Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Answer: Extramusical sounds that people make during performances?

Ay yi yi yi yi!   

This week's Challenge was to find any:  

       extramusical sounds and yells 

that happen during a performance.  

For examples, gritos are common in mariachi performances, you've probably heard them before.  

Pedro Infante doing a grito in performance  
(To repeat from last time: A grito is a common Mexican interjection (typically at loud volume during a song), used as an expression of joy, sadness, or excitement.  Even though it's not part of the music, it IS a part of the performance!)  

Today's Challenge isn't to find out more about gritos, but...   

1.  Can you find examples of other outcries / sounds / shouts that are analogous to a grito.  That is, they are (in some sense) outside-of-the-music--that is, extramusical.  

The real question for this week is How can you search for something like this that's so... difficult to describe?

This happens: you have an idea, but it's not really clear how to make it clear enough for a good search.  Let  me tell you what I did, and what strategies I used.  

Strategy 1: Get an overview of what we already know about the topic (that is, the grito).   

How do we do that?

The best overview mechanism I know is Wikipedia, so let's look at that.  

     [ grito Wikipedia ] 

where we find that the grito...  

This interjection is similar to the yahoo or yeehaw of the American cowboy during a hoedown, with added Ululation trills and onomatopoeia closer to "aaah" or "aaaayyyyeeee," that resemble a laugh while performing it. 
The first sound is typically held as long as possible, leaving enough breath for a trailing set of trills.

From this short description, we've learned a few new terms:  yahoo, yeehaw, and ululation.  We also picked up that a yahoo cry often happens at hoedowns (country music  performances that .  That certainly qualifies as extramusical.  (No jokes about Yahoo!, please...)  

Strategy 2: As you do your research, be sure to pick up on any new terms (or concepts) that can lead you to more discoveries.  

In the previous  paragraph we learned yahoo, yeehaw, and ululation.  

Let's drill down on that term, ululation.  What can we learn from that? 

Again, Wikipedia (ululation) is our friend telling us that: 
Ululation is practiced either alone or as part of certain styles of singing, on various occasions of communal ritual events (like weddings) used to express strong emotion...
Ululation is commonly practiced in most of Africa, the Middle East, Central-to-South Asia, and in the Indian states Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bengal, Odisha, Assam, and Sri Lanka. It is also practiced in a few places in Europe, like Cyprus, and among the diaspora community originating from these areas.

And it appears as an extramusical sound as well...  

...[ululation appears in the ] music of artists performing Mizrahi styles of music... [it] is incorporated into African musical styles such as Shona music, where it is a form of audience participation, along with clapping and call-and-response.

This tells us a couple of things: an ululation is common in many different cultures (note: it's zaghrouta in Arabic--same thing), and tells us that clapping is yet another kind of extramusical sound. 

And, of course, we can use this query to find out more about the use of ululation in songs:  

     [ ululation music song ] 

This quickly leads us to Shakira's famous ululation during the Superbowl performance of her hit song "Hips Don't Lie" (2019).  (Watch it here.)  

Strategy 3: Keep modifying the query to explore the space near your core concept.  

What if I modify that last query with a more generic term than "ululation"?  Let's try this:  

     [ shout music song ] 

... this leads to a bunch of results about the song "Shout" by the Isley Brothers.  That's not helpful, so I changed the query yet again, trying to broaden it: 

    [ shout music ] 

But that leads to  "Shout Music," a kind of exuberant church music of the American south (especially in black churches).  While it's loud, it's expressly musical, so it's not quite what we're looking for in this Challenge.  

So I modified the query a bit a third time, providing a bit more context around the time of the shout/ululation.  THIS query modification worked.  

     [ shout at end of musical performance ] 

And THAT led to a treasure trove of different kind of shouted accolades that happen at the end of a musical performance. You know about those shouts of "Bravo" or "Encore" over the ending notes of an especially wonderful performance.  But as found on the SERP, these kinds of end-of-the-concert shouts have an etiquette all their own.  

In this guide, the Indianapolis opera has several suggestions about what you can yell at the end of a musical piece (I like the way they make an imperative suggestion!):  

You will say “Bravo” (Brah-voh) for a single male performer.
You will say “Brava” (Brah-vah) for a single female performer.
You will say “Bravi” (Brah-vee) to a group of all male performers or a mix of male and female performers. 
You will say “Brave” (Brah-vay) to a group of all female performers.

In fact, on occasion, audience members might also shout at the conductor before OR after the performance. You may hear “bravo!” or a “maestro!” as a token of appreciation directed at the director.  

I also found a more general Wikipedia article about concert etiquette, which brings up an excellent point:  

Concert etiquette has, like the music, evolved over time. Late eighteenth-century composers such as Mozart expected that people would talk, particularly at dinner, and took delight in audiences clapping at once in response to a nice musical effect. Individual movements were encored in response to audience applause....  
In opera a particularly impressive aria will often be applauded, even if the music is continuing. Shouting is generally acceptable only during applause. The word shouted is often the Italian word bravo or a variation (brava in the case of a female performer, bravi for a plural number of performers, bravissimo for a truly exceptional performance). The word's original meaning is "skillful" and it has come to mean "well done". The French word encore ("again") may be shouted as a request for more, although in Italy and France itself bis ("twice") is the more usual expression. In some cultures (e.g., Britain) enthusiastic approval can also be expressed by whistling, though in others (e.g., Italy, Russia) whistling can signify disapproval and act as the equivalent of booing.

I also learned about the expression hana hou, shouted at the end of a great musical performance in Hawai'i (bascially "Good job! Encore!").  You can hear people chanting at the beginning of this video (of Bruno Mars performing in Hawai'i where the locals shout hana hou instead of encore).  

What else is there?  What else do people shout (or make interesting sounds) in a group setting (or musical setting)? 

Strategy 4: Generalize the terms of your query to find more "nearby" concepts.  

For example, if you include "people" and modify the query: 
      [people shout during music ]  

you'll discover kakegoe shouts during Japanese traditional music, when  enthusiastic audience members shout out the name of an actor at particularly exciting or memorable moments.  (You can find examples here--just click on the family crests and download the sound files to hear what a kakgoe sound like.)  

You can keep going in this way for a long, long time.  You'll discover yells during various kinds of musical traditions.  Think of cries liks Laissez les bons temps rouler! in Cajun and Zydeco music, or shouts of "Hallelujah" or "Amen" in gospel performances, or even various whoops during polka band performances.  It's all extramusical, and all very exciting.  

Search Lessons 

You can see the strategies up above, but here they are, repeated for your edification:  

Strategy 1: Get an overview of what we already know about the topic (that is, the grito) and work outward from there.    
Strategy 2: As you do your research, be sure to pick up on any new terms (or concepts) that can lead you to more discoveries.  
Strategy 3: Keep modifying the query to explore the space near your core concept.  
Strategy 4: Generalize the terms of your query to find more "nearby" concepts.  

Following these strategies, as well as being willing to continuously refine your research question (and thereby become more clear about what you seek), will give you a powerful set of SearchResearch tools for investigation! 

Search on!  

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