Denys Parsons Directoiry Of Tunes On 8mm Microfilm

qo if you want to blind your audience with science, you can quickly show that the brith date can be totalled in a variety of ways but will always add up to their lucky number. The faster this is demonstrated the more amusing it gets. These examples use the date from the text: 11 th of '

April, 1956.

Music has always been one of David's passions and it is fitting that one of his favourite mysteries has music at its core. The effect is known simply by the enigmatic acronym DRUM and while it has never been part of David's stage shows many people have seen him demonstrate the ingenious DRUM and wondered, whether he was simply kidding with them. He wasn't.

He did perform the effect on one of his Swedish television series. Viewers saw David ask three members of the studio audience to each think of a tune and hum, whistle or sing it. The first spectator chose a popular tune, the second a classical piece and the third chose something along the lines of a nursery rhyme, opera or national anthem. But other than choosing three different types of music there were no restrictions. They hummed, sang or whistled any tune they wished and not even the entire tune, just a few bars.

David named each and every tune correctly and gave more detailed information about when it was composed and who composed it. How was that possible? Some of the tunes were obscure, he was alone on the studio floor and did not wear an earpiece. Even expert musicians with an encyclopaedic knowledge of music would find it impossible to do what David had just done.

Using DRUM he got the chance to baffle some of Britain's top composers and lyricists at a dinner of the Society of Distinguished Songwriters. The SODs, as the members of this distinguished organisation are more colloquially known, were gathered at Claridges in London and Mike Batt, their president, had booked David to entertain. Instead of a formal cabaret he asked David if he would mind dressing up as one of the waiters, circulate among the guests for a while and then make a surprise appearance.

David agreed and when he got to Claridges he borrowed a white jacket and pair of gloves from one of the waiters. They knew David from previous engagements and were amused at the thought that he would be working with them. The SODs dinner was a relaxed affair, the twenty-nine songwriters and composers knew each other well and an alcohol-enhanced singsong was quickly underway. David listened from outside the dining room and made a note of all the songs they sang. Then he went in, carrying a coffee pot and looking every inch the silver-

service waiter.

Most didn't want coffee and brushed him away without even looking up. David started gathering plates and made several trips around the table without being recognised. Then he reached out to a candle in the centre of one of the tables. As he touched it a fireball of flame leapt up from his fingers and everyone looked around. He picked up a discarded bread roll, broke it open and pulled out a twenty-pound note, examined it then tucked it away in his pocket like a well-earned tip.

But the game was quickly up as some of the members recognised him and invited him to sit down and join them. David explained that he had been booked to perform but the members made him sit down anyway. He looked at Mike Batt and Mike nodded. "This is a professional engagement so I can't just sit here," said David and offered to demonstrate something that might test their professional talents. "I heard you having a singsong. And I realise that you know all the words, but who wrote the music and when were they written?"

A debate began immediately with various members, amongst them some extremely famous songwriters and musicians, offering opinions and guesses as to who the lyricists and composers were. Mostly they were wrong and each time David would correct them giving out a plethora of details that no one at the gathering knew. They were all staggered by David's new found encyclopaedic knowledge of their subject and attributed the demonstration to David's memory skills. But the real key to the musical mystery was DRUM.

DRUM has occupied David for weeks, months and years. Using it he can identify any tune hummed, whistled or sung by a spectator provided it is an established and published piece. What's more it works without him having to memorise any music. Think about it for a moment. How could that be possible? There is, after all, no known method for looking up a piece of music unless you are familiar with the title. Or is there?

Enough teasing. Time for revelations. DRUM is a musical dictionary but it is one in which you do not have to know what it is you are looking up. You can listen to a tune, not know what that tune is and yet find it purely by its sound in a vast database of Popular and Classical Music. And it is this database that provides the details of its composition.

It was first demonstrated for David by its inventor Denys Parsons, a man for whom David has an unbounded enthusiasm, crediting him with discovering something that was truly phenomenal. Denys was a member of the UK affiliate of CSICOP (the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) when David was chairman of that organisation. One day he asked David to hum any tune and he would identify it. David hummed a few bars of some popular melody and Denys brought out a small tube that resembled a lipstick. He also fiddled with a key ring full of celluloid strips, inserted one into the tube and then peered into a lens set in its side. He immediately announced the tune David had hummed.

David was sceptical. He himself had a good knowledge of popular music and it wasn't unthinkable that Denys could have known the tune he chose. David whistled another tune.

Denys Parsons, the ingenious inventor of DRUM.

A small section of the DRUM index, showing how the songs are categorised and listed. Tea for Two has been highlighted.

Denys took another strip, slid it into the tube, looked into it and again correctly named the melody. It was only when David hummed some bars from his own theme tune, April in Portugal, and Denys identified it together with details of the composer that David became convinced that there was more at work here than happy coincidences or prodigious memory.

Denys explained DRUM, which is an acronym for Down Repeat Up Method, a technique for listening to any tune and converting the notes into a unique alphanumerical code that can be looked up in a database.

Denys Parsons explained his method in 1975 in a book entitled The Directory of Tunes and Musical Themes but the book is long since out of print and the method is only known by a select few. Surprisingly only between eight and twelve notes are required to identify any tune. The first note is used as a benchmark by which to measure the relationship of the subsequent notes. They may be lower, equivalent or higher than the initial note, hence the terms Down, Repeat and Up in the acronym DRUM. Any four letters can be used to code the notes and David's personal code uses the letters in his wife's name Ruth (R for Repeat, U for Up, T for Down and H as the unknown quantity). So it may be said that whenever he hears beautiful music he always thinks of her!

David thought DRUM was one of the most astounding discoveries he had ever come across and has continued to work on the code and built a substantial database of musical numbers over the years. He also sought to improve upon the apparatus that Denys used. The tube was simply a viewer and the strips of celluloid were lists drawn from a database and reduced onto microfiche. When Denys heard a tune he would turn the notes into letters and the letters into his code, pick out the correct strip of microfiche and insert it into the tube. He had only to look through the lens to consult the database and give David a lot of information

HTUTUT UTTUU TTTTU Vienna beauties, waltz 2t, Ziehrer

HTUTUT UTTUU TUTUT Oh, babe, what would you say, E S Smith 1972

HTUTUT UTTUU UUTUT Washington Post, march 2t, Sousa

HTUTUT UTTUU UURRT Soon, Richard Rodgers 1935 (not Gershwin 1929)

HTUTUT UTRRR URRRR Life is just a bowl of cherries, Brown/Henderson 1931

HTUTUT UTRUT UTT Here comes the sun, George Harrison 1969

HTUTUT UTUTT TTUUU Good day sunshine, Lennon/McCartney 1966

HTUTUT UTUTT TUTRU New world in the morning, Roger Whittaker 1969

HTUTUT UTUTT TUUUR Legend of the bells , (Des cloches de Corneville) Planquette

HTUTUT UTUTT TUUUU Milord, Marguerite Monnot 1959

HTUTUT UTUTU TTUTU See you later, alligator, Robert Guidry 1956

HTUTUT UTUTU TTUUT A fine romance, Jerome Kern

HTUTUT UTUTU TRUUT You are my lucky star, Nacio Herb Brown 1935

HTUTUT UTUTU TUTTU Cherie, I love you, Lillian R Goodman 1926

HTUTUT UTUTU TUTUT Tea for tWO, Vincent Youmans 1924

HTUTUT UTUTU TUUTT Sentimental journey, Green/Brown/Homer 1944

HTUTUT UTUTU TUUUU My heart belongs to Daddy, Cole Porter 1938

HTUTUT UTUTU RRRTT Wouldn't it be nice, Jimmy McHugh 1944

HTUTUT UTUTU UTUTU Soldiers in the park, (Oh listen to...) Monckton 1898

HTUTUT UTUTU UTUTU If I had a talking picture of you, DeSylva/Brown/Henderson

HTUTUT UTUTU UUUTT Trains and boats and planes, Burt Bacharach

HTUTUT UTUTU UUUUU The swing song, (omitting intra) Messager

HTUTUT UTURR TRUUT Back in the USSR, Lennon/McCartney 1968

HTUTUT UTURR RTTTU Shake down the stars, 1940

HTUTUT UTUUT UTTTT Song of the Volga boatmen,

HTUTUT UTUUT UTRUU This can't be love, Richard Rodgers 1938

HTUTUT UTUUR TUTUT Cecilia, Dave Dreyer 1925 (not Simon & Garfunkel)

HTUTUT UTUUU TRRRR Folies Bergeres march, Lincke

HTUTUT URTUT UTRTU Baby, won't you please come home?, Warfield/Williams 1919

HTUTUT URTUT UTUTT Quiet nights of quiet stars, 1962

HTUTUT URTUT UTURT Once in love with Amy, F Loesser 1948

HTUTUT UUTTR UTUUT School days, Gus Edwards 1907

HTUTUT UUTTU TUTUU Hernando's hideaway, R Adler/J Ross 1954

HTUTUT UUTTU RRTUU I'll be your sweetheart, Harry Dacre, music hall

HTUTUT UUTUT UTUTU Grandad, (verse) Flowers/Pickett 1970

HTUTUT UUTUU TUTUU Brighter than the sun, Ray Noble 1932

HTUTUT UURTU TUTUU Your eyes, (White Horse Inn) Robert Stolz 1931

HTUTUT UURTU TUTUU Love is my reason, (Perchance to dream) Ivor Novello 1945

HTUTUT UUUTU TTUTU The Missouri waltz, F Knight Logan 1914

HTUTUT UUUTU UTUTU Charlie Girl, David Heneker 1965

HTUTUT UUUUT URRRR On your toes, Richard Rodgers 1936

HTUTUR TTTUT UTURT Some of these days, Shelton Brooks 1910

HTUTUR TTUTT TRRUR Moon over Miami, Joe Burke 1935

HTUTUR TUTRU TUUTT Your song, Elton John/Bernie Taupin 1969

HTUTUR TUTUT URUTT One fine day, (Madam Butterfly) Puccini

HTUTUR TUTUR RRTUU Round the Marble Arch, Noel Gay 1932

HTUTUR TUTUU RTTUT Little by little, O'Keefe/Dolan 1929

HTUTUR TUUTU TURTU Satin Doll, Strayhorn/Ellington 1958

about the tune. David designed a small all-in-one unit, a box in which the database was photographed onto a single reel of microfilm. By turning a knob the film could be wound past the lens and any part of the film viewed. It was far simpler and easier to use than Denys' original device. The smallest version David has had built is about the same size as the box for a micro cassette.

When David first began using DRUM he would keep the gimmick hidden, consulting it only when the opportunity was right. On the Swedish television show it was a backstage assistant who operated DRUM. He translated the tunes into the code and then looked them up on the database that had been printed out on paper and stacked in piles in the dressing room to facilitate speedy access. Next he wrote the details of the tune on a large board and held it at the side of the studio floor, out of view of the cameras and audience.

David explained to the viewers he had not been out of sight of the audience at any time. As he gestured to the side of the studio he looked directly at the board, memorised the information and made a joke about the fact that he did not have any musicians backstage to help. It was bold but if David can find a simple method that works he always uses it.

At the SOD's dinner he had plenty of time to look up the tunes in his DRUM gimmick, committing the information to memory before he entered the room. On other informal occasions he has found opportunities to excuse himself from the room briefly so that he could glean the information he knows will astound the assembled company. Being apparently knowledgeable about all things lends a considerable boost to the reputation of a man of mystery.

When performing for magicians David has often used the gimmick openly. Magicians would whistle tunes and David blatantly looked them up on the database. He knows that magicians are a sceptical lot and, like him, would think that the little box was nothing more than a ruse used to deflect attention from the real method, whatever that was. He was right. Many magicians have watched the demonstration and none have believed that the little box had anything to do with the solution. This is the first time that David has revealed DRUM to the magic world. That little box and Denys Parsons' coding system are all that David needs to identify any tune you care to whistle.

DRUM became an obsession for David and the work he put into it far outweighs any kudos it has ever brought him. It has one big flaw. Only musicians really understand just how difficult it is—impossible until Denys Parsons solved it—to have a dictionary of tunes which can be searched by playing or humming a melody. Musicians find the effect devastating while laymen sometimes believe that anyone with David's ability to memorise data should have no difficulty in memorising music. David has even had people say, "Oh yes, my aunt's very good at that." It means little to the wrong audience.

Another problem is that when people are asked to think of a tune and hum it they frequently draw a blank. All the tunes they ever heard suddenly disappear and they are left with a quick rendition of the national anthem or the world's most popular tune Happy Birthday, so easy to recognise as to render the feat redundant. This is not made any easier with the fact that many people feel self-conscious when asked to sing or whistle in public.

None of this has deterred David from continuing to work with the system. He once asked Denys for permission to perform the effect on British television. At first Denys was thrilled that his invention would at last get a public airing but then David had to break the news that although he would like to use DRUM on his show he had no intention of revealing its secret. Denys was disappointed. As an inventor he wanted to make the method known. Whereas David the magician was happy to add another secret to his repertoire.

David's database of Popular and Classical Music currently contains many thousands of items. He still uses his pocket viewer, one version of which has an earphone and dummy aerial attached, a Berglas red herring. And has also transferred the database to his desktop computer and his Psion Organiser. If you've ever seen David at a magic convention, looking into a small black box while being whistled at, you now know what it was all about.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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