Music Everywhere

Just after making the previous post, I happened to hit the armrest next to me with my ring. The resulting tone was surprisingly musical. (I’m waiting at a gate in the Melbourne airport, and the seats are the usual rows separated by metal armrests.) I noted this to spouse and he rang the two on either side of him. They were close in pitch, though sharp to the one I rang.

If I had something like a mallet I might well check the rest of them. They’re presumably close in pitch since they’re basically all the same size.

Just now we were informed that our gate was changed. Since I was standing up anyway, I rang a few more armrests. They probably all would be considered the same note (D, says spouse with perfect pitch), but not in tune.

I do the same thing in restaurants with nice glasses sometimes. And I can pretty much never drink a bottled drink without playing it like a flute. Straws in drinks sometimes too.

A couple of weeks ago when my lungs were x-rayed (not x-rated, thank you phone autocorrect) the machine made sounds like the first three notes of a piece I knew. Eventually I remembered it was the Army of the Nile March by Kenneth J. Alford, which I played in 11th grade. I spent the entire ride home reminding myself how the piccolo part went.  I also remembered noting how the various start-up sounds of my grandfather’s computer and printer made were kind of musical, which is probably why I still remember them 20 years later.

Found music. If it’s not a thing it should be.


How I (Try To) Fall Asleep

Sleep does not come easily to me, at least when I’m supposed to be sleeping.  (Afternoon naps are much easier.)  Here are some mental things I do in place of counting sheep.

  1. Count primes.  Eventually the math of figuring out whether a number is prime puts me to sleep.  Or I’ll do something else arithmetic, like a 47 times table.
  2. Word stuff, e.g., change WOLF to FLOW, or see how many words I can think of that end in -urry.  (Slurry, blurry, flurry, curry, hurry, furry, purry…)
  3. Linguistics puzzles, like phonetic rules for allomorphs of number-related words in Japanese.  Not that I have much of a vocabulary to work from, after three months of class.
  4. Japanese vocabulary review.
  5. Think about Lunar-related things, like what aspects of the four distinct versions of Lunar 1 would I combine into an ideal game, or how could Genesis/Dragon Song be turned into a game worth playing.
  6. Knitting (or crochet) planning, either for a possible upcoming project or an existing one such as putting pockets on the giant cozy sweater.
  7. Math related to knitting.  Recently it was figuring out integer values for sides closely approximating a 30-60-90 right triangle.   This one actually backfired on me because after doing all these calculations in my head and coming up with a couple of acceptable solutions I had to turn on my phone and find out which was closer.
  8. Listening to music inside my head.  Sometimes I notice things I hadn’t noticed before, which is kind of bizarre.
  9. Analyzing chord progressions of music I know well.  I’m a bit rusty on this though.
  10. Making up song lyrics about my cats.

In the Pink

Today I dug out a CD that I hadn’t listened to in quite a while: In The Pink, music of Henry Mancini played by James Galway and a jazz orchestra.  This was one of the first CDs I ever heard, back when CD players were rare and expensive.  I think we had about three CDs at first, with the other two being Mozart overtures and John Williams movie themes.

Late at night, after my parents had gone upstairs for the night, I used to turn off the lights in the living room and play a CD.  I’d dance around the living room with my sister (aged two or three or four) on my hip, or I’d dance and she’d rock on her spring-loaded rocking horse.  There was just something neat about having the room dark and hearing this music.  I wonder if she remembers this.

In The Pink was a favorite, in part because I knew some of the songs already.  As I was listening to it today I realized that even then I must’ve been listening more for harmony than melody, although it’d be several years before I learned anything useful about harmony.  My favorite track was one which also had a harp in it, and I remember trying to play the harp part I was hearing on the lever harp we were renting (I think?) while I took harp lessons.  At some point I discovered there was a sheet music book for the CD, flute and piano accompaniment.  I was excited to see what the music for my favorite track looked like, and was rather stunned to see that the flute part was actually very boring and repetitive.  The beauty of the music was almost entirely in the accompaniment, with the melody more like the canvas holding it together.  This is pretty much the opposite of how I usually think of music, with the melody decorating the underpinning of bass line and harmony.

I’ve remembered the music pretty well, after probably hundreds of times playing the recording.  And yet, today I heard two chords, either guitar or synth, that I’d never heard  before.  It’s a good reminder to actually listen to the originals now and again, not just play them back in my head as I usually do.