Thursday, April 6, 2023

Math in Song Lyrics -- Joni Mitchell

       One of the fun surprises I have had recently is to discover mathematics in the lyrics of a once-popular song -- in "Ray's Dad's Cadillac" by musical legend Joni Mitchell, recent recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

     Joni Mitchell -- who has recently come back to the stage after serious illness -- has surmounted barriers to female achievement and recognition as have many math-women.  She has indeed "looked at life from both sides now" . . .   Below I offer two mathy stanzas from her song -- "Ray's Dad's Cadillac."    (The complete lyrics are available at this link).

from   Ray's Dad's Cadillac     by Joni Mitchell     

          Ray's dad teaches math
          I'm a dunce
          I'm a decimal in his class
          Last night's kisses won't erase
          I just can't keep the numbers in their place

          When it comes to mathematics
          I got static in the attic
          "No sir, nothin's clear!"
          I'll be blackboard blind on Monday
          Dreamin' of blue runways
          On the edge of here
          A little atmosphere

Fortunately, the idea "girls can't do math" is correctly disappearing!

Finally, a link to the webpage of Larry Lesser, a math teacher  and versatile singer-songwriter (with previous mentions in this blog gathered at this link).

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