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DTStudy: Nero's Expedition

Joe Offer 08 Oct 15 - 03:41 AM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 15 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Oct 15 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,# 08 Oct 15 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,# 08 Oct 15 - 11:30 AM
CupOfTea 08 Oct 15 - 12:03 PM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 15 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Oct 15 - 10:32 AM
Joe Offer 10 Oct 15 - 12:33 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 10 Oct 15 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Oct 15 - 06:37 PM
Joe Offer 11 Oct 15 - 03:37 AM
ChanteyLass 11 Oct 15 - 08:48 PM
Joe Offer 11 Oct 15 - 11:46 PM
Stevebury 15 Oct 15 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Everett Howe 18 Jul 16 - 10:24 AM
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Subject: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 03:41 AM

This is an edited DTStudy thread
NERO'S EXPEDITION
(Moondog)

Nero's expedition up the Nile
Failed ....
Because the water hyacinths ..
Had clogged the river
Denying Nero's vessels passage
Through the Sud of Nubia ......

@round
filename[ NEROSEXP
TUNE FILE: NEROSEXP
CLICK TO PLAY
MC



All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 03:48 AM

Amos and I have been visiting Dani Black in North Carolina since the Getaway. Dani's housemate is a young woman who sings at the drop of a hat - our kinda people. She's been trying to come up with songs that I don't know, and today she stumped me with Nero's Expedition. Mark Cohen posted the lyrics at Mudcat years ago, and the song has been included in the Digital Tradition.
Was it really written by Moondog? Anybody have alternate versions to post?
Here's Mark's post:
    Thread #42454   Message #623222
    Posted By: Mark Cohen
    08-Jan-02 - 04:24 AM
    Thread Name: BS: The Invasion of the Manatees
    Subject: RE: BS: The Invasion of the Manatees

    I knew there was a reason I'd been avoiding this thread...but here's my chance to turn it into a musical one! Seems there would have been a call for manatees in ancient Egypt, as evidenced by this round, which was created by Moondog, evidently after reading a history book while in an altered state of consciousness:

    Nero's expedition up the Nile
    Failed
    Because the water hyacinths
    Had clogged the river
    Denying Nero's vessels passage
    Through the Sud of Nubia

    If you ever get a chance to hear this sung, it's awesome--the only round I know with jazz chords!

    Aloha,
    Mark
    (you remember, manatees eat water hyacinths, and...oh, the hell with it, you figure it out)




Here's an interesting citation from Historical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval Nubia, by Richard A. Lobban, Jr. [Scarecrow Press, 2003, page 280]:
    Nero, Emperor (54-58 CE) Nero sent an exploratory expedition up the Nile to Meroe and beyond into the Ethiopian highlands, viewing various flora and fauna. For example, rhinoceros, elephants, monkeys, green grass; and a description of the Sudd [a vast swamp in South Sudan] was recorded. The purpose of the expedition is not clear, but historians believe Nero was intending to organize a military quest of Nubia. His assassination aborted whatever plans he may have had, and Nubia was spared Roman Domination. Pliny and Seneca have recorded the details of the expedition undertaken under the rule of Nero, a contemporary of St. Mark. Nero's brutal oppression of Christians and Jews was notorious, including the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul in the context of finding someone to blame for the burning of Rome in 64 CE.
Can't say much for the author's grammar, but the information he provides in interesting. But is there truth in the part about the hyacinths described in the song and not mentioned here?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 09:45 AM

I thought water hyacinths came from South America.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,#
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 11:03 AM

Eichhornia crassipes

In "The Nile: Biology of an Ancient River" edited by Julian Rzoska (1976) says that the plant wasn't introduced to Africa until 1912. That info was on p. 317 or 318.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,#
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 11:30 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIbtgO_QpKI

Moondog doing it there.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: CupOfTea
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 12:03 PM

How most incredibly cool to learn about this! Perhaps more incredible is that I still have the melody, with significant rests, correct after not hearing it for decades. I believe I was first introduced to this in the 80s, when Dick Swain hosted some singing sessions at his home in Cleveland. I am not as sure who taught it, but think it was Becky Hill, at that time a Storyteller and dance Caller, as the most challenging round ever. I suspect the only other time I was exposed to it was a late night session at Augusta.

It stuck so solidly, that early in my time of doing panels of bead embroidery, I created a triangular piece with a reed boat up against a river full of flowers that are like water lilies, because I couldn't find what a water hyacinth looked like. (remember when you didn't have the web to find out things ?) The other part of the inspiration was some small porcelain beads that looked like ancient Egyptian ones, so the whole thing was done in those matte finish pastel beads, with some scarab beads at the points. I'd sing it to people who inquired about the piece. I sold it years before digital photography, so don't have anything but slides of it.

It is so reassuring to find I'm not alone in remembering this jazzy round! Now if I only had som folks to sing it with...

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 01:34 PM

The recording quality leaves something to be desired, but this is a very interesting performance of the song at the Florida Renaissance Festival:

This is a good teaching video:

and the full version from the same source:

Oh, and here's a marvelous production by the Daedelus Ensemble:

One more, a great group of young people:

Oh, and as a bonus, here's a great video of the White Nile:

I took a cruise from Luxor to Aswan, and saw parts of the river at Cairo and Abu Simbel. It was beautiful, but I did not see much wildlife. Photos (click)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 10:32 AM

Thank you for the links, Joe and #. I couldn't make any sense of the written notation, but now that I've heard people sing it, I think it's a good song.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 12:33 AM

Wikipedia says water hyacinths were introduced in Africa in the mid-20th century. The species, native to the Amazon, has become a problem in Africa.

Looks like Moondog may have been anachronistic, but it's still a good song.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 03:03 AM

It is also a problem in your area Joe.

www.dbw.parks.ca.gov/BoaterInfo/WaterHyacinth.aspx

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

It is so thick in some areas no one would swim again.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 06:37 PM

Somebody should figure out how to digest it and make methane for fuel. Nobody would miss it.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 03:37 AM

Oh, you betcha, garg. My wife went kayaking on a lake north of Lake Tahoe last week. The State Parks Department provided free kayaks, so outside kayaks wouldn't contaminate the water with hyacinths or snails or any number of contaminants.
Those lakes are beautiful, but they're very, very fragile.
Apparently, water hyacinths have also become a major problem on the Upper Nile in recent years, but not in Nero's time.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 08:48 PM

I have that on a cassette somewhere, I think recorded by The Short Sisters--but I could be wrong about that!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 11:46 PM

Yes, it was recorded by the Short Sisters. Never being one to miss a bargain, I bought all four of their CDs at the Getaway. "Nero's Expedition" is on their 1995 Live from Four States CD.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: Stevebury
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 10:25 PM

I learned 'Nero's Expedition' years ago, I don't remember where from. But it became a staple of our rounds-singing group.

The song was written by Louis Hardin (Moondog) and issued on the LP "Moondog II" (Columbia Records, KC 30897, 1971), along with 25 other rounds and canons. These were re-issued on the CD "Moondog" (CBS, MK 44994). The LP liner notes (remember when LPs had large inserted liner notes?) include notation for all of the rounds (or "madrigals" as Moondog chose to call them).

The version I learned from oral tradition (and which is posted in Mudcat) differs from what Moondog wrote in several ways. It was hard to unlearn the version I first learned and to re-learn it the way Moondog wrote it.

What Moondog wrote differs from the version on Mudcat in the following ways:
Notes:
measure 1 -- E natural; G natural (!)
measure 4 -- no A flat
measure 7 -- G natural; E natural
Rhythm:
eighth notes not triplets in measures 1, 4, 5, 7
measure 2 -- quarter, quarter, half (not syncopated)
measure 3 -- whole note
measure 5 -- half note on beats 1 and 2
measure 7 -- first beat is an eighth rest plus eighth note (i.e. not tied over from measure 6)
measure 8 -- syncopated: half plus eighth, and dotted quarter
measure 11 -- last note is a half note.

The version played at the Florida Renaissance Festival (link above) appears to match what Moondog wrote.

Incidentally, Moondog spelled it 'sudd' not 'sud'. The definition I found is "Floating masses of vegetation that often obstruct navigation on the White Nile. (Arabic, obstruction, from 'sadda', to obstruct.)"


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Nero's Expedition
From: GUEST,Everett Howe
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 10:24 AM

I have a theory about how the anachronism about water hyacinths could have gotten into the song. I wrote about it here:
https://humanistseminarian.com/2016/07/16/neros-expedition-up-the-nile/


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All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.