Monday, November 24, 2008


I left off my last post remembering that a perceptive student once told me a little Webern piece reminded him of underscoring from The Andy Griffith Show - I haven't watched the show in years (Don Knotts just doesn't make me laugh), but the comment made immediate sense to me. Suddenly the mysterioso sounds of Webern transported me back to the B&W outskirts of Mayberry, criminals lurking nearby. So, I couldn't resist using my lunch break to search for more evidence of the connection.

Even though Google is not yet equipped with a feature that lets you input "SEARCH YOUTUBE AND LISTEN FOR: Andy Griffith underscoring that recalls the Second Viennese School," it didn't take long to find a couple of telling samples. I'm sure there are better ones, but I intentionally limited myself to lunchbreak time, so here's what we've got. First, Webern's Op. 6, No. 3, as conducted by Leonard Bernstein. (see previous post). Then, two separate fragments from the Andy Griffith Show episode, "The Big House." (starting at about 5:15 of this clip, and about 2:46 of this clip.)


Andy Griffith

All those muted trumpet chords are especially Webernesque. Next task: figure out who's responsible for bringing Klangfarbenmelodie to Mayberry. Were these just stock studio cues or did this guy dream them up while whistling?

UPDATE: See what the Webern sounds like in Mayberry.


Elaine Fine said...

Earl Hagen was a really fine composer. Be sure to look at his imdb page. His application of techniques from the 2nd Wiener Schule (as well as his astounding ability to write a really, really, really catchy theme song) is something I noticed a long time ago. I'm glad that you were able to show it here in your usual high-technical brilliance.

Here's something to ponder: the theme music for the AG show is written on top of the changes for "I Got Rhythm."

mf said...

AG=I Got Rhythm? Well, not exactly. There is no "rhythm changes" bridge (in B-flat: D7/D7/G7/G7/C7/C7/F7/F7) as is present in, say, "The Flintstones". The Andy Griffith bridge is, in B-flat: Eb/Bb/Eb/Bb/Eb/Bb/C7/F7.