Friday, February 15, 2013

The mononota song as a paradigm for writing a scientific paper

This year at Sanremo festival (which I do no follow since many years) it happened that a particular song attracted my attention (because it is actually very tasty): the mononota song. It is from Elio e le Storie Tese. Obviously only the Italians can truly appreciate because the crazy and ironic text is integral part of the whole.

I thought it has a lot of structural similarities with a good scientific paper.  There is a simple statement to show (demonstrate): one can build a nice song using a single note (mono nota). The text of the song contain a literary review (Rossini^1 did it, Bob Dylan^2 too; Tintarella di Luna^3 again) where examples of wrong applications are presented (Jobim^4 implemented a samba where, however, it moved away from the single note: "he did not have the b***s they say"). The musics, besides the text is full of citations.
 It shows various examples of how the statement can be violated.  EelST also demonstrated the possibility of doing it, showing various possible declination of the statement, whistling it, changing rhythms in a way that reminded me certain Frank Zappa compositions, changing the tone, and so on.  The song has also a conclusion were it is remarked that the fidelity to the initial statement was respected, except for the very last note.

Naturally the result is good not for the fact that it follows a schema, but because the song  is , not necessarily the best ever, and not for all tastes, but overall enjoyable. The same applies also to any good paper that needs also to be possibly pleasant to read^5. Eventually the song is likely also to remind a set of other beautiful songs which is also part of the pleasure.

... Just an example.

References

^1 Adieux à la vie (G.Rossini)
^2 Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, I think is mononota. They say that actually many other blues sang by Dylan follow the same type of intonation, for instance  Levee's gonna break which is kind of pertinent with this blog
^3 Mina
^4 Samba de uma nota so (N.Mendonca / A.C.Jobim)
* See also the nice comment by Cesare Picco in his Video (unfortunately in Italian)
^5 I know also papers that are certainly not well written, and not formally enjoyable but that nevertheless eventually convey a lot of information and knowledge: so at the ends the contents are also important by themselves
** Finally in a comment to a The Rolling Stones' song Doom and Gloom  I also got this: "... So do a thousand punk and hip-hop songs; so did Louis Armstrong in his solo on the seminal recording of “West End Blues”; so did Cole Porter in the verse to “Night and Day”; so did Harold Arlen in the refrain to “Come Rain or Come Shine”; and so has Bob Dylan in dozens and dozens of songs since “Subterranean Homesick Blues. Jagger, like both Armstrong and Dylan, is an interpretive artist with the skill and audacity it takes to extract a scale’s worth of colors in just one note. "

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