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1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:26 am UTC
by ps.02
Image
Title text: Maybe if I put it in a box for a while with a speaker playing some pleasant pastoral music, I can reprogram it.

Argh. I don't think I quite get this comic (yes, I did recognise "Smooth"), but man oh man is it annoying when someone who is not very familiar with music notation tries to draw it. Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry!

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:41 am UTC
by keithl
ps.02 wrote: Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry!

The cartoon bird is flying back and forth, perhaps inverted above the frame, so some of the cartoon notes may appear rotated or flipped in two dimensional cartoon space. Solid notes lingering in cartoon air are an evolved protective response for cartoon birds. Cueball must be careful, or some of the sharp notes may rip his net, or plummet and cause serious injury, as the notes are thicker than his arms.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:56 am UTC
by peteispo
Does the bird do the guitar breaks too?

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:55 am UTC
by orthogon
keithl wrote:
ps.02 wrote: Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry!

The cartoon bird is flying back and forth, perhaps inverted above the frame, so some of the cartoon notes may appear rotated or flipped in two dimensional cartoon space. Solid notes lingering in cartoon air are an evolved protective response for cartoon birds. Cueball must be careful, or some of the sharp notes may rip his net, or plummet and cause serious injury, as the notes are thicker than his arms.

I like Keith's theory, but yeah, this is very annoying. I have the treble-clef mug from the BlueWitch range described here as "sure to be a hit with coffee-drinking musicians". Er, no; it's probably going to annoy the recipient immensely, and it really sucks for the manufacturer to sell this stuff to non-musicians who are going to buy it as a gift for musicians. In the picture you can see a key signature with a single E#, and elsewhere on my mug there are notes on leger lines where the leger lines fall midway through spaces on the actual stave.
Spoiler:
Image

These things retail for around £30; they could have afforded half an hour of somebody's time to help them get it right. Their "consultant" would only need something like grade 2 theory.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:42 pm UTC
by HES
orthogon wrote:Their "consultant" would only need something like grade 2 theory.

Or wikipedia.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:08 pm UTC
by cellocgw
ps.02 wrote: man oh man is it annoying when someone who is not very familiar with music notation tries to draw it. Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry!


You clearly haven't run into sheet music typeset in France circa early 20th century. Yes, they have published stuff where they draw flags backwards, and rests too.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:11 pm UTC
by cellocgw
orthogon wrote: I have the treble-clef mug from the BlueWitch range described here as "sure to be a hit with coffee-drinking musicians". Er, no; it's probably going to annoy the recipient immensely, and it really sucks for the manufacturer to sell this stuff to non-musicians who are going to buy it as a gift for musicians. In the picture you can see a key signature with a single E#


Well, E# is pretty weird, but I have a couple Bartok pieces where he deliberately put a nonstandard set of accidentals into the key signature. Basically a way to maintain a strange mode throughout the piece.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:30 pm UTC
by jc
orthogon wrote:
keithl wrote:
ps.02 wrote: Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry!

I like Keith's theory, but yeah, this is very annoying. I have the treble-clef mug from the BlueWitch range described here as "sure to be a hit with coffee-drinking musicians". Er, no; it's probably going to annoy the recipient immensely, and it really sucks for the manufacturer to sell this stuff to non-musicians who are going to buy it as a gift for musicians. In the picture you can see a key signature with a single E#, and elsewhere on my mug there are notes on leger lines where the leger lines fall midway through spaces on the actual stave.
Spoiler:
Image

These things retail for around £30; they could have afforded half an hour of somebody's time to help them get it right. Their "consultant" would only need something like grade 2 theory.


I like the way the fiddle appears to have 4 strings, but only 3 tuning pegs. How does that work?

I've seen a number of comments about all the art that contains technical errors in musical instruments, often things that would make them unplayable. Of course, the curved necks of the string instruments on those cups isn't really annoying, since it was clearly done to make them work as cup handles. But the peg-string mismatch and the E# are indeed funny, in an annoying way.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:33 pm UTC
by Neil_Boekend
jc wrote:I like the way the fiddle appears to have 4 strings, but only 3 tuning pegs. How does that work?

I see 4 tuning pegs. One is in the cup (you can see a bit of black).

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:11 pm UTC
by The Moomin
Bird bird bird. Bird is the word.

At least it's not the Birdie song I suppose.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:33 pm UTC
by piratejohn
The rarest species of bird, the Santana Warbler.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:35 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
You know how truth is stranger than fiction.

BBC wrote:The songbird to end all songbirds, the superb lyrebird is a shy, ground-dwelling pheasant-sized bird that lives in the dense forests of southeastern Australia. The male carries a delicate tail of lacy white plumes bordered by a pair of elegantly curved feathers, which together resemble a lyre – an Ancient Grecian harp.

But his real claim to fame is his virtuosic vocal repertoire.

Breeding occurs in winter, when males prepare raised display mounds of scratched earth. To entice females into plumage-viewing range, the lyrebird sings the most elaborate and complex song he can muster, by copying the calls of all the other creatures in the forest and mixing them in with his own.

This grand master of mimicry can convincingly rattle off the calls of up to 20 other species in a five-minute window, and has even been known to steal more unnatural sounds for his show, including camera shutters, chain saws and car alarms. Ornithologists think that female lyrebirds judge potential mates on both mimetic accuracy and versatility.

During the courtship display, the male emphasises his long extravagant tail by flipping it over his head and fanning it across his back. In 2013, researchers discovered the male lyrebird has one final trick up his sleeve: coordinating choreographed dance steps with specific songs.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:49 pm UTC
by SpringLoaded12
What's the matter, Randall, you don't like Santana?

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:55 pm UTC
by Showsni
orthogon wrote:In the picture you can see a key signature with a single E#, and elsewhere on my mug there are notes on leger lines where the leger lines fall midway through spaces on the actual stave.


If your key signature had E♯ and F♭ would you have to play all the Es as Fs and vice versa?

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:36 pm UTC
by ThemePark
And thus begins "The Nightingale", anno 2016.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:32 pm UTC
by Shadowman615
ps.02 wrote:Argh. I don't think I quite get this comic (yes, I did recognise "Smooth"), but man oh man is it annoying when someone who is not very familiar with music notation tries to draw it. Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry!



I'm not sure what you mean by Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry. Notes are written with the stems facing both up and down all the time...
Or are you referring to something else?

For example:

Image

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:40 pm UTC
by ps.02
orthogon wrote:I like Keith's theory, but yeah, this is very annoying. [...]
In the picture you can see a key signature with a single E#, and elsewhere on my mug there are notes on leger lines where the leger lines fall midway through spaces on the actual stave.

Indeed - that's worse than Randall's notes, by far. Upon reflection, what bothers me about Randall's rendering is not so much the reversed flag, but the orientation of the major axis of the note heads.

Non-musicians drawing music sort of reminds me of non-scientists drawing science: nonsense equations with integral signs and other "exotic" symbols thrown in randomly.

And I like Keith's theory too.

SpringLoaded12 wrote:What's the matter, Randall, you don't like Santana?

Everyone likes Santana, but the bird is singing the part of Rob Thomas from Matchbox 182 or whatever. And who likes him?

Shadowman615 wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry.

Ever notice which way the flag of an eighth note points? Neither did Randall.

Also, who typeset your piece there? What's up with the stems on some of those half notes?

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:45 pm UTC
by orthogon
It's the tails of the quavers (eighth notes). They should be on the right of the stick, whether the stick goes up or down. (These may not be the correct typographical terms).

Edit: ninja'd, and by ps.02 who knew the correct terms.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:42 pm UTC
by SuicideJunkie
Cueball can't change you; go Freebird!

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:56 pm UTC
by Justin Lardinois
ps.02 wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:What's the matter, Randall, you don't like Santana?

Everyone likes Santana, but the bird is singing the part of Rob Thomas from Matchbox 182 or whatever. And who likes him?


Exactly. This song would be so much better if it was just an instrumental.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:20 pm UTC
by Flumble
Justin Lardinois wrote:
ps.02 wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:What's the matter, Randall, you don't like Santana?

Everyone likes Santana, but the bird is singing the part of Rob Thomas from Matchbox 182 or whatever. And who likes him?


Exactly. This song would be so much better if it was just an instrumental.

Way ahead of you. (note to future visitors after the linked media has been taken down: just search for it on the blagosphere)

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:46 pm UTC
by doctorray
In this song, there's a like "Just like the ocean, under the moon" that for years I misheard as "Just like the ocean, I'm not amused."

makes more sense my way.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:31 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
I am not familiar with this song. I sense I should be grateful for this fact.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:32 pm UTC
by xtifr
rmsgrey wrote:I am not familiar with this song. I sense I should be grateful for this fact.

Meh, I think it's an ok song. As ps.02 said, everyone likes Santana. The main problems are the singer, who doesn't really bother me, since I'm too old to be familiar with his other works, and the fact that it was way, way overplayed when it came out (because the aforementioned singer apparently has a large following).

(Honestly, if someone as out of touch with modern music as I am thinks a song from the last couple of decades was overplayed, you can take it that it was overplayed!) :)

It apparently won three Grammies in 2000. It was also apparently Santana's first song to hit #1 on the charts (which I find a little scary).

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:40 am UTC
by Shadowman615
ps.02 wrote:
Shadowman615 wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by Notes do not have 180° rotational symmetry.

Ever notice which way the flag of an eighth note points? Neither did Randall.

Ahh I get it

ps.02 wrote:Also, who typeset your piece there? What's up with the stems on some of those half notes?


Dunno, that was copied out of google image search.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:08 am UTC
by Eshru
I wonder, is Randall commenting on his attempts to reprogram us into more absurdist comedy, or...


Lol

Kidding aside I enjoyed the comic and the lesson of the birds we need to capture and mass breed.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:15 pm UTC
by dp2
HES wrote:
orthogon wrote:Their "consultant" would only need something like grade 2 theory.

Or wikipedia.

Except on Wikipedia, they'd see this:
Spoiler:
Image


And God forbid they look up how, say, Beethoven wrote his notes.
Spoiler:
Image

They might get the idea that there's nothing wrong with having the flag facing the right.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:11 pm UTC
by orthogon
What's the problem with the Chopin?

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:46 pm UTC
by ps.02
Yeah, aside from having a few notes not quite how they sound in my head (which is probably just my faulty memory, or maybe I never did play it correctly in the first place), the Chopin looks fine.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:02 pm UTC
by dp2
ps.02 wrote:Yeah, aside from having a few notes not quite how they sound in my head (which is probably just my faulty memory, or maybe I never did play it correctly in the first place), the Chopin looks fine.

Eh, my bad. You're talking about the one single eighth note in the comic, not the paired ones.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:05 pm UTC
by ps.02
There's been some confusion. What was it about the comic that screamed "I don't know what music notation actually looks like"?
Two things. The one I harped on first was the inverted eighth note:
8-inverted.png
8-inverted.png (3.15 KiB) Viewed 7824 times

This is a 180° rotation of a reasonable-looking 8th note. The reason it looks wrong is the flag coming off the end of the stem. From Shadowman615's image:
shadowman.png
shadowman.png (1.27 KiB) Viewed 7824 times

you can see that the flag always goes to the right of the stem, never to the left.

The other issue is the note head shape. They are ellipses rather than circles - Randall got that right. But, again as noted in Shadowman's image, the ellipse needs to point the other way: the major axis has a slope of perhaps 30°, not -45°.

Finally, and this is a nitpick (and not something I would normally call out in a comic based around stick figures), several of the stems stick out a bit below the middle of the note heads:
eighths.png
eighths.png (4.33 KiB) Viewed 7824 times

The stem should be tangent to the note head, and stop at the tangent point. (Unless there's multiple notes on the stem, of course.) Many of Shadowman615's half notes were poorly rendered in this regard:
half.png
half.png (10.23 KiB) Viewed 7824 times

Whatever software rendered that, it got the stem length right, but missed the tangent.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:31 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
Damnit, somehow I've got Maria Maria stuck in my head instead. Either song being stuck in my head isn't so bad, but getting the wrong song stuck is giving me a headache.
xtifr wrote:It apparently won three Grammies in 2000. It was also apparently Santana's first song to hit #1 on the charts (which I find a little scary).
The #1 spot marks intensity of purchase, not extent or purchase or how long people keep playing it once they get it. Santana had already made a number of songs people loved, just not one everyone (including people that don't even like Latin music) liked.
ps.02 wrote:but man oh man is it annoying when someone who is not very familiar with music notation tries to draw it
Dancers have an exercise where we listen to a piece of music with a blank music sheet in front of us and mark the accents, energy shifts, phrasing, et cetra.

I think you might become physically ill if you saw what I've written on sheet music.

To get an idea, start with those coffee mugs.
Keep the blurred alignments and orientations, but switch the symbols for for those symbols from TV science blackboards.
Switch between different instruments and singers sporadically, make absolutely no indication you're doing so.
Mark some stuff 3/4 of a beat early, because lead and follow.
Believe that every other bar line is a printing error; measures of four beats are but the fevered dream of a mad man.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:24 pm UTC
by Jackpot777
We've got some animal outside in the early hours, driving one of my dogs mad, sounds a bit like this when it squeals and he barks.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:35 pm UTC
by Keyman
Quizatzhaderac wrote:Mark some stuff 3/4 of a beat early, because lead and follow.
Believe that every other bar line is a printing error; measures of four beats are but the fevered dream of a mad man.

My Jazz director always says, "play the music, not the notes, and quit tripping over the bar lines."

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:12 am UTC
by Sheikh al-Majaneen
rmsgrey wrote:I am not familiar with this song. I sense I should be grateful for this fact.

No, it was a good song. Other people are liars or have bad taste in music.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:02 pm UTC
by NTN
Interesting. No one else thought of Undertale when seeing the first panel.

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:00 pm UTC
by ps.02
NTN wrote:Interesting. No one else thought of Undertale

I get 518,000 results for a Google search of "the sun is shining, the birds are singing". Results are from all over the place. Randall has set, in short, a deliberately generic scene. That's the joke - subverting a cliché. Not everything in life is a reference to modern pop culture.

(I think this point really hit me when I learned to my surprise that the well-worn opening line "It was a dark and stormy night" was not a reference to A Wrinkle in Time, but to a novel 130 years older.)

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:09 pm UTC
by HES
Because of the notes overhead, I keep trying to put a tune to Cueball's line. For some reason my mind is stuck on the opening lines from Merry Christmas Everyone.

Sun is shining (sun is shining) Birds are singing (birds are singing) children plaaaying, having fun.....

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:34 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:I am not familiar with this song. I sense I should be grateful for this fact.

No, it was a good song. Other people are liars or have bad taste in music.
If anything, I think Qball is upset about how different the mood in the song is from what he was going for.

As it starts, I imagined some sort of frolic-in-the-woods-classical music.
Then a strong, confusing dissonance in the second panel as topic, mood, and meter of the words change drastically.
The third panel (of course) cementing the idea that the bird is literally singing lyrics at odds with Qball's

Re: 1635: "Birdsong"

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:01 pm UTC
by david.windsor
peteispo wrote:Does the bird do the guitar breaks too?

No, that would be the spiders.