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Farewell George Secor

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:52 pm
by Dave Keenan
Sad news. My friend George Secor, creator of the Sagittal notation system, has passed away aged 76, after a long illness.

Re: Farewell George Secor

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:42 am
by Dave Keenan
[I repeat here, what I wrote on facebook, so it does not get lost.]

This news has really knocked the wind out of me, even though I've known it was coming. It was a struggle to pull the following into something coherent.

George was 76, and is survived by his daughter Samara (~40), his wife Shirley having passed in 2013 after a long illness. George cared for her lovingly, with the support of friends from his local church. I'm sorry for your loss Samara.

George told me in late 2017 that he had rectal cancer. It had recurred after 22 years. He told me that he would be having a series of operations and chemotherapy, but he swore me to secrecy. I think he just wanted people to treat him the same as always. No pity. His last few emails hinted that he knew he was losing the battle. I do not know the actual date of his passing. I would be pleased if someone could tell me. [2nd of March 2020. Thanks Cam Taylor]

I worked with George on the Sagittal notation system for 18 years — all by email — me in Australia, George in the US. We never met face-to-face. As I've said before, Sagittal is the creation of George's genius. I merely acted as midwife.

George had a heart of gold, and an intellect to match. He was a virtuoso of keyboards, both conventional and generalised microtonal. He was also a wicked practical joker. He really enjoyed our last Sagittal practical joke together — The periodic table of EDO notations from Dmitri Mendeleev (in case anyone hasn't got it yet). :)

Please join me in listening to George's 2009 xenharmonic masterpiece, "Coming on Clouds", here:
(scroll down to click the play button)

I'm going to miss you Beaux Eaux. 😪

Re: Farewell George Secor

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 12:00 pm
by Dave Keenan
You may be wondering about my referring to George as "Beaux Eaux", in my farewell. I'll let George explain in his own words, from his email to me on September 8, 2015, when we were working to ensure that George's pronunciation system for the Sagittal symbols, Sagispeak, was language independent. It combines George's pride in his French ancestry with his love of practical jokes.
George Secor wrote:When I studied French in high school, my first teacher was very diligent in explaining the differences in pronunciation, and I'm happy to confirm that all of the information you provided regarding French pronunciation is right on!

I have a funny story for you! Some of the fast-food restaurants (where you order your food at the counter) in our area have recently begun the practice of asking for a name for your order, which they will call instead of the order number when it's ready to pick up. I decided to adopt a unique fast-food name for this purpose, which invariably puts a big smile on the order-taker (as well as amused expressions on other diners when my name is called). My fast-food name is French: "Beaux Eaux", and it means "beautiful waters". The French seem to have the notion that there's no point in using only a single vowel if three will do, as exemplified by my fast-food name, which is pronounced "Bozo". (Final consonants in French are generally silent, being pronounced only when the following word begins with a vowel; hence only one of the two x's in my fast-food name is sounded, as a "z".) If there's no one else waiting in line, I will go on to spell my name for the order-taker and explain that I'm of French descent, etc., etc.

Re: Farewell George Secor

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:36 am
by cmloegcmluin
Thank you, Dave, for sharing with us your feelings and unique perspective on George.

This news came as a shock to me, too, though in a different way. I didn't know him well. I know you never met him face-to-face, but I never even got to start an online conversation with him. In fact, it was when I logged on to Facebook on Monday to reach out to him for the first time — having just spent the weekend deep diving into Sagittal — when I heard.

Of course George's creativity, industriousness, and generosity speak for themselves; in Sagittal, he has built a great gift to help a growing community grapple with a tricky but critical problem. But I can tell from your posts that he was a wonderful person as well.

I'm not spiritual or superstitious, but I do believe people live on in those they touched. We'll keep his ideas and energy flowing, like the "Beaux Eaux" he was.