Friday, November 07, 2008

The Knight Comes Galloping Home

Every so often, I listen to some sequence of music (across genres here), either within a single day, or more often, across some span of time that causes me to suddenly believe that my own once-well-trained pitch is terribly slipping. My stereo has a 5 disc CD changer that I sometimes am too lazy to change the discs out of so I'll end up listening to the same recordings over and over again until I finally manage to go change them (it's not laziness, it's too beyond-laziness to be explained by that; maybe I just want to listen to the same music for many days in a row). This week's culprits were: Mahler's 5th Symphony (Bernstein/NY Phil); Miles Smiles; Weezer's "Blue Album"; Sufjan Steven's Seven Swans; and Mahler's 6th Symphony (Boulez/Vienna)., with cameo appearances by Bruckner's 4th Symphony (Boehm/Vienna), and Godspeed You! Black Emporer's F#A#(infinity) [that's an infinity symbol (GY!BE is probably the single most pretentious band that I have ever liked and continue to like (with Orchid being a close second))].

But every so often, I listen to music like this, over and over (as much as I leave my apartment for some part of the day most days, I'm there an awful lot), and suddenly come to believe that I'm tone deaf. Why? Because for whatever reason, though I don't do it a lot, when I try to sing along with something, I find myself struggling mightily to do it. Shouldn't be the case really. But, you know, that Weezer album was one of the first CDs I had the wherewithal to purchase when it first came out (I think I was in 6th grade at the time, and listening mostly to Nate and Jack's rapidly-de-shittifying classical music collection (post-2 CD set of Marches (disc 1 "classical," disc 2 "'Merican" if I recall correctly)) and They Might Be Giants otherwise), so yeah, I dont' mind singing along. And Sufjan Stephens writes some pretty melodies, one must admit. But I couldn't match pitch to save my life. So out with the tuning fork that I still keep readily-accessible and renewed efforts to rememorize A440.

Why admit something like this? Because migratory birds are returning to Miami (beloved black vultures amongst them) and with that a whole new set of noises outside of my apartment. And one bird in particular is whistling, not quite exactly, but too close to not notice, a repeating DSCH. With my pitch all in disarray, I had troubling convincing myself of this, but I'm pretty well convinced (bloggably convinced) of it. Pretty crazy! It's kind of fun, but also kind of annoying, sort of like a contrail being almost but not quite parallel to a power line in a given patch of sky that you might be looking at. I have not idea what kind of bird it is that's making the sound and I have as of yet heard it garner no responses, but I'm curious to see if the Dmitribird is going to hang out all winter or not.

And I would leave you with that, but I don't want you to go off thinking that my 5 years of totally rigorous classical music training have all gone for not, now that I'm hearing birds singing not-quite-DSCHes and all. I'm legit. Too legit. It's more like the same kind of experience that happens to me sometimes with my reading as well; namely, that I every so often get worried that I'm not reading enough (I think the general consensus is that I read a lot), or no longer, like, good at reading. But it's generally the case that it's more what I'm reading that causes those feelings, not anything on my end. Any thing more exciting to read will respark my self confidence re:reading. That is why the discs in my stereo will be shifted once I get home, though I hope the Dmitribird sticks around.


Post a Comment

<< Home