Little Details

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Entries by tag: ~music

Cost of 'The Planets' records in the 1950s
Setting: UK or Switzerland, 1950s

I planned to have one of the characters in the story I'm writing, a boarding school headmistress, buy her co-head (and girlfriend of at least 10 years) a copy of 'The Planets' - ideally the 1926 recording with Holst conducting.

1) Would she even be able to find a copy? She's from England originally but the school is in Switzerland, so she could get it in either country.
2) Roughly what would it cost? Somewhat on the expensive side for a gift is fine, but she shouldn't bankrupt herself over it!
3) Is this a good recording? I know essentially nothing about classical music, but I love this piece - and it has to be a pre-1929 recording for story reasons.
4) If it's a terrible choice for cost/availability, what else would you suggest? Something with a strong cello part would be great, as the recipient's deceased father and sister were both cellists.

Searched: "The Planets Holst recordings" (which got me lists of recordings, plus numerous different opinions about the best performances! And lots about re-issued CD versions), "cost of records 1950s", and variations on those.

Thank you for any help you can provide!

What it's like to study music at NYU
ladybug quiet
setting: New York University
time: real-world, present day (or near future, say 1-2 years from now)
search terms used: "what is it like to study music at NYU" "NYU music student experience" and variations thereof; scoured NYU's website as well as a couple of tumblrs of NYU students that give information about student life, etc (not music students, unfortunately)

I'm writing a story in which one of the characters is studying jazz (piano) at NYU at the undergraduate level. I'm a musician who has attended a couple of different schools for music, so I don't need info about what the core curriculum would be like (basically the same everywhere you go, at least the first couple of years). I've also found a couple of tumblrs of students who attend NYU that have advice for new students navigating the campus/finding things/getting around/what the dorms are like, which is very helpful, but they aren't music students so I didn't get any music info there.

What I'm looking for is:

* what do students call certain music related places? For example, at one of my schools, the building the music classes are held in is called the "School of Music" but no one actually calls it that in conversation, it's usually "the music building". Where are most music classes actually held and what do students call that place(s) in conversation? (The "facilities" page of NYU's music website talks about performance spaces but not classroom/rehearsal spaces.)

* Where do most people practice? From the NYU website it looks like there are practice rooms in different buildings. This character lives in Third North for part of the story (as a freshman) and I understand there are practice rooms there but she won't be there forever (I'm also getting conflicting information about the practice rooms in Third North, whether it's A room or multiple rooms).

* How much interaction is there between jazz students and other music students? At both schools I've been to, everyone is sort of lumped together for the first couple of years while taking core classes (music history, theory, aural skills, class piano/keyboard skills, etc) and then everyone kind of goes their separate ways and the jazz people sort of separate themselves from the rest of the music students. I'm wondering if that happens at NYU as well.

* In most music programs a student will have private lessons on their instrument/voice with a professor and then once a week everyone who studies with that professor has a class together where you perform for each other, get critique, etc. I'm assuming this happens at NYU as well--what is it called? (At various schools I've been to it's been called studio, rep class, masterclass...)

* are there ensembles that are seen as most/least desirable? (thinking specifically of jazz)

* Where do music students tend to hang out during the day when they are not in class? I'm thinking in particular of students who are new to NYC and haven't quite learned to navigate the city yet.

* are jazz majors required to have any classical proficency? Where I am right now, jazz majors have to have at least 200-level proficency in classical studies on their instrument (so, sophomore level), but I couldn't find if that was true for NYU as well.

Berlin Festival of Music and Drama in East Berlin in 80s
Greetings to all,

I'm looking for information on Berlin Festival of Music and Drama which apparently was an annual event in East Berlin that took place in Sep-Oct (at least in '80s). I've found a mention of it in Fodor's Germany 1988 - West and East. All my attempts at finding further info on the internet failed. I Googled combinations of the festival name, in Eng and translated into Russian (as I know Russian too), with years addes -- found nothing, only Berlin Film Festival comes up. I've also checked up Germany section on this site.

I need to know for my story:

1) who normally participated in that festival? (I'm hoping musicians and theatre shows from Soviet block countries, esp Sov Union)
2) what kind of music (classic, pop etc.) and shows they presented?
3) if the festival took place in 1989 and when exactly? what its program was.

Thank you very much for your help!!

Back in the USSR... Russian translation
marcus 2013
For a present-day story I want to describe a Russian character as singing something, and for various reasons I think that a Russian translation of Back in the USSR would work really well; it's also an in-joke for anyone who has seen a well-known extract from the film 'Heartbreakers', where Sigourney Weaver sings the English version while pretending to be a Russian ex-pat:

I only want to quote a few lines, but I'm not looking for a literal or Google translation, I'm looking for a version that a Russian might actually sing. There's a video of a Dutch group singing a Russian version as a tribute to the Beatles:

Unfortunately I have no idea how authentic it is, and I have no idea how to transcribe this into text, with cyrillic letters if possible. I can't find the Russian lyrics anywhere at all. I should mention that the character is female - don't know enough about Russian to know if this actually matters.

Anyone able to point me at a source?

Searches used "Back in the USSR russian translation", "Back in the USSR russian lyrics"

Now sorted -

[ANON POST] A variety of ridiculous WWII-related questionS
I seem to have a strange plotbunny that won't leave me alone and requires me to write several background incidents based on things I know nothing about. Can you help me, little_details?

Setting: Germany during WWII, but of the wildly unrealistic, over-the-top variety. Think Inglorious Basterds where rule-of-cool outweighs what actually happened. The timeline is flexible; I'm thinking 1943, but given that history is going to deviate substantially, it doesn't matter all that much.
Search terms: Australians in WWII/Germany, RAAF, SAS, concentration camp escapes, POW escapes, 1930s jazz, variations thereof.

So, here's the scenario. My Australian MC and a small team ideally consisting of oddballs from various countries get stuck with a secret mission to somehow cross enemy lines and rescue a German resistance member with information that's vital to the war effort. Obviously, nothing like this ever happened; given that, I'd still like it to be as plausible and have as many connections to actual history as possible.


1. If I go on research I've done so far, the only Australian presence in Germany was the RAAF, which doesn't quite work for the character. Could he have found his way into a British unit if he'd been living there before the war? (Preferably having something to do with the SIS, but anything where he could somehow get into a combat situation would work.)

2. My MC has been overseas for a while and was involved in a previous mission that went horribly wrong—either most of his men were killed, or a number of civilians were killed, or better yet both—leaving him and the rest of his unit traumatized. Is there a real life incident (I was initially thinking the bombardment of Hamburg) that would work for this?

3. The German resistance member has been underground in Berlin for years following the dissolution of the KPD, and passing intelligence to both the British and the Soviets until he's captured. He's not particularly high-profile. Assuming that the Nazis don't just outright shoot him (because then no story) where would the best place be to send him so that he survives long enough to escape/be rescued?

4. On a more traditionally little_details note, both characters are into American jazz. How much of a pain would it be to access imported records in their respective countries before the war started?

Thanks in advance!

recognizing a musical prodigy in middle school
Setting: Boston (USA) suburb, contemporary with certain SFnal elements

I have a character who is musically gifted, but is not recognized as such until he is eleven. At home a lot of the family life revolves around an older sister who is otherwise-gifted and has a strong personality, and at school his classmates are kind of rowdy (not necessarily malicious, just “hyper”), so even though the school does have a good music program, in class he is too distracted to play at his best and his teacher is too distracted to notice his potential.

Then one day at school, when he isn’t surrounded by other kids, our hero picks up a violin and plays [A], and his music teacher, overhearing it, realizes because of [B] how much talent he has. The teacher arranges for private lessons, building on the [C] that the child already knows, in which he does a lot of [D] and after a few months is able to [E].

I’m looking for reasonable ways to fill in [A] through [E] above. Also, I am wondering how well he could sight-read music before going down the private-lesson path.

I did some Googling for music curricula, but that didn’t make it clear to me what specific skills would be considered typical for someone at various age levels and what would be considered exceptional. I’m also reading Andrew Solomon’s book Far From the Tree, which has a chapter on musical prodigies, but the kids he describes there were conspicuously talented as far back as kindergarten, and my character isn’t that good.


Referring to the Royal Academy of Music
I have a story set in London, 2010, in which the Royal Academy of Music is discussed.

I'm wondering if there's a particular abreviated form that is more likely to be used than any others in conversation: The RAM, The Academy, The Royal Academy?

And also whether that might be different depending on whether the speaker is:

an insider (lecturer, student, guest)
unaffiliated but knowledgable about music
an affiliate of a rival school, say the Royal College of Music
or generally unknowledgable about music.

I guess there might be variations depending on other contextual cues as well, or even no particular convention. Please educate me!

I've looked at the official website, and googled variations of "RAM" and "referring to Royal Academy of Music in conversation" as well as "Rivalry between RAM and RCM", all of which offer a number of possibilities, but the kicker is that there are often forms that appear legitimately in print that wouldn't be spoken.

ETA: I had quite blithely been assuming that "RAM" would be pronounced as "R-A-M", but it occurs to me to seek confirmation that it would not, in fact, be said as "ram"?

Finding just the right Mozart
Good Bad
My knowledge of classical music doesn't go much beyond "I like the one with the cannons in it." Please help me.

I need a piece by Mozart that is (a) generally regarded as pleasant and soothing, and (b) sufficiently well-known that someone with a cursory familiarity with classical music would recognize it. Triple bonus points if the melody could be recognizably whistled by a sufficiently skilled whistler.

I've Googled "mozart best known works" and the like, and done some listening on YouTube. Unfortunately, classical music is really not my cup of tea, so what most people would find soothing and pleasant does not necessarily have the same effect on me. The Clarinet Concerto is my current front-runner; does that fit the bill to those of you who know more about this stuff than I do? Is there a better piece I should be considering?

ETA: Thanks, everyone! You've given me a lot of good options; now I just have to pick one!


Japanese culture and the koto
Gakupo and Kaito
I'd like to know about what Japan thinks about koto players. As in, it seems like most koto players are female, so would a male koto player face prejudice? Be considered strange?
And I read somewhere the koto is considered something a girl from a traditional Japanese family would know how to play.

Setting: Present-time Japan. It's a Dangan Ronpa roleplay, if it helps.
Google search: male koto players, koto players male, koto traditional,

UK Musicians' Union, BECTU, and Union Solidarity
Time: Current
Place: UK (specifically London)

Searched: Wikipedia, each of the relevant Unions' websites, the Barbican Centre's website and wikipedia page, all of the tags on this comm

1.) In the UK--London, and the Barbican Centre specifically--if one is putting on a solo classical music recital that one has rented out the space for (yes, I know it's prohibitively expensive there), is one expected to use the stagehands provided by the Centre/does the Centre have available stagehands? Or do you hire in freelancers? It's not part of a recital series.

2.) If yes, are those stagehands members of a union like BECTU (or if not that one, which one?)? The BECTU website is extremely vague; I gather that these people could be members but not that they are. BECTU does, from what I can find, represent theatrical stagehands but this is classical music, albeit at the same venue/type of venue.

3.) If BECTU were to go on strike at a particular location, would the MU (or any affiliated union) feel the need to rearrange their lives to promote union solidarity? Barring any union-rules reason, would a union member in good standing feel the need to respect the strike?

specificsCollapse )

4.) If all else fails, I can make it so they hired freelance union stagehands (for a handwave-y reason), and give one of the musicians a union-y-ness such that he'd rather cancel the concert than hire scabs (also: they are called scabs over there, yes? Google seems to think so). Is this realistic or at least plausible in the UK, among union classical musicians? It could be in the US, which is why I'm asking.

Thanks so much in advance!

Famous person privacy
Blonde girl
My narrator is a groupie to a rock band on tour. Big-name band with some controversy. And I know nothing about being famous. Setting is modern U.S.

Googling for "celebrity privacy" or "celebrity private lives"(I did not expect THAT to be useful at all, I was surprised) pulls, in terms of relevant results, some articles about celebrities who just don't talk much to the media or do anything interesting in public and so have managed to keep their lives on the down low, but seriously: If Mick Jagger needed hemorrhoids removed, if Taylor Swift needed an abortion, if Katy Perry were MtF, how would THAT stay quiet? Is there someone who is the opposite of a publicist, whose job it is to burn the records that say Kevin Perry, to arrange a private waiting room at a place that does not draw protestors, to call hemorrhoids-R-us from a payphone and get them to send a doctor to a be taken to an undisclosed location? ("privacy consultant" seems to be people doing information security or helping people disappear.) Whose job would it be to keep the "justin bieber may/may not have knocked someone up" story from blowing up the way it did?

Or am I just over-estimating the amount of TMZ/paparazzi effort that would go into hassling a band that kept pretty mum about the things TMZ/paparazzi are interested in?

Other terms: who keeps celebrities private (more of same), celebrity privacy assistant, celebrity scandal privacy, privacy on tour, musician privacy, privacy band (all nil).

And now the word "privacy" looks weird.

Legal issues with a band break up.
Present day America.

I've read these, articles, and gone back over a previous question, but I still have a couple of questions.

I have an indie band. They've been playing self-organised gigs for a few years, and have a CD they recorded in their basement that they sell at those shows. On this CD, all the songs are credited as being written by "A and B".

However, they've just been signed to a label, and the label wants them to re-record their CD as a fully produced album, instead of the quick-and-dirty recording they have right now. (I know that it's more likely the label would want them to write all new material, but there are various reasons why it's happening this way).

But before this happens, A and B have a huge fight, and B leaves the band. A and B never made any formal agreement as to who was credited as songwriters (because at the time, it hadn't mattered).

When the "official" copy of the album is released, would it be possible for the songs to be listed as just being by A? The only record of B writing them is on the liner notes for the hand-made CD, and A could probably make the claim that he wrote the songs himself (realistically, it was probably an 80/20 split, but most of the original ideas and the thrust of the songs would have been A's).

Would the record label take his word for it? The version they're releasing is going to be the first published version of the songs, so officially they're going to be A's songs. (It's a smaller imprint on a major label, if that makes a difference)

Finally: when B finds out all this has happened, would the fact that he has the CD with the songs listed as by A and B be enough grounds for him to sue to get his name back on them, or would he have to provide more detailed proof of his contribution to the material?


Prodigal Piano Prodigy Returns?
A twelve-year-old genius pianist (not really a prodigy, sorry) described as "a fine clinical player" gives up piano (to become a scientist) and doesn't touch it again until his mid-thirties. The very first time he puts hands to keys and tries to play something (which he remembers accurately), what happens? Is it humanly possible to do it as perfectly as twenty-plus years ago, or would he fumble a bit because his hands have changed, or would he be terrible because his muscles will forget no matter what his brain remembers?

Googled every combo of piano, practice, and/or memory I could come up with, no joy.


Questions on Ravel's Boléro
I need some relatively difficult questions about Ravel's Boléro for a battle-of-wits interrogation scene. Specifically, trick questions.

(I attempted this on my own, but know zip about music theory.)



EDIT: To be more specific, the person being interrogated is a violinist. The interrogator isn't a musician herself, but has a background in maths—which is why I was thinking that questions related to theory or structure might make sense? Unless they don't.

Sea Shanties and Barristers
Word Whore
Setting: Modern Day
Place: London, England
Character(s): A young man and woman, both in their early thirties.

Question(s): Really, the information listed above is most likely irrelevant, but it gives an idea of the situation. Moving on, my female character is a talented stage actress (emphasis on the word "stage") who has appeared in many plays, performing in both male and female roles.  She is fairly intelligent, with most of her knowledge stemming from the incredibly extensive research that she does for each part.  One of these parts required her to memorize several sea shanties, which is what brings me to my question: Does anyone know of any plays that involve sea shanties or have people singing them?  One or two songs will be fine, and I don't mind if they happen to be a bit vulgar.

My male character is a successful barrister with the Inner Temple.  I was wondering if there are different types of barristers and, if so, what are the more interesting ones?  This guy is dedicated and reliable, but he doesn't like being bored, so he's really only keen on taking cases that he finds intriguing or bizarre.  Another question: Does being a barrister require one to travel?  If so, why, how often, and how far?

Hi! First timer here!~ Some questions about Sweden
Here's the scene.

The fic is CWRPS, AU with two main characters that are huge metalheads. The only problem is, I'm not. I don't know really anything about metal, except that Sweden has an amazing metal scene. And that I learned from a freind in Sweden.

So could someone list of some bands from Sweden? Specifically because I need them for a conversation between the two main characters.

If you can, that would be amazing. Thank you guys all so much!


Price of Gibson guitar in 1970's Britain
SHShowerscene by NickyGabriel
Hi all,

I am looking for the approximate price of a Gibson Les Paul guitar in mid-70's Britain, specifically London. My character is in a poverty-stricken punk band circa 1976, and I need to know how much he might have to pay for his instrument. The line is going to be something like, "He'd paid __ bob for it, and no one was going to take it off him without getting their teeth pushed down their throat."

I've googled "price of Les Paul guitar, Britain 1970's" and "price of guitars in punk era," but all I get are today's prices for guitars made in the 70's. If anyone, can help, I'd be very grateful!

Banned in Japan
Sheryl Nome
I'm looking for the names of metal bands, not including gore metal, that are completely or partially banned, or censored, in Japan. In particular, I'm specifically interested in whether or not Sabaton is banned/censored in Japan.

Search terms: "Sabaton banned" and "metal bands banned in japan"

Recovery from a drug overdose. Also, hymns.
Ten O'Clock
Hi everyone! I've got two questions. The setting would be contemporary London.

1. On the drugs: Character A has made a nasty enemy, who tries to kill him with a syringe full of succinylcholine chloride, just a tad less than lethal dose. He's a very lucky guy, though, and help appears promptly, bringing respiratory support and calling an ambulance.

From the medical databases I've consulted, as well as the Material Safety Data Sheet, it would appear that the basic treatment for this overdose would be to intubate the character and then wait for his body to metabolize the drug. I also gather that one of the surgical benefits of succinylcholine is that it is both fast-acting and short-acting . . . in a reasonable dosage. So the primary questions I have on this topic are: How long could our guy be paralyzed from a big ol' shot of the stuff? What sort of side effects should the doctors watch out for? Are there any distinctive phases to his recovery?

The research problem here is that the medical databases all assume that the drug is going to be used in a safe, medically responsible, non-homicidal way. And the legal databases and journalistic accounts of people using succinylcholine as a murder weapon tend to concentrate on the successful murders, just mentioning in passing that a few people have survived murder attempts from this drug. Sigh.

2. On hymns: I've learned that, in the UK, the hymn "Nearer, My God, To Thee" is usually sung to the tune "Horbury." But how well known is it today? Do people still sing it in churches, would an adult Londoner reasonably expect to know it? Or is it just hopelessly old-fashioned?

Thank you!

Partial sight adaptation to life and playing instruments
Hello again,

I'm gathering up information before the (in)famous NaNo hits, and while thinking over my plot, I ran across a part I need some details for...

Details and background here.Collapse )

Thanks in advance for any help!

Edit 2: Got all the answers I need in terms of her carrying a cane (or in this case, not). My issue is, I have both a roleplaying version of the character and will have a NaNo version--I'm simply going to make it so her NaNo version doesn't and never had a cane, but since I'm idiot who misunderstood things and her character is already fairly well-established in the RP, I can't add conditions/illnesses to her without mod approval there (and they can be hard to get hold of), so now I need a way for her to ditch the cane and probably say her family pushed it on her to have rather than her needing it, since they are overprotective. I might just have her 'forget' it someplace. Maybe to that end I could sneak in her having a condition that cleared up as she got older so she needed the cane when she was younger, but not so much now?

I don't need any further info on the cane stuff now, but still need info on the harp and some way to explain away her now not needing the cane. Thanks!