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Old 02-03-2005, 11:15 AM
Doctorduck Doctorduck is offline
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Where does that stereotypical "oriental" song come from?

Where does that stereotypical "oriental" song come from? You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. 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 Bowie's "China Girl."

So where does this tune come from? Is it from the East, and if so what country? Or was it written by Westerners to lampoon or mimick Asian music in their movies?
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:49 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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Do you mean the overture from The Mikado?
You can hear a sample here
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:57 AM
Doctorduck Doctorduck is offline
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I don't think so...

None of the "Overture" track that plays on Amazon has the snippet I'm thinking of. I couldn't even tell you where else you might hear the tune I'm thinking of, but suffice to say that it is famous enough to be engrained in the American consciousness. Again, you can hear a variation of it in David Bowie's "China Girl."
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:18 PM
Doctorduck Doctorduck is offline
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maybe this will read easier

Maybe this approximation is easier to understand:

Dee dee dee dee duh duh, duh duh, DUHHHH
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:20 PM
Doctorduck Doctorduck is offline
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It's also here:

The Vapors did a song called "Turning Japanese", and this song I'm talking about is featured at the beginning. You can hear it here:

http://209.197.86.65/20041007/punk/Turning_Japanese.mid
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:49 PM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctorduck
Maybe this approximation is easier to understand:

Dee dee dee dee duh duh, duh duh, DUHHHH

Huh. Are you sure it isn't:


1) Dee dee dee duh dee duh duh DUHHH (only 3 H's on las duh)

2) Dee dee do duh dee duh do dee do do

3) Hidiho, opal dooo

4) Scooby doobie dooooo
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Old 02-03-2005, 01:53 PM
leroy_the_mule leroy_the_mule is offline
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"Dee dee dee dee duh duh, duh duh, DUHHHH"
---Yep, I know what you mean. It repeats several times in Kung Fu Fighting
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:11 PM
zut zut is offline
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Nice work, ligeti--this particular thread is one of my favorite threads on the Dope, and it's nice to see someone follow through with some additional research.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:27 PM
samclem samclem is online now
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ligeti. When your guest membership runs out, I'll pay for your membership. Just email me a day or so ahead.

I'll also put in a word for you with Dex about writing a report on some subject of your choosing.

Incredible job. Doper of the month(at least) award from me.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:32 PM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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Superb work, ligeti! (BTW, are you named after this guy? If so, my condolences.) Hope you decide to subscribe, or take samclem up on his offer.

What a wonderful first post!
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:08 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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This is why I love the Dope! Ligeti, fascinating stuff, and I sure hope you stick around!

I would be interested in how you did your research, and how much time it took. Did you use personal contacts, super-google, personal music history knowledge, or what? Did our Dope thread inspire you or did you have this question in your mind earlier than that?
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Old 06-12-2006, 10:23 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is offline
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Bravo Ligeti!

It was a sheer delight to read and listen to all your research.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:20 AM
mani mani is offline
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Thanks everybody for your compliments. Great to see that somebody was interested in such a large pile of (despite all still somewhat inconclusive) information about this little piece of trivia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
ligeti. When your guest membership runs out, I'll pay for your membership. Just email me a day or so ahead.

I'll also put in a word for you with Dex about writing a report on some subject of your choosing.
Well, thanks a lot. But now this makes me feel so ashamed that I feel I just have to reveal that this actually is my second account: I registered a guest account with the username mani a little more than a month ago, mainly in order to be able to tell people in the other thread on this subject (not to be confused with any of the other other threads) about my "Betty Boop finding" (see below), which was how I initially got hooked up on this subject.

Today, when the website with my findings finally was up, my mani account had expired, and I registered a new account from another email adress, mainly out of convenience and because I'm not culturally accustomed to paying for participating in online discussion forums.

So, with that out of the bag I gladly accept your offer preliminarily, in case that I don't get expelled for the above, or decide that dignity demands that I pay the fee myself now. By the way, can I see you mail adress in some way?

(That the word ligeti popped up in my mind when registering the new account must be some weird case of subliminal perception: I didn't know (or didn't think that I knew) that he died today, and I'm actually not very aquainted at all with this composer.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
I would be interested in how you did your research, and how much time it took. Did you use personal contacts, super-google, personal music history knowledge, or what? Did our Dope thread inspire you or did you have this question in your mind earlier than that?
I think I first read about this topic in a not very informative thread in some other forum, which linked to this thread. Some hour later during that same surfing pass I serendipitously came upon a 1935 Betty Boop cartoon on YouTube which contained the modern KFF variant of the riff. But it was first some week later when I stumbled upon the ucsb.edu Cylinder Digitization Project that I realized that it was possible for me to do some serious research on this.

And sure it has taken a lot and probably too much time, but the thing that took by far the most time, and was the most dull, was preparing those note examples and midi files. Searching the music archives for instances is a relatively fast affair: searching on strategic keywords gives a basic harvest, but as an emergency measure it is not too bad to simply go through a list of some thousand titles (if you can get them on one big html page) to see which may have a Far East theme, because during certain periods they are really common; closer to one song in a hundred that one in a thousand, and of those with a Far East almost as many as half of them contain at least something that is somewhat similar to the proto-cliché.

I was helped by my music ear education: I can read music (if it's not all too complex) and hear it in my head, and transcribing from recordings is a relatively fast matter. But I would probably have managed without any such abilities, with a keybord at hand by the computer (and the pattern is actually easily spotted visually in sheet music).

I didn't know anything about this type of music beforehand, which is why it kept being an interesting journey to me.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:12 AM
asian_riff asian_riff is offline
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Sorry to bump really old threads, but I think this may be the earliest example of the exact oriental riff that has been found so far:

"Chop Suey"; August 24th, 1930; produced by Paul Terry and directed by Frank Moser for Terrytoons Studios

On youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Eczf92kKB4

The riff occurs 47 seconds in.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:15 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Thank you for your contribution, asian_riff. You've bumped two old threads on this subject. I'm going to close this one down - one thread at a time is plenty. The discussion about the song is continued here.
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