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Beyond bare bones musculoskeletal health research
Wit, dedication, and chalk dust
Ron Seyb's teaching
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What the faculty are up to
Joyous noise Tang Museum's fifth birthday party
On that note A Peter Schickele residency
Home economics Students buy a house
Rising fast Northwoods Apartments construction
Home-team welcome Hall of Fame inductees
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Sportswrap Thoroughbred highlights

 

On that note...

“Contrary to what people think, musicians—especially classical ones—do have a sense of humor,” says Peter Schickele, host of the syndicated radio show Schickele Mix. During a six-day campus residency in November, the Grammy-winning musicologist—who “discovered” the fictitious P.D.Q. Bach nearly fifty years ago and has since amused audiences with compositions like The Short-Tempered Clavier and My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth—gave a public talk, coached Skidmore’s choral and orchestral groups, and presented a sold-out concert.

At his standing-room only lecture, “What’s So Funny About Music?” Schickele cracked a few jokes (“What’s the difference between a viola and a violin? A viola burns longer.”) and then played several music clips, demonstrating that a lot of classical pieces really are quite funny, if you listen carefully—for “quotations” (did Tchaikovsky borrow phrases from “Yankee Doodle Dandy”?), “funny sounds” (comedic moments à la Spike Jones, who was an early influence on Schickele), “inappropriate juxtapositions” (a slightly off-key bagpiper soloing with an orchestra), and “exaggerations” (a really bad soprano who misses nearly every high note).

For all his humor, Schickele is a legit and well-regarded composer whose serious works have been performed widely by premier orchestras in this country and abroad. —MTS