Of Magicians and Musicians…
Firstly, I need to share these two definitions with you from the good people at the Cambridge Dictionary:
A pattern of sounds made by musical instruments, voices or computers, or a combination of these, intended to give pleasure to people listening to it.
A sound or sounds, especially when it is unwanted, unpleasant or loud.
And thereby hangs a tale. Whereas I have no difficulty in creating (b), I have never been able to get even close to making (a).
So, my musical chums how do you do it? How do you pick up that piece of wood, metal or whatever and produce something “intended to give pleasure to people listening to it” – and yes I am more than happy to include the bagpipes in this bailiwick – rather than the alternative : unwanted/unpleasant/loud?
I realised my shortcomings at an early age – I suspect many of us did – in infant school when confronted with that simplest of instruments, the chimebar. I can still remember the teachers challenge. For a piece in an assembly she needed one of the class to strike this bar, that bar and finally the other bar. But rather than have those bar in the familiar (even to a six year old) 1-2-3 order, she had placed them in some bizarre musically notational order. When I tapped that bar rather than this bar… my big chance had gone.
Move on a year or so, another assembly & a message from the headmaster. If anyone owns a recorder please bring it in on Thursday as we’re forming a group. And our family owned a lovely recorder, near the top of the range in Tandy. For sure the plastic cover had broken off, but we still had the lead & the mike which meant that Pick of the Pops never went unrecorded by my sister. That’s what I had. If everyone else chose to bring in some kind of wannabe clarinet more fool them.
Which is not to say I’m totally unmusical. My unbroken voice was considered good enough for the Scottish folk songs & Father Abraham medley presented by my high school choir. My broken voice still good enough for the chorus line of a popular local review company, gotta love them show tunes.
But the world of the musical instrument remains sadly alien to me. Oh, I can pick up a guitar and hold it with the strings facing away from me, but then… that hold business of putting ones fingers over holes, or against strings, or atop keys… sorry – we don’t have that on my planet. I will break off here to register my distain of the piano. Are eighty-eight keys really necessary? Really?
Which is why I turn and bow to all you capable musicians. Bravo! Bravo! You really have something special, the magical musical power I wish would rub off on me somehow. Maybe, I should go down the path of Adolphe Sax & invent new instruments that I be the soul maestro of. Something like a keyboard with eight or ten big buttons which would strike lots of strings at once?
See you at the Proms!