Author Archives: Liam Clancy

St. Anthony’s Good Luck

Informant:

Dina is a college freshman from Northern California, she comes from a large yet close knit Italian family.

Piece:

“So…. I am very forgetful person and when i was little, my mom and grandma used to tell me to say a prayer to St. Anthony whenever I lost something so that I could find it. And I’d be “like what do I say to St. Anthony” and they would say “well say dear St. Anthony please help me find whatever it is that you can’t find.” And I would say a little prayer and I would look really hard and I would find something and then they would tell me “well you have to remember to thank St. Anthony.” So I would say “thank you st. Anthony.” And then I would always attribute it to St. Anthony that I found my missing item thinking he was the reason I found my missing item. As I got older I began to do it myself without praying to him.

Collector’s thoughts:

The informant performed this piece in an apologetic fashion, seemingly embarrassed to admit that she had done this. To her, the praying to St. Anthony was not so much of a religious performance, but rather as a way to find a physical thing that had been lost.

 

 

Improv Game with Many Names

Informant:

Cameron is an avid improviser who specializes in long form improvisation.

Piece:

So it’s interesting in improv because the same game will have many different names based on who is playing it along with ever so slight differences in how it’s played. So like the game Pan-left pan-right which is a game where four people stand in a square with each side being a different two-person scene. And then when the caller calls either pan left or pan right, the box turns and the scene that is at the front is the one we watch. Anyways i’ve heard a bunch of different names for that same game like we call it pan-left Pan-right, i’ve heard it called switch, i’ve heard it called four square, i’ve heard it called merry-go-round, i’ve heard it called squarey-go-round, ummmm lets see i think there are a few more…….I can’t right now, but i know there are more.

Collector’s thoughts:

One of the essential aspects of folklore is that it exhibits multiplicity and variation and this performance demonstrates that. The difference in names shows how improv games spread through word of mouth rather than by “official” books or documents.

Dentist Joke

Informant:

Terry is a second generation Irish american who grew up in los Angeles in the ‘60s and 70’s. He is now a dentist working and living in the Bay area.

Piece:

Ok, so here is a joke that I learned in dental school. It goes like this:

What did the dentist see in the North pole?

A molar bear

Collector’s thoughts:

This short dentist joke is a pun which replaces polar bear with the word molar. The informant laughed at his own joke and got great pleasure from telling it. To me it seemed that half of the fun in telling this joke for the informant came from the fact that it is a somewhat boring joke.

Mozart and Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere Mei Deus

Informant:

Karl is a freshman aerospace engineering major. He spent thirteen years in a traditional boy’s chorus. He is also an avid soccer player

Piece:

So there is this famous song called Miserere mei deus by this italian composer gregorio Allegri. And most people either call it the Allegri or just Miserere. But there is this super famous story about it cause like it was written for the catholic church and only ever sung by the Vatican chorus during holy week within the sistine chapel because it was considered to be too perfect to ever be performed anywhere else. So in like the 1770’s or around that time Mozart got to go with his dad to listen to the Miserere and observe the holy week service within the sistine chapel. Wolfgang Mozart was only fourteen years old but his dad was an important composer who was invited to come to the service by the pope. That night though, when they got back to where they were staying Wolfgang Mozart wrote the entire piece down just from his own memory after hearing it just once. So when I hear the piece I don’t just hear the beauty of Allegri’s writing, but I also better comprehend the true genius that Mozart was.

Collector’s thoughts:

The Informant said that he learned this legend from his choir director who claimed to have heard it when they were young. The fact that this anecdote, independent of its validity, is told to young children helps to reveal that it is a way to inspire young people to unlock their musical potential by giving an example of what a famous composer accomplished when he was young. This legend is somewhat well document and more can be read here:

 

http://www.classicfm.com/composers/mozart/guides/mozart-allegri-miserere/

Additionally, Allegri’s Miserere can be heard here:

 

 

My Movie Improv Game

Informant:

Cameron is an avid improviser who specializes in long form improvisation.

Piece:

One of my favorite improv games has definitely got to be My movie. The way my movie is played is that a group  A group of improvisers  get in a line in front of a caller. They  get an audience suggestion for a letter and  suggest movie titles that start with that letter as the caller points to them. If the caller wants to hear a tag line for the movie he signals for it. When the caller finds a title he likes he says “let’s watch” and a very brief scene from the movie follows. Then the improvisers return and move on to the next letter. I like this game because it is super fast paced and you get to see a lot of variety in such a short time.

Collector’s thoughts:

My movie is a game that heavily relies on references or nods to famous movies. In this way copyrighted material is acknowledged and used and also changed in a way. This works to show that even if material is copyrighted, it is impossible for the owners of the copyright to prevent the material from being used in some way or another.