Monday, June 11, 2007

Musical Thoughts

The other night I was absently watching Austin City Limits on PBS. One of the singers was Patty Griffith and she had a tambourine player accompany her for a song. For some reason, this tambourine player caught my attention. He played very skillfully (I didn't know the sound of a tambourine could be so intricate) and I was struck by how he seemed to play with his whole body, his whole self expressing the music. Actually, the whole band seemed really skillful, though I didn't care for the songs as much.
But I got to thinking about musicians in general. I don't got rhythm. I'm in awe of people who do. Some people have music flowing through them so fluently that they are flawless and effortless as they make musical transitions or keep complicated rhythms. I'm not like that. I can keep rhythm, but I have to think about it, concentrate. I never mastered the skill of counting out the beat very well. I enjoy singing in choirs but during performances I watch the director with baited breath for his cues of when to come in or stop as it always seems like a bit of guesswork to me.
I'm a harmony person. I have a weakness for beautiful melodies. I'm one of those people who if I had better rhythm and confidence would aspire to being a back-up singer. Beautiful harmonies can make a song shine and I think harmony is more fun to sing than the melody, sometimes. The trouble is, I'm not good at reading music either, so I find notes by listening to the accompaniment. Thus, I always sing with the sopranos when participating in choirs because they usually carry the melody and that's so much easier to sing.
I think Katya's got a good sense of music already. She loves "reading" the hymnal and often asks us to "read" it to her. Many times, the way I know she's awake in the mornings is by her little falsetto songs piping in over the monitor. Just recently she's started adding words to her songs "Blankie, blankie" or "white table, mama's chair", etc. She has two favorite songs, Twinkle Twinkle and Open, Shut Them.
I suspect that she may be a melody person, too, although it's really too soon to tell. I wonder. For those of us for whom music doesn't flow in quite the flood that it does others (sister(s) of mine, you know who you are)---do the rest of us have stronger attraction to either rhythm or melody in a song? Or is there another quality that attracts you to a song? I suppose many people actually listen to the words first and foremost. But me, there are many songs that I don't like the words to, but I'm drawn to the melody. For me, the tune is the thing.


Joelle said...

Is that piano in your house? I don't remember seeing it. Audrey has lately enjoyed doing the signs to itsy bitsy spider as I sing it. About me, generally I like the rhythm (sp?!?) of a song the best. But if we are talking hymns, I like the melody best. I can do both :) I can't do harmony, though - only on "Amen" :)

Rena said...

The piano is actually at Grandma and Grandpa's house. This picture was taken a year ago, but I liked it better than the one I have of her playing piano at Christmas time.