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Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'

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CARMEN
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THAIS
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TRISTAN AND ISOLDA


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GUEST,sarahsez 12 Sep 14 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,Arkie 13 Sep 14 - 12:47 PM
Bill D 13 Sep 14 - 03:37 PM
Joe_F 13 Sep 14 - 08:29 PM
GUEST 13 Sep 14 - 08:41 PM
Don Firth 13 Sep 14 - 10:23 PM
Gorgeous Gary 14 Sep 14 - 11:12 AM
GUEST 14 Sep 14 - 12:53 PM
Stewart 14 Sep 14 - 02:01 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: GUEST,sarahsez
Date: 12 Sep 14 - 09:30 PM

Starting a new thread as this was mentioned in in a question about another song. Someone kindly posted the chords to Thais but I still don't know what the tune is.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 13 Sep 14 - 12:47 PM

Tune is supposed to be here. But I did not check to see if it played.

Thais


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Sep 14 - 03:37 PM

The tune plays as a midi...it is close enough, though not 'exactly' what I use.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Sep 14 - 08:29 PM

It is in _The New Song Fest_ -- words & music.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 14 - 08:41 PM

thanks,all!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Sep 14 - 10:23 PM

That's one I've done with considerable success. I learned it from Walt Robertson back sometime in the mid-1950s. In fact, I knew and sang the song before my wife and I saw the opera, and the song is a tidy encapsulation of the plot. Pretty much on the button. Mixed ending. Thais the Alexandrian "courtesan" saves her soul, but Athanael, the monk, loses his soul to lust.

But the midi-file, kinda stinks. The pitch changes up and down the staff are fairly accurate, but the tempo--every note value (length) is exactly the same!! Idiotic!

The best I can suggest is to see if you can find a copy of "The New Song Fest" compiled by Dick and Beth Best (crammed with all kinds of great songs, folk songs, camp songs, rounds, lotsa good stuff!) and check the tune there.

Failing that, it IS possible to salvage the tune as presented by the midi-file if you study the lyrics carefully, ignore the "four-square" timing, and ham it up a bunch. For example, do the line "I'll go to Alexandria and save her soul from Hell!" with a sort of lecherous glee.

The following verse when the monk is packing for the trip, sing it fast—his hormones are flowing and he's in a hurry!

And don't miss the double-meaning in the line, "Said he to Thais, 'Pardon me, although this job is hard on me….'"

In the next verse, when Thais responds, Walt (and I) sing her lines as if she's a complete ditz with a heavy Bronx accent.

I had the advantage of hearing it sung first by a guy (Walt) who as both an excellent singer and a fine actor. But I don't know if anyone has ever recorded it. I could go through it line-by-line, but I don't really have the time right know, and I don't want to cramp anybody else's creativity. My best advice would be to study the song line-by-line, and don't be afraid to ham it up!!

I wouldn't sing it at a church social. But I've sung it a fair amount in parties and at coffee houses, and most people simply take it as a funny, slightly bawdy song, and lots of people who sing it are not aware that the story is taken from Jules Massenet's opera. Thaïs.

Oh!! Note that her name is two syllables: "Tah-EES." I have heard a few people who sing it pronounce it "Thighs!" Oy!!

I've note that the people who seem to get the biggest bang out of it are opera fans who are familiar with the opera!

Play with it. Have fun!   

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 14 Sep 14 - 11:12 AM

If you don't mind a CD with a bunch of SF/fantasy songs on it, Juanita Coulson covers "Thais" on her CD Past and Future Tense.

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 14 - 12:53 PM

Here it is, word for word and note for note exactly from "Song Fest" by Dick and Beth Best. The midi is also transcribed note by note from the above reference. Of course one wouldn't sing it exactly this way - every note exactly the same time value - but it does give the basic melody. I don't know if there's any definite version of this song - after all it's folk music, folks, so sing it any way you like.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Thais: 'One Time in Alexandria...'
From: Stewart
Date: 14 Sep 14 - 02:01 PM

That was me above (sans cookie).
Yes, I learned that song in college back in the late '50s. It was popular among the folk singers then, and we all learned it from "the old yellow songbook" - Song Fest by Best and Best. Years later I still remember every word from the thirteen bloody verses. The words were by Newman Levy from his book "Opera Guyed," 1923, Alfred A. Knopf. I don't know who put it to music, but it's certainly part of the folk tradition.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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