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Moondog

A mostly self-taught composer, Louis Hardin was born in Marysville, KS on May 26, 1916. The family eventually moved to Wyoming, where his father, who had been an Episcopalian minister, opened a trading post at Fort Bridger, and had two different ranches. Young Hardin went to school in a log cabin in Burnt Fork, WY, and fished, hunted, and trapped. Later, he rode a horse to school in Long Tree, a cattle community. He wrote that his first drum set " ...at the age of five, was a cardboard box". He also went with his father to an Arapho Sun Dance, where he sat on Chief Yellow Calf's lap and played the buffalo skin tom-tom. Later, in 1949, he played tom-tom and flute at a Sun Dance held by the Blackfoot in Idaho. The constant "tom-tom" beat became incorporated in many of his later pieces, such as the complex canon for marimbas "Wind River Powwow: Arapa-Host, Arapa-Home, Arapa-Hope." He played drums in Hurley High School in 1929, and he lost his sight in his early teens when a dynamite cap exploded. He studied music and finished high school at the Iowa School for the Blind, and in 1933, studied braille at the Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis. "I write all my music in braille. When I write for orchestra, I do not write scores any more, but just write out parts, for the score is in my head and just writing out the parts cuts the time and cost in half ... anyhow, if my pieces were ever in demand, a score to each could be made from the parts. I call this process 'intracting', as opposed to the opposite, having a score and 'extracting' parts from it. From the braille I dictate every slur, tie, expression mark." It is then written in pencil by another person, read back and corrected, then inked in by another person - " .. double trouble". Hardin lived in Batesville, AR until 1942 when he got a scholarship to study in Memphis. However, he mostly taught himself ear training and other musical skills, and theory from books in braille. In the fall of 1943, he came to New York and met Artur Rodzinski, Leonard Bernstein, and then Toscanini. In a legendary story, Hardin made to kiss Toscanini's hand " ... whereupon he pulled it away, saying, 'I am not a beautiful woman'". Hardin began using the name Moondog as a pen name in 1947 in honor of a dog "who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of." His music, constructed of direct musical gestures and built mostly from pure modal themes expanded by sophisticated contrapuntal techniques, would now receive the avant-garde label of "minimal" or pattern music, but this sound has characterized his music since the late '40s, and is thus a precursor of that postmodern compositional style. In New York, Moondog began to meet legendary jazz performer-composers, such as Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, and to incorporate jazz inflections, as well as humorous philosophical couplets and environmental sounds into his recorded compositions -- the early recordings on the Prestige label in 1956 - 1957 contain brief pieces such as "Up Broadway/The impressions of Moondog as He Passes Birdland and the Palladium up the Great White Way ... (a) Broadway and 52nd St., the Jazz Corner of the World. A dog Trot in 1/4 Time ... (b) Broadway and 53rd St, the Afro-Cuban Corner of the World -- A Bumbo in 4/4 time ...," and a duet for the whistle of the ocean liner the Queen Elizabeth and a bamboo flute. Moondog also sold his printed music and records, and performed on the streets of Manhattan. His music truly expressed a universal vision with the best of American musical sensibilities. Moondog passed away on September 8, 1999 in Germany at the age of 83. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny
full bio

Comments

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I remember encountering Moon Dog near the UN in NYC when I was about 10. He was dressed in his Viking garb and was a friendly, affable gentleman. That was 47 years ago and I'll never forget that unique experience.
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https://en.m . w i k i p e d i a . o r g / w i k i / M o o n d o g
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That is an astoundingly lyrical story. Thank you Moondog.
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Music is a language all its own. A bridge across eras, ideas and cultures. You just gotta listen
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The fact that his bio is unbelievable to some people highlights just how far we've come as a country and a (non-)cultur e . . . i n the WRONG DIRECTION.
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Jared Ferguson: The bio is actually true, this guy is very old, despite being dead now.
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I call bullshit on this bio. Seriously. Nice story though.
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jasonnjennin g s
great stuff
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solo0987
1916? Wow, some neat stuff for an 'ol bloke.
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Birds Lament: GREAT, GREAT MUSIC ART. awesome. :-)
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Me like
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seshns.jgjg
Nice and easy..
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learn2die101
@thebailiff3 Wrong, Mr. Scruff sampled him, not the other way around. (for those wondering, the song he is referencing is 'Get a Move On')
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djabitforwow
'
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I can't even categorize this beat - beautiful transitions and poignant beats that are captivating
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stole beat from mr. scruff
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clarabu772
Powerful!!
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Ive been in love with this song for about a year and only just read the bio. I cant believe this was made when it was. People out of their time are something special
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This guy doesn't get the recognition that he deserves, music today wouldn't be the same without him.
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bhawthorne81
moondoggy
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Good song

So good I might listen to this for hours
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Life throws you lemons he made music .. Amazing
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@surawx seems you don't know much about Manson. If you don't like his music that's fine, but you can't deny him all of his dynamic, creative, raw influential- s e l f . That is what I think she meant.
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marilyn manson of his generation? why such an insult? this is actual music.
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I love how he does his answer and calls with the instruments.
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Wow sounds very different and taboo from anything that was playing in that era. He must've been the Marilyn Manson of his generation!
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This guy sounds to be one of the originals with this kind of sound!!
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This is in pineapple express lol.
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Great music, interesting story can't wait to hear more !
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tebow4
Is this the music of Catch Me if you Can?
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He's pretty awesome, READ BIO AND FOLLOW ME!
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His bio seems unreal to be honest.
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xoxosushi
Doesn't Bird's Lament sound like it should belong in The Great Gatsby soundtrack?? Or is it just me?
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Amazement!!! Oooh now santigold. Ttyl
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Great Bio on Moondog....
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soooooooo awesome
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This a great groove! I love it.
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I know this song but I can't put my finger on where I heard it. Bird's lament is the song hmmmm it sounds so familiar
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Awsome
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So beautiful. I only knew this from the car commercial years ago. I would have never guessed how old this song was.
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Hard to tell this was made so long ago, I didn't think this genre was all that alive in like the time this was made.
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cabomix
Das ist fantastisch!
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spdhaze
fairly contemporary for a dude born in 1916
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Forgive me while I lament
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Amazing in so many ways
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amazingly talented man, we could all use him for a little inspiration when we feel we cant reach our goals
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(As to how, not hope)
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Incredible! Inspiring as to hope music finds a way!
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1911
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steveandlaur a 7 1 8 9
i sold flowers on the corner of 53rd and 6 th ave in manhattan. i was told by the oldtimers that this was Moondogs corner. very good spot for me
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