Tag Archive for music

Bits and Chips

Cover image by ChrisGampat on flickr

It’s all about nostalgia and limitation as Mike chips away (ahhh?!?!?) at the world of chiptunes music. If you played video games years and years ago, you’ll hear a set of sounds that will be completely familiar, even when used in unfamiliar compositional genres. Mike explores the anatomy of chiptunes sounds and composition, and looks into chiptunes’ relationship to hacking and the counterculture.

PLUS: lots of clips of music from the video games of bygone times. And Mike pronouncing more European names. And the line “making bonk-bonk noises.”


Intro and Outro – Square and Enjoy by Goto80
Break #1: Can’t Stop Us by Chipzel
Break #2: Chango Island by Kupa
Break #3: mushroom giggles by minusbaby


  • Endless Loop: A Brief History of Chiptunes by Kevin Driscoll and Joshua Diaz
  • Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design  by Karen Collins
  • Playing with Sound by Karen Collins
  • Music in Video Games, ed. Donnelly, et al
  • The Sound of Playing: A Study into the Music and Culture of Chiptunes by A. Yabsley

And a special thanks to these Reasonably Sound Patrons: Brandon Bennes, Hans Buetow, Xander C, Talia F E, Camilla Greer, Parker Higgins, Joe Krushinsky, Tod Kurt, Ethan Rose, and Susan Rugnetta.


Cover image by Kimberly Vardeman on flickr with some alterations by yt.

It’s the birthday episode for Reasonably Sound! Celebrating 1 year, Mike dives into why he can’t lead us all in a rousing chorus of that famous Happy Birthday song that we all know and … love (?). But the copyright clampdown might be loosening in light of dramatic new evidence found (as evidence usually is) in a basement.

PLUS … an exciting new birthday announcement: We are launching a Patreon! Now you can support the show you love with more than just cheering at your phone whenever a new episode comes out. The Patreon will help Reasonably Sound grow to new and exciting places. You can see the full details at the Reasonably Sound Patreon page.

You can also find Reasonably Sound’s very own Birthday Song at Mike’s bandcamp here.

FMA’S License Free Birthday Songs, Entries
Happy Birthday Song Contest Winners
The twisted history of the Happy Birthday song—and the copyright shenanigans that keep it profitable
Copyright and The World’s Most Popular Song by Robert Brauneis [PDF]
Original 1890s Manuscript of “Happy Birthday” Found In a Filing Cabinet
Birthday Song’s Copyright Leads to a Lawsuit for the Ages
“Happy Birthday” Lawsuit: “Smoking Gun” Emerges in Bid to Free World’s Most Popular Song
Happy Birthday song and its strange past

Intro and Outro:  Happy Birthday Song by Andrew Brid from andrew bird and the mysterious production of eggs
Break 1 – Smiley Monroe
Break 2 – My Birth by Swans from My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope to The sky

Little Night Muzak

Cover image by David Dawson on flickr

It’s convention season and Mike is on the road for three weeks straight, spending a LOT of time in centers and major hotel chains. And he’s noticed how much of his life has become underscored by Muzak and the purposefully designed feelings that it is meant to evoke.

The Real Song of the Summer

Cover image by altiemae on flickr

It’s the ice cream truck jingle.  Even Mike’s hated Mr. Softee one.  Mike provides the secret origin of the jingle, touching on the Great Depression, the growth of the American middle class, the Good Humor Man, refrigeration, and bobsled bells.

Ice Cream: A Global History by Laura B. Weiss
Ding, Ding!: The Commodity Aesthetic of Ice Cream Truck Music by Daniel T Neely
The real song of the summer: a brief history of ice cream truck music
A Brief History of the Ice Cream Truck
Nichols Electronics Co
Putting the ‘Mr.’ in Soft Ice Cream

Racist History of “Turkey in the Straw”:
Recall That Ice Cream Truck Song? We Have Unpleasant News For You
That Viral Story About the Racist Ice Cream Song Is Wrong

Intro: Ice Cream Man by Tom Waits from Closing Time
Break #1: Shut Up And Drive (Far Away) by the Deftons from Around the Fur
Break #2: Star Spangled Banner, Rock Version

The Drop

That part in dance music, where the music builds and builds and builds and BUILDS before the tension finally, FINALLY, gets relieved?  That’s “the drop.”  Mike talks about its origin, construction, and application, and tells you what P.L.U.R. means.

(Note: This is almost definitely the first mention of “foam parties” on Infinite Guest.)

Intro: Rhythm Variation 02 by Aoki Takamasa RV8
Break #1: Not Butter byDillon Francis
Break #2: Boss Mode by Knife party
Break #2: Summertime Sadness by LDR, Cedric Gervais Remix

Stefan Sagmeister on Storytellers (VIDEO)
Waiting for the Bass to Drop” by Ragnhild Torvanger Solberg
Detecting Drops in Electronic Dance Music” by Yadati, et al
The Year in Black Erasure on Pitchfork
Metaphors We Live By on UChicago.edu


Play It For All It’s Worth

How much is a song worth?  How do you even calculate it?  And what do DJ Shadow, Tom Waits, and the Wu-Tang Clan have to do with it?  Mike Rugnetta answers these and other questions.


Intro: Talking about Money by Wye Oak. From The Knot.
Break #1 – Building Steam… by DJ Shadow. From Endtroducing.
Break #2 – C.R.E.A.M. by The Wu-Tang Clan. From Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).


The Spotify Calculator
That Chevy Ad with the DJ Shadow track
Tom Waits on musicians allowing their work to be used in commercials
Tom Waits: Not a Jingle Writer
NYT CD Cost Breakdown
Wal•Mart Wants $10 CDs
How Much Do Artists Earn Online – 2012
The New Economy of the Music Industry
Zoë Keatings 2013 Earnings
The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin


(Label not included with oboe purchase)

A440 is not a steak sauce, nor is it a tax form.  Rather, A440 hz is the standard tuning for musical pitch.  Why is that?  The reasons include, but are not limited to: The oboe, church versus secular music, and the difficulty of France.  Mike Rugnetta explains.

Special Thanks to Nicole He and Proprietous for their help with oboe details.

The music used in this episode of Reasonably Sound is (in order of appearance):

– Walking (In Tune), Rene Hell

– Swan Lake, Swan Theme, Tchaikovsky

– Polovtsian Dances, Borodin

– Piano Sonata 15, Beethoven (Digression Music)

– Peer Gynt: Morning Mood, Grieg

– Die liederliche Gesellschaft von allerley Humor: Allegro – Battalia a 10, Biber


– History of Performing Pitch: The Story of “A” by Bruce Haynes

– A=432hz: On the Proper Concert Pitch and a New Standardization of Tempo by Brendan Bombaci

– Why does the orchestra always tune to the oboe?

– ISO 16:1975

– Why is A4 the standard pitch reference for tuning?

– Why are orchestras tuned differently?