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Help: 'The Devil's Music'

GUEST,Ina P.(guest) 19 Aug 00 - 03:56 PM
Oversoul 19 Aug 00 - 05:37 PM
catspaw49 19 Aug 00 - 06:00 PM
Mbo 19 Aug 00 - 06:08 PM
Joe Offer 19 Aug 00 - 06:12 PM
MAG (inactive) 19 Aug 00 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Luther 19 Aug 00 - 07:49 PM
catspaw49 19 Aug 00 - 08:05 PM
Little Hawk 19 Aug 00 - 08:47 PM
Oversoul 19 Aug 00 - 08:58 PM
catspaw49 19 Aug 00 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Luther 19 Aug 00 - 11:43 PM
Mark Clark 19 Aug 00 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,nobody 20 Aug 00 - 03:55 AM
Midchuck 20 Aug 00 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Ina.P 20 Aug 00 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Aug 00 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 20 Aug 00 - 03:17 PM
Little Hawk 20 Aug 00 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,nobody 21 Aug 00 - 07:12 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Aug 00 - 12:50 AM
GUEST,Ina.P. 22 Aug 00 - 12:55 AM
Stewie 22 Aug 00 - 01:33 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 22 Aug 00 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 22 Aug 00 - 10:28 AM
catspaw49 22 Aug 00 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Ina.P 22 Aug 00 - 11:04 AM
Brian Hoskin 22 Aug 00 - 11:26 AM
Stewie 22 Aug 00 - 06:49 PM
Burke 22 Aug 00 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,m l mack 23 Aug 00 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 23 Aug 00 - 12:44 PM
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Subject: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Ina P.(guest)
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 03:56 PM

I am writing an academic work and I live in Germany. Can anybody give me a documented source and explanation for the term "the Devil's music"? I need this for my bibliography.Ina P.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Oversoul
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 05:37 PM

Have you read THE DEVIL'S BOX by Charles Wolfe? I believe this all started with Nicolo Paganini,(maybe earlier?) Probably one culture trying to bad-mouth the influences of another, or an early Public Relations gimmick. Wolfe's book sums up the American notion of it pretty well. Interesting topic, my friend.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 06:00 PM

From what angle? Its a term that's been used in several types of music and different time periods including 50's R&B/Rock.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Mbo
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 06:08 PM

Ian Paisley forced ELO Part II to cancel a concert in 1991, after saying theut performed "devil music." ELO Part II was nothing next to the original ELO, but they weren't THAT bad!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 06:12 PM

Hi - a search of the Encyclopedia Britannica (click) shows that, as usual, Catspaw is right. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool old Catspaw.
"The Devil's Music" is a phrase that has most likely sprung from many different sources, and has been used to describe all sorts of popular music - jazz, blues, and rock 'n' roll. Maybe it came from some father who wanted his daughter to grow up to be a pianist in church and marry a clergyman. More likely, it came from a hundred fathers who had similar wishes. Instead, their daughters ended up drinking booze, smoking cigarettes, and singing the blues.

Another article in the encyclopedia (click here) refers to the tritone progression as "the devil" in music, a term that had been used since the Middle Ages.
So, in conclusion, I would say that our answer is inconclusive.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 06:53 PM

And during the Protestant takeoverin Scotland, the fiddle came to be known as the Devil's Instrument, a reputation I think followed it to Appalachia.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 07:49 PM

well, one conclusive conclusion that can be drawn from this is that no useful conclusions can be drawn from Encyclopedia Brittanica articles. That bit about the tritone, though, is exceptionally bad.

The tritone is an essential harmonic interval, in use in its modern function since the Baroque, and in use in various cadence forms for at least a couple of hundred year prior to that. It's what makes a V7 chord resolve to I.

In folk music terms: when you play a G7 chord, followed by a C chord, you've used a tritone.

The idea of the "devil in music" in relation to the tritone is a corruption of a saying from medieval music theory, "Mi contra fa, diabolus est in musica". To understand what this means, you'll need to know a little about the medieval hexachord theory and practice.

Briefly, it doesn't imply anything at all about satanic properties of the interval, it means "be careful how you write parts, or the singers will fuck it up". It has all the diabolical significance of "i before e, except after c".

"Particularly offensive, or forbidden outright...until about 1900" -- sheesh, who publishes Brittanica these days, anyway -- Rupert Murdoch?


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 08:05 PM

Yeah but its a sound isn't it?....the tritone bit....its a sound. Somebody somewhere at sometime felt that that combination which they heard and associate with some song or another was "vile and blasphemous and the work of the Devil!" How about a "backbeat?" I read an article in a friend's magazine (one that also explains the fallacies i evolution) that went into great depth about music with a "backbeat" being the "devil's music." Because it makes no sense to you or me doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to someone.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 08:47 PM

Hey, Joe...you forgot to mention the most shocking downfall of all for the daughters of those bible-thumping fathers...they ended being seduced by musicians who played that "devil's music"...or even seducing said musicians themselves! (sorta depends on how you see it...) Such is life. :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Oversoul
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 08:58 PM

Maybe I missed the point here, I assumed "Devil's Music" to be associated with the violin family. The ethereal sounds which mimic the human voice. Even a major scale sounds frightening played on a viola...the "old boy" of the string family. Try invoking the "horned one" on a mandolin, good luck. Intervals and chord progressions mean little.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 09:00 PM

Hell Hawk, it may be the daughters gotta' watch their Momma's if the age of the folkies around here are any indication.

Back in '62, the 12 Meter Dame Pattie competed against the American Intrepid for the America's Cup. The Aussie crew of Dame Pattie (often referred to as Damn Pity, she was real slow) were also older sailors and they had T-Shirts printed with the boat, the Aussie flag, and a logo reading, "Daughters...Watch Your Mothers." They were THE hot item in Newport.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 11:43 PM

Spaw, sure, as far as fundamentalist types denouncing this 'n that as the devil's, there's always plenty of that to go around.

My beef is with the Britannica article on the tritone -- "Particularly offensive, or forbidden outright...until about 1900" is a direct quote, and no matter how charitably you try to interpret that sentence, it's just nuts. The articles on modes and harmony that are linked from that same page are better, so maybe the tritone article is just a fluke.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 11:57 PM

There is a popular fiddle tune called "Devil's Dream." I was always given to understand that the name derives from the fiddle itself which was known as the Devil's rocking horse or the Devil's riding horse. Fiddle music was thought to be evil because it caused people to dance and throw off their inhibitions. The sensuality of rhythmic music has been understood from ancient times and in some overly anile cultures where sensuality was condemned, any music that seemed to encourage sensuality was thought to be evil. It turned the minds of the faithful away from spiritual contemplation and towards the purly physical.

"Of course that's just my opinion... I could be wrong."

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,nobody
Date: 20 Aug 00 - 03:55 AM

Devil's music , (from my personal experience)is a talent given by the Devil (like the guys that say "It just popped in my head one day!) But that is also one of the worlds biggest kept secrects , as one who sells their soul to the Devil (the ones that KNOW they have by personally requesting it)Would also be the last to admit it!!!! (Think of the backlash they would suffer if they admitted it!)And then there are the many that have not personally asked him for it ,but they were granted it... because.....well I best not get into that because it's to hard to explain all the reasons. Anyway only a FEW have ever publicly admitted to selling their soul for fame, fortune, or anything else they really wanted. Robert Johnson is one that has admitted it,but you can be sure their is no solid evidence to prove it (except to those that have done it) because there has to be suspicious controversal characters and facts surrounding the methods to protect people weak of mind that could not maintain sanity if it was shown/proved to them beyond a doubt, will have an escape to also disbelieve an uncomprehendable spiritual thing. Please don't attack me or classify me as a religious nut....It's kind of like some people can draw ....some can't... but the ones that can't draw do not accuse the world of having NO artists. And some people can play music and some can't....but the ones that can't don't go around saying "There are NO musicians !!".... But why is it MANY people have religious and/or spiritual experiences ...and the ones that can't run around saying there IS no GOD or no spiritual world or any such thing!!" Why is That ?


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Midchuck
Date: 20 Aug 00 - 08:30 AM

"But why is it MANY people have religious and/or spiritual experiences ...and the ones that can't run around saying there IS no GOD or no spiritual world or any such thing!!" Why is That ?"

I'm going to make the (very dangerous)assumption that you're asking the question in all sincerity, that it isn't a rhetorical question, "asked" in order to make a point on which your mind is already made up.

My answer - valid for me only - is:

I grant that many people have religious experiences that are real for them (I omit "spiritual" because I have spiritual experiences - they just don't have much to do with the teachings of any organized religion - they're more personal to me). The problem is, I have no way to check out other peoples' religious experiences, to find out whether they're truly in communication with a higher power, or simply hallucinating. I have no basis to make a judgment. So I don't make one. I simply let the question remain open until I have some empirical evidence.

I do not deny the existence of God, or the gods, or anyone else that anyone believes in in the absence of empirical evidence. Although since there are so many different beliefs, it follows logically that most of them must be wrong, whoever's right. I simply am not prepared to accept it on the basis of someone else's say-so.

FWIW, I consider an atheist to be just one more sort of religious person. He has definite convictions about something concerning which there isn't enough empirical evidence to justify them, just as a conventionally religious person does. But a conventionally religious person might be getting information from a direct mental connection to the divinity, that I can't share. I can't prove he isn't. An atheist can't make that claim.

Show me empirical evidence and I'll evaluate it and go from there. In the meantime, you have your religious experiences and I'll have what passes for mine. But don't try to impose your truth on me either by force or by sheer blather, without hard evidence, because you'll only bore me at best, or piss me off at worst.

But maybe that was more than you wanted to hear on a Sunday morning. If so, I apologize.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Ina.P
Date: 20 Aug 00 - 09:03 AM

Hi Midchuck! Your assumption is not dangerous and I have no religious agenda whatsoever. My views are not so different from either yours or Joe Offer's on the subject. However, subjective opinions about whether is actually such a thing as "Devil's Music" are not what interests me at the moment. What I'm looking for are bibliographical references to the way the term "Devil's Music" has been used (or if you like abused) to back up a piece of academic writing.Have a nice weekend! Ina.P.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Aug 00 - 01:51 PM

In music history books I have seen the phrase "the devil in music." These words were used by medieval musicians to describe the sound you get when you play the notes F and B together. It more or less forbidden to have that combination in church music, and if you play it on the piano, you can see why

Does that help?


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 20 Aug 00 - 03:17 PM

The tune "The devil's in the girl" made her pregnant in a song of the same title on the Bodley Ballads website (6 copies).


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Aug 00 - 07:26 PM

Midchuck - Great point about the atheist being just another kind of religious person! Right on! Everyone is religious about something, the only question is what. Some people worship money, some worship fame, some worship material goods, some worship Jehovah, some worship Jesus Christ, some worship science and technology, some worship Krishna, some worship sex, some worship their own intellect, and some worship combinations of the above, plus a million other things.

They all find plenty of ways, both rational and irrational to defend their chosen deity(s).

Fine with me. I believe in freedom of religion.

I don't doubt that some have "sold their souls to the Devil", although my concept of exactly what that means might differ from yours in various ways.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,nobody
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 07:12 PM

I only speak from a personal experience ,I realize very few probably had the same,name it whatever makes yourself the most comfortable believing in.....at least I don't feel alone when I read of Robert and Tommy Johnson seeing the same ...but for him it was a big black man at the crossroads, that was only for him ,I'm sure there is a million ways it can/has been done.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 12:50 AM

GUEST Leeneia's right; I vaguely remember something from music theory somewhere that this interval was taboo in medieval church music because its supposed dissonance was Satanic.

I don't know if we are being helpful to the original poster: was it a questions about the interval, or about bowed stringed instruments, or music for same, or what?

As a good reference librarian, I need more information! (But only because searching with what we had, I couldn't come with anything.)


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Ina.P.
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 12:55 AM

I know that "The Devil's Music" was used as a perjorative term for the blues by various people who did not like that music. What I am looking for is a bibliographical reference, which shows its use and possible derivation in this sense. I don't actually think it's the "Devil's Music" any more than any other sort. I like it. Ina.P.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 01:33 AM

InaP., I doubt that you will be able to find any initial documentary source for the use of the term for the blues. Giles Oakley, whose history of the blues is titled 'The Devil's music', does not suggest any specific origin for the term. He merely noted: 'For those who tried to maintain an ordered goodness, a recognised accepted shape of action in life that would bring freedom at least in death, it [the blues] was "the devil's music"'. Paul Oliver, perhaps the pre-eminent authority on the blues, noted in his 'The Blues Fell This Morning': 'For the most part the blues is strictly secular in content. The old-time religion of the southern churches did not permit the singing of "devil songs" and "jumped-up" songs as the blues were commonly termed, and it was not an expression that was natural to the church member. Music and song, he considers, must be for the purpose of praising the Lord, and though "holy dancing" is permitted by many black churches, "sinful dancing" is strictly forbidden'.

In respect of the white tradition, Charles Wolfe's excellent 'The Devil's Box' has been mentioned above.

Good luck with your search.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 08:31 AM

I can't help with the earliest usage but offer the following musings:
Preacher Swaggert called Rock 'n' Roll the divil's music but he was cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis so you could see why!
A book on Hurricane Mitch was called Devil Music so perhaps the most frightening natural sounds are really the devil's music.
There is another book called Chasin' that Devil Music about the blues with lots of stories of the early performers and an accompanying CD with lots of wonderfully obscure performers on it.
RtS (who'd rather listen to Jerry Lee or Robert Johnson than Swaggert or Ian Paisley any day!)


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 10:28 AM

P.S. see the link Brendy provided on the "Postcard from Hell 2" thread.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 10:34 AM

Ya know, at this point you could probably use this thread for bibliographical purposes.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,Ina.P
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 11:04 AM

Hi Roger,Stewie and Catspaw! Oddly enough, I think you have given me a way round this problem. Simply using the titles of the books you have quoted gives ample evidence of the way the term "Devil's Music" has been used. Thanks. Point taken about Messrs.Swaggert and Paisley. I can find them (unintentionally) entertaining for about five minutes,but the effect can wear off, can't it? Would it be dangerous to sign off here by saying God bless Jerry Lee and the late Robert Johnson...


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 11:26 AM

If you read Gayle Dean Wardlow's Chasin' That Devil Music you will find out that most of the legend of Robert Johnson's selling his soul to the devil at a crossroad, was actually the construction of a number of post-1967 writers on the blues.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 06:49 PM

Don't forget Peetie Wheatstraw. He was born William Bunch but, with a flair for the dramatic, he gave himself a name rooted in folk traditions - Peetie Wheatstraw [better known such names were Stavin' Chain, Long John, John the Conqueror, Jack the Bear]. Not contented with a single title, he later styled himself 'The Devil's Son-in-Law. The latter title was added beneath the name 'Peetie Wheatstraw' from his earliest recordings. Still later, he promoted himself as 'The High Sheriff from Hell'. [Information from P.Oliver 'Blues Off the Record'].

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: Burke
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 08:26 PM

Ina, since it's academic work I suggest you get to your university library and check it's indexes for what you're looking for. The sources libraries have are much more extensive that just what you can find on the internet.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,m l mack
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 01:17 AM

For many years I lived in the heart of the American southwestern Bible Belt, going to school tight next door to the world's largest Ba[tist seminary. We all knew without asking. In the 50's, the devil's music was that evil black folk's music that grew up in bars and brothels. Then when Elvis came along and shook his hips, that setteled everything. It all depends on what period the lady's talking about, though, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Help: 'The Devil's Music'
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 12:44 PM

An earlier thread about the tritone.

I don't think that was what Ina P. was asking about, but we can't say much more unless Ina P. provides a bit more background to the question.

T.


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