I know, I can be quite boring sometimes, but just found out that Thunderclap Newman died last week. Here’s a reblog (from the days I was afraid to blog my true love poetry) about a facet of his song “Something in the Air”
In Memory of Thunderclap Newman who died last week
(from my old blog of May 4, 2014)
We didn’t have a piano, so when visiting family or friends who did, the first thing I played was “Chopsticks.” You, too? Well, some of us did! (“Heart and Soul” was the other one I learned.) So I noticed with great interest that while I was walking on my treadmill, listening to my iPOD, the shuffle worked in a weird way: Three songs in a row featured a musical interlude—riff—with “Chopsticks” or a “Chopsticks” style!
First I researched “Chopsticks” and found out some fascinating facts: The composer was a 16-year-old female named Euphemia Allen who used the pseudonym Arthur DeLulli. It was 1877 and women—including the Bronte Sisters who published under the names of Currier, Ellis and Acton Bell—almost always were forced into pretending they were men. (Yeah, ok, a bit of feminist anger here.) “Chopsticks” was originally titled “The Celebrated Chop Waltz” and was composed with arrangements for solo and duet. Euphemia Allen specified that the melody be played in two-part harmony with both hands held in a vertical orientation, little fingers down with palms facing each other, striking the keys with a chopping motion.
People like me know the two finger version, but as a little girl who was never going to live in a house with a piano, I felt as important as, um, Euphemia Allen must have felt! I wonder if she would be pleased by three of my beloved songs?
Here are the music videos:
SOMETHING IN THE AIR, Thunderclap Newman
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, Manfred Mann
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY, The Spinners