The Bed Intruder Song

Journalists spend way too much time chasing the ephemera of Youtube, which is a hungry, hungry medium. But I had just finished doing a little project on the music of Leos Janacek when I discovered the Bed Intruder Song, which uses Auto-Tune technology to turn speech into song. Janacek, like opera composers before and after him, was looking for a melodic and musical style that would reflect the spoken rhythms and inflections of Czech. Auto-Tune can make the process almost ridiculously literal. I tried to make connections between the two forms in a column for The Washington Post. But I won’t be chasing online video memes again any time soon. I hope.

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3 Comments

Filed under Culture, Music, Opera

3 responses to “The Bed Intruder Song

  1. Matthew Healey

    Kundera also has interesting things to say about Janacek.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/books/review/Simon-t.html

    Sometime you must visit the festival of Janacek’s music that’s held (annually, I believe) in the Czech hinterlands.

  2. philipkennicott

    I’ll look that up. Did you ever see the film of Unbearable Lightness of Being? The music was mostly Janacek, selections from his piano works, especially. Very haunting.

  3. Auto Tune the News built their original following, which includes me, by puncturing the pompous, empty rhetoric of politicians and TV bobble-heads through the use of Auto-tune. Put to music it became readily apparent just how ridiculous some of their rhetoric was. As such, it was parody that challenged the powerful and can be fit into a long Western tradition that includes Swift, Aristophanes, and Dante that made reference to and ridiculed actual, living people. The Bed Intruder song is troubling not because it fails to follow the principles of the Camerata, although I did find that part of the piece edifying, but because it turns the weapon of parody and mockery away from the powerful and towards the powerless.

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