6 Facts about The Three Stooges Theme Song

Many middle age and older folk grew up watching The Three Stooges, and can still recite the theme song that has been engraved into their noggins. But, how much do they actually know about the song. Here are facts about The Three Stooges theme song.

1. More than one theme song

The Three Stooges actually had two theme songs, one was “Three Blind Mice” and the other was “Listen to the Mocking Bird.”

2. Who wrote “Listen to the Mocking Bird”

In 1855, African-American Richard Milburn wrote the music; while Septimus Winner under the name “Alice Hawthorne” wrote the lyrics. Winner’s sheet music arrangement never credited Milburn.

3. How was the song used in The Three Stooges

Its verse was rendered in a comical feel as the theme song for early short films by the three stooges (1935-38). The comical feel was established through instrumental music an chirping birds.

4. Another Famous Work

Up until now, you’ve probably never hear of Septimus Winner, but he also wrote the famous song “Oh Where, Ohe Where Has My Little Dog Gone.”

5. “Three Blind Mice”

This English nursery rhyme and musical round has been around since 1609. There does not seem to be a lyricist nor composer credited; but a number of composers have been credited for variations of the song, including Schumann, Holbrooke, and Haydn.

6. “Three Blind Mice” in The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges used a jazz interpretation of the song as their theme song for most of their comedic short films after 1938.

So there you have it. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to give a like and share your ideas about future content in the comments section below.

10 Facts About Mozart

Most people are at least familiar with the name Mozart and his music. However, some might not be aware of some facts about his life or music. So, here are ten facts you may not know about Mozart.

1. The first instrument he learned

By age three, Mozart was imitating the clavier playing of his talented older sister Maria Anna. The clavier is an old-fashioned stringed instrument that also had a keyboard. He would soon after learn the violin and harpsichord.

2. First tour

At the age of six, Mozart went on tour around Europe traveling by stagecoach. He played for royalty, for the well-known musicians of the day, as well as bars. Being well traveled at such a young age also helped him to learn to speak fifteen languages.

3. First compositions

Although he first started composing at the age of four, he began composing symphonies at age eight, and composing his first opera by age eleven.

4. His first proposal

Marriage came at an earlier age during Mozarts time, but he gave his first proposal to Marie Antoinette, future queen of France, at the age of seven.

5. Mozarts Marriage

After being madly in love with Aloysia Weber and being rejected by her, Mozart would go on to marry Constanze Weber, Aloysia’s sister. He called her “little mouse” and they had six children together, two of which lived to adulthood.

6. Superstitions and death

Mozart was a very superstitious man, which might explain his reaction to the mysterious stranger who came to his house one night and commissioned Mozart to write a requiem. Thinking it was for his own death, Mozart worked feverishly. Some people speculate that this is what drove him to die at the age of thirty-five of kidney failure and malnutrition. However, Mozart spent most of his life in poor health.

7. Fame, but not fortune

Mozart was very famous during his time, but aristocrats would often pay him with trinkets such as watches and snuff boxes, rather than with the money he needed. At the peak of his career, Mozart earned as much money in one concert as his father earned in a year. However, Mozart seemed to spend money faster than he earned it, for he died with very little possessions (six coats, three silver spoons, 346 books, his walnut piano, and his pool table).

8. A shared theme

There are striking similarities between Mozart’s opening theme to “Bastien and Bastienne” and Beethoven’s opening theme for is Symphony No. 3 “Eroica.” Some might argue that is is the same theme. However, it is doubtful that Beethoven was familiar with Mozart’s then unpublished piece. A likely explanation of the similarities is that both composers took the theme from another unknown source.

9. Mozart’s name

Most people know this famous composer by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, his full name is “Joannes Crysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.” His baptismal names, Joannes Crysostomus, were often not used but sometimes parenthesized either with these names or their German equivalents (Johann
Crysostom). Theophilus is a Greek name meaning “lover of God” or “loved by God;” Amadeus is the Latin form, which Mozart preferred to use.

10. His music today

It is amazing, yet not surprising that More recordings of Mozart’s music are bought today than recordings of any other composer’s work. Because he was prolific with his writing, to play all of Mozart’s music in a row would take about 202 hours.

Thanks for reading about the famous Mozart. If you liked what you read, be sure to give a like and leave a comment below. You may also be interested in reading about Mozart through “Lives of the Musicians” by Kathleen Krull or Wikipedia, or play a little trivia on Useful Trivia.

10+ Facts about Holiday Songs

As we go through the holidays, I thought I would share some facts about ten songs that are performed this time of year. I know most are Christmas songs, but I hope everyone can enjoy these interesting facts.

1. Jingle Bells
This song was not originally written for Christmas, but for the United States’ Thanksgiving. It was also the first song performed in space. Another Christmas song that was intended for another holiday was “Joy to the World.”

2. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
This cut, lovable song about a unique little character was written by Johnny Marks, who was Jewish. He also wrote, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” and “Run, Rudolph, Run.”

3. Silent Night
“Silent Night” is a song originally written in German in 1816. It was translated into English two years later. During World War I, there was a truce on Christmas where French, English, and German troops sang the song.

4. I Have a Little Driedal
In the original Yiddish version of this song, the Driedal is made of bley, which means lead. It was translated to clay.

5. Silver Bells
This song was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. However, they originally called it “Tinkle Bells.” It was quickly changed after Livingston told his wife about the song. She mentioned how tinkle was also a synonym for, uh…something else.

6. Let it Snow!
“Let it Snow!” Despite it never mentioning the holiday, was made into the Christmas canon of songs. It was written by Jewish songwriters Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. It was written in 1945 during a heatwave in California.

7. O Holy Night
In 1906, “O Holy Night” became the second song to ever be broadcast on radio.

8. The Dance of the Sugr Plum Fairy
This song from The Nutcracker, was written in 1891 for the celesta, the gentle, metallic sounding instrument you hear during this song. The instrument was invented only five years earlier.

9. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
This Christmas song mentions that “there’ll be scary ghost stories” which is an activity I have never experienced during this season. It was actually a tradition in Victorian England that has since died out.

10. White Christmas
“White Christmas” is the highest selling Christmas song of all time. The top selling version? Bing Crosby. The song was written by Irving Berlin a Russian Jewish immigrant who also wrote “God Bless America.”

If you enjoyed these facts, feel free to give a like or comment in the section below. You can check out more fun holiday facts at Buzzfeed, Mental Floss, and Newsday.

10 Facts About Medieval Music

Many people might disregard medieval music for being old and outdated. However, the adaptions made during the period may have shaped the West-European music we know today. So, here are 10 facts about medieval music.

1. Singers Were Imported
Back during a time when music was not written down, when churches were interested in a new song they would import a singer from another part of Europe that was familiar with the tune.

2. The Growth of Feasts
Beginning in the 9th century, more feasts were being added to liturgical calendar. With that, new texts and/or melodies were adapted for each service.

3. Liturgical Drama’s
Around the year 980, liturgical dramas were starting to emerge. They would later expand to lengthy plays with scenery and costumes, singing and later dialogue.

4. Polyphony
Church music began as plainchants, which were songs with one sung melody, no other parts or instrumentation. Polyphony, which is known as two or more melodies at once, would come later and start as an elaboration of the plainchant and evolve into its own entity.

5. First Signs of Rhythm in Europe
Notre Dame’s school contributed to replacing even, unmeasured polyphony and plainchants with recurrent patterns of short and long notes, known as rhythmic modes. However, the rhythmic notations we are familiar with would take longer to develop.

6. Earliest Signs of Secular Music
Monks during the medieval period did most of the documenting during the time. This is the speculated reason why the first traces of secular music (non sacred music) is not seen until the 11th century when there was a surge in development and preservation of secular music.

7. Troubadour Music
The first troubadour was William IX of Aquitaine, but troubadour music became most popular during the 2nd half of the 12th century. Today, 2600 poems by more than 450 authors survive. Of those, about 275 melodies by 42 troubadours survive.

8. Instrument Participation
Literary and pictorial evidence shows instrument participation in troubadour and trouvère songs. They do not depict how much instrument participation there was, but scholars believe that the instrument participation could be: strings playing unison with voice, playing opening or ending phrases, playing during interludes, or playing drones (a long held note).

9. The Lack Of Instrumental Music
While there are references of instrumental music for nearly every social situation, not much medieval instrumental music survives. This is likely because people like peasants and Jongleurs probably had a repertory of both song and dance music that was passed by oral tradition. It was also like because much medieval music was passed through poems instead of music notation.

10. Content of Secular Music
Musicians such as Minstrels, Troubadours, Trouvères, and Jougleurs performed music that often depicted a story. Whether this was a love story, a mythilacal story, or a story depicting the news they have heard during their travels.

All in all, there are aspects from our modern music that we can also see in medieval music, such as storytelling, dramas (musicals), styles, and even the use of instruments supporting the voice. There are also aspects that would have not been possible if not for the innovations during the Middle Ages, such as rhythmic notation, and the expansion of styles such as polyphony. Yet, we should also remember the aspects of medieval music that made it unique to its own period.

Sources: Hoppin’s “Medieval Music.” 1978. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

6 Facts About Kassia

Much of European Medieval music has been lost over time; it seems that many names of composers have been lost as well. Although, most composers known are male, a few female composers’ identities have lasted through the centuries, one of which, is the composer known as Kassia or Kassiani. So, here are 6 facts about Kassia.

  1. She could have been empress.

Born around 810 CE in Constantinople, Kassia grew up to be a beautiful and intelligent woman in the Byzantine empire. Three Byzantine chroniclers claim that she was among other women to be chosen as the bride to emperor Theophilos. Taken by her beauty, Theophilos approached and exchanged a few words, but Kassia’s rebuttal wounded Theophilos’ pride and so he rejected her and chose Theodora as his wife.

  1. She was an abbess.

In 843, Kassia founded a convent in the west of Constantinople and became its first abbess. A close relationship with the nearby monastery motivated her for wanting a monastic life.

  1. At least twenty-three genuine hymns are ascribed to her.

The exact number of works is hard to assess, as many hymns and other works are ascribed to different authors in different manuscripts and are often identified as anonymous. Twenty-three of those hymns are ascribed to Kassia.

  1. She wrote Secular versus as well.

Kassia is notable as one of only two Eastern Roman women known to have written in their own names during the Middle Ages. She wrote many non-liturgical verses as well. Many of her epigrams consists of meaningful sayings put into verse to aid the memory. For example, “I hate the rich man moaning as if he were poor.”

  1. Kassia was courageous.

We already know that Kassia was not afraid to speak her mind, but 9th-century Constantinople was rocked by fierce debate over the legitimacy of religious images. Kassia stood up to defend the veneration of the icons, through writing and action.

  1. Kassia is the earliest known female composer in Europe.

Kassia is the earliest woman composer whose works survive. The monastery of Stoudios re-edited the Byzantine liturgical books in the 9th and 10th centuries, which would ensure the survival of her work. Many of her hymns are still used in the Byzantine liturgy to this day.

Sources:
1. British Library/Mary Wellesley & Peter Toth. 2016. Kassia: A Bold and Beautiful Byzantine Poet. [ONLINE] Available at: http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2016/03/kassia.html. [Accessed 19 August 2018].
2. Feminism and Religion/Carol P. Christ. 2015. Kassiani: Placing a Woman at the Center of the Easter Drama. [ONLINE] Available at: https://feminismandreligion.com/2015/04/13/kassiani-placing-a-woman-at-the-center-of-the-easter-drama-by-carol-p-christ/. [Accessed 19 August 2018].
3. Naxos Records. 2018. Kassia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.naxos.com/person/_Kassia/106294.htm. [Accessed 19 August 2018].
4. Wikipedia. 2018. Kassia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassia. [Accessed 19 August 2018]