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Showing posts from December, 2015

More on Music

Something I realised recently: music can be incredibly complex, but basically it is either loud or quiet, high or low, fast or slow, and degrees in between. Listening to and playing music for more than 30 years has led me, perhaps unconsciously, to that awareness. And it's as true for so-called classical music, with its elaborate structures and harmonies, as it is for the harmonically much more simple forms of popular music. Hardly an earth-shattering epiphany, but it probably explains why certain kinds of music that I used to find harder to listen to, like Benjamin Britten, now give me a lot of pleasure.

Another reason why I now love the music of some composers that I once found incomprehensible: the voice. Looking back, I realise that I always loved opera long before I became absorbed by instrumental music. Even when I listened mainly to people like Prince, Bob Dylan, The Smiths, or Robert Johnson, what I responded to most was not the tunes or the instrumentals so much as the e…

Musical Moments

My musical life:

I come from an amateur musical family. Both my father and grandfather were skilled self-taught musicians. My father and his brother played Everly Brothers-style guitar and harmony in the working men's clubs of Liverpool in the 1950s.

My mother didn't play an instrument, but she has a good voice, and has a unique condition that has been called Broadway Tourette's Syndrome. Meaning that all through my childhood, she would break out into show tunes at any hour of the day.

Because of this, I had a sweet soprano singing voice before my voice broke, and I sang at my local Catholic Church, one time in front of the whole congregation at Christmas, my rendition of Silent Night causing paroxysms of tears among the pious, I've been told.

The apartment where we lived in my teens had a rickety, out of tune piano, that I mainly taught myself to play. I had some lessons, and I can read music to a rudimentary degree, but mainly I played pop tunes by ear, though I als…