Stalin’s organ works

But all its pipes are the same length, so it only plays one note. Plus totalitarian musical dogs and terror management studies.

Small (Australian) boy with a pet dog singing in (peaceful) unison (1939).

Small (Australian) boy with a pet dog singing in (peaceful) unison (1939). Image: C. Fox.

I think from his paintings and writings it’s safe to say that Yefim Ladyzhensky was into street organs:

Performances requiring an entrance fee are almost beyond my means. But street shows – these are our abode. “Katarinka” (this was the popular nickname for a street-organ) was a frequent visitor at our yard, where the respectable front of our three-story building alleged well-being and therefore the ability of our tenants to spare a donation…

Another form of Little Catherine is also the nickname given to another type of organ – Stalin’s – though the camel-tached Georgian instrument builder’s Katyusha was less a barrow organ or street organ than a juggernorgan in the Krishnan sense:

The rockets all make the same sound (looped here) because the instrument was designed to accompany the equally monotonous bala-Laika, an orbiting dog piano modelled on the Katzenklavier – here’s Henry Dagg’s:

The CIA tried to discredit this great progressive project using agent Ray Anderson (more Yankee space-race songs):

Sputniks and mutniks, flying through the air,
Sputniks and mutniks, flying everywhere,
It’s so ironic. Are they atomic?
Those funny missiles have got me scared.

Were the rockets longitudinally heterogeneous, they could have been used for non-sustainable change-ringing:

…or to play the Stalinist fakesong, “Katyusha”, after which the BM-8, BM-13, and BM-31 “Katyusha” rocket launchers were named:

Apple and pear trees were a-blooming,
Mist creeping on the river.
Katyusha set out on the banks,
On the steep and lofty bank.

If you, dear reader, sample the rocket (one, two other potential WAV/MP3/OGG sources) and record your own version, I’ll post it here.

That ↑ is a nice arrangement (¿who has all the best tunes?), but Bindi singing along with the Wehrmacht’s “Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss” is the best totalitarian-dogs-of-war track I know (empathic translation):

Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss,
schwarzbraun bin auch ich, bin auch ich.
Schwarzbraun muss mein Mädel sein,
gerade so wie ich!

Dark brown is the hazelnut,
dark brown am I too, am I too.
Dark brown must my girlfriend be,
the one with the waggly tail.

Cressida Connolly says that in The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life, Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski say that we go to war to escape death, not patriotic kitsch.

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