One of the reasons I listen to Pandora is that I can find new music just by “telling” Pandora what I like and what I don’t like. Yesterday, a song I hadn’t heard before started playing: “Sail,” by Awolnation. It was not something I normally listen to, yet there was something so familiar about this song. The underlying melody in the bass part was from something I knew. I had to pause the song to figure out what it was until I finally got it.

I ran down to my CD collection and pulled out the soundtrack from The Last of the Mohicans. It’s easier for me to hear the melody from Last of the Mohicans in Awolnation’s “Sail” without the video distracting me. Someone even put the tune from the movie together with “Sail” in the same video. It’s very cool, but almost too much to listen to at the same time.

Upon further searching, it turns out that this tune is not unique to The Last of the Mohicans, either. Dougie Maclean wrote “The Gael” based on this simple melody, which is actually “La Folia“–an ancient melody which over 150 composers, including Vivaldi and Bach, have used.

It’s something we seem to do; take notes and play with them in our heads; twist and turn them around to reflect our own experiences and our own times and yet retain our collective human existence by keeping the basic structure intact.

And in another twist, the video below shows a hilariously different interpretation of “Sail.”


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