[Background: Thelonious Monk - Don’t Blame Me]
Welcome to episode four of Tenny’s Tunes. I am your host, Tenny!
Now, I wanna spend some time taking you back to childhood. Our childhood.
In cognitive psychology, we learned that crystallized intelligence, such as skills, knowledge and experience, increases with age while fluid intelligence, the ability to assess and solve problems in novel circumstances, decreases as we grow older. This leads some people to believe that the mind of a child is way more creative than that of an adult’s.
In other words, we can become smarter and wiser, but never more creative than our younger selves.
Scientific studies have produced persuasive evidence for this argument. A 1968 creativity test on 1,600 children conducted by George Land and Beth Jarman demonstrated a sharp drop in creativity score, from 98 percent at 5 years of age to 12 percent at 15 years old, all the way down to 2 percent around 31 years old.
A gradual decrease in the capacity to think outside the box: seems like most of us undergrads don’t think about it too much. Several people I met throughout my life thus far have expressed interest in learning Chinese from me. In exchange, I would also practice speaking a few other languages with them, such as spanish and japanese. Amid our joy of learning new phrases and being complimented by one another, many of them still told me they would have been able to, say, learn a new language much faster, if they were a just a couple years younger.
What if we could freeze aging and stay as a child forever? Just like that high school detective who turned back into a first-grader from the popular crime-solving series “Case Closed”?
I am not sure how well received this cartoon was in the U.S., but for any kid who loved watching TV in China, Japan or Korea back in the 90s and 2000s, Protagonist Kudou Shinichi, aka Edogawa Conan, the high school detective who got turned into a first-grader by a mysterious crime organization, whose name was inspired by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, represents a portion of our childhood. In elementary school, literally every child, good and bad at taking tests alike, would worship and pray to Conan for good luck before taking a test.
The main theme of Case Closed, composed by Japanese film score producer Oono Katsuo, was and still is so popular in Japan and worldwide that even the Japanese military band performed the piece on several occasions – can you believe it?. It is one of those melodies that gets stuck in your head after hearing it just once. A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine, a fervent fan of Case Closed just like I am, had requested me to make a piano rendition, so I did. Get ready, cue the music.
Although short, it’s one of those dramatic music with an epic intro that simply demands attention. If there is one thing I learned from doing these episodes of Tenny’s Tunes, it’s that music really just boils down to the chord progression that serves as the skeleton on which the melody builds. For this particular piece, the gradual downward chord progression supporting the catchy melody fits like bread and butter with the storyline. I can just picture Conan chasing down the culprit on his solar energy skateboard and amplified running shoes, if you know what I mean. Can you feel the energy being injected into you with every chord, every single note landing on your ear drums?
If you enjoyed the main theme of Case Closed, be sure to check out some of the other works by Mr. Oono and perhaps the cartoon itself. You won’t regret it, trust me.
Music produced by Oono Katsuo, performed on the piano by me. I am Tenny Tsang, and this is NBN Audio. Thank you so much for listening, and stay tuned to Tenny’s Tunes. Have a great winter!