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Classical Notes

The Sound of Silence

Posted at 4:06 AM on March 22, 2006 by Valerie Kahler (13 Comments)
Filed under: The blog

I heartily agree with John Zech’s statement (3/20) about needing a break from sounds after a full day of radio work. My non-radio friends are always surprised by A) my weird music collection and B) how infrequently I listen to it.

I’ve never been one of those study-to-Mozart types. It’s way too distracting for me, which is mostly a good thing. Music can never be "background" in my life...which can sometimes prove maddening. Back in college, during the semesters I studied “ear training” (learning to identify chords, chord inversions, chord progressions, etc. by ear) I couldn’t shut it off. I’d find myself in the grocery store or the elevator mentally graphing out the Muzak bass line and thinking, “Deceptive cadence,” or, “Ha! Picardy third!” Geeks R Us.

I have music running through my head virtually non-stop anyway. I seem to have a dedicated music channel in my brain, and it’s broadcasting 24/7. Most of the time I don’t notice it, but sometimes the volume gets turned up to 11 and that’s when I become The Most Annoying Person Ever. Every single thing anyone says will fire up a new tune in my mental jukebox and I’m frequently powerless to keep from bursting into song. Here’s how bad it is: Several months ago I saw a letter to Dear Abby or Miss Manners wherein some poor soul couldn’t so much as mention the weather without one particular friend breaking into, “Don’t know whyyyyyy...there’s no sun up in the skyyyyy...” or somesuch, and how could she make her stop?? I was convinced Lauren Rico had written it about me…which turned out not to be the case. But still.

Comments (13)

Here's some general comments for the Blog.

Starting with a ringtone story..my colleague's cell phone went off playing the hair-raising section from the Queen of the Night's aria in the magic flute. I asked him if he knew what the ringtone was, and he said "I think it's Mozart." It was his wife on the phone. I told him yes that is was Mozart, indeed, but it was the Queen of the Night's song, and that she's well, highly evil. "Perfect" he said.

Unusual music collection? How about unusual opera music? At Goodwill they had Edmundo Ros's arrangements of opera music with a Latin beat on LP. Picture one of the Valkyre in costume playing a conga drum on the LP cover. Now that is album art. One doesn’t get that with downloaded music.

I looked up iPODs to see the latest. Some of your colleagues are non-plussed by them. So am I, not due to lack of technical savvy, I just don't get it. They will store around 1000 hours of tunes. That's a ton of tunage or about 40 days and 40 nights. So if one is planning a retreat to the desert or maybe a flight to Mars, it sounds like a handy item to have. If Major Tom had an iPOD he'd never complain of having nothing to do. As long as the battery pack lasts.

You are blessed, it sounds like, to have perfect pitch or at least pretty-dang good pitch. I'm fascinated by harmony, dissonances, cadences, turnarounds, modulations etc. and would like to learn more about such things. What makes Brahms's strings sound so distinctive in his symphonies? What harmony tricks did Wagner use in say Tristan and Isolde's Love-Death?

I read somewhere that you are not a music geek unless when the Rite of Spring plays you must hop around the room. A little singing out loud is no big deal. Your life has a sound track. Way cool.

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