I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Nine bean rows I will not have

Why sing?

Mozart, Schubert, Britten, etc. More recently, Roberta Flack.

Do I imagine it'll raise me to a toffee-nosed elite? Perhaps. But that doesn’t make singing any easier. Singing is like poaching quails’ eggs (Very difficult; ask VR.) and it's cruel; errors cause a trapdoor to open in my colon.

I can end up épuisé as the French say. Exhausted.

But there's better news .

We oldsters are keen to hang on to our musculature and our little grey cells. T S Eliot says "I will show you fear in a handful of dust" and we shudder at that. We look to delay the dust moment.

Writing fiction exercises my mind but does nothing for my ever frailer body. Same thing if I'd taken up painting. Or decided to read improving books.

Singing lessons involve training the throat to resonate like an organ pipe. For me that's started to happen and it’s added a cubit to my stature (see Holy Bible). Before, I laboriously created notes and had to kick them past my teeth; now, from time to time, they slide away, eager to be out.

Effort's involved but it’s more intelligent effort. Better still, such singing promotes wellbeing. The noises I make are closer to what great men (and great V, my teacher) had in mind. OK Wolfgang, Franz, Ben? OK V? Can you guess what it's like to sing a song that's endured 250 years? I feel healthier and fitter yet I’m still sitting down. It sure beats jogging. And, ca va dire, gardening.

11 comments:

MikeM said...

Cubit. SO much easier to find in the dictionary. And greased logs down a slipway, I'm afraid, might better be used in laxative advertising. Here's hoping your notes are coming UP and out. Glad of course to hear that you're feeling robust.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: OK, the greased logs were far too close to the bone. Too reminiscent of:

There's no paper in the bogs in Mobile,
There's no paper in the bogs in Mobile,
There's no paper in the bogs,
So they wait until it clogs,
Then they saw it up in logs in Mobile.


The original post has been heavily edited (down to a mere 256 words) and I've re-commented to ensure you're not blamed for alluding to something that has disappeared.

But you do music. Wouldn't you agree it's life-enhancing?

Sabine said...

My paying job includes getting to know (still does) the human anatomy and the cubital vein features regularly. So your cubit was a pleasant surprise to read about. As a measure of uplifting and robustness.

When I had my first MRI experience and desperately searching for ways to stifle the rolling claustrophobia without threatening the success of the long awaited measurements by moving or, heaven forbid, pressing the panic button in my right hand, I started to sing at the top of my voice. It just happened. And for reasons I cannot understand to this day, I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" (Bach, Johann Michael), which I must have heard maybe once many years before.

Such is the power of music.

MikeM said...

Music that I enjoy is life enhancing, yes. And music that I don't enjoy degrades the quality of life. And it's the same with all sounds, not just human created "music". Sometimes Thelonious Monk is preferable to Beethoven, to the point that Beethoven would be annoying. And I'll throw The Rolling Stones in just to thicken the plot. I can be drawn into many types of music, and I'm consistently repulsed by only a few. The singing of birds and frogs is nearly always enjoyable. The sound of crashing waves or a steady wind through the trees...very tiring. I suspect that any form of exertion is life affirming/enhancing. Bowel activity should not be sold short.

Sabine said...

Forgot to mention that we looked for Yeat's bean rows at and around the lake and on the island. The locals laughed us off. That man never knew a thing about veg, they said.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sabine: Your choice of aria was fascinating; it seems to confirm, along with your blog, you march to the beat of a different drummer. As far as I'm concerned "Redeemer" is pessimistic; the opening words not so much, but the second line ("And that he shall come at the latter day.") suggests acceptance of something fatal. So in the discouraging environment of the MRI scanner tube you were not singing to keep your spirits up but announcing a Christian reaction to imminent physical oblivion.

Not that I'm decrying that; under those circumstance one takes what one can. As an atheist I wouldn't be tempted by "Redeemer" but - assuming I could mobilise the necessary sang-froid - I'd look for something less spiritual and more human. I fear I've always sympathised with the Don at the end of Don Giovanni, refusing to recant his wicked ways. Alas, by then Mozart has used up all his good tunes and I'd have to make do with "La ci darem la mano." - but, double alas, without the soprano voice of Zerlina. Tough, very tough.

But even more interesting is the version of "Redeemer" you chose. And in the face of a far more famous version. I didn't even know the JM Bach one existed and had to YouTube it to find out how it went. With all due deference to the whole of the Bach family (whom I adore) yours is the less passionate song but this is to your credit. I admire your desire not to be obvious. Well done.

MikeM: For a few months when I first lived in London I shared an apartment with a jazz drummer. I enjoy much jazz, especially the cool West Coast stuff, but he was becoming insufferable. I told him jazz's only failing (for me) is that it rarely, if ever, echoes mankind's occasional nobility. He snarled back: perhaps because nobility is presently in short supply. The holes in his logic were more extensive than the bits holding the holes together

But that doesn't mean I always demand nobility in music. LvB - who can do nobility - is not a composer for all seasons but then neither is Monk. The first necessity is music itself, thereafter we get down to choices. Modern classical music is often said to be arid yet I was moved by the opera The Death of Klinghoffer. More recently by the songs of John Dowland whose dates are 1563 to 1626; surely, one says, he should by now be out of date.

There are, as many have said, only two choices in music: between good and bad. I am eternally fascinated by those who are able, logically and satisfactorily, to identify the bad.

marly youmans said...

The brain is a vascular organ, right? I'm sure that it enjoys all that singing. Though probably tossing around a few light weights would be helpful.

Yeats got his bean rows from Thoreau, who used to leave his cabin and eat apple pie with Mrs. Emerson.

p. s. Thanks for the welcome back...

Roderick Robinson said...

Marly: Vascular exhilaration is what I experience (Latin exhilaratus past part. of exhilarare, from EX- + hilarare, to gladden). So I'm sure you're right.

I get this way by singing inter alia Down By The Sally Gardens. But tell me, how can a poet who wrote:

But I was young and foolish,
And now am full of tears.


include in the same poem:

She crossed the Sally Gardens,
With little snow-white feet


And didn't Thoreau spend some of the time in a nearby bed and breakfast. Clay feet questions.

marly youmans said...

Thoreau famously went for pie at the Emersons, but I'm sure he would have been glad for a nice b & b.

Yes, exhilaration!

"Down by the Salley Gardens" was actually a sort of re-creation of something Yeats heard an old woman sing, I believe. Barefoot in the garden always says "Eden" to me. Yeats liked the image of bare feet on green. I suspect he liked "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him" etc. from Isaiah.

Hang on, I need to get you some other words to sing to that tune...

Here we go. <a href="https://autumnskypoetrydaily.com/2016/03/04/i-met-my-true-love-walking-by-marly-youmans/>I Met My True Love Walking</a>. Take that!

marly youmans said...

Drat. Made a mistake in the hot link. Just paste it in, I guess!

MikeM said...

Interesting poem, ...all that needs copy/paste is:

https://autumnskypoetrydaily.com/2016/03/04/i-met-my-true-love-walking-by-marly-youmans