Jingle Bells song by Pooches was Groundbreaking
You either love it or hate it. There’s really no in-between. I’m referring to the classic holiday version of Jingle Bells that was first performed more than five decades ago by what sounds like a pack of dogs.
To refresh your memory, and for your listening pleasure, here is the YouTube link to this timeless classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKhJ9IQdWQ8.
I’m happily willing to admit that I am a fan of the tune; just not of hearing it played more than once or twice a season. In fact, the song reportedly topped a 2007 list of Most-Hated Christmas Songs, most likely because it was played over and over again. Even so I’d be thrilled if a pack of Canine Carolers would romp door to door in my suburban Boston neighborhood to perform it this holiday season — with or without their human counterparts.
And I don’t believe I’m alone when it comes to feeling this way because there are even those in Internet Land professing that this doggy song has had a lasting effect on the music industry. Consider this online story by William Weir published in 2010 in The Atlantic.com <http://atlantic.com/>. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/12/how-jingle-bells-by-the-singing-dogs-changed-music-forever/68273/.
A little history about the tune, courtesy of Weir: It was brainstormed and launched in Denmark in the early 1950s and released in 1955 in the U.S. Weir goes on to claim that this first-of-its-kind recording changed the way the world listened to music. He credits the Germans with invention of magnetic tape recording technology, which following WWII became available to other countries.
“In Denmark, the makers of the singing dogs record embraced this new sonic world with equal giddiness. The record was the work of Carl Weismann, a pioneer in bird song recording who convinced Danish State Radio to furnish him with some decent equipment,” writes Weir.
Weismann, a self-taught ornithologist, was often chased by dogs while he was in the field recording bird song. Playback at home of his efforts revealed barking, which must have been truly infuriating at first. Eventually, however, Weismann made lemonade from these so-called lemons on tape.
“On a lark, he took razor to tape to edit out the barks and then painstakingly spliced them together. He tweaked tape speeds to correct the pitches,” Weir writes. “The arduous process of achieving even a simple melody probably shortened many composers’ forays into tape music. (Today, it just takes a few minutes with the right apps.).”
Barking Jingle Bells wasn’t his first canine masterpiece. Prior to constructing the aforementioned holiday tune, Weismann released a collection of traditional Danish songs “barked” by dogs that was featured in 1949 on a children’s television program, according to Weir.
So Weismann’s manufactured ‘dog song’ occurred on the cusp of musique concrete – or the manipulation of non-musical sounds into music — invented by Pierre Schaeffer in 1948, Weir said.
In conclusion, here is the YouTube link again, just in case you accidentally deleted it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKhJ9IQdWQ8. You’re welcome!
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