2005-05-13

Trouble


For colleagues who disapprove of 'music that has to be explained.'



Well, either you are closing your eyes
to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster
indicated by the presence of
composer talks in your concert hall.

We-e-e-e-ell, ya got trouble, my friends.
Trouble right here in Music City.

Certainly I'm a classics fan
I'm always mighty proud to say--I'm always
mighty proud to say it.
I consider the hours I spend
with Pachelbel's Canon golden.
Helps me cultivate form sense
and a cool mind and a keen ear.
And did you ever try to give an ironclad leave to yourself
from a chat about three or four Seasons?

But just as I say it takes tolerance, wit, and maturity
to banter a bit about bowings, I say that any boob
can grab a mike and talk about pitch sets.
And I call that 'Snob'--
the first big step on the road
to the depths of degrada--I say first
a little Tippett from a teaspoon, then Babbitt from a bottle!

And the next thing you know your kid is playin
Tan Dun in a dark black suit
and listenin to some big outatown jasper, hearing tell about
a serial approach to rhythms--
not some wholesome Ars Nova motet, mind you,
but one where they print stems right next to the notes!
Would you like to think of some stuck-up artsy boy
babblin bout retrograde themes?
Makes your blood boil! Well, I should say.

Now friends, let me tell ya what I mean.
Ya got 2 3 4 5 6 7 pitches in C Major--
intervals that mark the difference
between a craftsman and a Crumb
with a capital C and that rhymes with B
and that stands for brains.

Ya got trouble, folks!
Right here in Music City!
Trouble with a capital T
and that rhymes with B
and that stands for brains!
Ya surely got trouble!
Gotta teach the young ones music entertains!

And all week long
your Music City youth'll be fritterin away,
I say your young ones'll be fritterin!
Fritterin away their rock time, rap time,
hop time, too!
Stack the tones in the cluster--
never mind gettin blue jeans ripped
or their midriffs bared
or the drum sets pounded!
Never mind writin anything marketable
til the DJs are caught
with no danceable tunes on a Saturday night

and that's trouble.
Yeah, ya got lots and lotsa trouble.
I'm thinkin of the kids with the metronomes
reed-shavin young ones
peekin in the concert hall windows after school--
Ya got trouble, folks!
Right here in Music City!
Trouble with a capital T
and that rhymes with B
and that stands for brains!

(CHORUS: Trouble! Trouble, trouble, trouble... )

Now I know all you folks are the right kind of parents.
I'm going to be perfectly frank.
Would you like to know what kind of conversation goes on
while they're loafin around that hall?
They're talkin bout tritones, talkin octatonics,
sharin microtones on MP3s!
And all the time bra-a-a-aggin how they're gonna hide
their telltale files under 'U2' on drive D!
They're loggin into iTunes, loadin Takemitsu
like the egghead men and their Ivy League women
with that shameless music
that'll grab your son, your daughter,
to the arms of a decadent classical elitist Mass Hysteria!
Friends, an overworked mind is the Devil's playground--

Trouble!
Right here in Music City!
Trouble with a capital T
and that rhymes with B
and that stands for brains!
We've surely got trouble! Right here!
'Material Girl' is a song no one explains!

Mothers of Music City!
Heed the warning before it's too late!
Watch for the telltale signs of corruption!
The minute your daughter leaves the house
does she retune her violin?
Is there a Gubaidulina bookmark buried in the browser?
A Chen Yi CD hidden in the disk drive?
Are certain wo-o-o-o-ords creeping into her conversation?
Wo-o-o-o-o-ords like... 'postminimal'?
(Trouble! Trouble! Trouble! Trouble!)
Aha! and 'So's your old Messiaen!'
(Trouble! Trouble! Trouble!)
Well, folks--

Ya got Trouble!
Right here in Music City!
Trouble with a capital T
and that rhymes with B
and that stands for brains!
We've surely got trouble! Right here!
Remember Broadway, Old Blue Eyes and Harry James!

Oh, we've got trouble!
We got lots and lotsa trouble!
That sound with the twelve chromatic tones is acid rain!
(Acid rain!)
Oh yes, we've got trouble, trouble, trouble!
(Oh yes, we've got trouble here,
we're in great big trouble!)
With a T (With a capital T!)
and that rhymes with B
(That rhymes with B!)
and that stands for brains!
(That stands for brains!)



Alton Thompson (with apologies to Meredith Willson)

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