Because it is nice #1

I remember a long ago teacher warning all of her pupils never to use the word NICE because it wasn’t a proper word, It wasn’t nice!

The derivation is rather strange:

Middle English (in the sense ‘stupid’): from Old French, from Latin nescius ‘ignorant’, from nescire ‘not know’. Other early senses included ‘coy, reserved’, giving rise to ‘fastidious, scrupulous’: this led both to the sense ‘fine, subtle’ (regarded by some as the ‘correct’ sense), and to the main current senses.

However, I rather like the word, and I shall use it because I think it is NICE.

Geoff Le Pard posted a film review yesterday which mentioned that one of the main characters was an Oud player.

Now, it just so happens that I knew what an Oud was, but I wanted to know where the instrument originated from so I entered the long and dark tunnel known as Google, and then Wikipedia, and this is part of what I found:

The first known complete description of the ‛ūd and its construction is found in the epistle Risāla fī-l-Luḥūn wa-n-Nagham by 9th-century Philosopher of the Arabs Yaʻqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī.[9] Kindī’s description stands thus:

“[and the] length [of the ‛ūd] will be: thirty-six joint fingers – with good thick fingers – and the total will amount to three ashbār.[Notes 1] And its width: fifteen fingers. And its depth seven and a half fingers. And the measurement of the width of the bridge with the remainder behind: six fingers. Remains the length of the strings: thirty fingers and on these strings take place the division and the partition, because it is the sounding [or “the speaking”] length. This is why the width must be [of] fifteen fingers as it is the half of this length. Similarly for the depth, seven fingers and a half and this is the half of the width and the quarter of the length [of the strings]. And the neck must be one third of the length [of the speaking strings] and it is: ten fingers. Remains the vibrating body: twenty fingers. And that the back (soundbox) be well rounded and its “thinning” (kharţ) [must be done] towards the neck, as if it had been a round body drawn with a compass which was cut in two in order to extract two ‛ūds“.[10]

I just love that language. It is so much better than modern idioms, youth speak, or Essex garbage. That, in itself, is worthy of NICE.

But (and my favourite teacher would be horrified that I started a sentence with but) I then went on to discover this absolute gem of music, and this is REALLY NICE.

So, not only do we have a nice review of a nice film from the nice Geoff Le Pard but we also have some really nice descriptive language, followed by some very nice music.

I think this deserves a new occasional series of NICE things. I hope it gifts you a smile today.

Song Lyric Sunday – August 16 2020 – Clear or Cloudy – and now for something completely different!

song-lyric-sundayJim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. I am almost certain that my choice today will count amongst the latter!

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

Most people, even if they couldn’t say exactly who Sting was, would recognise some of his music. Some will be familiar with his early work with The Police  where he was the lead vocalist, bass guitarist, and main songwriter. The band sold over 75 million records, making them one of the best selling bands of all time.

Sting has also had a hugely successful solo career, and has written and performed in a musical, The Last Ship, inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences and the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear where he grew up.

Not content with this, he has also collaborated with various artists and musicians on multiple projects, worked on films, sung at President Obama’s inauguration and had his brain scanned whilst performing his music!

In October 2006, he released an album entitled Songs from the Labyrinth featuring the music of John Dowland (an Elizabethan-era composer) and accompaniment from Bosnian lute player Edin Karamazov. Sting’s interpretation of this English Renaissance composer and his cooperation with Edin Karamazov brought recognition in classical music.

Here he is singing………..

Clear or Cloudy

The lyrics are a little olde worlde, I suspect it is to help Sting in his enunciation? You may have noted that he is reading the music as he sings. It is obviously a little complicated!

Cleare or cloudie sweet as April showring, 
Smooth or frowning so is hir face to mee, 
Pleasd or smiling like milde May all flowring, 
When skies blew silke and medowes carpets bee, 
Hir speeches notes of that night bird that singeth, 
Who thought all sweet yet jarring notes outringeth. 

Hir grace like June, when earth and trees bee trimde, 
In best attire of compleat beauties height, 
Hir love againe like sommers daies bee dimde, 
With little cloudes of doubtfull constant faith, 
Hir trust hir doubt, like raine and heat in Skies, 
Gently thundring, she lightning to mine eies. 

Sweet sommer spring that breatheth life and growing, 
In weedes as into herbs and flowers, 
And sees of service divers sorts in sowing, 
Some haply seeming and some being yours, 
Raine on your herbs and flowers that truly serve, 
And let your weeds lack dew and duly starve.

and here singing Come Again

and for anyone who is interested in the derivatives of the Lute, here is a very good introduction.


As a late addition I found this alternative version of the song. Quite an interesting comparison.