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Long note


Malagueña Salerosa is a Mexican Son Huasteco song covered hundreds of times (including versions by Plácido Domingo, José Feliciano, and Avenged Sevenfold). It’s also a challenge: how long can a singer sustain a single note?

Grunge speak


In 1992, an earnest New York Times reporter asked Megan Jasper, a former receptionist for Sub-Pop Records, for slang used by the nascent grunge scene. There was no such slang… so she made it up. And they printed it.

Short hand

Guidonian Hand

The hand is a flexible and convenient mnemonic device. The knuckle mnemonic tells us the number of days in a month, but a musical mnemomic called the Guidonian hand has been around for eight hundred years.

Pirate radio

1960s radio

New Zealand had no private radio stations in the early 1960s. The government monopoly was broken by a “pirate” radio station, Radio Hauraki, which broadcast from an old boat anchored in international waters in the Hauraki Gulf.