music

Raymond Scott and the art of titles

For so many musicians and composers of instrumental music, the hardest part of their job is finding appropriate titles for their compositions.

A good title is like a map of the uncharted territory of emotions; a good, meaningful title is a guide, taking the listener by the hand, translating in a few simple words what the poet calls “the inarticulate speech of the heart”.

Raymond Scott (1908-1994) was a fantastic musician (not jazz, not classical, not popular), but he also had a gift at inventing titles which are still remembered as the true evidence of a genius at work. Almost a literary experience, they are like short stories with soundtracks; and the soundtracks are always worth investigating.

If you are still sceptical, try these:

New Year’s Eve in a Haunted House

War Dance for Wooden Indians

Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals

Serenade to a Lonesome Railroad Station

Boy Scout in Switzerland

Girl at the Typewriter

But don’t forget the most famous one (does it remind you of something?):

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