Nov 022012

Mr. Royale is painting again. He usually listens to music in his studio, which is through the garage and around a corner. I can often hear tidbits of songs coming from his man cave; the music is often “Dashiki Jazz” or big atmospheric instrumental music. Tonight, all I could hear was a little electronic noise that kept repeating. That one repeated sound (which was actually two electronic bleeps) made the song pretty easy to identify, even at distance.

You could call this the “Concert Sound System Phenomenon”: You know, when you are waiting for show to begin and even through the ambient noise, you are able to make out a few notes of the song being played over the venue’s PA.

Remember that old standard, “I Can Name That Song in ____ Notes”? Are there other songs that you can identify just by the repetition of one or two notes?


  17 Responses to “I Can Name That Tune in…”

  1. “Concert Sound System Phenomenon” may have to be added to the RTH Glossary!

    I’ll think about this later, after a morning meeting. I’m sure there are songs that will come to mind.

    Is that the “official” Talking Heads video for that song? It’s great. Man, I’d love to give them a piece of my mind and get them working together again.

  2. misterioso

    Mod, what do you mean? Then we wouldn’t get all of those fantastic David Byrne solo zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, what was I saying again?

  3. Byrne’s solo career must be stopped. I’m hoping his books, at least one of which I’ve been meaning to read, are better.

  4. BigSteve

    I play music trivia in a bar every Monday night, sometimes even host the game. Name That Tune is always one of the categories, though is fact it’s really just Name The Artist. Even though speed does not earn any bonus points, I once named Roxy Music’s Ladytron just from hearing the weird electronic ambience at the start. Two weeks ago I recognized Eno’s Third Uncle after the first couple of bass notes.

    When I host I often do Name That Guitar Riff (or Bass Riff, or Synth Riff, or Drum Beat), where I clip out just a very brief but identifying few seconds and ask people to name song and artist. Some people can do it well, but some people who might be formidable music nerds for other categories can’t do it very well at all. It seems some people’s brains just aren’t wired like that.

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    That is THE official video. And choreographed by Toni Basil. It sure has that same look as her “Mickey” video.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    I’d like to attend one of your trivia nights.

    And I think you need to test our cognitive skills by preparing a Name That Guitar/Bass/Synth/Drum riff for all of us to play along. Please.

    I know I’m often good at identifying a sound (Human League-style synths, for example) but not always so good at recalling the band/song.

    And Mod, speaking of identifying sounds, when are you going to do another Mystery Date?

  7. Slim Jade

    I love to focus on one little bleep or plink at a time in any Philip Glass (no matter the song. They always go: fiddley-iddley-iddley-iddley-“haaaaaaaa”), and Steve Reich (which always goes: blinka-blinka-blinka-blinka-blinka-blinka-blinka-blinka).

  8. cliff sovinsanity

    I usually have a tough time solving the pieces of songs or bleeps used in sampling unless it’s some kind of guitar riff. On an unrelated note….

    Sometime around 1989 I won a Mystery Song radio contest by correctly identifying “Try A Little Tenderness” by only hearing 1 second of the horn intro. My prize was 2 tickets to a Soap Opera convention and a VHS copy of Roadhouse. I didn’t give a shit about the prizes. I was just in it for the glory of hearing my name mentioned on the air. The DJ’s were impressed with the speed of my guess considering it was 7:15 in the morning.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    So how many iddleys does it take to get to the center of a Philip Glass tootsie pop?

  10. ladymisskirroyale

    I AM impressed. (And that you didn’t go to the Soap Opera convention.) I am curious, though: was there a connection between the song and the prizes? I detect a longer story there…

  11. trigmogigmo

    LMK, not an answer but per your post — just saw linkage of this full length concert of Phish (not my cup o tea) covering the entire Remain in Light album. Hard to do justice to the real funk of the original (and the crazy Belew guitar parts) but not bad from viewing a few minutes of it. “Crosseyed and Painless” starts at 7:00 and they are playing it too fast. And that electronic two-note bleep lacks punch when played on a Hammond organ.

  12. trigmogigmo

    Sounds fun. You know Jeff Probst, the host of “Survivor”, before that hosted a variant of the Jeopardy game show called Rock & Roll Jeopardy. I think they included an audio question like Name that Tune sometimes. All I know is that my now-ex said I should have tried to get on that show because I was CRUSHING it while we watched it on TV at home. Well, until they got to the current teeny bop and rap music categories. I guess this was circa 1999.

    I will predict that most Townspeople will watch the following and like me get the first 3 q’s right before he finishes reading them, have to think hard on the 4th, and miss the 5th. Just like the contestants.

  13. trigmogigmo

    Nice. You know that reminds me of a similar story. I must’ve been just 14 or 15 when our local classic rock staple KSAN in San Francisco had one of those. I knew the answer from the first note, phoned in but was 3rd in line. Damn!

    The first caller guesses — “Strawberry Hill” — WRONG!

    The second caller guesses — “Strawberry Fields” — WRONG!

    You idiots! My turn, I answer correctly — “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel. For some reason I remember that the prize — which I had no use for, and living an hour away — was something like a free 1-hour session in a hot tub spa place in Berkeley. ???

  14. cliff sovinsanity

    Yeah, the station had a Lite-Fm audience. I eventually gave the tickets to a girl and the movie to a guy from college. He LOVED that movie.

  15. ladymisskirroyale

    We did pretty well, Mr. Royale especially. I had the most difficulty with the 90’s lyrics category

    Thanks for posting it.

  16. ladymisskirroyale

    You’re right – it’s pretty good. Although it suffers without Byrne’s voice, and there’s something about “still waiting…Wooo!” that seems very wrong.

  17. sammymaudlin

    Considering what a huge Talking Heads fan I am, I am stunned that I have never seen this. I knew that Toni Basil did Once In A Lifetime with David Byrne,, but didn’t know about Crosseyed & Painless.

    Anyhoo… I, and anyone likely, can recognize The Modern Lovers “Roadrunner” by the repetition of the first two notes. In fact if you play, D D A, then you can play almost the entire song. There’s an E, I think, at the very end, but up until then…D D A.

    So simple but ooooohhhhhh so cool.

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