Extinct chords

Singing used to be universal. Everybody knew how to sing, and performers could count on an audience to sing together accurately if not in complex harmony.

When competence starts early, extreme expertise gets a head start. I was discussing this point in journalism, and it also applies to music. With skills that require practice, a higher baseline elevates the average and the maximum.

For instance,

This super-intense harmony was common in the 20s and 30s, especially among sister acts and brother acts. Genetically similar larynxes and resonators can mutually adapt to sharpen the harmony.

It’s totally gone now, and even basic tune-carrying is gone now. Singing has been outsourced to tech. “Professional” “singers” are expert users of synthesizers.

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Later note: This recording of Irving Berlin’s ‘Lazy’ includes a couple of verses that aren’t in the online lyrics I’ve found so far. I can’t catch all the words, but some lines are clear:

I hate to hurry, don’t like to worry,
I’ll be so glad when I am
among the chickens, with Mister Dickens,
or Mister Omar Khayyam.

To keep me company, when I’m tired of poetry,
I’m gonna be there dozing, with birds composing,
a pillowy willowy melody.

And when it showers, the trees and flowers,
will be my umberellas,
and till it’s over, and in the clover,
I’ll dream of Rockefella,
A busy enemy,
selling oil to you and me,
I pity that man, what an oilcan
he turned out to be.

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Do you suppose a modern pop “singer” would mock Mister Bezos in the way that the Brox Sisters were mocking Mister Rockefeller?

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