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Topic: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

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  1. #1

    OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Help!

    I've been given an impossible task at work. The company makes language learning software and they are including a cultural section with examples of "typical" music for various countries. I'm supposed to locate the music.

    What the heck is "typical" French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Brazillian, Chinese, etc. music?

    When I asked my boss if, for example, ancient Gagaku court music would be appropriate for Japan, he made a face and said, "No, we want what's typical today, in 2009."

    So, should I just pick top-40 hits for all countries? How would you handle this confusing assignment? All suggestions appreciated.

    Many thanks, k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Its all the same now, but a few years ago

    France - accordions
    German - oompah bands
    Spain - castanets
    Brazil - samba
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  3. #3

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Japan has that awful plastic-pop, which, ironically, they call Eurobeat, or Europop or something. Sounds like the Smurfs doing a cover version of Spice Girls at 250bpm.

    I'm guessing your boss has no idea what he actually wants, and probably no idea of just how homogenous the world has become. In many countries the traditional music remains almost unchanged, but what youth are listening to is actually Western pop. So, in fact, Gagaku or Noh is probably completely relevant for Japan, and if you hadn't prefaced it with the word 'Ancient' I'm betting your boss would have been none the wiser.

    If I were you I'd go with every cliche.
    David

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Or as a famous movie director (making a movie about Napoleon), once said to Jerry Goldsmith - it's a french movie, make sure there are plenty of French Horns

    Spain - flamenco would be the obvious choice.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Monaghan View Post
    Spain - flamenco would be the obvious choice.

    I never understood that... what's so Spanish about this?


  6. #6
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    ever seen flamingos dance?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUb0evFZbNM

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    In the old historic times, when the Spanish ruled half the world, including most of Europe, at the courts they invited the Dutch dancers (from the area Vlaanderen- inhabitants are called Vlamingen). The nobelmen were so pleased with what they saw and heard, that this kind of dancing became very popular in Spain- with the word Flamenco (from Vlamingse) dance.

    So in fact it isn't Spanish at all, it is Dutch!!!! And it is NOT flamIngo, those pink things are birds. And speaking about pink..... no I won't.

    Raymond - who still regrets that we drove off those spanish, it would have been much easier for me to speak fluently Spanish.

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Interesting diilemma, Klassical. Usually when people say they want music shich is

    "typical" of various countries, they're thinking in cliches and would be happy with them. Like the list Buckshead posted in response.

    So much of what we call "incidental music" in theatre, which is akin to underscoring in films, is really just reworkings of musical cliches. It's pretty hard to live without them, because they are the little sound motifs that the general public instantly recognizes not just as typical of a country, but for moods - Tremolo Strings--Ooooooh, suspense and mystery. Gritty Sax, ooooh, we're in a nightclub frequented by the underworld. And the same with countries - establishing shot of the Eiffel Tower and a romantic flourish on an Accordion, voila, we're in France.

    But when your boss said they want what's typical for today--That threw me for a loop. Pop music? As has been discussed already on this thread- all the different flavors of Western rock/pop? Surely that's not what they Really want.

    It's so difficult when someone doesn't really know what they're talking about, and can't be specific enough in their instructions--Happens all the time in theatre. A director wants the set to be more "Angry"--Um, OK, --any ideas of style, period, color palette etc? And directors trying to get across their ideas for film composers I'm sure can be a real strain for everyone concerned.

    ANd so on--Your question got me going and I don't have any answers. Except to say perhaps if you find music for the various countries which is at least based on traditional music, done in a more modern way so young people don't reach for barf bags? That's his concern perhaps - that if it's too authentic, young people will get turned off. - WHo knows? I don't envy you this task!

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    As Pingu said, my boss probably has no idea what he wants. But I'm stuck with pleasing him. Kinda like being a film composer.

    I started this reply to try to clarify the types of suggestions I was hoping to see, but that gave me a different idea. Tomorrow I will ask him to come up with his own examples of American music. We'll see how he handles that.

    By the way, did you know that there is such a thing as Japanese Reggae?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLN8CGv4uZY

    - k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Help! What is typical French, Russian, etc. Music?

    I do not recall the source of the quote, but a professwor once told our the class the following exchange:

    "How do you write American music?"

    "Easy, you live in America and write music."

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