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Network in a sort of do it yourself program which is actually put together here in my studio another day on the yard. And because it is you may occasionally hear extraneous noises such as horns honking down on the Henry Hudson Parkway or a 707 jet may go over and make some unnecessary background noise while I'm talking to you and the I Am Who is talking to you is Don give us here again to mention the music we're going to be hearing on the show. First of all music for a narrator and orchestra. The man who invented music and in the performance we're going to hear Jack Kilby is our narrator with the composer conducting the new symphony orchestra of London. You're. You're.
You're. Up in the bed. And he would have much rather than playing when it was a man made no story. Probably not.
And the people. And labs. Invented music.
Once upon a million years ago the world was a dark. And when. I had nothing to say. They had nothing. Nobody could dance. Dance to. There was nothing. Children never went to me although I know a lot of my so they just ride ride. And ride. In this on happy time. They lived a great inventor me your grandfather invented lots of good things with children like dolls and scooters and lollipops and chocolate
milk. But still they weren't happy. I tried to figure out why but the kids cried so much that I just couldn't hear myself think. One day I decided to go out into the woods to build a new house where it would be quiet. I took my bow and arrow got into my car and drove to the edge of town. Well this looks like a good place I said. But when I started to chop down a tree with my axe there was a funny sound. I hit another tree and there was a funnier sound. And then I heard a bunch of trees. And it sounded so good. I said to myself If sound is good what will happen if I hit this big rock. Pretty good I think I'll try another one. Even better now another one. I. Think I'll try them all
together. And so while I was at it I just decided to go ahead and invent radio 2. I had a busy morning. I had around on sticks and stones and before you knew it I was on the track of inventing music. So I rushed home got my sign in Bandra where it was there and started inventing is a bastard. I invented the flute. Next the oboe.
But then I decided it would take too long like this. I better invent them in bunches clarinets bass clarinets and I said get invented. And they do. And after the woodwinds I invented the trumpets. Next I invented the French horns. And.
Then the old howling in the corner. Why. And. Why. And why. And the viola and the
yellows. And the bases. But that wasn't all I needed I had to have a sharp mind. Oh oh and staccato problem at the right time with a leg rolled home in a Jag and all sold out and again the tongs and tossed any. And all together. It made so much noise from miles around and they all looked like they
wanted to stay. I had to figure out some way to get there but they didn't. But they stayed right there. Finally I said Mark. Your music my instruments. But then something terrible happens when the people learn the only way I could think you think.
And I couldn't imagine what it was.
The room. They went to. Go do their. Thing happened. And.
Invented music again for a story. Jack Kilty was the narrator in this performance of the man who invented music. The new symphony orchestra of London was under the baton of its composer Don give us your host and commentator on this the tenth broadcast of our current series being brought to you by the national educational radio network. Last week we mentioned that we're going to try to put together as a neat little feature called music to be incidental
by. Well it got put together all right it's a sort of lecture on incidental music copiously illustrated with many examples taken from my own school hours. And so if your notebooks are already I'll put on my cap and gown and assume The Stance of a full professor for these next few frenetic minutes and music to be incidental by. An incident in music isn't an important music you know. Far from it. Rather it's that kind of music which performs a very special service rather than the kind which is just music for its own sake. Actually it's a very good thing because how else would a composer move a soprano from one side of the stage over to the other side of the stage to greet her lover or arrange for a prima ballerina to be in the right spot at the right time. If it weren't for incidental music so it's no accident that the incidental music is supplied by the composer to take care of the necessary stage action. And while we usually don't think of it this way the largest part of an opera with the
exception of set pieces big Arias and so forth. The largest part of an opera is all incidental music of one form or another. And in order to bring you up on the subject of the composer and writing incidental music let's approach the whole subject by example rather than precept and to begin. Let's take for instance a situation in which a young man has just been told that he or. The largest part of an opera is all incidental music of one form or another. And in order to bring you up on the subject of the composer and writing incidental music let's approach the whole subject by example rather than precept and to begin. Let's take for instance a situation in which a young man has just been told that his very rich and wealthy father is dead. I'll play the part of the lawyer who has a job of telling the young man the sad news John. I'm the lawyer now John. I can't find words exactly how to tell you but your father is dead.
The customary and cue music one would write something very sad and bluegrass. Of course if John hadn't been sad about it we might have used some incidental music that went like this. The music you see describes John's happiness over the fact that he will now inherit all the money that his stingy father had kept from him. So now the scene would play John. I'm the lawyer again. I can't find words John to tell you but your father is dead. Now. Taken out of context this all sounds a bit on the weird side I'll admit but let's replay the whole scene with still another line for the lawyer.
John I don't know how to tell you but your father is dead. And John I hate to tell you this too but you've been cut out of the will completely. We'll leave John and his problems and try to analyze the use of incidental music or cue music in its use in drama. Let's take the following set of words and see how it works. First I'm going to say them without music and then we'll say them exactly the same way and put music behind them. OK I'll begin. It was one of those nights when the world seemed to be a dark and desperate place. Dark clouds scattered across the face of the full moon. Driven by a wind that wailed in the eves of the old house that stood by the edge of the swamp. The hour was midnight and time for the ghost of Kilkenny to
walk the creaking floors again. Not too dramatic. Well let's try it now with music and I'll try to read it the same way. It was one of those nights when the world seemed to be a dark and desperate place. Dark clouds scattered across the face of the full moon. Driven by wind and wailed in the eaves of the old house by the edge of the swamp. The hour was midnight and time for the ghost of Kilkenny to watch the creaking floors again. I think you'll agree with me that the music definitely sets the scene so that the words now become believable. Well in order not to belabor the point of music's importance in underscoring Let's turn now to the LSA directive music cue and to best
ever stray how that's done let me edit out a few examples and attempt to show you some of the effects they've Illustrated to begin with we'll take a standard type of laugh. Q You know something funny is said in the orchestra responds and. That's the type one can call an amplifier or a punchline commentator. Suppose I said Who is that woman I saw you with last night and you said that was no woman. That was my wife. And then the music said. Oh and let's take another simple one in my ballet shindig I wanted to portray a man with a hick ups ups caused by the intake of too much John Barleycorn as it were. The music went like this. Later he was supposed to stumble and almost fall down on his rather solved condition.
And still another score. Allison orchestra yeah I have a dream sequence and of course everybody knows that the harp is the standard instrument used to indicate that a dream is about to take place. You use a glissando and boom you've got a dream sequence like this. Sleepy. Let's try it again. I see you're all transformed by the magic of the glissando and to the mood of sleepy togetherness. And as long as you're in that mood why don't I just make up a little story about a monster who was a composer and a bunch accused to illustrate my zany yarn and we'll set the scene for this allegory with music designed to set scenes for allegories.
Once upon a time there was a monster who was a composer which in itself was a different many voters have been monsters but he was the first monster that a successful composer not at all. He wasn't a monster he. Goes absolutely no one was afraid of him and he couldn't even get a part on one of the pretty TV shows. And as if this were not enough of a handicap. He was married to a tone deaf battleaxe who hated music even more than she hated Marvin monster. As our story opens Marvin is sitting in his study trying to write as the bells from the bell tower of nearby campus Street College strike the hour. Mine said Marvin Munster it's getting late. I'd better hurry on never get my symphony
finished. Marvin Munster was writing a symphony and that's why he said that he had Marvin that he is a curious method of composition. It made a simple violin out of one of his wife's old brooms and he put it under his chin to try out his theme once more in a minute. Sometimes Marvin whistled. And when he did. Every time he did that which of all whites of his slammed him up the side of the head with a garbage can cover so he couldn't hear straight. Just because he whistled. Marvin said and I quote. Ouch. And then he muttered. Doesn't she know those garbage can covers cost money. Well back to the symphony.
It was a good thing Marvin thought. But it needed something. Zelda his wife who worked as a witch between midnight and 5 a.m. suggested his suggestion. I forgot to tell you she couldn't talk she was a plastic witch you know the kind you get is a bonus with breakfast food these days. Zelda said Marvin Munster. What you have just not said is a very good idea. I think I'll write it down. And he did. The wife has just suggested that he get away from the use of conventional musical instruments and join the avant garde Marvin thought she said National Guard in trying to enlist but they didn't want any composers much less monsters. Marvin went into the kitchen and selected a whole batch of pots and pans and skillets and knives and forks and a couple of glasses and then went to work. And in no time at all he had a new theme.
Quickly he added it to his other theme. Eureka he cried I've got it. And he was so happy that he started to whistle forgetting what was going to happen to him if he did. Watching Marvin. Not only am I a monster complained Marvin at the end of his wits but I'm getting to be a flat headed monster. And then pointing his systolic cathode ray disintegrator after he shouted Take that. The police came of course and at the trial the judge said to him Marvin Munster you are condemned to die. I.
Was sad for him. Here he was in jail behind bars and bars behind in his symphony writing. There was nothing to do but escape. Eat eat eat eat eat. Like a monster got away. He was free at last free. No the posse was in hot pursuit. Closer and closer they came. And then with a volley that would have sunk the Queen Mary. Poor Marvin monster bit the dust. Eeks. Marking lunch for a few hundred night all day and
yet for his match. Somewhere in the sky there is a sound of genius the quiet throbbing of a heartbeat the bullets couldn't go out on my day. It was hard. You can hear his symphony of the future every day. They play enough and composers haven't. It makes him happy of course. The only problem is resolved is there too. And when he whistles. Now how in the world did she find garbage can lives up there. Oh OK. And as they say in church. Thus ended the reading. You've been listening to music to be incidental by a sort of left handed lecture on the composer and
incidentally music. Next week we'll be back on a sort of normal course again with music of a different type. We'll hear two works written especially for a performance at Christmas time. The setting of the night before Christmas and then the coming of the King. Be sure to be with us won't you. Music by Daniel us is brought to you each week for the national educational radio network. This is done give us saying thanks for listening and. Good thing my wife doesn't own any garbage can lead. So long this is the National Education already on at work.
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The music of Don Gillis
Music for narrator and orchestra
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on Don Gillis' compositions for narrator and orchestra.
Series Description
This series features the works of Don Gillis; hosted by the composer himself. Most of the performances are conducted by the composer.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Composer: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Conductor: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Host: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Narrator: Kilty, Jack
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-24-23 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:27
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Chicago: “The music of Don Gillis; Music for narrator and orchestra,” 1964-10-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 22, 2024,
MLA: “The music of Don Gillis; Music for narrator and orchestra.” 1964-10-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 22, 2024. <>.
APA: The music of Don Gillis; Music for narrator and orchestra. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from