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Song Parodies -> "A Parodist's Primer"

Original Song Title:

"I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General""

Original Performer:

Gilbert & Sullivan

Parody Song Title:

"A Parodist's Primer"

Parody Written by:

Stan Hall

The Lyrics

Less pastiche than parody, this one's a sort of how-to. :-)
I.
A poet who would parody this song to earn his dinner’ll
Soon find he needs more info than a modern Major General
On critters, rocks and veggies, both nutritious and inedible
--At least he’ll need the buzzwords that’ll make his BS credible.
The gamut of arcana literary and math’matical,
The marginalia known to men who’ve sworn oaths Hippocratical,
What “Hastings” names in Agatha’s whodunits and in histories
Are but the iceberg’s tip of what to him should not be mysteries.

Are but the iceberg’s tip of what to him should not be mysteries.
Are but the iceberg’s tip of what to him should not be mysteries.
Are but the iceberg’s tip of what to him should not be mysteries.

And yet this needed knowledge, tho’ in compass vos Savantian,
Can rest on footing flimsy as what’s known by knowers Kantian.
In short, one’s erudition must exceed a simple smattering
But needn’t be profounder than facilitates glib pattering.

In short, one’s erudition must exceed a simple smattering
But needn’t be profounder than facilitates glib pattering.


II.
No cup to the giddyup of cadence may be let trickle
Into a queue of couplets cast in iambs octametrical
Of grammar, syntax, punctuation, there may be no selling out;
Elisions need apostrophes and spoken diphtongs spelling out.
Now, ev’ry rhyme the faithful mime must make at least three-syllable
And here’s a hint on how to make that mandate more fulfillable:
Neologistic license is okay in measures moderate
(e. g. one might write “architects adeptly can façaderate.”)

(e. g. one might write “architects adeptly can façaderate.”)
(e. g. one might write “architects adeptly can façaderate.”)
(e. g. one might write “architects adeptly can façaderate.”)

And with the whole the poet’s goal must be to meet this metaform:
Parts one and two propose a view part three rejoins sonnetiform.
In short, the perfect parodist will never stoop to dirtyin’
His spoof with any rhythm, rhyme, or structure unGilbertian

In short, the perfect parodist will never stoop to dirtyin’
His spoof with any rhythm, rhyme, or structure unGilbertian


III.
When someone crafts a Gilbert–bot that, keeping all that’s sacrosanct
In “Major Gen’ral” take-offs, he’ll be duly for that macro thanked.
But meanwhile only apers amply armed with ingenuity
Can model “Major Generals” that match the master’s to a “T”
For only major minds can cope with assonant complexity
That would in brains less bright beget a general perplexity
(Tho’ maybe doping dabblers could concoct a spot-on copy by
Composing with a hookah handy to sustain a poppy high).

Composing with a hookah handy to sustain a poppy high).
Composing with a hookah handy to sustain a poppy high).
Composing with a hookah handy to sustain a poppy high).

Still, simulating Savoy songs sets no bars insurmountable.
A strategy quite simple offers rules both few and countable.
In short, aspiring parodists who heed this primer will burlesque
This song in ev’ry major mode that’s generally Gilbertesque.

In short, aspiring parodists who heed this primer will burlesque
This song in ev’ry major mode that’s generally Gilbertesque.

© Stan Hall
Dang, I've yet a ton of thematically apt additional/alternative trisyllabically-rhymed couplets left over after running out of lines. May have to try and torque'em into someo ther song's metric. :-) © Stan Hall

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Total Votes: 20

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Author Stan - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Oops .. top comment should read "less parody than pastiche ... Was a little blurry-eyed when I finished and submitted this around 4am pulling an all-nighter to DVR TCM's entire Val Lewton festival. :-)
Me again .. - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
DAMN! Line 1 of Stanza II should read "No HICCUP to the giddyup ..." Careless transcrription, my fault. :-(
Invisible Boy - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Finally...someone who spells out, in plain words, how to tackle this bad boy. This write is brilliant. I hope I have the "erudition" to some day give such a mind-blowing treatment to this song. I admit, you caused me to look-up no less than 9 words...which included the ones you made-up. Great job !
Dee Range - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Superb. You and John Barry will double my vocab before it's over
AFW - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Masterful accomplishment
alvin - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
your abilities astound me more every day...this is truly a masterpiece
Stan - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Thanks, all. This one was particularly fun to develop. IB -- The only word I really "made up" would be "façaderate," there explicitly to exemplify the neologizing the immediately preceding line sanctions. Webster may not actually list "metaform" or "sonnetiform" and almost certainly doesn't list "vos Savantian," but all are straightforward prefix- or suffix-bases constructions I'd not really call coinages. :-)
John Barry - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Stan, you da man! This is somewhat similar in theme to one I have in the works, but this, as you will soon see, is much better.
MasonR - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
A generally major accomplishment. Bravo!
stuart mcarthur - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
crikey! brilliant! check out the comps pages on the Messageboard Stan - 555
littlecupCakes - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
" No cup to the giiddyup" I love it Sir Hall.
Invisible Boy - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Stan...I got the "facaderate". I didn't mention "made-up" words to challenge your credibility and I know that your reply to me was only for my elucidation (there...you made me look up another word) It's words like "unGilbertian", which I admit works well,and is quite witty, and could easily be the answer to a question for A Friday New York Times crossword puzzle (12 letters..."unlike Sullivan's writing partner"...thank you Will Short) that are...well...ahhhh...sorta...kinda...made up. And that's great...it worked for Suess and Carroll. Anyway...Stuart is right. Here's an idea for your next treatment of this OS..."Modern Major Winchester" :-)
Stan Hall - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Gotcha, IB. Re another tilt at the IATVMOAMMG windmill, I'm sorta considering a few ideas for a go at some other G&S numbers for a change, maybe Sir John's ("When I was a lad ...") from "Pinafore" or "Three little maids ..." from "Mikado."
Stan Hall - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Stuart, mille grazie. I did have a look but can't seem to find any "comps pages" on the message board.
John Jenkins - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Outstanding opus, Stan! I enjoyed the references to Agatha Christie and Marilyn Vos Savant and your made up words ("profounder" works here, but it's not in my dictionary).
Agrimorfee - January 16, 2008 - Report this comment
Show off~! j/k. great stuff!! 555
Agrimorfee - January 16, 2008 - Report this comment
Hey Stan, Stu is referring to http://www.inthe00s.com/index.php?board=13.0
Stan Hall - January 16, 2008 - Report this comment
John J. -- Thanks. (Re "profounder," dictionaries routinely omit from a parental adjective's entry _regular_ comparative and superlative forms, whose construction the book's prefacing or appended linguistic notes typically detail. If admittedly an uncommoner locution than, say, "more profound," I'd contend it's not a made up word. :-) Agrimorfee -- Thanks, and thanks for the link, too, tho' I still didn't find anything to do with "comp pages" unless that alludes to the MessageBoard's Song Parody, generally. (e. g., as "composer's pages," maybe? I can be really dense at times.) :-)
Phil Alexander - January 16, 2008 - Report this comment
As a veteran of M-G parodies, I hugely enjoyed this one... and the "comp pages" mentioned are the song parody competitions (http://www.inthe00s.com/index.php?board=13.0) - this one would be a worthy entry into the SOTM (the Song of the Month) - the entry thread will be posted on the first of Feb.
Anfractuous - May 07, 2008 - Report this comment
Waaaay brilliant!
Tommy Turtle - November 27, 2008 - Report this comment
Always admire alliteration, and it's fun to find a fellow neologician magician. Sorry I missed this! 555+, and my own poor attempt is at http://www.amiright.com/parody/misc/gilbertsullivan63.shtml.

BTW, I don't believe that John Jenkins and I have ever disagreed on *anything*, but dictionary.com indeed lists the comparative and superlative "profounder" and "profoundest".
Stan - November 28, 2008 - Report this comment
Ta, Tommy. I've just returned from reading and commenting upon what only immoderate modesty can have caused you to call "[your] own poor attempt" at this OS -- it's a pip from its first to final line.

BTW, I'm pretty sure my and John Jenkins's political views agree nearer never than rarely, but we do seem to enjoy each others parodies qua parodies -- even the politically-themed ones. But, more to the point, while I am pleased to be in this instance agreed with by so august an authority as dictionary .com, I'm no less certain that, as a fellow need-or-notion-driven neologist, I'm always willing to agree to disagree with it as well. :-)
Claude Prez - July 07, 2017 - Report this comment
Wow. Fantastic stuff

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