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A recurring gag within the Muppets' musical performances is a character announcing a modulation just before it occurs by shouting "modulate!" This tells the other characters (or, in some cases, the audience) that it's time for a quick key change.
 
A recurring gag within the Muppets' musical performances is a character announcing a modulation just before it occurs by shouting "modulate!" This tells the other characters (or, in some cases, the audience) that it's time for a quick key change.
   
According to biographer [[Jim Henson: The Biography|Brian Jay Jones]], while [[Jim Henson]] could not read sheet music and often joked that he could barely sing, his passion more than made up for his lack of technique. During music rehearsals on ''[[The Muppet Show]]'', Henson would sing with gusto gleefully announcing a key change by calling out "modulate!"—a habit that Henson carried over into many of his characters, and a quirk that amused [[Frank Oz]] so much that he incorporated it into the performances of many of his characters too.<ref>Jones, Brian Jay. ''[[Jim Henson: The Biography]]'' (page 239).</ref>
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According to biographer [[Brian Jay Jones]], while [[Jim Henson]] could not read sheet music and often joked that he could barely sing, his passion more than made up for his lack of technique. During music rehearsals on ''[[The Muppet Show]]'', Henson would sing with gusto gleefully announcing a key change by calling out "modulate!"—a habit that Henson carried over into many of his characters, and a quirk that amused [[Frank Oz]] so much that he incorporated it into the performances of many of his characters too.<ref>Jones, Brian Jay. ''[[Jim Henson: The Biography]]'' (page 239).</ref>
   
 
==Instances==
 
==Instances==
* When singing "[[Cottleston Pie]]" in [[episode 107: Florence Henderson|episode 107]] of ''[[The Muppet Show]]'', [[Rowlf]] explains to the audience "now this is where the song changes key, what we call ''modulation''" before he changes to G-sharp minor. Rowlf does the same when performing the song on ''[[Ol' Brown Ears is Back]]'' saying "now this is where the song does what you call ''modulate''."
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* When singing "[[Cottleston Pie]]" in [[episode 107: Florence Henderson|episode 107]] of ''[[The Muppet Show]]'', [[Rowlf the Dog|Rowlf]] explains to the audience "now this is where the song changes key, what we call ''modulation''" before he changes to G-sharp minor. Rowlf does the same when performing the song on ''[[Ol' Brown Ears is Back]]'' saying "now this is where the song does what you call ''modulate''."
   
 
* Rowlf shouts "up a key!" to inform the chorus to modulate during the performance of "[[(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song]]" in [[episode 112: Peter Ustinov|episode 112]] of ''The Muppet Show''.
 
* Rowlf shouts "up a key!" to inform the chorus to modulate during the performance of "[[(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song]]" in [[episode 112: Peter Ustinov|episode 112]] of ''The Muppet Show''.
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* [[Fozzie Bear|Fozzie]] tells Rowlf to modulate when the two are playing "[[English Country Garden]]" in [[Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan|episode 218]] of ''The Muppet Show.''
 
* [[Fozzie Bear|Fozzie]] tells Rowlf to modulate when the two are playing "[[English Country Garden]]" in [[Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan|episode 218]] of ''The Muppet Show.''
   
* [[Marvin Suggs]] shouts at [[the Muppaphone]] to modulate before their final (completed) chorus of "[[Witch Doctor (song)|Witch Doctor]]" in [[episode 304: Gilda Radner|episode 304]] of ''The Muppet Show''. Since each Muppaphone member is individually tuned to one note, the aggrived aggregation accomplishes this by switching positions.
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* [[Marvin Suggs]] shouts at [[the Muppaphone]] to modulate before their final (completed) chorus of "[[Witch Doctor (song)|Witch Doctor]]" in [[episode 304: Gilda Radner|episode 304]] of ''The Muppet Show''. Since each Muppaphone member is individually tuned to one note, the aggrieved aggregation accomplishes this by switching positions.
   
 
* Fozzie tells the Muppets to modulate during the "[[Brotherhood of Man]]" musical number in ''[[I Love Liberty]]''.
 
* Fozzie tells the Muppets to modulate during the "[[Brotherhood of Man]]" musical number in ''[[I Love Liberty]]''.
   
* [[Kermit the Frog|Kermit]] and [[Robin the Frog|Robin]] announce their modulation during the opening theme for the ''[[Muppet Babies]]'' [[Muppet Babies Videography|"Yes, I Can" videos]].
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* [[Kermit the Frog|Kermit]] and [[Robin the Frog|Robin]] announce their modulation during the opening theme for the ''[[Yes, I Can]]'' videos.
   
 
* As the dogs' weeping escalates while singing "[[Man's Best Friend]]" in ''The Muppet Show'' [[Episode 404: Dyan Cannon|episode 404]], Rowlf shouts "modulate!" and the howling intensifies. Similarly, when he performed the song again on ''[[Ol' Brown Ears is Back]]'' (as "Old Dog Trey"), he shouts "modulate!" as the music shifts from solo piano to a full instrumental complement.
 
* As the dogs' weeping escalates while singing "[[Man's Best Friend]]" in ''The Muppet Show'' [[Episode 404: Dyan Cannon|episode 404]], Rowlf shouts "modulate!" and the howling intensifies. Similarly, when he performed the song again on ''[[Ol' Brown Ears is Back]]'' (as "Old Dog Trey"), he shouts "modulate!" as the music shifts from solo piano to a full instrumental complement.
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* [[Ernie]] calls for modulation during his and Bert's [[Ernie and Bert Sketches: Nighttime#whatsthenameofthatsong|nighttime rendition]] of "[[What's the Name of That Song? (song)|What's the name of that song?]]"
 
* [[Ernie]] calls for modulation during his and Bert's [[Ernie and Bert Sketches: Nighttime#whatsthenameofthatsong|nighttime rendition]] of "[[What's the Name of That Song? (song)|What's the name of that song?]]"
   
* In "[[Good Things Come to Those Who Wait]]," [[Cookie Monster]] remarks "Key change!" when a modulation occurs.
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* In "[[Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (Sesame Street)|Good Things Come to Those Who Wait]]," [[Cookie Monster]] remarks "Key change!" when a modulation occurs.
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* In "[[The Twelve Days of Christmas|The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies]]," Cookie Monster announces "What happening? Uh-oh, we modulating!" before changing keys at the start of the tenth verse.
   
 
==Sources==
 
==Sources==
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
   
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__NOWYSIWYG__
 
[[Category:Running Gags]]
 
[[Category:Running Gags]]
 
[[Category:Musical References]]
 
[[Category:Musical References]]

Latest revision as of 08:10, August 3, 2020

Fozzierowlf
Kermitsuggs1

Modulate!
In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest.

A recurring gag within the Muppets' musical performances is a character announcing a modulation just before it occurs by shouting "modulate!" This tells the other characters (or, in some cases, the audience) that it's time for a quick key change.

According to biographer Brian Jay Jones, while Jim Henson could not read sheet music and often joked that he could barely sing, his passion more than made up for his lack of technique. During music rehearsals on The Muppet Show, Henson would sing with gusto gleefully announcing a key change by calling out "modulate!"—a habit that Henson carried over into many of his characters, and a quirk that amused Frank Oz so much that he incorporated it into the performances of many of his characters too.[1]

InstancesEdit

  • When singing "Cottleston Pie" in episode 107 of The Muppet Show, Rowlf explains to the audience "now this is where the song changes key, what we call modulation" before he changes to G-sharp minor. Rowlf does the same when performing the song on Ol' Brown Ears is Back saying "now this is where the song does what you call modulate."
  • Marvin Suggs shouts at the Muppaphone to modulate before their final (completed) chorus of "Witch Doctor" in episode 304 of The Muppet Show. Since each Muppaphone member is individually tuned to one note, the aggrieved aggregation accomplishes this by switching positions.
  • As the dogs' weeping escalates while singing "Man's Best Friend" in The Muppet Show episode 404, Rowlf shouts "modulate!" and the howling intensifies. Similarly, when he performed the song again on Ol' Brown Ears is Back (as "Old Dog Trey"), he shouts "modulate!" as the music shifts from solo piano to a full instrumental complement.

SourcesEdit

  1. Jones, Brian Jay. Jim Henson: The Biography (page 239).
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