Unexpected patterns

4 02 2010

Recently, both in the music for the show and in songs I’m learning outside the show, I’ve noticed how composers will play with the patterns I expect to hear. This makes it more difficult to learn the music, because I’m fighting my brain which insists on hearing the music as it wants to, not as it is.

For example, the scales most of us are used to hearing are the major and two minors, and the chromatic. Even if you don’t read music or study music, you will be used to hearing music this way because it is what most of the music you hear is based on.

I’ve discovered my brain is very stubborn about what it wants to hear and what it wants to sing. To change the way it hears I need to play and listen to the new patterns over and over again to make them stick. Sigh. I would love if my brain would suddenly open up and just be able to hear what is actually there. I guess it’s a symptom of how we love to find familiar patterns in things. Singing a nice major scale is comforting and easy. Singing other patterns ain’t. Getting frustrated about it doesn’t really help either!

I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to start working in other music (non-Western) which doesn’t just have semi-tones but quarter tones too. Maybe I should do that next year as a challenge to my brain! Oooh and I’ve just discovered that Charles Ives had a play with quarter tones. Charles Ives is an awesome American composer who was way ahead of his time. His ‘Crossing the Bar’ based on the Tennyson poem is beautiful. Not that I can find it, sigh.

If you are a Wellington library card holder, log into the Naxos music database at http://www.wcl.govt.nz/mygateway/music.html and look for anything by Charles Ives (I do recommend Crossing the Bar). It’s worth it! Also if you haven’t logged in there before you should definitely do so more often, there is so much music available!




5 responses

4 02 2010

I’m glad I heard enough Thai classical music as a child that it doesn’t just sound ugly to me. It is definitely discordant when you listen to it with a western perspective.

4 02 2010

I’m totes jealous of your musical background!

13 02 2010


4 02 2010

Charles Ives sounds very interesting – shall to check him out.

This is the first post you’ve done that’s made me glad to be a little lacking in musical talent/knowledge. Normally, I’m like, ‘wah, I wish I could sing’. 🙂

4 02 2010

Holy $h!t, Regan. That database is an amazing resource. Thanks for the hook-up!

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