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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Music The Word "Exotica"...
The Word "Exotica"...
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 14, 2004
Posts: 78
From: Van Nuys, CA
Posted: 2018-07-18 10:43 am   Permalink

...was used by one Philip Green in 1950!


Long before Martin Denny of course. The song is slightly exotic, but it's more EZ than anything else - all strings, no percussion, certainly no bird calls. Maybe someone at Liberty Records knew about this..?

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Bam Bam
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 13, 2016
Posts: 247
From: NEPA
Posted: 2018-07-19 06:23 am   Permalink

Interesting. Looks like it is part of a suite from a ballet called "Maku and The Monkey" that was on stage in London in 1948, with music by Mr. Green.


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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 06, 2014
Posts: 18
Posted: 2018-07-19 7:44 pm   Permalink

The tradition of turning an adjective into a categorical noun by adding the suffix "a" had been around for some time, e.g., ephemera, Americana, exotica. The word was probably being used in the 19th Century.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 23, 2007
Posts: 140
From: Blue Lory Lounge, NJ
Posted: 2018-07-20 10:14 am   Permalink

"Exotica" has been in use as a word since the 1800's (attested sometime in 1801 or 1802). Back then it was the genderless plural of the Latin word "exoticus" (meaning "foreign)". It became a fad word in 1820, used to refer to "an assortment of things or experiences (art , music, food, etc.) appealingly foreign", then slipped into less frequent use until around 1959.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, all sorts of music imitating or evocative of "Oriental" motifs was described as "exotic" (Delibes' Lakme, Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, etc), and as a group was often referred to as "exotica, similar to how chinoiserie referred to Western-produced furniture, architecture, etc. that employed Chinese techniques.

Nowadays, exotica has for some taken on a much narrower meaning than it's original usage, but I personally see it as a fairly broad definition encompassing music that employs many of these aspects: minor keys; eastern musical motifs (chord progressions, etc) and playing styles; oriental or middle eastern themes, instruments, and so on. Although my very noisy bird disagrees, I think bird calls are optional!

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