Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Rite of Springtone

Here's the basic chronology: way back when, Russian pagans celebrate the arrival of Spring with barbaric ritual sacrifice; time passes . . . Stravinsky and Diaghilev immortalize these pagans with a fantastically primitive ballet, featuring music that turns its back on the sort of refined Western art music that had arisen since those prehistoric times; as more time passes, this barbaric music becomes the ultimate test for an orchestra, a highly civilized sort of group for which Stravinsky's primitivism is routinely realized by having a hundred or so immaculately trained musicians collaborate with stunning precision; finally, it all comes together as technology improves to the point that I may be summoned from a sitcom via this odd blend of the primitive and the cultured:

Yes, I recently got a new cellphone; the pre-loaded selection of ringtones is horrible, of course, because "the man" wants me to buy new ones, but the bluetooth connectivity means I can finally get my own homemade ringtones onto a phone with minimal effort and at no cost. I see now that Boosey & Hawkes will sell you all sorts of classical ringtones, but there's no reason to throw good money at something that can be created so easily. In fact, I think my rite is much better than theirs; actually, this is the Stravinsky I'm now using as my default ring. It's pretty much the perfect ringtone. (Back in primitive times, when cellphones didn't play mp3s, I had to create my own MIDI-like ringtones note by note - the best was the opening of Bach's first cello suite.)

By the way, since the new phone also takes pitifully bad photos and video, my original meta-plan for this post was to use the phone to film itself (using a mirror) talking a call, but it turns out not to be that smart. When it's taking a video, an incoming call just crashes the system. Maybe things are still more primitive than I'd hoped . . .

[Part III of the Holiday Spectacular is coming on Monday . . . Don't miss Parts I and II.]

UPDATE: See also 24 specially created ringtones (including some Stravinsky) in this 2011 post.

1 comment:

Sandi said...

When I gave up my Samsung cell for an iPhone last December, I lost the ring tones I had customized for myself and other family members: I used mp3 files that I'd added for ring tones. Copland's "Hoedown" was my main ring; my husband's call had pleasant music from the hobbit scenes in "The Fellowship of the Ring." "Quidditch World Cup" told me that my middle son was calling. I have yet to explore the question of how to freely customize my ringtones with my iPhone. Is it possible?