Idle thoughts

Idle thoughts while at work. (This means: not enough material for a post in any of them alone. So I put them together on a tray and serve while other posts stew in the kitchen. How bloggy.)

1. Have you ever actually heard anyone say that two plus two equals four in “the tone in which one says that two plus two equals four”? When I was taught it, it was an important fact to be studied and learned (so I heard it in tones of incantation, tones of authority, and tones of confusion). Now that I know it, it’s a fact to be referred to on the deductive way from fact to fact (so there’s a pensive tone, well, let’s see, we need to carry the two, and two plus two equals four, so…). But when someone says that someone says something in the tone in which one says that two plus two equals four, they mean a certain unaggressive firmness to the tone which indicates a firm belief that may not be shared with the interlocutor.

2. Throat singers seem to spend as much time teaching technique as they do singing. Why can’t people leave the music to the professionals? I don’t know what it is about producing overtones that makes everyone want go off and make their own instead of listening to the artist. It seems disrespectful. (Yes, I know I do the same thing. When did I become the image of all that is respectful?) Is it because they hear it as unusual noise, not music? But music is just that, very unusual noise with a specific unusualness. I wouldn’t say 25% of concertgoers have the urge to get a precis of Gradus Ad Parnassum after the show. Or are there guerrilla violin workshops that I don’t know about, held in the late evening, when the bowties are all let down?

3. I tend to think that my current concatenation of interests is in itself interesting. Whatever jumble of unrelated things I’m looking into at the current time (why yes, I would love to tell you, but they might just be all too fascinating, especially how they reflect on each other and on me, and especially on me, and you might lose the thread of what I’m saying) are just so attractive, and make me so attractive, that I can’t imagine other people being able to stand remaining uninformed about them, so I inform them. (I try to work all of them in at once, when I can.) Until next week, when they seem played out and boring; and the things I have uncovered about them so obvious and well-known I wonder at anyone’s not knowing them. (And I avoid explaining them, unless I feel like being pedantic and insulting.)

2 Replies to “Idle thoughts”

  1. With throat singing (at least for the average Westerner) it may have to do with the idea that there is a new territory to discover in this sound one can make with one’s body alone. It’s oddly appealing and surprising to hear yourself making such a sound. What other powers might be hidden within?

    Violins, on the other hand, may make delicious sounds, but we’re used to hearing them, and we must rely on an outside instrument in any case. The thrill of i is lost to familiarity and the prospect of many hours of practice for not much gain.

  2. You’re right, of course – I was thinking too much from the musicians’ (I nearly wrote musicious) point of view. (I think I was deliberately looking for something to complain about, and keeping my eyes off anything that might mitigate my complaint.)

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