Charles Schulz was a very careful transcriber of music into Peanuts. Many passages are identifiable (lots of Beethoven, no surprise). However, Schulz could not read music himself -- thus copying from printed sources in his library. enter image description here

But, in this comic, featuring Woodstock, the music is ... weird. Are they random? Is it just "off" in its transcription (Do you otherwise recognize it?)? Is it to reflect the tunelessness of birdsong? Would love to hear some ideas. enter image description here

enter image description here


I don't know if this is a particular piece, but my guess is that the first three dyads in the right hand should be one step lower. More consonant would be:

enter image description here

This is in contrast to what's written, which would be an odd extended chord. Instead, the "corrected" version is just a clear I moving to V7.

As for the "tunelessness" of birdsong, I just wanted to mention that birds actually sing some astonishingly intricate melodies. In fact, some composers have incorporated birdsong into their compositions; the most famous of which is Olivier Messiaen. Some of his uses are documented here, and I give a sample image below that shows the correlation between bird song and some of his music:

enter image description here

  • Richard- it's probably obvious, but (as I thought when first seeing this example) it would work equally well a half step higher, in E major with four sharps. And you are right that some birdsong is astonishingly intricate. I don't think any of it is tonal, however, unless it's mimicking human music. – Scott Wallace Oct 10 '18 at 9:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.