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Here We Went Again

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Small bits of music can quickly conjure up a time and place. Consider the following examples of these musical riffs and motifs, then discuss: when is it okay to use a musical cliché as a storytelling shortcut?

Sometimes just a few notes of music can give the audience the necessary context for the story. They are mostly very effective, but at times, they are cliche and can be very stereotypical, over-simplifying the setting. 

Click on the images to watch the video and listen to the melody.

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Just like the Chinesy buildings of San Francisco Chinatown, this is also a Western creation. The Oriental riff, also known as the East Asian riff and the Chinaman lick, is a musical riff or phrase that has often been used in Western culture as a trope to represent the idea of East or Southeast Asia. The riff is sometimes accompanied by the sound of a gong at the end. 

The first known example, showing similar rhythm if not yet melody, is the "Aladdin Quick Step", composed around 1847 and used in an Aladdin stage show named The Grand Chinese Spectacle of Aladdin or The Wonderful Lamp. Later related tunes included "Mama's China Twins (Oriental Lullaby)" from 1900. In the 1930s, a couple of cartoons used a version of the tune specifically to accompany animated stereotypes of East Asians. The notes used in the riff are part of a pentatonic scale and often harmonized with parallel open fourths, which makes the riff sound like East Asian music to the casual listener. It is also often incorporated in Japanese theme films/cartoons.

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"Arabian riff", also known as "The Streets of Cairo", "The Poor Little Country Maid", and "the snake charmer song", is a well-known melody, published in different forms in the 19th century. Alternate titles for children's songs using this melody include "The Girls in France" and "The Southern Part of France". The melody is often associated with sexy belly dancing.

There is a clear resemblance between the riff and the French song “Colin prend sa hotte” (published by Christophe Ballard in 1719), whose first five notes are identical. "Colin prend sa hotte" appears to derive from the lost Kradoudja, an Algerian folk song of the 17th century. Sol Bloom, a showman (and later a U.S. congressman), published the song as the entertainment director of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, featuring an attraction called "A Street in Cairo" with snake charmers, camel rides and a scandalous dancer known as Little Egypt. Songwriter James Thornton penned the words and music to his own version of this melody, "Streets Of Cairo or The Poor Little Country Maid" (1895).  His wife Lizzie Cox, who used the stage name Bonnie Thornton. popularized it.

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To the ordinary listener, the scale gives you Middle Eastern calming, spiritual vibes. In music theory, it is called the Phrygian dominant scale or the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. This scale occurs in IndianMiddle EasternBalkanEastern EuropeanCentral Asian, and flamenco music. It is common in Arabic and Egyptian music, in which it is called Hijaz-Nahawand or Hijaz maqam (medlody). It is used in Hebrew prayers and Klezmer music (Central and Eastern European Jewish), where it is known as the "Jewish scale". It is the most common scale in North and South Indian classical raga (improvization).

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A popular melodic pattern of Ancient Greece offers a possible starting point for the Andalusian cadence. Called the Diatonic tetrachord, the sequence resembles the bass line of the chord progression developed centuries later. It is otherwise known as the minor descending tetrachord. Traceable back to the Renaissance, its effective sonorities made it one of the most popular progressions in classical music.


The Andalusian cadence known today, using triads (three notes to make a harmony). Songs of the early 1960s, such as the Ventures' 1960 hit "Walk, Don't Run", used the bass structure from the iconic Andalusian cadence for a surf rock hit. Other notable examples from popular music are "Stray Cat Strut" by The Stray Cats, "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys, "Like a Hurricane" by Neil Young, "Happy Together" by The Turtles, "California Dreamin" by The Mamas and the Papas, and "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits. The Andalusian cadence is featured in the chorus of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal", and it also builds the basis for the middle section in Paco de Lucía's signature track, "Entre dos Aguas" (super legendary flamenco guitarist). In addition, the  chord progression is the primary structure of "Hit the Road Jack".


The "Tarantella Napoletana" is the tarantella associated with Naples. It is familiar to North American viewers of popular media as a quintessentially Italian musical riff or melody. The tarantella was adapted into the 1950 song "Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Me" (very humorous) written by Buddy Arnold and Milton Berle, and performed by Evelyn Knight and the Ray Charles Band.

Jarabe Tapatío, often referred to as the Mexican hat dance, is the national  dance of Mexico. Jarabe means syrup or mixture and tapatio means hat. It originated as a courtship dance in Guadalajara, Jalisco during the 19th century, although its elements can be traced back to the Spanish zambra (Spanish flamenco dance), which were popular during the times of the viceroyalty (New Spain era in North America). Female dancers traditionally wear a china poblana outfit, while the male dancers dress as charros, and

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their steps are characterized by flirtatiously stepping around the brim of their partner's hat. Traditionally, in the 18th century it was all danced by women, but later after the Mexican War of Independence, it was  performed by mixed couples. The church banned it claiming it was immoral and inappropriate but that only made the dance and illegal dancing more popular. Soon, it became a symbol of Mexican dissent. It was later popularized in TV (the Simplsons), music and even in ringtones in the 1990-2000s. 

Yodeling (also jodeling) is a form of singing which involves repeated and rapid changes of pitch between the low-pitch chest register (or "chest voice") and the high-pitch head register or falsetto. The English word yodel is derived from the German word jodeln, meaning "to utter the syllable jo" (pronounced "yo"). This vocal technique is used in many cultures worldwide. Alpine yodeling was a longtime rural tradition in Europe, and most experts agree that yodeling was used in the Central Alps by herders calling their flocks or to communicate between Alpine villages. It became popular in the 1830s as entertainment in theaters and music halls. In Europe, yodeling is still a major feature of folk music (Volksmusik) from Switzerland, Austria, and southern Germany and can be heard in many contemporary folk songs.  


In 1928, blending Alpine yodeling with African American work and blues music styles and traditional folk music, Jimmie Rodgers released his recording "Blue Yodel No. 1". Rodgers' "blue yodel", a term sometimes used to differentiate the earlier Austrian yodeling from the American form of yodeling. One well-known yodeling scene was in the classic The Sound of Music.

The melodic notes of the lute instantly brings you into a scene in medieval times. The lute is used in a great variety of instrumental music from the ancient (Egyptian/Persian) to the late Baroque eras and was the most important instrument for secular music in the Renaissance. The instrument was often accompanied by vocal and singing featured improvisation and narratives. There are contemporary lutist who are popularizing the music once more. 

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It’s not just Spiderman who keeps getting reimagined; Romeo and Juliet have even featured in a Taylor Swift song. Napoleon lost the war but won the world’s lasting attention: he has appeared in hundreds of films, from biopics to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure—in which two unruly heroes travel through time in a red telephone booth that many Americans confuse with Dr. Who’s Tardis. Discuss with your team: should filmmakers and storytellers update historical figures to make them more relevant from one generation to the next?

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"Love Story" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released as the lead single from her second album, Fearless, on September 15, 2008. Inspired by a boy who was unpopular with her family and friends, Swift wrote the song using William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet as a reference point. The lyrics narrate a troubled romance that ends with a marriage proposal, contrary to Shakespeare's tragic conclusion. The midtempo country pop song includes a key change after the bridge and uses acoustic instruments including banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. 

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This is a 1989 American science fiction comedy film directed by Stephen Herek and written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. The first installment of the Bill & Ted franchise, it stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter.  It follows Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves), who travel through time to assemble historical figures for their high school history presentation.

Rufus, a member of an utopian from 2688, travels back in time to show Bill and Ted how to operate the time booth, taking them back to 1805 where they find Napoleon Bonaparte leading his forces against Austria. As Rufus, Bill and Ted return to the present, Napoleon is thrown by a cannonball explosion into their wake and is dragged through the Circuits of Time along with them.  

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Historical characters in the movie include: Billy the Kid, Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, Genghis Khan.

Some art looks forward, and some around, but much of it looks backward. Artists can express a yearning for an older time—or they can try to illuminate its shortcomings. Explore the works below, then discuss: are they nostalgic or critical? Can something be both?

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Into Bondage is a powerful depiction of enslaved Africans bound for the Americas. Shackled figures with their heads hung low walk solemnly toward slave ships on the horizon. Yet even in this grave image of oppression, there is hope. In a gesture foreshadowing freedom from slavery, a lone woman at left raises her bound hands, guiding the viewer's eye to the ships. The male figure in the center pauses on the slave block, his face turned toward a beam of light emanating from a lone star in the softly colored sky, possibly suggesting the North Star. In 1936, Douglas was commissioned to create a series of murals for the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. Installed in the elegant entrance lobby of the Hall of Negro Life, his four paintings charted the journey of African Americans from slavery to the present. Considered a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, the cultural phenomenon that promoted African and African American culture as a source of pride and inspiration, Douglas was an inspiring choice for the project. The Hall of Negro Life, which opened on Juneteenth (June 19), a holiday celebrating the end of slavery.

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Richard Wilson paints Llyn Cau, a lake near the summit of Cadair Idris in North Wales. He heightened the precipice and included imagined landscape features to create a balanced, more ordered composition. The tiny people underscore the monumental scale of the scenery. Wilson suggests we are looking at an untouched paradise, ideal for contemplating nature. The figure with a telescope may reflect the fashionable enthusiasm for such remote scenery. The Welsh countryside particularly appealed to Wilson’s contemporaries because of the new taste for sublime awe-inspiring landscapes and the growing interest in Welsh history and culture.  This is a nostalgic piece about prisitine nature.

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Long known as "The Oxbow," this work is a masterpiece of American landscape painting, laden with possible interpretations. It was part of a collection titled "The Course of Empire" (New-York Historical Society). It was first shown at the National Academy of Design in 1836 as "View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm." Cole's interest in the subject probably dates from his 1829–32 trip to Europe, during which he made an exact tracing of the view published in Basil Hall's "Forty Etchings Made with the Camera Lucida in North America in 1827 and 1828." Hall criticized Americans' 

inattentiveness to their scenery, and Cole responded with a landscape that praises the uniqueness of America by encompassing "a union of the picturesque, the sublime, and the magnificent." Although often ambiguous about the subjugation of the land, here the artist juxtaposes untamed wilderness and pastoral settlement to emphasize the possibilities of the national landscape, pointing to the future prospect of the American nation. Cole's unequivocal construction and composition of the scene, charged with moral significance, is reinforced by his depiction of himself in the middle distance, perched on a promontory point. The painting can also symbolize man conquering wilderness/nature in civilization and agriculture. He is an American producing American art, in communion with American scenery. There are both sketchbook drawings with annotations and related oil sketches of this subject. Many other artists copied or imitated the painting. 

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Turner’s painting shows the final journey of the Temeraire, as the ship is towed from Sheerness in Kent along the river Thames to Rotherhithe in south-east London, where it was to be scrapped. The veteran warship had played a distinguished role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, but by 1838 was over 40 years old and had been sold off by the Admiralty. When exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839, the painting was accompanied by lines Turner had adapted from Thomas Campbell’s poem, Ye Mariners of England: ‘The flag which braved the battle and the breeze, / No longer owns her.’ It is unlikely that Turner witnessed the ship being towed; instead, he imaginatively recreated the scene using contemporary reports. Set against a blazing sunset, the last voyage of the Temeraire takes on a greater symbolic meaning, as the age of sail gives way to the age of steam.

Austrian artist Egon Schiele is best known for his shamelessly erotic and frank representations of human form. But alongside his startlingly revealing portraits and raw nude studies lie haunting journeys into fragile existence through town paintings and landscapes. His expressive, vulnerable bodies inform a notorious core of work, but Schiele was also a prolific chronicler of the natural and urban environment. His quest to explore the spiritual essence of his environment is Expressionist in notion, revealing the hidden core of human experience through visual exaggeration and subjective insight. The motif of the dead city was a theme he returned to on numerous occasions during this period. Sketches of


a clustered group of houses served as a reference for a series of particularly inanimate, morbid scenes. This is an eternally nocturnal townscape devoid of inhabitants. In fact, most of Schiele’s urban landscapes are empty of people. He died tragically in 1918 from Influenza, when he was only 28 years old.

In this painting, there is a different tone. At the juncture of his untimely death, post-war negotiations towards the eventual Austrian Republic were claiming the last vestiges of disintegrating Habsburg rule. Schiele had high hopes for a new society where a brotherhood of artists would assist in building a better world for mankind. It is fitting to interpret one of his final townscapes as a wishful longing for this utopian awakening. Although the painting is enveloped in somber darkness, we see actual people emerging, blinking and confused, from a sweeping arc of multi-colored abodes. We can fancifully construe this as a convenient metaphor for the forthcoming dawn, the end of a crumbling empire and the birth of a brand new day.

Songs can become touchstones of national or even nationalist nostalgia, reaching for the “good old days” even as politics and culture evolve beyond them. Consider the following selections, then discuss: should cultures continue to celebrate songs that divide them from the rest of the world?


Si vas para Chile ('If you go to Chile') is a waltz composed by the Chilean musician Chito Faró in 1942. This song is one of the most popular songs in Chilean music and it has been covered by many artists, including Los Huasos Quincheros and Los Cuatro Cuartos. Some say the song was created by Jorge Yáñez a member of Los Huasos Quincheros. The song takes the form of a conversation between a Chilean living abroad and a person who is going to visit Chile. The Chilean asks the traveler to visit the woman he loves to express his feelings from afar. He gives directions to arrive at his beloved's home, describing in the process characteristics of Chile's Central Valleywillows alongside streams, the Andes mountain range and the townspeople. Si Vas Para Chile evokes a sense of nostalgia, especially among Chileans living far away from their homeland. The song serves as a nostalgic reminder of their roots,


"Kalinka" is a Russian folk-style song written in 1860 by the composer and folklorist Ivan Larionov. It is one of the most well-known Russian folksongs in the world. In contemporary times, it was one of the theme songs for the video game Tetris. For such an operatic song, the theme is very playful and silly. 

"Little red berry, red berry, red berry of mine!
In the garden (there is) a berry - little raspberry, raspberry of mine!

Ah, under the pine, the green one, Lay me down to sleep,
Oh-swing, sway, Oh-swing, sway, Lay me down to sleep."


The city Belz is actually the city of Bălți, a city in Moldova. It once had a large Jewish population that was expelled to concentration camps. The famous Yiddish song Mein Shtetle Belz from 1932, written by Jacob Jacobs (theater) and composed by Alexander Olshanetsky for the play Ghetto Song, makes a reference to the old Jewish city of Bălți. It had been a tribute to the famous singer Isa Kremer, born in Bălți, and who was probably also the first one to perform it.

Belz, my littel town of Belz
My home, where my childhood days passed
Belz, my home town of Belz

In a small and simple room
Where I would sit and laugh with all the children.

I would run with my prayer book every Shabbat
To the banks of the river,
And sit under the green tree.

The "Isle of Innisfree" is a song composed by Dick Farrelly (Irish songwriter, policeman and poet. Farrelly’s "Isle of Innisfree" is a haunting melody with lyrics expressing the longing of an Irish emigrant for his native land. When film director John Ford heard the song, he loved it so much that he chose it as the principal theme of his film The Quiet Man. The composition received no mention in the screen credits. "The Isle of Innisfree" became a worldwide hit for Bing Crosby in 1952 and continues to feature in the repertoires of many artists.


But dreams don't last though dreams are not forgotten
And soon I'm back to stern reality
But though they pave the foot ways here with gold dust
I still would choose the Isle of Innisfree


"Bonjour Vietnam" is a song composed by Marc Lavoine, co-written by Lavoine and Yvan Coriat, and recorded by Vietnamese-Belgian singer Quynh Anh. Lavoine said he was impressed by Quynh Anh's charm and talent as well as being touched by the feeling of a small girl who had never seen her homeland, so he wrote the song as a gift for her. The content of the song is about the longing of an overseas Vietnamese for her homeland. The song was well received in Vietnam as well as international francophone communities around the world. 

Along these lines, them Mushrooms' Embe Dodo is an example of a nostalgic musical genre—zilizopendwa—with enduring popularity in East Africa. Across the continent in Togo, nostalgia for the sound of the 1970s merged with voodoo traditions in the work of Peter Solo’s band Vaudoo Game. Check out their song “Pas Contente”, then discuss with your team: is this approach an effective way to tie local traditions into a larger global music scene? Can a songwriter champion Togolese tradition while also relocating to live in France?

Jambo Bwana, released in 1982, is a popular Kenyan song in the album Them Mushrooms, which has become the unofficial "Kenyan tourist song". Many even believe it is a folk song. The group Them Mushrooms was established as Avenida Success in 1969. The name of the band comes from a mushroom species, which proliferates widely in the Africa rainforest. The song has some popular Swahili phrases such as  'habari gani? nzuri sana' ("how are things going? very well") and hakuna matata ("no problem") The song might have even inspired the popular song Hakuna Matata from Disney's Lion King.   For a translation of the song's lyrics, please click here.  

However, if you go deeper into the lyrics, you find that it has a more meaningful and political message about Kenya's problems. The lyrics "Visitors are welcomed. In our Kenya, there are no problems" masks many of the issues facing East Africa today, such as inequality and economic challenges. Also, the word 'bwana' can literally mean "sir" but it can also mean "boss" or “master”, which implies the colonial past of Kenya. The song's popularity has inspired many covers and still brings awareness to Africa.  

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Zilizopendwa is a genre of urban East African music and the word comes from Swahili, meaning "those that were loved". It also means freedom and became popular in the 60's, 70's and 80's following the independence of many African countries. It fuses traditional African music with western instrumentations, catchy phrases, and beats. 

Zilizopendwa is such an integral part of Kenya society that it has inspired a research paper by university scholars, who want to share the history of its development and also caution against misrepresentation. The research paper starts with the historical context after World War II with the emergence of many Western ideals and music styles, which drowned out other African music styles but gave birth to zilizopendwa. One of the significant influences was the introduction of the guitar. As new songs were created, the popularity of zilizopendwa continued through remakes and covers by newer bands that kept the music alive with new beats and instrumentation. Then, it spread into schools and festivals through choirs, performed as both secular and sacred music. The authors believe it is important to understand the historical context of the songs and not just appreciate its melody and dance as many originals celebrate or draw awareness to critical issues that shaped the development of the region. Understanding is  for the  purpose of edutainment and continuity.

Peter Solo is a musician from Togo, a small country on the Western side of Africa, with a specialty in vaudou music (voodoo - yes, the witchcraft religion from the Caribbeans). "my mom was, she is a Vaudou priestess, and my dad went to the Catholic church, and I have both of them. I have a Catholic background and I have a Vaudou background, but Vaudou is my culture, and I was born in it. Very important. You know, you can’t do a ceremony, a Vaudou ceremony without music; they are not two things, they are one thing. And we’re here in Utrecht, Netherlands for a festival called Voodoo To Go. " 

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Peter Solo explains that vaudou music is not about something evil or satanic. "That's Hollywood." He explains that it is about nature, love, peace and connection to traditional cultures. When they perform there is a lot of movement and connection to other music such as funk and trance. It is a different direction from electronic music in that it is all natural sounds. In his interview with AfroPop, he hopes to spread this concept around the world and influence even his people back in Togo. 

Pas Contente literally means not happy. Among the fruits of the convergence between African and Afro-American musicians, there is one lesser-known genre that hails from the cradle of vaudou culture in Togo, Benin, and whose key figures, since the 1970′s, had their popularity confined to afro-groove fans. The music video shows Peter Solo setting up a vaudou shrine and many characters bringing their problems and offerings to the 

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shrine, whether it is fish or vegetables. His music video is effective because he shows it is not only an African phenomenon and something that can enchant and influence a global audience. He is living away in France because this is where he find discovered the connection and support of global music. 

Before radio, cassette tapes, and MP3s, it was harder to achieve widespread fame as a musician. Britain’s first pop star came up with an alternative way to climb the Billboard charts: he sold the sheet music for his songs at each of his concerts. Read about this forgotten 100-hit wonder, Charles Dibdin, and listen to some of his music as recreated today. Then, discuss with your team: does his work sound more modern than you would expect—and could it find success in the world today?

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In the 18th Century, he set the agenda for today's superstars, yet Charles Dibdin has since been largely forgotten. Writer Holly Williams explores a remarkable career – and the nature of fame.

Charles Dibdin died in 1814 – although you might recognise the tune of one of his many nautical songs, "Tom Bowling", often featured in the UK's popular annual classical concert, "Last Night of the Proms".

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"He was the most dominant singer-songwriter that Britain has ever had," insists David Chandler, Professor of English Literature at Doshisha University in Kyoto, who has overseen the recent recording of several of Dibdin's shows for CD and digital streaming. "Who is the great British singer-songwriter? Most people are going to choose someone alive or recently deceased – but most of those would have some competition [in their respective eras]. With Dibdin, you just have someone with no obvious rival. " Even though he was a genius, he had a temper and made a lot of enemies; therefore, he had to work a lot on his own. Dibdin's reputation as being tricky to work with ultimately led to his staging one-man shows from 1787. He called these innovative, touring performances his "Table Entertainments".

He also toured and did a lot of stand up shows, adding narratives in between his pieces. He also published stories, which were very popular with the upper and middle class because they were relatable. Another of Dibdin's canniest moves was to pioneer merchandise: he would sell his own sheet music, as well as his books, at performances. His self-publishing approach means it's hard to tell exactly how popular his three novels really were, although we do know they appeared in more than one edition. 

More significant are the song sheets, which featured lyrics and scores for keyboard and a kind of widely played flute. "One of Dibdin's strokes of genius was to start publishing his own music, which was not at all common [at the time]," points out Chandler. "He'd sign each one – he must've had these enormous signing sessions."  Gradually he fell out of the limelight as all geniuses would, but he still lived a very prolific life that deserves remembrance.

When enough people are trying to read sheet music simultaneously, you need a conductor to coordinate them. But different conductors have different approaches. Some try to reproduce the sound of a piece exactly as its composer intended; they are the musical equivalents of constitutional originalists. “[He] is literally a slave to the composer,” one critic wrote of the famed conductor Arturo Toscanini. He meant it as praise. Discuss with your team: if you were a conductor, would you see it as your duty to follow the original composer's wishes? Or would you be more of a living constitutionalist, updating your interpretation of the notes on the page to match the times?

Written by Steven G. Calabresi, the article explains the concept of interpretation for the Constitution of the United States. Originalism is a theory of the interpretation of legal texts, including the text of the Constitution. Originalists believe that the constitutional text ought to be given the original public meaning that it would have had at the time that it became law. 


Originalism is usually contrasted as a theory of constitutional interpretation with Living Constitutionalism. Living constitutionalists believe that the meaning of the constitutional text changes over time, as social attitudes change, even without the adoption of a formal constitutional amendment pursuant to Article V of the Constitution. Living constitutionalists believe that racial segregation was constitutional from 1877 to 1954, because public opinion favored it, and that it became unconstitutional only as a result of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) – a case in which they

had an unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional).– a case in which they think the Supreme Court changed and improved the Constitution. In contrast, originalists think that the Fourteenth Amendment always forbade racial segregation—from its adoption in 1868, to the Supreme Court’s erroneous decision upholding segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896 (Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine), to the decision in Brown in 1954, down to the present day.   Living constitutionalists think racial apartheid could become constitutional again if social attitudes toward race evolve. Originalists disagree and think race discrimination will always be unconstitutional unless the 14th Amendment is repealed. Originalism is grounded in the two-century-long movement toward constitutionalism, and it is behind the U.S. Constitution itself. Click on the photo icon to watch a video of about the difference. 

10 purposes that underlie the U.S. Constitution. 

1. Set Up or Constitute the Institutions of the National Government

2. Divide and Allocate Power

3. Serve as a Gag Rule—A third purpose served by the Constitution is that it functions as a gag rule: it takes certain subjects off the table of discussion in ordinary politics. The Framers of the Constitution meant to do this at the national level when they forbade a national established church, protected the free exercise of religion, and forbade religious tests for holding office. 

4. Restrain the Passions of the Moment

5. A Framework for Private Ordering - it is not just hard to amend the Constitution; it is also very hard to pass an ordinary law. 

6. A System of Intergenerational Lawmaking -  Law can create a freedom or power in people that would not exist if it were not there.

7. Promote the Rule of Law—A seventh purpose of the Constitution is to promote the rule of law and not of individual men or women.

8. Promote Democracy - The Constitution provides for popular ratification and for popular election of representatives, senators, and, indirectly, Presidents. Judges, whose selection is removed from the people, are picked by the President and Senate and thus indirectly by the people.

9. Certainty from Getting Things in Writing—A ninth purpose of the Constitution is to make it easier to find the law by getting it down in writing. 

10.  Lead to Good Consequences—The tenth and final purpose of the Constitution is aspirational and consequential. 

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Italian Toscanini was one of the most acclaimed conductors of the 19th and 20th century, as the musical director of La Scala in Milan, New York Philharmonic and later the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He was renowned for his intensity, perfectionism, attention to detail and photographic memory.  He began as a celloist and turned to conducting by chance at age 19 to replace a conductor that singers rebelled against, but it turned out to be a total success. 

Throughout his career he was idolized by critics in Italy and America. He became a well-known amongst the American public for his radio and also TV performances. Perhaps the only criticism of him was that he preferred the old European masters instead of contemporary repertoire. 


The concept of 'textual fidelity' means that the conductor sticks to the musical score instructions as closely as possible. Mr. Toscanini is literally a slave to the composer," one critic wrote. But in Linda Fairtile's research paper 'Toscanini and the Myth of Textual Fidelity' she noted that Toscanini himself on multiple occasion adds his own interpretation based on his understanding of the composer's intent. His changes were to uphold the artistic integrity of the music and not because of his ego, and once music critics realize this, they can appreciate his achievements all that more. 


I believe each conductor needs to add his or her own personal interpretation to the original music and lead the orchestra to break new grounds.  There should be some respect to the original music to ensure it is an authentic and genuine performance, however, music is an evolving taste and robots or AI can never take the place of the complex dialogue and communications between people. 

Disney is clearly the latter: when dubbing the Studio Ghibli film Laputa: Castle in The Sky into English, Disney added more music, sound effects, and ad-libbed dialogue. The result was met with mixed reactions. Discuss: how much is too much when it comes to adapting a work for a new language, culture, or age group?

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Behind most great Hayao Miyazaki films is a soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi. Hisaishi has been Miyazaki’s go-to composer ever since he scored Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind. He has since created some of the most memorable Studio Ghibli compositions in the company’s history. For Miyazaki’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky, for the Japanese original and US version, there are two soundtracks and yes, they are both by Hisaishi. But Why?

In 1996 Studio Ghibli made a surprising deal with the Walt Disney Company: They would sell the American distribution rights of their entire catalog to Disney, who would go on to produce English dubs of the films and release them in America. Disney had huge plans for Castle in the Sky. First, it dropped the Laputa from the title as it was an offensive word in Spanish). Second, it wondered if it could improve the music, as the original was done with a synthesizer, which was common in the 1990s, but movies today were scored with lavish orchestras. Sadly, Disney decided to launch Princess Mononoke, which bombed and caused Castle in the Sky to be shelved. So, finally it was released direct to DVD. The DVD had a dub that was met with mixed reception, but the newly revised score did receive praise from fans who loved how much better it sounded. Later, Studio Ghibli gained recognition in the US and relaunched the original version. This means that the 2005 DVD is the only way for Americans to hear the re-recorded score in the movie.

Sometimes creators reimagine their own work. Consider Geoge Lucas’s re-releases of his original Star Wars trilogy in 1997; the changes in them inspired a generation of controversy. Should a creator’s own edited version of a work replace the original, and does the answer depend on the preferences of the author—or of the audience?

In 1978, Star Wars won seven Academy Awards. But if you want to watch that original version, the first of George Lucas’s soon to be seven-part saga, you’ll find it difficult. In fact, it’s actually impossible to buy an official copy of Star Wars as it was first released. Lucas doesn’t want you to see that version. Instead, he wants you to watch the continuously updated special editions—movies with added CGI, changed sound effects, and whole new scenes. Fans of the original are now taking it upon themselves to recreate the original Star Wars in a process they call “despecializing.”  One of the most well known despecializers goes by the name “Harmy,” and he uses speicla sources to create his retro versions that are popular with fans. 

Some key points:

1) The 2011 Blue-ray has some horrible coloring issues, specifically, it has very strong magenta tones and makes some natural scenes very unnatural. 

2) The 2006 GOUT (George's original unaltered triology) is likely the best version so far and most like the authentic 1978 version. However, this 20 year old version, still has some issues: noise smearing, faded colors. So Harmy sometimes only utilized small segments in his despecialized versions.  Matching HD quality to low res was not easy. Two guys called Dark_Jedi and You_too are working together to make those scene seamless. 

3) Another version used in combination was the 2004 DVD version, which had some of the original scenes captured by PAL (old video tape technology)

4) A very cool team called Team Negative 1 used a print scan of the old original 35mm film footage to reconstruct their version. It was very grainy so it had to be cleaned up to be used next to modified footage.

5) Homemade recapture version like the Puggo Grande were also used and it involved a lot of cleaning up in denosing and upscaling.

6) Many despecializing experts rely on high-def photos or scans of the 35mm frames and superimposes the image to the videos. (spacecraft sample below which was a combination of video and image. 

7) Lastly, experts used multiple still image sources and added animation and layers (mattes) to clean up and bring these old images to life. 

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Is George Lucas changing his mind about updates? A 1988 congressional hearing heard that colourising old black-and-white films would constitute "destruction of our film heritage". The speaker's statement continued: "In the future it will become easier for old negatives to become lost and be 'replaced' by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten." He obviously didn't think so before.

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The 2004 special edition features all of 1997's awkward edits – Greedo shooting first, Han stepping on Jabba's tail – and adds even more egregious acts of self-mutilation. Most notably, Return of the Jedi replaces Sebastian Shaw as the spirit Anakin Skywalker with wooden imp Hayden Christensen, star of the prequels. "In essence, films never get finished, they get abandoned," Lucas told American Cinematographer magazine in 1997. "The other versions will disappear. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be [the Special Edition]. I think it's the director's prerogative … to go back and reinvent a movie."

Alexandre Philippe directed documentary feature The People vs George Lucas, in which he talks about the controversy about Lucas updating his classic and fans losing out because of this.  "We've heard all the excuses: they don't represent George's 'original vision'; the negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions; they can't or won't put in the time and resources needed to properly restore the films. Now, we're told that releasing the originals is an oxymoron. As the reasons for not releasing the originals pile up, they simply don't add up to anything coherent any more."

Some times people's nostalgia means going for the original thing, even if the creator has already moved on. Which one is more authentic? The creator's version or the one framed people's first impression?

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