May 4, 2023 : Wondercab Mini (41A)
Our last issue’s discussion of my Weimar composer grandfather Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue sparked an entertaining array of responses, none more intriguing/annoying than that from frequent correspondent Michael Zinman, who I have taken to thinking of as The Imp of Sagacity. In this case his query was simple, to wit:
Did your grandfather base his geographical fugue on geographic tongue?
Now, I had never heard of “geographic tongue,” but it turns out there is such a thing, it is a medical condition of sorts, entirely benign, that afflicts the occasional tongue, look it up for yourself on Google if you are so inclined, or explore the array of images on Google Images (though I don’t particularly urge the latter course upon you, there are only so many things you need to add to your sensorium and such images really may not be among them).
But in any case, the point is that I soon realized that we had drifted out of the terrain of my grandfather’s iconic linguistic mash-up and perhaps more into that of my own impertinent pastiche on same (which I discussed toward the end of the postscript to my biographical profile of Toch back in Issue #24), which is to say my Medical Fugue. And that indeed it might be time and fitting to revise the latter with regard to a single particular passage—to be specific, this one:
Which perhaps instead ought now be retooled to read:
So, if any of you amateur or professional, doctors’ or lay choruses out there want to try out the new version (original score provided in link above), feel free to do so, only send us a recording if you think of it. We’d love to hear how it sounds.
SPEAKING OF WHICH
Of all the images on Google’s aforementioned array of photographs of geographic tongue, perhaps the least disconcerting was this one from the Brosky Family Dentistry website:
which in turn put us in mind of a truly astonishing recent item from that veritable floodtide of such revelatory charts and graphics over on the “Top Links” subfeature of Adam Tooze’s Chartbook substack, in this instance Issue #202, a map posted on Reddit back in 2013 by Valeriepieris (aka Texas teacher Ken Myers):
Which Tooze goes on to gloss as follows:
In 2015, the circle was tested by Danny Quah, who verified the claim but moved the circle slightly to exclude most of Japan, and used a globe model rather than a map projection as well as more specific calculations. He calculated that, as of 2015, half of the world's population lived within a 3,300-kilometer (2,050 mi) radius of the city of Mong Khet in Myanmar. And Quah did not shrink from the political implication.
So yeah, I guess: chew on that.
See you next week!