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Reagan's funeral music

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From Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter:


One of the things not sufficiently remarked upon the past week: The music, from California to Washington and back to California again, was old music, old American music, and it was beautiful. We have abandoned so much of the core of American music. And then a state funeral comes and the death of a president, and suddenly we are allowed to hear the old songs. "Going Home," the hymn they played for FDR as they took him from Warm Springs, Ga., to Washington. All the stanzas of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"--"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea." "The Navy Hymn," also known as "Eternal Father Strong to Save." "Abide With Me." "Ave Maria"--a great song of the Catholic Church, and yet they don't play it unless it's a special person's wedding or a special person's funeral.


This music is part of our patrimony, every bit as much as the trees and mountains. Our children, in our civic life, have for a generation been denied these songs. The moral and artistic equivalent of river polluters have decided we need to hear--I don't know, what songs do they play now in school, at events? "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"?


We need a new environmental movement--a musical conservation movement aimed at saving and preserving the old songs. The rivers and mountains and plains are so beautiful and need saving. But what have you lost if you lose the sound of your ancestors' souls singing? Even more, I think.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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Originally posted by Peggy Noonan:

We have abandoned so much of the core of American music. And then a state funeral comes and the death of a president, and suddenly we are allowed to hear the old songs.

I couldn't disagree more.Old traditional songs are thrust upon us at every opportunity to the point where nothing else has room to be called a "classic" anymore.If she want's to hear old traditional American music,she simply needs to just listen,it's everywhere.
"A Robot Playing Trumpet Blows"
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I think it was the Army choir at the service in California. They were amazing. The chord structures and the blending of the timbres is so rarely heard. It was really an excellant arrangement of voicing and orchestration. They also were able to nail the avant garde/liturgical feel in a couple of the tunes.
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Ronnie R.

he never dreamed of

being a star

he only wanted to be


he and that funny girl

he give her a ring

she was a nancey girl

she got everything

including a lesson

in hope fadeing away

and how life can be dirty

and living a crime

about living in yesterday

and not enough time

old ronnie

he danced to the strings

that were pulled

he jerked and he fell

into a car he was bulled

and he reigned and he reigned

and the sky rained and it rained

and tomorrow it will rain again

somewhere close

to you

Frank Ranklin and the Ranktones



FRANKIE RANKLIN (Stanky Franks) <<<

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"Musical Conservation." :thu:


I grew up in the church where my Dad was choir director and he based his work heavily on traditional American & European hymns for his choir (He largely stayed away from popular gospel.) Hymns that were often derivatives and reincarnations of lasting melodies that had previously been handed down unwritten through genrations, sort of like the musical equivalent of verbal folklore. "Simple Gifts" springs to mind, reworked countless times, notably by Aaron Copland) They are now passed up in churches for modern praise-pop, projected on the wall using powerpoint.


The loss is not only in that people will forget their musical roots, but also in the loss of skills in reading music, understanding chords and part relationships, and the ability/opportunity to work harmonies together to produce a whole that is bigger than its parts. Singing really good, well-arranged choir music can be a lot of work and very rewarding.


I know a lot of musicians who aren't interested in any of that. That's their prerogative. I'm a better musician for having learned it, though.


It's too bad that many people only hear these songs "all around them" when they are being commercially, or politically exploited. I don't feel that Reagan's funeral was exploiting the music, but I do feel that flag-waving presidential campaigns use "American Music" to manipulate people's emotions. Same way car companies do it to sell cars. Presidents...used car salesmen....connection?

One of these days I'm gonna change my evil ways...

one of these days...


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