Funny Tape Pieces

Four Tape Works with Humorous Undertones
Composed at the Cleveland Institute of Music


Duration 1:58
Premiere: Cleveland Composers’ Guild,
Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, 13 May 1973.

The trumpet shall be heard on high,
C major lives, the living die;
The lion roars, encircled by
Ars Gratia Pecuniae;
Then all good tonics multiply,
For that is how they learn to fly,
Superman to glorify;
Two thousand one times sounds the cry,
And music shall untune the sky.
            --with apologies to John Dryden

The LP recording used in this piece is Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor, Columbia MS-6547, ca. 1960.


The Tinsel Chicken Coop

1971, Revised 1976
Duration 5:26

Studio Assistants: David Peelle and Nike Wagner
Premiere: Cleveland Institute of Music,
Cleveland, OH, 11 May 1971.

During most of 1969-70 I was employed by Audio Recording Studios, Inc., in Cleveland. Had I known how difficult it was for a beginner to get a job in a recording studio, I never would have applied. But my composition teacher Donald Erb had put in a good word with studio owner Vladimir Maleckar, and my experience with synthesizers at the R. A. Moog Co. (including having done a Sam Fox record of “needle-drop” background music for commercials, which was already in Audio Recording’s library) sealed the deal. The studio was large enough to be professional and small enough that we could not afford to specialize. Consequently I became familiar with doing production work for commercials, industrial film soundtracks, rock music, polka music, and ethnic music. (Vlad was of Slovenian descent and had a lock on all the Slovenian, Bosnian, Croatian, Herzegovinian, Ukrainian, and Lithuanian business for a 200-mile radius.)

Plus, of course, whatever crazy walk-in trade materialized.

One day an evil-looking man came in with an LP record. My job was to copy the record onto a master tape from which more records could be pressed. The tape and disk-pressing masters had been “lost” (meaning probably there was still money owed on the bill), so this was the only way they could get more records. One side of the record was a soap-opera melodrama about a dangerous high chair. The other side was a sales pitch for the Rex High Chair. There was a constant low hum on the record.

I didn’t get it; Vlad explained. It was an audio-visual sales pitch using a slide filmstrip and a matching LP record. A door-to-door salesman would set up a portable display projector, which incorporated an LP turntable, in a customer’s home. There was a 50 Hz tone recorded on the disc’s soundtrack, which was subaudible on the projector’s small speaker. This tone was to keep the picture stable and in sync with the soundtrack—it would lock the frame in place to prevent any vibration, in case of domestic mayhem, from changing the picture. To advance to the next frame, the tone would change to a 30 Hz tone for a few seconds.

The best part of the LP melodrama was a frightening scene at the breakfast table where the dumb dad accidentally knocks over the kid’s high chair, who of course is killed. That did set the stage most skillfully for selling a Rex High Chair for $500-plus.

We gave the nice man his master tape (cash only) but of course we kept a copy in the studio library. Somehow a portion found its way into The Tinsel Chicken Coop, which is one of the very few tape pieces that starts in C major and ends in Ab major. Besides what became affectionately referred to around CIM as the “Dead Baby Track,” other sounds were lifted from the real world in the form of commercial sound-effects records.

Stockhausen: "Just like a chicken, you see..."

"Just like a chicken, you see..." (Famous photo of famous composer Karlheinz Stockhausen)

Weidenaar 1971
DuKane Portable Viewer
DuKane Portable Filmstrip Viewer

Photo by David Peelle



Magnetic Music's Frankie Museum
Magnetic Music Tests Frankie's Recipes

1974, Revised 1977
Duration 4:31

Studio Assistants: David Peelle and Nike Wagner
Premiere: Cleveland Institute of Music Contemporary Ensemble,
Cleveland Heights High School, Cleveland Heights, OH, 4 May 1974.

From Chapter IV, Hot Dog Casseroles, page 16:
Recipe - Dog and Yam Casserole
lettuce dogs
olive dogs

One of our advertising-agency clients at Audio Recording Studios had the Superior Meats account. There came a time when it was necessary to produce a celebratory retrospective, and in came the agency exec with a radio jingle that was said to date from around 1952. Naturally I made a Protection Copy of this historic soundtrack, and carefully transported it to the studio at CIM.

INGREDIENTS (in order of first appearance): Twelve beautiful harpists on the stage of Kulas Hall, your singing and speaking and piano-playing announcer (Larry Baker), the deconstructed Superior Meats jingle, much razor-blade editing, tape-delay echo, tape loops, variable speed, a singer (not known, from Steve Peplin’s  theatrical demo tape Odds 23 to 1), a mom and a dad (Enid Cohen and Larry Baker), a toy piano (Brahms’ Lullaby), sound effects, an oboe choir (The Ride of the Valkyries), silence, a synthesizer, the Keener Wiener Chorale, and, of course, Frankie the Keener Wiener himself.

Production Note: The sound of Frankie the Keener Wiener splattering onto the floor was made using canned domestic tomatoes and a 7-inch cardboard tape box.


If chopped peanuts aren't available, use whole peanuts. Put them between two layers of a kitchen towel and strike several times with a meat hammer. This recipe is easy to prepare.

Calories of each ingredient, per serving: 1 hot dog 120 (90 fat, 0 sugar), peanut butter 127 (93 fat, 8 sugar), peanuts 64 (49 fat, 2 sugar), yams 160 (0 fat, 68 sugar), currant jelly 67 (0 fat, 64 sugar). Total = 538 calories (232 fat, 142 sugar); protein: 8 grams. A nutritional nightmare.

Dog and Yam Casserole picture
"Frankie's Keener Wiener Cookbook," front cover. 48-page booklet, 5.25 in. wide, 7.875 in. high. No date. 10 chapters, 60 recipes. This is an abridged edition of The New Hotdog Cookbook
© 1968 by Mettja C. Roate, MacFadden Books.
Try Em!
back cover

Cleveland Area TV Guide, August 3-9, 1957

split dogs


Oh, dear. This dish is fully as bizarre and revolting as it sounds and looks. The flavor is about 2/3 jelly and 1/3 peanuts, with the yams adding some slight flavor and the hot dogs almost none (even though high-quality Kosher hot dogs were used). The currant jelly has a pronounced, piercing flavor, almost like cranberry sauce. The taste is cloying and repellent.

"Frankie's Keener Wiener Cookbook," back cover.


Mustard and Ketchup Dispensers

From page 40:
bagel dogs
creme fraiche
Recipe - Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce
Promotional Photo of Mustard and Ketchup Dispensers

dispensers with caps on dispensers with caps off

Out of C

1974, Revised 1978
Duration 0:54
Premiere: First Los Angeles Electronic Music Festival,
Theatre Vanguard, Los Angeles, CA, 14 October 1977.

Voices: David Peelle, Larry Baker, and (at beginning and end) Reynold Weidenaar. Piano: Reynold Weidenaar.


Actual set of used Mustard and Ketchup Dispensers in 2008. Height (including cap) 7 inches.


This recipe is clear, complete, very quick, and easy.

Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce


The appearance of this dish is fearfully sweet, but it turns out not to be so. Overall the flavor is mostly pineapple, but too acrid because of the brandy—the alcohol is never cooked out so it tastes harsh. The canned pineapple was not sweetened, so it contributes a mild tartness to the taste of the sauce. The raisins are sweet, but did not cook long enough for their flavor or sweetness to blend with the sauce. The inner part of the raisins was not cooked at all. The use of bouillon seems pointless, for its flavor is totally masked by the intensity of the other ingredients. Fruited brandy sauce is a wonderful food when served at room temperature on ice cream or pastry. But it seems bizarre served piping hot on meat. The silver lining is that the hot dogs are not ruined at all. They are nicely heated and do not absorb any of the flavor of the sauce, which is easily wiped off. Put them on a bun, add mustard, and enjoy!