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Bach on Ring Tones

Bach on Ring tones

Teddy Kaufman wrote (June 22, 2006):
Jean wrote that "...sometimes I think Bach is next to Scripture. "
Although being an atheist, I like this statement and might accept it except the fact that more and more, people use Bach and other known composers' ring tones in their daily life.

Googling revealed astonishing findings regarding the numerous websites dealing with various composers' ring tones, as follows:

Bach - 797,000
Mozart - 751,000
Beethoven - 661,000
Handel - 605,000
Brahms - 299,000
Chopin - 234,000
Tchaikovsky - 231,000
Schubert - 213,000
Verdi - 194,000
Vivaldi - 187,000
Puccini - 66,000
Monteverdi - 32,300
Mendelssohn - 980

Unfortunately, I doubt if Bach really leads in practice, in view of his relatively low appeal to the laymen.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 22, 2006):
Teddy Kaufman wrote:
< Unfortunately, I doubt if Bach really leads in practice, in view of his relatively low appeal to the laymen. >
could you tell us how you are employing "laymen".

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 22, 2006):
Teddy Kaufman wrote:
< Jean wrote that "...sometimes I think Bach is next to Scripture. " >
I have to admit that I got a big smile on my face when I read that Teddy had given some thought to my comment. Of course, logically, Bach is next to Scripture in his church writings because of textual assignments related to certain Sundays and festivals. So I was probably just stating the obvious in the church context.

I found the Google survey interesting, and read it to my sister who is visiting. She asked me which composer I would choose if I wanted to have a ringtone, and I said Vivaldi. However, having been indoctrinated in Scripture and Bach from the get-go, the ideas and thoughts in both remain in my mind and come forth in both serious and humorous forms. You cannot be a preacher's kid and always maintain total reverance. The Passions and the English Suites are not quite in the same category, for example.

Whether or not ringtones and composer choices mean anything is perhaps debatable. I am not fond of ringtones, and especially loud ones. I find that people who have loud ringtones could either be hard of hearing, or perhaps in some way wish to draw attention to themselves or make a statement about their identity. Generally the louder...the more attention desired, I think. It can be startling to hear the drama of classical music interrupting one's reverie when browsing for a book, or deep in thought about choices that must be made when shopping.

I have had a cell phone since they became available, and I do not have a ringtone. I use my cell for emergencies only and though it is of no intellectual benefit to this discussion still only pay $13.00/month as I still maintain the minimal plan I started almost too long ago to remember.

But if I were to have a ringtone I'd choose Vivaldi for the energy in his writings. I feel very upbeat listening to Vivaldi.

Bach varies in his works more than a little. His music was composed in a period in which the world was not always the most cheerful place to be (happens even now sometimes) and the music was geared (church themes) toward offering people a promise of something better. His music was/is lofty in many respects and I like reaching for the heights. Even the depths somehow by virtue of all the movement in his works suggest that darkness will not always remain...there is hope. So, maybe some folks choose Bach to remind them that there may be glorious things beyond this present moment.

I love Yoel's erudite editorial mind. Yes, how were you using the term laymen?

Chuckling,

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 22, 2006):
< more and more, people use Bach and other known composers' ring tones in their daily life. >
The one that I hate is that interminable and stiff ring tone based on the fugue of BWV 565. Just annoying. I feel that it cheapens the piece and the composer, and the whole process of performing anything well, if the notes are all going to be spit out with a mechanical rigidity and no articulation. Bleah.

A couple of years ago, when my cell phone had a more easily programmable ring tone interface, I set mine up so one of my optional ring tones was a theme from Schoenberg's Opus 11 piano pieces. No way to mistake that for somebody else's phone, in a crowd. (As a friend pointed out to me, "Either that's your phone ringing or it's somebody you should REALLY get to know!")

On my current phone I haven't found any similarly easy way to import ring tones of my own devising, from outside the phone. So, I composed a couple of pleasantly diatonic things using the phone's buttons and let it go at that. I guess I have more important things to do with my time than make up annoying ring tones. The thing is not inherently a musical device, so why waste too much effort trying to make it pretend to be one?

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 22, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>> I guess I have more important things to do with my time than make up annoying ring tones. The thing is not inherently a musical device, so why waste too much effort trying to make it pretend to be one? <<
Amen!

Teddy Kaufman wrote (June 22, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arebeitman & Jean Laaninen]
Please, see: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/laymen (2nd row), obviously I meant non - lovers of classical music. Thanks for your comment.

Personally, as Jean claims, I like Vivaldi and eventually use his music for my answering machine in my office as well as ringtones in both my cell phones. My patients love them.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 23, 2006):
[To Teddy Kaufman] Greetings Teddy,

You had me wondering there...since most of the people who perform Bach are not clerics (though some are). Thanks. In general, it is my experience that it takes a certain intellectual level in people to truly appreciate Bach. I don't think it is easy to be a serious fan of Bach unless one can hear the competing or adjoining melodies in a work, and enjoy the distinctions. The chorales are something of an exception. The auditory experience of Bach overwhelms some people.

During my music studies, even though some fellow students liked classical music generally, there were only a small number of us who would just naturally find ourselves in a group discussing and listening to Bach. We were primarily performers and keyboard capable for the most part in that setting.

You must be some kind of doctor if you have patients, and in that case are dealing with some of the complicated aspects of life. I have to admit that when things become very difficult there are times everyone wonders about the existence of God...and especially if you are working with people who have bad things happen to them. I found God in music, I think, before I could really verbalize my understanding--and through Bach above all, with Handel next. In my view that speaks to the primordial nature of what music conveys, and when we discuss Bach--the man, I think he had a grasp on the nature of the human condition with all of its ups and downs. I personally marvel at the fact that he could be surrounded by such a huge family, and many students and great to tempermental church members and do all that he did. I believe his feet were thoroughly anchored on the ground, and that it would have been difficult for him to have attained so much as a composer if his head and heart had not somehow been anchored in the heavens.

Vivaldi, too...though a priest, had an earthy and heavenly connectedness. To hear what they have left through their music requires an open heart and an open mind.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Bach Tatoo [General Topics]

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 24, 2006):
Teddy Kaufman wrote:
< Please , see: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/laymen (2nd row), obviously I meant non - lovers of classical music. Thanks for your comment. >
[To Teddy Kaufman & Jean Laaninen]
The 2nd definition here is
#
# A man who is a nonprofessional: His is just the layman's view of medicine. See Usage Note at .
==============
Now without getting involved in the dual meaning of English "man" (German Mensch and Mann, and so forth), I did not think of all of clergy.

I was wondering whether you are suggesting that only (pun intended) Brad Lehman could enjoy Bach. I do not believe that only those with deep and profound musicological knowledge enjoy Bach or Mahler or Wagner or whomever. Obviously such persons appreciate on a different level but we each are limited in different ways and I still don't understand your point about Bach not appealing to the "laymen" (but only to the Lehman!-:) I assume Brad with take this in good form as it is intended).

Mike Mannix wrote (June 24, 2006):
How do I get a ringtone which plays opening of CPE Bach Magnificat?

P.S. What is a ringtone? Are they toned to conform to principles of equal temprament? Are they tuned to baroque pitch or later systems? Can I get a ringtone on authentic instruments?

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Bach Family [General Topics]

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arebeitman] This is pretty cute, I must say.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Mike Mannix] Of course you can purchase ring tones from sites on the web, but if you are looking for something very specific and can't find it another way I have seen software that you can use that allow you to make your own ring tones. See below:

As to your question, a ring tone today is a special programmed sound that you add to a cell phone. When your phone rings you don't get the usual bell sound, but a musical phrase instead.

To get a ring tone that will conform to Baroque pitching, you'd probably need to find a site that advertises such a thing, or perhaps create your own in the kind of software mentioned above. You can try the link listed below. Acoustica has fairly small programs that are capable of more than one would expect. Acoustica Spin It Again can clean up old recordings in a superior manner...and quickly if anyone is interested in taking old records and making the songs from them sound purer (no needle noise, for example). If you have a recording of authentic instruments you can create a ring tone with an authentic sound on your computer, but the quality of how it will sound will likely depend upon the quality of your cell phone audio unit.

http://www.acoustica.com/support/faq.asp?qID=194

Eric Bergerud wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Jean Laaninen] I too have never received a call on a cell phone so my ringer (Chopin) has never rung. But I take strong issue with Vivaldi being more peppy than Bach at least in bits and pieces. Look at the multitude of "The Best of Baroque/Classical/Strings/Orchestra" or "Music for Baby/Neurotics/Listeners Prone to Anxiety Attacks" CDs. Bach tunes are always prominent on those, albeit in orchestral version. See especially bits from BWV 208, BWV 140, BWV 147, the Brandenburgs, Goldbergs and Air on a G String. Collectively they swamp bits of the Four Seasons that also show up on such works that, sadly, probably outsell any real cantata by about 50-1. Indeed the only composer that I think could possibly match Bach for creating a nifty tune was Mozart.

Julian Mincham wrote (June 24, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< See especially bits from BWV 208, BWV 140, BWV 147, the Brandenburgs, Goldbergs and Air on a G String. Collectively they swamp bits of the Four Seasons that also show up on such works that, sadly, probably outsell any real cantata by about 50-1. >
Which reminds me---if I hear yet another ring tone of part of the Four Seasons in a public place I may have to be restrained before doing someone a severe injury!

Indeed the only composer that I think could possibly match Bach for creating a nifty tune was Mozart. I reckon, knowing the tendencies of list writers pretty well by now, that you may have opened a real can of worms on this one Eric! For my part I reckon that Hadyn was well up there in the nifty rune department--noy only some of the symphonies but also a large number of the (70 odd) string quartets and the (50 odd) piano trios. Ther's a fair bit of average music in all this--but also a good number of really great tunes--though for myself, as someone who has so far resisted having a mobile phone, I prefer to hear them live or in my music room rather than distorted on someone elses' phone.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Eric Bergerud] I've always wanted the "Curse" motif from the Ring Cycle for my cell.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] You won't have to worry about a Vivaldi ring tone from me...I only use Vivaldi on CD or tape for traveling in my own car. For some reason I don't fall asleep during Vivaldi, and I can think through issues and strategies when I listen to his work. Maybe he was in some way the male equivalent of the female character of Pollyanna (now there's a complex possibility), with his light-hearted cheerfulness. I have to imagine Doug Cowling having a field day with such a comment. But I should not encourage such a thing, either.

So when I need good solutions to what comes along in life I put this music on and it triggers my brain to start coming up with excellent and workable solutions to life's little fobiles. When I have the answers to my issues I switch to other music. I do not know why people choose Vivaldi ring tones. But if I had one I would probably be energized to pick up the cell phone.

But Bach is a different matter. Bach is serious and grand music. And when I analyzed portions of Cantata 76 for my Baroque Music Theory course I discovered intricacy to a point I had never imagined. In fifty pages of analysis my work came back with only one red mark, and my teacher was tough and very good. So, I know I do get it (happily) where Bach is concerned. I cannot imagine at this point wanting to look at Vivaldi in the same manner. I don't know...maybe someone could tell me if Vivaldi used his motives in as many different ways as Bach does in even one cantata. I rather doubt it. You might know...I'd be interested.

Maybe after a few more months I will look at the Cantata schedule (could someone please tell me where it is so I can think ahead) and try my hand at writing some commentary. Bear in mind if I try this, it will only be the third time I've done anything like that, but my musical history suggests I might be able to make some observations, hopefully, of value. I would like to try.

But, Vivaldi is music for the road...Bach is music for existence.

Julian Mincham wrote (June 24, 2006):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
< You won't have to worry about a Vivaldi ring tone from me...I only use Vivaldi on CD or tape for traveling in my own car. >
I'm very fond of Vivaldi--it's just the 4 Seasons which I have had enough of.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] That's easy enough to understand.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 25, 2006):
[To Eric Bergerud] I didn't say Vivaldi was more peppy--only that if, and only if I had a ring tone I would choose Vivaldi for the energy. That is because while I love Bach best, Vivaldi is the music I use to listen to when I am traveling, and the music by which I gain focus to deal with the emotional, intellectual and spiritual issues that are on my plate at the times I travel. I have used Vivaldi for travel music for two decades. At 62, I still don't fall asleep while driving if I am listening to Vivaldi. (Thank God.)

So, really it is non-issue. Bach is always spiritual in the sense of fully engaging life. I don't really think Vivaldi always goes as deep. His musical structures are not as complex (some might want to argue the point). But when I listen to Bach I am completely captivated by the counterpoint and all the ways he brings expression to the story or emotion he is expressing. Vivaldi does not engage me so deeply, so I can also spend a great deal of time considering my stategies for dealing with my own is. And I remain cheerful, smiling Pollyanna, because of those brilliant stategies...I say with great humor.

So I owe Bach one thing..a more exaulted view of existence, and I owe Vivaldi a debt for creating something that inspires my intellectual pursuits on a continuing basis.

 

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Last update: June 28, 2006 11:43:38