What do Gregorian chants, Lion King, Star Wars, It’s A Wonderful Life and The Shining have in common? The Dies irae. A particular little four-note melody from early Minor Mode chants which pop-culture has coopted as the music of suspense/death/horror. Vox breaks it down, and it’s fascinating:
Ever since I first read it, historian Jason Steinhauer’s excellent 2017 essay “History is Not There to be Liked” has been rattling around in my head. His point of perpetuated myths often becoming more potent than reality has stuck with me. What we think of as normal can often have an unpleasant past obscured by more palatable lore or legend. It can be difficult for a culture to decouple the truth from its feelings toward a beloved myth.
Those thoughts cropped up again (around a less sober topic, surely) after I watched this excellent video from Vox on the reasons why so many cartoon characters wear gloves and the unfortunate connection between early animation and minstrelsy. It’s a nice bit of investigation around the craft of animation and the historical connations therein—worth checking out.
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