Procol Harum

the Pale

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

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A Whiter Shade of Pale was such a distinctive and memorable record that even its musical notation is capable of functioning iconically.

The illustrations on this page show AWSoP scores executed in sugar-icing (on the 30th Birthday Cake at Redhill) and in ASCII characters (as an undergraduate's e-mail signature).

Notice that the cake uses the Brooker melody, while the mail-signature understandably uses the Fisher melody: both the phrases (truncated as they are) remain instantly recognisable.


Don't forget to thank the cook ...

This lovely cake was made and iced by Dee Lattif, excellent pastry-chef at Bumblebee
(John Grayson's wholefood business). Although not yet born in 1967, Dee's frequent refrain was,
'Wait till I tell my parents I've iced Procol Harum's cake!'

Photograph contributed anonymously 'by a long-time fan who happened to be
fortunate enough to attend perhaps the last Procol Harum concert'


'Ah yes!' commented Matthew. 'That was in the good old days when everyone was still using VT100 emulators and Courier was the only font. Now everyone's using MS Sans-serif or Times New Roman and wondering what those funny characters are that some people put at the end of their e-mails!'

Thanks to Joan for finding this gem, and to Matthew for permission to use it.


Joan May writes (January 1999): I was thrilled to find Matthew's incredible signature in a 1995 Newsgroup, via the Déjà News Archives. In addition to the great technical proficiency it took to write musical notation in ASCII text – something I'd never seen before – that signature is so rich with meaning: it literally is Matthew's musical signature – no one else has a right to sign his name that way – and it's also the musical signature of AWSoP. I was glad to see that, amidst all the maths and computers at Cambridge, Matthew was still mindful of the masterpiece he created.

 Procol Harum music in more practical form 

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