Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Music History Gone Wrong

Alright, alright, let's get back in the swing of things. Summer is over, I hear. Summer usually ends much later for me; I've been on the quarter system for the last five years, and when other bloggers were crying and moaning about summer being over, I always had another month or so. But although I am still somewhat bequeathed to the quarter system of my graduate institution, to whom I still owe one of those "dissertation" things, I am also simultaneously engaged to the semester system of my new employer, and classes start next week.

I'm teaching the first half of a music history sequence, from the beginning until 1750. This is a period I am an expert in. I'm sure the ending date of the course was chosen because in January of 1750, a fire in Istanbul destroyed 10,000 houses. Or maybe because this was the year in which the umbrella first became popular in England. Or perhaps it is because 1750 is when the Westminster Bridge opened? Maybe not. I know, it must because 1750 is the birth year of that esteemed composer Antonio Salieri, on August 18th. That must be it. Why else would we possibly be ending baroque music on 1750?

I kid, I kid. I'm quite looking forward to the course. It is mostly first year students, I hear. Not only that, but it is a 9:30 am class on the first day of classes, and I'm tickled to be these students' first exposure to academia. I plan a lofty speech on the subject.

Speaking of Bach, if anybody can tell me where this chord progression comes from, I will buy you a drink at AMS. It is from my favorite movie of the summer, and I am a bad musicologist both for knowing nothing about ABBA, and also for thinking that this progression sounds vaguely chorale-y or hymn-y and familiar, but being unable to place it exactly, despite my aforementioned expertise in all music outside of the American twentieth century. So help me out.


Julie said...

I, too, have been wondering about the hymn source for that particular hit. I haven't found an entire Bach hymn that is this progression but this one (tune source: Schmücke dich) by Johann Crüger (1598-1662) matches the first part of the phrase:
Look for the hymn:
Soul Adorn Thyself With Gladness

The second half of the progression is also familiar. Reminds me of a Lenten hymn, but I can't pin point it. (Closest I have so far is: "O Dearest Jesus." Tune source: Herzliebster Jesu. Also Crüger)

Just found your blog. Your search for the Bach inspiration for ABBA sucked me in. *grin*

PMG said...

Well done! That's fabulous. See, now I feel better, because I am sensing that if there was some obviously famous hymn I was not thinking of, you would clearly know it.

I'm guessing Benny and Bjorn didn't have anything particular in mind, but that they did know a little bit about voice leading.

Julie said...

I had resigned myself to the same thought on good voice leading, but your post had reinspired me to dig deeper. Thanks for further torturing me...

hmm... now which part of my message gave you the hunch that I'd know it? The dates for Crüger or the German tune sources? *grin*