September 7, 2011

Tunefulness, various


It’s already the middle of the night and I’ve barely got down to the mews and addressed my broccoli.*  You see, there were handbells.  I know, handbells are supposed to be Thursday but they break out occasionally.  And what with ME and hellhounds and silly people going on holiday** and therefore failing to turn up for standard Thursday handbells I’ve been feeling Handbell Deprived.***  Tonight was Caitlin’s first time at the cottage:  I think she grinned kind of a lot.  Cozy, she said.  She has a big house and a husband and two sons—six and eight years old, I think.  And two cats.  Well, one of the few things I don’t have all over the floor is model train sets.  But we seem to have rung for rather a long time. . . .

            But it had already been a long day at that point.  Fiona was here.  FIONA, AKA WONDERWOMAN, FOUND MY COLOURED INKS.  YAAAY.  Well, guarded and cautious yaaay:  if you people keep telling me what to draw† I will probably start experimenting with colour again at some point, but given that I need to keep the labour-intensiveness a bit down for the immediate future of, I hope, churning out squiggles by the rmmmphfold, I’m not planning on colouring the Bell Fund doodles††, although evolution by tweaking continues.  A bit like running through too many drafts on a novel.

            Okay, it’s time to confront hellhounds with food again.  Whimper. 

* * * 

* And sausages.  I don’t only eat large scary green vegetables.  I only eat them first.  Does anyone else love The Plate Where All the Different Foods Are Touching Each Other as much as I do?

. . . Why is a copy of a simple little cartoon so expensive?   I don’t need museum quality paper and a cubic-zircona-incrusted mat!  I just want something a little larger than a notecard to hang on a wall!^ 

^ I suppose I might buy the t shirt . . . 

** Don’t you know that holidays are bad for you?  You come home and you’ve forgotten where everything is.  The teapot.  The washing machine.^  The secret stash of Green & Black’s.  I had an email from a bell ringing friend a few days ago, freshly home from counting penguins in Antarctica or some such, who told me in hushed and tragic tones that she had nearly messed up her quarter peal of Double Trapezoidal Fungus Supreme, laid on as a special honour for the visiting Resplendent Panjandrumtate,  because her brain was still counting penguins.  See?  Don’t go on holiday.  It’s not worth it. 

^ Where exactly the spice rack sticks out over the washing machine, crouched under the stairs as it, and therefore you, are, so you can not hit your head on it. 

*** I’m also worrying about making handbells happen sufficiently punctually when I have to get hounds hurtled and myself off to the Muddlehamptons Thursday evenings again.^  Niall is, as we know, obsessive, but both Colin and Gemma seem to think there is life beyond handbells.  Although in Colin’s case life beyond handbells usually means ringing a tower peal somewhere. 

 ^ I’m also starting to borrow trouble heavily about singing for the bishop in Constantinople, which is less than three weeks off.  How do I get myself into these things.  Somebody frelling cancel my email account, stuff keeps coming in.+    

             The big anthem is Vaughan Williams’ Let All the World: ++ which we’re supposed to learn in exactly one rehearsal?  What?  Well, two rehearsals, but the second one is on the day:  we turn up a couple of hours before the bishop does, sing violently, and are then presumably sent off for a cup of re-energizing tea till it’s time to panic and go mute which, in my case, after only two rehearsals, is probably a good thing.+++  

+ Like yarn sales.  

++ RidingWestward wrote:  Am I the only one who has been listening to different versions of Silent Worship on Youtube over and over again since I read the blog post last night? 

No.  And I got a head start, since I was home from my voice lesson by 6 pm.   But I hadn’t realised this was what something so unfelicitiously named was.  Also I was confused by the ‘Handel’ part—I vaguely think of it as something by Thomas Moore or someone like that.  I love this song.  But then, I am a sap.

            Of what seems to be available on YouTube—although the maze that is YouTube keeps throwing them up just when you think you’ve found them all—my favourite is one of the first on the list, by Thomas Allen: 

It would be a baritone.  But I sing stuff from Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel and Finzi’s Let Garlands Bring, so hey.  Also, I frelling adore Thomas Allen, so my computer may be doing that weird Big-Brother-is-paying-attention thing of bringing up stuff similar or related to stuff I’ve brought up before—which would include a lot of Thomas Allen.~

            Having a baritone for a singing teacher was one of those defences against falling on my sword, that year with Blondel however.   It’s not that I couldn’t tell that he had a deep dark furry Thomas-Allen-y voice and I . . . did not;  it’s just it was easier to bear when it’s like he is in a whole different category than the one I’m failing to be in at all.  Sigh.  There is no such defence with Nadia. ~~  But I don’t think I’ll fall on my sword just yet.  Possibly after the first rehearsal of Let All the World. 

Joseph-ine wrote:  I often think the lower range below middle C is poorly neglected. I too have that sort of voice, and tend to actually prefer singing tenor, because the belly of my voice sits right smack bang in their range. And also because they have some great songs! In the choir I joined this year, I was an alto . . . an alto is a fun part too . . . Unless you are singing right across the break – mine occurs around B flat, B and has to shift to head voice to get to a C, so I found it particularly difficult to sing all the time across this point. Of course it did get easier. However, I got to sing one of the tenor songs at the concert, and I am thinking I should push harder next time to see if they will let me sing that more often! It was fun! 

Blerg.  Well, you people with solo-quality voices are a whole different tiger.  I’m more of a dormouse.  But I entirely agree that lower women’s voices are weirdly neglected.  What is it, unfeminine or something to sing below middle C?  Is this The Last Great Bastion Feminism Must Address?   I’m curious about where your voice breaks though—I’ve got most of an octave I can fudge from either end, from G below to G above middle C;  I break naturally approximately A (below C) going down and D (above C) going up.  I don’t know if any of you other singers out there want to enter this discussion?  But today while I was out with hellhounds I was singing, pitching stuff down, to make myself sing across that break, since Nadia says the only way you stop sounding like you’ve just thrown a piston rod is by doing it a lot.  I think this is part of that lecture on ‘the voice is a muscle and like every other muscle it needs to be exercised’.  Feh.

            I got a lot of practise at the piano today however waiting for hellhounds to eat.~~~ 

~ Including The Vagabond from Songs of Travel.  I recommend supplementary speakers on this one. 

~~ That she’s a genuine soprano and I’m a contralto pretending is not enough.  

~~~ The score so far:  one hit, one miss.  Diana in MN wrote:  Could be they ate (!) something they found while hurtling and picked up parasites. 

I wormed the little ratbags yesterday.  We live in hope.  Somewhat frayed hope. 

+++ Although Nadia is going to bring most of the music—it’s not just the anthem, mind you, it’s a whole frelling service with bags of frelling singing—next week and drag me through some of it.  Oh, you’ll love the Vaughan Williams, she said.  I already do—it’s the end of the Five Mystical Songs, which I adore—when someone else is singing it.  And then there’s the Durufle, the music of which she says I won’t have any trouble with . . . I’ll have trouble with the LatinAAAAAAAAUGH.   What I’m chiefly hoping is that they’ll put me next to someone who knows what she’s doing.  I can follow like anything.  Especially if I’m mute from panic. 

† Remember:  Always Looking for Blog Material

†† Ajlr wrote:  I particularly like the very cheerful (at least, I think that’s what the smiles are about) expressions on the little bat-faces. Presumably they’re looking like that because each time you draw them it means more money has been raised for the renovations? 



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