Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Search Challenge (Oct 15, 2014): A few musical questions

Playing a little slack key guitar at Burning Man 2010

As you probably know, I'm a musician by avocation and play something nearly every day.  My piano is in the living room, my guitar and synth are in my home office, and I just acquired a new ukelele for those moments of singing in the back yard or at the beach!  

So as you'd expect, I often come across questions in my day-to-day that require a bit of search.  Here are a few fun searches I've done recently.  I don't think they're all that hard, but solving them led me to realize a few things about the changing nature of information on the web.  

Here, for your musical education are three questions I looked up recently. Can you also find the answers?  

1.  What's a plagal cadence?  What does it sound like?  Where might I have heard one before?   
2.  What's a Steely Dan chord?  Can you find an example of one that I can hear?  (That is, in isolation.  I know I can find lots of Steely Dan music online.)  
3.  Is there any connection between trumpet playing and getting hemorrhoids?  There are lots of anecdotes, but can you find reliable data on this?  
4.  I love listening to the music of folk singer Jez Lowe.  In his lyrics he keeps mentioning Durham (such as "Back in the Durham Jail").  Problem is there're a lot of Durhams in the world.  Which Durham is he talking about?  

Enjoy the music of the search while searching on! 


  1. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    Question 1.

    [Define "Plagal Cadence"]

    Ctrl -F "Plagal" gives us how that sounds.

    Question 2.

    [define "Steely Dan chord"]

    Steely Dan: The Mu Major Chord. Site has history, chords, sounds.

    Mu chord, Wikipedia.

    Question 3.

    [ trumpet playing around(3) hemorrhoids]

    Basic Trumpet Playing: The United States Army Field Band

    There is no research at day (2005) that shows cause for hemorrhoids. There is small risk for visual field loos or glaucoma. Trumpet Technique By Frank Gabriel Campos

    Went to about this book. Searched as learned in previous Challenge. No other book found.

    Question 4.

    [jez lowe around(3) Durham]

    Durham Gaol Ctrl- F "Durham" Comments says where it is.

    Other comment links to Durham City Elvet Tommy Armstrong song about the Gaol. Site also tells more about the place

    [tommy armstrong around(3) jez lowe]


    1. What's a plagal cadence? What does it sound like? Where might I have heard one before?

    From Google Answer: Plagal Cadence: A Plagal Cadence refers to the chord progression of IV to I or Subdominant to Tonic. As such, it is the cadence most often used at the end of hymns for the final "A-MEN".

    2. What's a Steely Dan chord? Can you find an example of one that I can hear? (That is, in isolation. I know I can find lots of Steely Dan music online.)

    A. The chord, or rather the name mu major, was invented by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, quite possibly while sitting at the piano working on their early demos in the late 60s/early 70s. From the early days of Steely Dan it quickly became a favourite chord of theirs and, along with a small number of other favoured chords, is one of the defining characteristics of Steely Dan harmony.

    Mu major example: sound collage

    3. Is there any connection between trumpet playing and getting hemorrhoids? There are lots of anecdotes, but can you find reliable data on this?

    A. No. Playing trumpet requires to learn how to breath. No Studies found about hemorrhoids and trumpet.

    4. I love listening to the music of folk singer Jez Lowe. In his lyrics he keeps mentioning Durham (such as "Back in the Durham Jail"). Problem is there're a lot of Durhams in the world. Which Durham is he talking about?

    A: Durham Goal is in Durham, County Durham in the North East of England. One comments says it this:"It's on his CD "Backshift""

    1. I wanted to search for more information about history of Ukelele. By the way, hope one day Dr. Russell shares with us some music of him with piano and Ukelele.

      Went to Bisac.

      [ Ukelele subject:"MUSIC / Ethnomusicology"]
      [ Trumpet subject:"MUSIC / Musical Instruments / Woodwinds"] here I found The Trumpet Book Even when there is only a preview, book looks amazing. I think, Dr. Russell and us will enjoy it. It shows, History, formulas, etc. For example, mentions C trumpet. Sounds travel at 340 meters per second. Trumpet in West has been used to produce only fifths and octaves and with that they design instrument.

  2. Regarding question #3, indeed, there is not even any mention of "hemorrhoid" in the professional/technical journal "Medical Problems of Performing Artists." and

  3. Plagal Cadence I know cadence in relationship to cycling but that’s it. Keyword search results in Cool site. When I highlighted the phrase “if a phrase ends...a plagal cadence occurs an example of this occurrence appears in the music chart. Then highlight “play this example…” & an audio of a plagal cadence is heard. Church would be a common place to hear a plagal cadence “Plagal cadences sound finished. Plagal cadences are often used at the end of hymns and sung to A-men.” And again you can listen to a sampling.

    Query [music theory,Steely Dan chord] Referred to as [the mu major chord is "a major chord with an added second"] Examples are on this site as well.

    Book search “Trumpet technique” published 2005 states no research shows trumpet playing causes hemorrhoids. Intraocular pressure could be affected.

    Jez Lowe from County Durham in Ireland from Wikipedia
    Official website for Jez Lowe shows lyrics Back in Durham Goal (Irish gaelic) for Jail.

    1. Regarding the link between trumpet (wind instrument) and hemorrhoids I think this is a case of being given a challenge that supposes there is a link & yet nothing credible as ever been published. A mere urban myth by some musicians perhaps. Here’s an paper “AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CURRENT RESEARCH IN THE FIELD OF THE MEDICAL PROBLEMS OF TRUMPET PLAYING “ published 2008. If there were any medical issues I believe this would have been addressed in this type of scholarly paper.

    2. I think sometimes music fans are the best source for learning about performers and songs. Others sources are likely album covers, magazines, & performers own websites. The website Song Archive provides details & in our case this is a snippet of what he says about Jez Lowe & the Durham Gaol.
      “The North East Of England writer Tommy Armstrong had written a song called "Nae Good Luck In Durham Jail" in the late nineteenth century, apparently from personal experience... that Armstrong's song was an influence... and that never again would he be found in the artistic prison that his Durham identity had created for him! As an ironic result of this uncharacteristic bout of poetic petulence, Jez found that this very song would be the one that made that label stick forever, and that simultaneously taught him that the stories of small town County Durham.” HM Durham is located at HMP Durham, Old Elvet, Durham, County Durham DH1 3HU, United Kingdom

  4. this search has me scratching my - uhh… am unsure about a trumpet (C. Brown) nexus, but googling & piles should be a CDC/NIH focus study if they ever clear up the current kerfuffle…
    another pseudo nexus fins/Cleveland
    not just musicians SearchyDan - THE "H" FACTOR
    no static

    1. off topic, but speaking of FM & what's possible with the interwob/YT…
      over performing fm
      perhaps there is a single station for…?
      sDan XIX
      J L and the Bad Pennies
      harmonicas/h_roids&lab coats
      it's a circle.
      wafting from your backyard soon — a beautiful sound
      SF Journey

  5. 1. Searched [ plagal cadence ] to Wikipedia "Cadence". I could not play the midi file example on the right side of the page, so I searched [ plagal cadence example ] to On Music Dictionary. I also did [ plagal cadence ] on SoundCloud to SoundCloud plagal cadence. You might have heard it in church.

    2. I skipped right to searching [ "steely dan" chord example ] to find Just what is the mysterious Steely Dan mu (µ) major chord?. There is a collage of of the Mu chord but you wanted it in isolation. Scanned down and found there is also a wav file of the chord played twice.

    3. Tried [trumpet players hemorrhoids] and variations of that along with [ brass musical instruments hemorroids ] on Google Search, Google Scholar, Google News and on I could not find any valid study or data to back this up.

    4. [ folk singer jez lowe ] to Lowe was born and raised in County Durham...

    1. Interesting--I couldn't play that example either. I'm not sure why WIkipedia has difficult-to-use audio tech on their site. I'm sure there's a reason, but it's not a good one.

  6. Plagal Cadence: straight search for it
    Explanation and demo at You heard it in church perhaps. I do not understand any of this music stuff

    Steely Dan Mu chord found by [steeley dan chords] Full explantion at
    Where you may also listen to several mp3 collage files

    Scholar [musicians hemorrhoids] finds a Master's thesis A study of the physical and psychological disabilities of professional musicians relative to occupational role dysfunction page 16 shows

    High pressure instruments like the trumpet and oboe may aggravate conditions such as hernias, hemorrhoids

    I know a drummer who can match just about everything listed in this thesis in the drum department

    Durham Jail turns up Durham Gaol. Ahah.

    Old Elvet
    DH1 3HU


    jon tU

  7. 1. Amen = plagal cadence so in hymns. Plagal = IV-I and example given in Wikip. F chord -> C chord
    2. good explanation et mp3 file to illustrate. As Donald Fagen has explained on occasions, the mu major chord is "a major chord with an added second". (Read the Compuserve chat where Donald talks about the mu major). In other words, the notes that make up the mu major chord are: Root (1st), 2nd, major 3rd, 5th.
    3. Lowe born and raised in County Durham (Nth East England) (Wikipedia)

    Unfortunately I missed what I was supposed to realise about the changing nature of info on the web (more audio files available?)

  8. Good to work with someone who was a music major!
    Question 1) Anne knew right off the bat what a plagal cadence is. It is also known as a half cadence and it often comes in the middle of a piece. According to Wikipedia it is most commonly found in the Amen section of a hymn so anyone who has gone to a church service with music has probably heard this cadence.

    For question 2 Anne is failing me as she hadn't heard of it before. So we checked and found this result "" which had an example you could listen to. Several other sites also described this type of chord which is also called a MU major chord but Steely Dan used it in a very distinctive way in which the structure of the chord is performed. This site had a great example of a regular chord and then this type of chord so you could hear the difference. Especially important for someone like me who doesn't know music at all. It is on the same page but the direct link is here ""

    For question 3 - well there certainly must be a connection because there is even a google group for trumpet players with hemorrhoids! The US Army Field Band cautions player of trumpets to be careful with their breathing so they don't get hemorrhoids, hernias or ruptures! "" We did a control f to find the information on hemorrhoids. But it still didn't give us and data on how frequently this happens. We did a search in google and came up with a result in google books on Trumpet Technique and on pg. 128 there is a section on common trumpet player's injuries and it does state that hemorrhoids could be a problem because trumpet playing produces the greatest intrathoracic pressure of any instrument and this greater pressure could lead to hemorrhoids but the book states there is no research to date that shows this greater pressure directly causes hemorrhoids. This book has a copyright date of 2005. We tried searching in our medical databases such as EBSCO and Elsevier and only found articles on hemorrhoidectomy techniques and not any on the correlation between playing the trumpet and getting hemorrhoids.

    And for the final question did a google search on Jez Lowe and the wikipedia article on him says he was born in County Durham in England. This county is in the northeast part of England. The county town is also called Durham.

    This was a fun set of searches although searching for information on hemorrhoids while sitting in a very public place does get a lot of interesting comments!

  9. Dan will this challenge bend Zeitgeist 2014? ¯\_(?)_/¯
    Debbie, tough morning search topic
    or are we behind the curve? (handy review tool)
    Goo trending health issues
    you've got me on my knees
    Jimmy Page/BBC

    1. remmij Your link to Eric Clapton brought back memories. I was fortunate to have stayed in his castle outside of Dublin years ago. Great experience.

    2. Remmij until I saw the date I thought so many of us were searching hemorrhoids as a topic this am we had affected Google search statistics!

    3. RM, sounds like there is an interesting backstory there… although the Malahide slides show that the weather can be fickle…
      Barberstown Castle
      north of Dublin

  10. DG - re-looked at the USAToday article date & noted the proximity to Valentines Day… just sayin.
    l'amore può essere un dolore al tokus
    Wonder what the real driver was at that time?
    from earlier this year -
    love boat
    this suggests the subject is an ongoing "hot topic"… perhaps even inflamed…
    with or without musical accompaniment

    1. After reading, Remmij link to Jimmy Page, searched using some of those words.

      [ jez lowe how he wrote durham gaol]

      He didn’t follow his classmates into the coal mines, choosing to make music instead. Site goes: "...He had always written but it took a cultural earthquake to turn him into full-time writer. In 1984 the Thatcher government announced the closing of 74 coal mines, mostly in the Northeast. The divisive miner’s strike of 1984/85 and the breaking of the miner’s unions signalled the end of a way of life in Durham. Jez was there to document it in song. He has not stopped writing since.

      The songs about the collapse of economy in the Northeast are not academic. He’s writing and singing about his family, about the guys he went to school with. He cares about it deeply. That’s what makes the songs universal. They are not just about the events in Easington or Peterlee. They are about the real human emotions in play when a whole way of life changes..."

      [How My Was was written]
      How Sinatra did it My Way - via a French pop star and a Canadian lounge act "...Sinatra hated the song, ostensibly because it was pompous and smarmy and self-indulgent, but also because he was probably aware that it would ultimately degenerate into the kind of graveside cabaret material that make mourners wish the stiff was still breathing...Comme d'habitude morphed into My Way after Paul Anka...Comme d'habitude; Gilles Thibault gets credit for the lyrics, and Jacques Revaux for the music. So precisely what Francois added to the creative process remains unclea

      Claude François. Place Claude-François in Paris was named in his memory.Also a biopic.

      Copyright law in music makes two crucial distinctions. First, it distinguishes between the composition itself and sound recordings of the composition.

      After that, I share a video of the first soundtrack that I liked.

      The Duel from Electric Dreams. Based upon the classical Sebastian Bach Minuet in G Major

    2. Ramón - nice, evolving search - music and memory, powerful search tools! - liked the Duel - has a nostalgic feel to it…
      kinda like Close Encounters or Her
      thought I recognized her -
      Virginia Madsen
      electric dreams
      still one of my favorite cello pieces -
      Zöe Keating
      and this isn't bad either -
      Mr. Lovett & Mr. Hagen
      The Road To Ensenada