May 19th, 2007


Punctuation poll and music mysteries

*admires alliterative title*

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have the time for a fairly pointless post, though the impression that I have some free time is probably a bit of an illusion. *sigh*

I was grading my students' grammar papers the other day, and I found myself somewhat in disagreement with the Teacher's Guide. I think, perhaps, that the Teacher's Guide is going by a rather outdated method of comma usage, but I'm not sure. Anyway, instead of doing proper research on the matter, I have decided to poll my flist!

First please examine the following sentence:

John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, began on October 16, 1859, and was crushed on October 18.

Then answer the questions:

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Feel free to add additional information or justification in the comments. Come on grammarphiles, I need your help! :D

The other item I wanted to post about is music. I’m sure I’m not the only person who, from time to time, is watching some movie or TV show wherein some piece of classical/art music is used as incidental music, and feels sure that the piece is familiar, but can’t name it. For some reason, it appears that TV shows in particular can get away with using music and not giving any credit, so that one is left wondering what the piece of music was even after scouring the closing credits.

But in this day and age whenever one is presented with any sort of trivial mystery like this, one can always ask Teh Interwebs—and will be very likely to find the answer! So I am pleased to announce that the gorgeous swelling of symphonic music heard when Kenshin bids farewell to Kaoru before departing for Kyoto is the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni. While it is not by Puccini, as I had first thought, it is by one of his contemporaries in the verismo school of Italian composers, and it is certainly just as appropriate a musical selection for the “Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story” as Puccini would have been (except for the fact that Mascagni did not write Madame Butterfly).

Also, the piano sonata that underscores Kenshin’s battle with Shishio at the end of the Kyoto arc is, as I thought, one of Beethoven’s named piano sonatas. But it is not the Pastoral, as I originally thought, nor another movement of the Moonlight Sonata, as I later guessed. It is the Adagio Cantabile movement of the Pathetique. I clearly remember studying this piece in Dr. Kindred’s killer Music Theory II course, and I remember thinking, at the time, that the song “Somewhere Out There” had ripped off parts of the melody. *smirks* Cantabile, indeed.

And on a related note, markbrannan, I thought you might like to know that the theme song for House, which you thought you recognized the other day, is by Massive Attack, according to the closing credits. Does that help you place it?