heard the wards off those vicious Black Flies (aka Buffalo gnats) is Adsorbine Junior linament. What do you use? We have a huge problem with Black Fly swarms killing off our bluebird nestlings in places like Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. They'll suck those tiny nestlings dry -- really. The irony is that the only reason we have such numbers of Black Flies is that we have cleaned up the our streams of pollution. If you have a stream with Black Fly larvae on the rocks you can take it to the bank that you have an unpolluted stream!
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    I'm glad you pointed out that Sam Peabody is the actual subject of the white-throated sparrow's song, however, in the south Sam isn't old, he's sweet.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    The part on Canadian music my wife and I used to go to the Maritimes almost every summer. We especially like Cape Breton but would go to PEI too. Newfoundland was on our list but that won't happen now unfortunately. We used to love the live concerts in the churches and village halls.

    I have a pretty big collection of recorded Canadian fiddle tunes -- few countries have such a number of different and brilliant fiddle traditions, with such variety, as Canada I think?

    On clapping on beat or off beat -- neither do I prefer. I like clapping AFTER the tune is finished!

    The only thing I have heard the wards off those vicious Black Flies (aka Buffalo gnats) is Adsorbine Junior linament. What do you use? We have a huge problem with Black Fly swarms killing off our bluebird nestlings in places like Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. They'll suck those tiny nestlings dry -- really. The irony is that the only reason we have such numbers of Black Flies is that we have cleaned up the our streams of pollution. If you have a stream with Black Fly larvae on the rocks you can take it to the bank that you have an unpolluted stream!
    I l'm from the east cast, born in Nova Scotia, with parents from Cape Breton and PEI. I also lived in Newfoundland for ten years. This is the first summer in decades that I won't be going home for my annual geographical, social, and musical boost. I'm with you on the fiddling. I play Cape Breton and Canadian old time.

    As for blackflies, most Canadians can cite the remedy contained in the following song. But in its absence, or if you want a vegan alternative, I use Off or Muskol with Deet as an ingredient. Blackflies aren't too thick in my local woods, but if I get into the forest, not far away, I'm not cheap with the repellent.

    If the links don't work, search "NFB/ Blackfly".

    https://www.nfb.ca/film/blackfly/

    https://www.nfb.ca/film/blackfly/

    For some reason, this isn't linking to the video.

    Added later: Regarding the song and the name "Black Toby," there's an old Scottish-Canadian custom (from the old county, of course), not so common these days, of nicknaming people by their hair colour. My black-haired great uncle was "Raonull Dubh," Black Ranald, which confused me, as he was white-haired for the many years that I knew him. There are people called such names as White Donald, or Brown Mary for similar reasons.
    Last edited by Ranald; Jul-04-2020 at 5:58pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    I l'm from the east cast, born in Nova Scotia, with parents from Cape Breton and PEI. I also lived in Newfoundland for ten years. This is the first summer in decades that I won't be going home for my annual geographical, social, and musical boost. I'm with you on the fiddling. I play Cape Breton and Canadian old time.
    Well let's put a little mandolin in this string.

    Are you familiar with the work of Elmer Deagle from PEI? His Celtic mandolin CD project is plain out of this world. His fiddling is great too -- but more typical of the region.

    I heard though that after his dad died he decided to study law and is not playing professionally anymore?
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canadian sparrows are ditching traditional songs for a new tu

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Well let's put a little mandolin in this string.

    Are you familiar with the work of Elmer Deagle from PEI? His Celtic mandolin CD project is plain out of this world. His fiddling is great too -- but more typical of the region.

    I heard though that after his dad died he decided to study law and is not playing professionally anymore?
    Yes, I've heard him play with Vishten. He's very impressive, and quite a banjo player too. I can't blame him for getting a profession though. To quote Utah Phillips, "There are no good career moves in folk music." Acadian musicians from PEI are generally superb. I'm sure there's a bad one, but I haven't heard that person. A couple of Acadian women from different Island communities told me that they learned stepdancing from older girls in the schoolyard, rather than skipping or bouncing ball games -- or perhaps along with those games.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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