Guitar: Pachelbel’s Canon Rock

Funtwo: Pachelbel’s Canon Rock

About eight months ago, a mysterious image popped up on YouTube, the video sharing site that now shows more than 100 million videos a day. Known only as funtwo, a thin figure in a blue T-shirt, his eyes hidden by a beige baseball cap, was playing electric guitar. The video was called simply “Guitar.” The piece that funtwo played with mounting dexterity was an exceedingly difficult rock arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon, the composition from the turn of the 18th century known for its solemn chord progressions. The exacting part is the canon itself: a counterpoint played over the bass, originally by the three violins.

Guitar sites, MySpace pages and a Polish video site called Smog linked to it, and viewers thundered to YouTube to watch it. If individual viewings were the equivalent of shipped records, “Guitar” would have gone gold almost instantly. Now, rapidly approaching eight million views, and a spot in the site’s 10 most-viewed videos of all time, this performance by funtwo would be platinum many times over. By following a series of clues, a New York Times reporter was able to trace funtwo’s video to Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old Korean who taught himself to play the guitar over the course of the last six years. A close analysis of his playing style and a comparison of his appearance in person with that of the figure in the video, left little doubt that Mr. Lim is indeed the elusive funtwo.

On Oct. 23, 2005, Jeong-Hyun Lim first uploaded his video to a Korean music site called Mule. From there, an anonymous fan calling himself guitar90 copied it and posted it on YouTube with the elegant intro: “this guy iz great!!!” “Funtwo just pure ownz the world,” commented another. Over the past year, as funtwo’s videos have been broadly distributed on every major video sharing site, hundreds of other guitarists have tried their hands at the “Canon Rock.” Neoclassical guitar technique has fallen largely out of favor in American popular music. In the YouTube guitar videos, however, technical accomplishment itself carries a strong emotional component. Many of the new online guitarists began playing classical music as children; they are accustomed to a highly uneven ratio of practice to praise. Mr. Lim’s fans said they watch his “Canon Rock” video daily, because his accomplishments inspire them to work hard.

YouTube Awards for Funtwo’s Canon Rock

#1 – Most Discussed (All Time) – Music

#1 – Most Viewed (All Time) – Music

#1 – Top Favorites (All Time) – Music

Funtwo: Canon Rock

The original arrangement and performance of Canon Rock was by JerryC. JerryC (Jerry Chang) is a Taiwanese guitarist and composer. One of his best-known songs is the Canon Rock, which is a rock version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. He is 24 years old, and has been playing the guitar for 7 years and piano for 10. The rock re-arrangement displays his technical virtuosity and creative abilities on the guitar, instantly making him a internet phenomenon. Following JerryC’s popularity, numerous covers of Canon Rock have been made in an attempt to emulate JerryC’s unique style. The best-known cover is the one presented above by funtwo, whose performance has become a video phenomenon; interestingly, it has far surpassed the popularity of JerryC’s own original performance of the Canon. As an unsigned artist, JerryC currently has a small repertoire of known covers and original compositions, including:

  • Canon Rock
  • Rock On
  • Whose Autumn
  • No More Distance
  • Alien Walker
  • Wedding in the Dream
  • I’m Alright (Neil Zaza cover)
  • Sweeping from Heaven
  • Tender
  • Beloved

JerryC: Canon Rock

JerryC: Canon Rock (Canon in D)

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Wofford College: “Classical Old Main” and Other Images

Wofford College

I’ve noticed that my web site recently has had a number of visitors who live in South Carolina. As an expression of gratitude to them, I’m posting this small collection of pictures, including one  my favorite things in South Carolina, the historic “Old Main” building on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The photographs include two recent pictures of Wofford’s “Old Main” building and a recherche, daguerreotype of “Old Main” from 1854 (said to be the first known picture of the building).  The last picture is of the newer Franklin Olin Building for academics and technology.

A Spartanburg landmark since its construction between 1851 and 1854, “Old Main” was designed by the noted Charleston architect Edward C. Jones. The original architect’s sketches, donated to the college in 1902 by Julia Chreitzberg, show that Jones conceived one of the most ambitious projects ever built in the classical Italianate style, then popular throughout the South for academic and other public buildings.

Wofford is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the United States that were founded prior to the Civil War, which still operates and remains on its original campus. The Wofford College campus has been named a National Historic District. It has five of the six original college buildings, all of which are in use today for various purposes. The beauty of its campus has resulted in its designation as an officially registered South Carolina arboretum.

Wofford is presently becoming known in the wider academic world as a true “Phoenix rising from the ashes.” It was devastated by the loss of almost its entire endowment as a result of the Civil War. However, despite its meager financial resources, Wofford proudly struggled through the next twelve decades to provide an academically challenging education to its small student body. One illustration of the sterling academic quality maintained by the college is the fact that forty-two Wofford alumni have gone on to serve as college and university presidents.

For example, through the years Wofford graduates and faculty have included the Founders or Presidents/Chancellors of Duke University, Vanderbilt University, The Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Southern Methodist University, Hendrix College, Randolph-Macon College and Mary Washington College. A former President of the college went on to become the President of Southern Methodist University, Drew University and, finally, Chancellor of The University of North Carolina (as well as head of the entire University of North Carolina educational system).

Today, gaining increasing national recognition as an academic “jewel” in the South, its endowment has been increasing rapidly and a significant new endowment drive has recently been completed. There has been an unprecedented acceleration of the restoration and construction of student residences, academic, recreation and sports facilities. It is also presently distinguished by being the smallest college in the nation (1,500 students) with sports teams competing (quite successfully) in both men’s and women’s NCAA Division I athletics.

Academically, Wofford has been focusing upon a significant expansion of its faculty, with new faculty members currently being drawn to teach at the college from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. For many years, Wofford served students who came, for the most part, from South Carolina and its immediate surrounding areas. Presently, it’s become quite competitive in attracting exceptionally talented students from across the nation, as well as from abroad. In the 2007 U. S. News & World Report rankings of National Liberal Arts Colleges, Wofford’s national ranking is now in the company of such selective, prestigious colleges as: Pitzer College (CA), Lawrence University (WI), Reed College (OR), Wheaton College (MA), Agnes Scott College (GA) and Earlham College (IN). In the more recently released college rankings by The Washington Monthly, Wofford is ranked 29th out of 202 National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Intaminatus Fulget Honoribus

Shining with Untarnished Honor

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