sounds of campus and stuff

23 Jan
On Thursday, Josh instructed us to go outside on campus for 20 minutes and just listen. I agree with Chris in that we should be doing this exercise every day. It’s relaxing, meditative. And made me realize how much of our listening life is passive listening, where we really don’t listen (something Classical Albums Sunday is attempting to rectify). Even in music, we always multitask. We’re studying, or driving, or using it for background music during dinner.

During those 20 minutes, I noticed, well, many things. But one thing in particular was how some people would walk scraping their feet along the ground, and some people wouldn’t. It’s not like I didn’t notice this before, but this was the first time I actually consciously noticed it, and started thinking about why that would be? Was it the kind of shoes? Their mood? Just their natural gait?

It’s like reading Soundscape (by R. Murray Schafer — a more in-depth response to the book will come later). Ironically, reading about sound makes me consciously think about sounds I have heard and stored in my subconsciousness (like insects) whereas before, I would simply gloss over them.

On a more personal level, I finished a new song. Something about running between raindrops. It’s way too long (7 minutes), but I don’t think it’s going to be cut down any. And no, I’m not trying to be Don McLean. I haven’t found a good way to record music on my computer. A trip to get a good mic might be in store. Or I may settle for an MP3 recorder to record rough cuts (and make sure I’m not forgetting anything). I find that writing music is very present. And I don’t write musical notations down. I write the lyrics, which means every time I sing it and play it (at least when I’ve first written something and am in the process of learning it), it’s different. Sometimes (on bad days), I would completely forget how a melody goes. This is why, I think, an mp3 recorder would be useful not just for the sound mapping project for this class. I’ve been thus far, been using my iPhone.

It is interesting, though, how words (lyrics) can trigger a melody. Even if I can’t exactly remember a melody, I still remember sort of how I wanted it to sound. It’s also frustrating when you can’t recreate the same melodic line because you didn’t write down musical notation. I used to (back in undergrad…and once or twice at NYU) have bursts of song that pop into my head during the most inopportune times (ie: during class). In those moments I would either jot down some quick musical notations (my background in music theory still comes in handy sometimes, surprisingly!), or I would use numbers. 1 for do, 2 for re, 3 for mi, and so on and so forth. That worked ok, but didn’t capture the rhythm or length of notes. Which would confuse me later when I sat down to try and elaborate on it.

This is the most disjointed post ever. I’m sorry. My brain isn’t functioning at even 50% right now.

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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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