October 16, 2010

Frelled Out of My Own Mouth


I tweeted this a few hours ago:    

I AM SO FRELLED. (I’m just back from piano lesson w Oisin. & we made a DEAL. It was HIS idea. I cld hv said NOOOO. If I had any SENSE. . .)

           It’s all the Computer Men’s fault really.*  I’ve got all expansive and unbalanced by having Finale back.**   It makes me foolish.  It makes me feel as if I’m musical.  It makes me not notice tiger pits till I’ve already fallen into them.  Quite early on in the conversation this afternoon Oisin asked if I’d managed to get hold of the Cherub.***  Yes! I said, all bouncing and gleeful.  Yes!  Yes!  He sounds nice!  He sounds much more sensible and clued-in to things like elderly talent-free women who have strange ideas of fun than any grotesquely over-talented twelve-and-half-year-old ought to!  —I was busy setting up my laptop on one of the slightly-less-teetering piles of sheet music† on the corner of Oisin’s Steinway as I said this.  

          In all truth I haven’t got very far in splatting Vague Noodly Piano Thing onto Gotterdammerung, but that’s partly because I’ve managed to forget a lot of Finale’s little ways in the several weeks since I’ve been able to use it.  The Only Thing Worse Than Finale Is Having No Finale.  Sigh.  I had, with great pain and difficulty, managed to switch myself about three-quarters back to manuscript paper again††—and it’s not like I never use it:  I pretty much always start on manuscript paper so I don’t have to know before I begin what key and time signature I’m in, which Finale demands as part of the votive sacrifice to deliver the supplicant to the manuscript-paper screen.  And now here I am, staring at the blindingly annoying Finale opening screen††† with a little flutter of expectation again.  The flutter is trying to remind me that I will spend at least two-thirds of my time using my composing software trying to find what I need in the help files, and screaming. . . .

            Anyway.  I had a bit of Vague Noodly to show Oisin today:  enough to demonstrate I’m trying.‡  It always makes such a difference to hear a live person play something:  this live person anyway. ‡‡  So when he asked how much of it I thought was down on paper/screen I said with self-astonishing firmness, about a third.  If you’d asked me that question before I heard Oisin play it I would have said:  Unh.  Some. 

            Excellent, said Oisin.  Then I won’t ask you any questions now.  But I’ll have lots of questions when you bring me the rest.‡‡‡

            Still thinking about this ominous ‘lots of questions’ thing I follow Oisin into the kitchen for the ritual cup of Friday-afternoon tea.  And am immediately distracted by the box of Octopus and Chandelier libretti sitting on the counter.   Ooh.  Shiny.  I admit to having very mixed feelings about the Octopus and the Chandelier:  I’m sure the experience is going to be very good for my character.  And . . . think of the blog material.  I should have a shoo-in post every (rehearsal) Sunday for four months.  This is not to be scorned.  However there is still this little Singing in Public impediment to my perfect enjoyment:  the footlights may occasionally reach even to the back row of the chorus, don’t you think?  It worries me.  And I am going to sing.  I am not going to do the old moving-lips-no-sound-comes-out ruse.  Well.  Not deliberately.

            This concatenation of concepts probably explains why I was insane enough, when Oisin said, I’ll make you a deal:  you sing for me and I’ll write you a blog entry, I said you’re on.  You’re what?  He’s what?§  I WHAT?

            I’m trying to tell myself this is a good thing.  I spent most of my year with Blondel whining about how if I weren’t such a coward I’d take advantage of having an experienced professional accompanist available every Friday afternoon for something besides cups of tea.  Gah.  And I’m still whining about it.  It’s a good thing I’ve had my hand forced.  It is.  But if you don’t hear from me next Friday, it’s because I’ve run away to Goa. 

            PS:  Niall made it to tower practise tonight.  Therefore I’m letting him live.           

* * *

* Archangels are very untrustworthy on this corporeal plane.  They have secret super-righteous agendas concerning the perfectibility of the human animal which any mortal knows is tosh.  But it can be very uncomfortable to be caught in some piece of heavenly apparatus.^  OW.  LEGGO.  DOESN’T FIT.  

^ I love the idea that angels and computers have a connection.  But then I have a sick, twisted sense of humour.  

** Gotterdammerung is, at present, working so beautifully I hardly know where to put my crankiness.^  She opens.  She closes.  She moves briskly from one programme to another.  She does not hang.  She does not crash.  She does not produce pop up boxes describing anatomically impossible events and berating me for failing to have my cheezfammers aligned with my gortamflurds.  Don’t I know that there are always compatibility problems with Cheezfammer 2.1 and the entire Gortamflurd empire?  There is, of course, a bug fix for Cheezfammer 2.1, but your internet security Rottweiler-wolverine programme will have kittens if you try to download it. 

            At the moment Gotterdammerung even has Outlook cowed^^, but this happy condition probably can’t last. 

^ Don’t worry.  I’m sure I’ll find something. 

^^ Or possibly axolotled. 

*** Note that Oisin actually calls him the Cherub.  Poor Cherub.  I’m going to have to find a fierce manly name for him.  Attila.  Vlad.  Cuchulainn. 

† I’m always delighted when Oisin’s phone rings while I’m there.  I immediately start rootling shamelessly in the nearest pile.

†† Oisin sniggered when I said this.  I could see he was trying not to.  But he did. 

††† I don’t care who he is.  He’s not Mozart.  Why don’t we get to choose our opening screen shot?  At Finale’s prices, we ought to get a free butler with every order, to bring us cups of freshly made hot tea while we slave over our virtual manuscript paper, discovering that we guessed wrong about the time signature and the home key.  The butler could carry a hip flask as standard. 

‡ I’m now in a quandary about Ring a Ring of Roses.  I couldn’t cope with four voices (SATB) and organ stark and alone on paper, so I had this dazzling flash of creative imprudence and started writing it for four voices and percussion.  Whack, thwap, thud.  I may have told you that, did I?   But now . . . here is Finale again.  I could do two different versions.  The dull thud version and the trying-to-make-my-organist-piano-teacher-crazy version.  Like Verdi reusing one of the best bits of Otello in his staggeringly fabulous Requiem.  Well, maybe not quite like that. 

‡‡ He phrases by ear.  How does he do that??  But it means that what has been blundering around in my skull looking for the exit and whimpering, suddenly looks all solid and purposeful and sounds like its existence has meaning and a future.  

‡‡‡ Is this a good thing or a bad thing for your music teacher to say to you?  No, no, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.

§ He immediately started caveatting at me that he wouldn’t necessarily write me a guest blog immediately.  Ah, but there he’s on my ground.  I’ll get him. 


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