09. November 2006 · Comments Off on Not Sure Why · Categories: imported, Ramble

I blog mostly for fun. It’s just an enjoyable thing to do. I hope, while I’m doing it, I also manage to bring the world of oboe, and a bit of the musician’s life, to folks who are interested enough to stick around and read. I like to fill students and other oboists in on what’s happening. I like to ramble on (and on) about things that interest me, hoping someone else might find these things equally interesting. And I like to blog about how reeds are a pain (as if oboists didn’t already know), how to deal with that pain, and various other reedcentric things.

And, of course, it’s a place to whine. As I’ve said many a time, musicians excel in whining. I firmly believe we are to use the gifts God has given us. If whining is one, who am I to hide that talent from the masses?

But I ramble.

What I was coming back here to say is that I’m not sure how or why, but I’ve been declared one of the “Top 10” here. I’ve known this for quite some time (maybe over a year?) but I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about it. For some, this might become a big boost. Some sort of ego trip. Heck, why not have a t-shirt that reads “Top 10”?

For me?

Well, I just check there occasionally to see if I’ve been removed.

It’s not that I see the glass half empty while others see the glass half full. I just see the glass for what it is. Really.

I’ve finally begun This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin. So far I’ve only read the intro, and I’m working on the first chapter now.

In the intro the author writes:

American spend more money on music than on sex or prescription drugs. Given this voracious consumption, I would say that most Americans qualify as expert music listeners.

Hmmm. Does purchasing music in large quantities necessarily mean that the buyers are really listening? What is realy listening. And does buying a lot of something make one an expert? I’m puzzling over this.

The writer, though, is a Smart Man™ and I’m an Oboe Woman™ so perhaps he is the more qualified to determine things like this.

It’s an interesting read, to be sure.

In the first chapter he talks about timbre saying:

Timbre is that which distinguishes one instrument from another—say, trumpet from piano—when both are plaing the same written note. It is a kind of tonal color that is produced in part by overtones from the instrument’s vibrations.

I have students work on long tones for a number of reasons. Two of these reasons are pitch (we need to hold an A to tune an orchestra, so we may as well get started on holding a note still and in tune … we can bend pitch pretty darn easily) and what I have always called timbre. I think we can change the “color” of the note on an oboe and it’s pretty disconcerting to hear someone changing timbre while playing a line of music. But am I referring to something different than the author? I feel as if he’s saying an oboe has one timbre, a trumpet another. I think the oboe can have different timbres. (Heck, listen to Pierre Pierlot and then listen to John Mack!)

Of course I guess what he says doesn’t negate what I’m writing about. Right? So maybe I’m just yakking about a whole lotta nothing.

But I’m just pondering … and perhaps poorly.

Perhaps you pity the poor patty ponderer? 🙂

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