This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years. This time around, I’m focusing on the Music Question, which asks teams to identify songs on the basis of short snippets edited together.
As I recall it, the Music Question was invented to replace another component of Trivia that was put on a time out. The concept is simple: Teams are asked to identify songs on the basis of brief excerpts. Eight snippets are edited together, and team have a few hours to discern the tracks and deliver the answer to the radio station that hoses the contest. My team is largely comprised of former radio station staffers, so we have a special fondness for a question that calls upon our developed knowledge of the contours of well-known songs. That fondness switched over to a productive obsession at some point in the early two-thousands, when one of the Music Questions included a passage of relatively nondescript alternative rock. This was before Shazam or Soundhound or any other app that could conjure up an answer with the swath of melody. Posing a greater challenge, it also predated the point when practically every track was readily accessible with a click or two. We posited a few ideas, as we always did. One of my teammates decided that wasn’t good enough. He retrieved a mighty stack of CDs from his home and sat in a corner of the Stevens Point house where our team was stationed for that year. He leaned over a boombox, feeding discs into it and tracking through the likely candidates until he found an exact match. We penned in the answer “All I Want,” the Toad the Wet Sprocket hit, and a new standard was set. With the Music Question, more than any other part of the contest we’re going to work hard for every last Trivia point.
More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.