Music Beat

We listen to the Music Choice Channel almost every night on our TV. I know that must sound odd, listening to a music channel on television. What makes it more interesting are the biographical sketches. The Light Classical Channel bios occasionally have typos and word usage oddities as well as eyebrow raising facts:

Mozart’s full name was Johannes Chrysostomas Wolfgangus Theophilus “Bud” Mozart.

Frederic Chopin is not pronounced “Choppin” as in his well-known tune “I’m Choppin’ Onions in My Stew and Crying Over Losing You.”

Edvard Grieg was taught the violin by Ole Bull, which is a lot of bull since, at least in Iowa, bulls go “mooooo” and chase red bandanas.

Antonin Dvorak spent a summer in Spillville, Iowa in 1893 where he drank beer and toppled into the Turkey River.

Riveting stuff like that is usual for the Music Choice Light Classical Channel. On the other hand, some months ago, I heard a song called “The Penguin” by somebody named Raymond Scott. I looked him up today and he was a jazz composer and Music Choice must have misfiled him.

I can’t really make fun of his bio because it’s eccentric enough by itself. His music ended up in a lot of cartoons, but he didn’t do that on purpose. Scott sold the publishing rights to his work to Warner Bros. Music in 1943. The music director at that time was Carl Stalling, who used a lot of Scott’s compositions in cartoons, such as Looney Tunes and many others.

Raymond Scott wasn’t even his real name. He looked it up in a phone book and used it partly because it sounded cool. The other reason is more complicated. His real name was Harry Warnow and he was playing piano in a radio orchestra conducted by his brother, Mark in the 1930s. The band started playing Harry’s off-beat compositions and, in order to avoid the appearance of nepotism, Harry adopted the new name.

Scott also invented electronic musical instruments, and after a while, he spent most of his time doing that, working with engineers on many inventions.

I haven’t heard him on the Light Classical Channel for a long while now. Maybe Music Choice finally got him filed to the Jazz Channel.

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