View Full Version : So which roulade was it that Cathy Berberian couldn't sing?

04-11-2011, 12:16 PM
Just curious if anyone out there knows.

04-11-2011, 01:02 PM
Nawww... there ain't nothing in Chicago for a monkey woman to do...

04-11-2011, 01:03 PM
I never got that line...

But apparently even she knows it.

Can't believe I just googled the non-culinary def, and it is indeed musical (don't know how I ever got my degrees without knowing this one):

rou·lade (rhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/oomacr.gif-lädhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/prime.gif)n.1. Music An embellishment consisting of a rapid run of several notes sung to one syllable.

Sounds like we went with the stuffier (and less francophile) melisma.

My guess is a 4 octave series of tritone jumps shifting to opposing descending whole tones.:worried

04-11-2011, 01:26 PM

04-11-2011, 01:35 PM
Guess I doubt there's anything she couldn't have sung.

Check the cool graphic score:


04-11-2011, 03:48 PM
I'm just amazed and glad that I have a place where i can post some random, obscure quote like that and there are people that get it.

Yeah she certainly has a unique style to her huh?

Check out her Beatles covers. I guess she did a whole record of Beatles tunes. Steely Dan certainly makes you work for these riddles. I couldn't imagine trying to figure out half of their arcane references before the 'net.

04-11-2011, 04:56 PM
i don't know how she did that. maybe it was dumb luck.

04-11-2011, 04:58 PM
...This time.

04-11-2011, 09:37 PM
what it was was...


04-11-2011, 10:30 PM
It's one of those songs where the fade brings me to the edge of my chair.

Damn fade!

04-12-2011, 08:34 AM
Dude! Seriously, that's exactly what i was thinking when i listened to it in the car on the way home last night. That fade is the best part of the whole tune.

04-12-2011, 10:23 AM
The funny thing is, I actually knew someone named Cathy Berberian once. When I saw the reference here though, I knew it referred to the SD song.

04-12-2011, 11:53 AM
I like the top resonse here on Song Meanings. Sounds feasible to me. I'll quote and paste the link.

"I think this song is about a 'goldbricker', a woman who tries to 'tie men down' with sex as a way to make them her sugar daddy. But she's a tease and a user. She'll throw out her own gold teeth in a gamble, just to get something better. She's got nothing to offer but her body and teasing (your mouth and legs, your gift for the runaround). Maybe she's even a grifter.

But she's not THAT good. The verse about Peking and Cathy Berberian is saying that even the best know that there's some things they can't pull off. And this woman won't get this protagonist.

He advises her to get real : "use your knack, take one step back". She's outclassed in a town like Chicago and should either go somewhere else or get a job.

God I love this damn band. Is there anything better than Steely Dan lyrics? "