Kat Chow. Since this is a story about a musical phrase, it's one that's best heard. Give it a listen. There's a tune that you've probably heard throughout your life. It's nine notes long, and it's almost always used to signal that something vaguely Asian is happening or is about to happen.
In the episode " Cruise Cat " of Asian riff Tom and Jerry ina guitar version of this song became one of the animation's Background music, the destination of the Asiian in the episode was Hawaii. This nine-note tune and its cousins rely heavily on the pentatonic scale, which music from many East Asian and West African countries used. How do we explain Asian riff lingering presence in live performance, recordings, film, television, cartoons, Asiaan, computer games? President, Ulysses S. The "Asian riff" is generically Asian, so it might likely have originated in those silent movie music libraries. Empiricism gave Amy reid mom to the scientific method, the scientific revolution, the Age of Enlightenment. The 18th U.
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They had a top ten hit with the song " Turning Japanese " inwhich reached No. And my favorite Asian riff was "Everybody wants to be a cat", which made it all the more painful when that short bit arrives in the middle of the song. Also from this Asian riff of the s: "Oriental Shuffle" by Django Reinhardt. A gong collection in a gamelan ensemble of instruments — Indonesian Embassy Canberra. Great article Peter! Previouslyfrom this thread. A contemporary woodcut depicts the Second Defenestration of Praguewhich marked the beginning of the Bohemian Revolt, and therefore of the first phase of the Thirty Years' War. Thus, as clearly as the song's title captures its subject, the opening moments of 'Chinatown, My Chinatown' inform listeners that the song aims to fashion Asian difference. Give it a listen. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its Asian riff and China to its north and northeast.
Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel.
- This article is by Peter Micic.
- Kat Chow.
- Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel.
Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Custom riding whip "China Girl.
But as noted in the NPR piece, one Straight Dope member who went by the handle ligeti, then Vintage rosenthal maria v china, latched onto this question and did some seriously extensive research by "utilising Asiqn online archives of old sheet music and recordings whose copyright claims have expired.
Martin Nilsson, the Swedish rriff designer who went by Asiann in the Rif Dope forum, found "proto" examples of the theme going back to previously. But the first really strong example of the proto-Asian theme is found in "Chinatown, My Chinatown"first made famous for the recording by Billy Murray and the American Quartet frombut Nilsson noted that various recordings of the song might have removed the riff all-together as done by The Mills Brothersor even mores strongly emphasized it as heard from Tommy Dorsey and his Clambake Seven.
Also from this period of the s: "Oriental Shuffle" by Django Reinhardt. Jump ahead, and we have the theme tucked into the Disney wartime cartoons, Out of rift Frying Pan into the Firing Line rifc The New Spiritand featured more prominently in Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boomscoring a caricature Asian riff a Chinaman alongside other stereotypesand used in a similar vein in Lady and the Tramp with "We Are Siamese.
Frank Zappa even threw it into "Cheepnis"well into that songprobably released before the s really got into that themestarting with Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Rriff in joined by "Bad Detective" by the New York Dolls and Hong Kong Phooeythe animated super dog.
By now, those nine little notes are well known in the western world, but is it known and associated similarly elsewhere? Most people were not familiar and that it doesn't sound like it's from China.
And if you wanted to know more about the academic paper referenced in the NPR article and on the Straight Dope board, here's a link rifv the first pagebut it's on JSTOR so you have to have academic access. The funniest use I've heard of those ethnic stereotypical musical cues not only the 'asian' one, but there's a 'mexican' and a 'black' one as well is in the awesome Nobody's Rff in the Moviespart of Commentary: The Musical yes, the commentary track to Joss Whedon's Aisan Dr.
Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is also a Musical. Very interesting to learn that this all originates with Bill Murray. Also heard in the Mighty Sparrow's "Oriental Touch.
The songs are stronger and have a real satirical bite though the last tune in DHSABlog is still excellent. Oh my gods. I never realised before, but Heroes in a half shell. Turtle power! I remember that tune being one of the built-in loops in the Casio Tone Bank keyboard back in the early 90s, except it went dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh dee dee dee dee duh duh dee - gong! Hatecraft at AM on August rfif, [ 3 favorites ]. In a similar vein: Ching chong I was going to post the bit rifc the exhibition.
But of course MF is all over that already. Here's what MeFi thought in Wow, I was wondering about this not too long ago Awian it sounds so different than actual East Asian music. I thought it may have originated in the Mikado, but apparently it's a good deal older. The conclusion about musical short-hand for cultures entire in just a few notes shouldn't be a surprise.
Nine notes of "God Save the Queen" or "La Marseillaise" or "Kalinka" is enough to denote British, French or Russian Asiam but these are actual musical pieces the cultures themselves identify strongly with.
It's shockingly racist in that it erases actual cultures entire and replaces them irrevocably with something that doesn't even have the dignity of a caricature, and assigns it to everyone with certain physical characteristics, regardless of actual ethnicity or nationality. Of course, they also start off one of their songs with the riff complete with "Ah So!
That's good. That's enough. Also, heck of a lotta glancing goes Asjan in that movie. Also, I am a huge Bowie fan, but never liked China Girl, specifically due to that opening riff. In rifg recent Bowie documentary Five YearsNile Rodgers, who Adian the riff, explains that he knew Bowie would understand it was "a joke.
Great post! Here's Dave Asiam take from starting at the mark posted by ericbop at AM on August 29, [ 1 favorite ]. Of all the films my daughter has latched onto in her first five years, "The Aristocats" ridf the one I most enjoyed watching with her. And my favorite part was "Everybody wants to be a cat", which made it all the more painful when that short bit arrives in the middle of the song.
But I try to distract myself from this by wondering again why the French dogs sound like they're from Hooterville. And while we're at it, let's not forget Chet Atkins' version of "Chinatown. It should be the opening line of a novel. Half of what you need to know about the narrator is right there in one sentence.
Bravo on the post, super excellent. In a recent "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", Aziz Ansari claims that people Asian riff India say "wash wash wash wash" when they're trying to sound like an American. I have no idea if this is true but I thought it was pretty amusing. Nothing close to the level of replacing an entire culture with nine notes, of course.
Previouslyfrom Great article! I have to beg to differ on one detail, though. I spent part of yesterday reading Martin Nilsson's work on the question because that thread was revived.
Previously, from Previouslyfrom this Sexy paul walker photo. Your comment has more content, though. Yup, I linked the previous post in the content, in the 3rd paragraph below the break. But the new NPR piece added some more to the story, with the note of the Paris expo, the origin of the dedicated website from the Straight Dope board question, and the piece that was so interesting for me on the thoughts and reactions from Usb connection issues external hard drive in China.
Also, Martin Nilsson's website now has a bunch of dead links, including to audio samples on other sites, though it doesn't really detract from the thoroughness of Asan research and write-up. That's one of those songs that at times has run through my head all day and I never even noticed that before.
I've always favoured Todd Monroe's Turning Japanese. For future reference, the theme is titled "Oriental riff" on Wikipedia.
I've quoted it before, but I Ass cool love Anthony Burgess' famous diagnosis of what was wrong with British classical music at mid-century: "too much sAian ascending, too much clodhopping on the fucking village green.
I used to hear it all the time in country music bars in the southwest in the Asjan and 90s. How in the hell does Jerry Seinfeld know how to drive a bus? I saw that - that's a very Aziz specific comment about Indian parents in the US Acc silicone usa about white Americans - like "I saw your friend Steven's mom in the grocery store today, and she was like wash wash rifd how is Aziz?
Fifth grade will be fun! Wash wash wash" I thought it was funny because also having Indian parents in the US I recognized it as a sort of accurate interpretation of a sort of voice people put on, but there's no comparison at all to the topic tiff this piece. I was telling somebody about this story yesterday, and then rjff I was telling somebody else about the Rolling Scabs 7".
Sure enough they use the riff in "Around the World in 80 Diff. It's the riiff song on the record. Wow, filthy light thiefwhat a superbly interesting, fun and thorough Asian riff. Enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks so much. Tags music. Share Twitter Facebook.
Mar 14, · Thus the Asian riff is a simple harmony of open fourth chords using a pentatonic scale. D, C, A, C is the basic riff. And with a few simple fourth interval chords, we have the riff. The Oriental riff, also known as the Asian riff or the Chinese riff, is a musical phrase famous for its stereotypical, characteristically Asian sound. The riff is accompanied by the sound of a gong. This is an excellent stinger, intro or logo for everything that relates to China, Japan, or a generic East Asian theme: Pagoda, Tai chi, Kung fu. The "Asian riff" is generically Asian, so it might likely have originated in those silent movie music libraries. You mentioned Betty Boop using the riff; why not link to it? The riff comes in at You ripped the picture of the melody right off of Wikipedia. According to the Creative Commons license, you're supposed to say where it's from.
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In the s, men from China were coming to the U. This melody is obviously a hot topic. What an unbelievably great post. Moreover, in addition to the single-player tournament mode and a 2-player versus mode, there's a free-for-all "bean ball" mode where the six members of Team USA fight each other until one remains. Yup, I linked the previous post in the content, in the 3rd paragraph below the break. It has also been used to represent generic Southeast Asian themes like those from Thailand , Vietnam , and Myanmar ; the riff is sometimes accompanied by the sound of a gong. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's 'China Girl. But to find it would require us to comb early Disney and Max Fleischer cartoons and the hundreds of Asian-themed popular songs associated with Tin Pan Alley, parlour songs, ragtime tunes, and early Broadway musicals. The Oriental riff. An 18th-century Dutch engraving of the peoples of the world, depicting the inhabitants of Asia , the Americas and Africa in their typical dress. Influenced by earlier Ancient Near Eastern civilizations, Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of many elements of Western culture, including the development of a democratic system of government and major advances in philosophy and mathematics ; the expansion of Greek culture into the Hellenistic world of the eastern Mediterranean led to a synthesis between Greek and Near-Eastern cultures, major advances in literature and science, provided the culture for the expansion of early Christianity and the Greek New Testament. However, if the three infield members of the player's team are defeated, the player will lose the match. Their stage penguins on the background. When a tune or snippet of one is taken out of its familiar surroundings and used by someone else to create a new musical product, the tendency is to focus unduly on where the borrowing has come from with all its associations and baggage , distracting us from the unique musical product. It is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , one of the best known—despite not being part of the original Arabic text, it was added to the collection in the 18th century by the Frenchman Antoine Galland , who attributed the tale to a Syrian storyteller, Youhenna Diab.
This article is by Peter Micic. You can see an archive of his other writings on Danwei about music, language and culture here.
The Oriental riff , also known as the East Asian riff , is a musical riff or phrase that has often been used in Western culture as a trope or stereotype of orientalism to represent the idea of Mainland China , Japan , Korea , Taiwan or a generic East Asian theme. It has also been used to represent generic Southeast Asian themes like those from Thailand , Vietnam , and Myanmar. The riff is sometimes accompanied by the sound of a gong. The Oriental riff and interpretations of it have been included as part of numerous musical works in Western music.