Music and Me: The Early Years

I am the least musical person I’ve ever met who is still alive. Of course, most nonmusical people don’t go around talking about it, so I probably actually know more tone deaf, talentless people than that. It is strange, though. I should be musical. My mother sang semiprofessionally, doing radio in the pre-WWII days before they had things on tape (commercials and stuff). My oldest sister is known as Lightning Fingers Liz, owing to her prowess with the mandolin. My brother had a rock band from something like 1968 through 1990-something and is quite talented with the lead guitar. My other sister takes the cake, though. She has a couple of PhD’s in music or related topics, is an accomplished composer, and has learned–to at least a reasonable level of competence–one instrument in each known and extant class of musical instrument. (This required her to learn the bagpipes and the didgeridoo, because they are almost exclusive in their own classes.)

… read the rest here.

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0 thoughts on “Music and Me: The Early Years

  1. [T]he bagpipes”!? I can think of at least five different types of bagpipes from the British Isles alone. Talking about “the bagpipes” is like talking about “the strings” – they’re an entire class of instruments, some remarkably diverse.

  2. Dunc: Sort of. You’ll notice I equivodated.

    It is notable that all the bagpipes are called “bagpipes” and the strings are not, they are called things like “Banjo” and “Cello” and “violin” … bowing vs. not alone may make strings more diverse than bagpipes.

    But I’ve never seen an argument about bagpipes that did not end in a brawl. So I’ll just agree with you and let it go at that.

  3. Steph: huh? Me comment comfortably? Is that an invitation or s/th?

    I don’t get what you mean–I love commenting most on the spaces that detest me and take measures against my kind of less-than-dry humor…

  4. The Uilleann pipes are very different to the Great Highland Bagpipes – they’re fingered completely differently for one thing, they’re bellows-driven, and the chanter is closed with a slide. Some types of pipes are chromatic rather than diatonic, which is a pretty major difference. It’s also not really true that they’re all called “bagpipes” – that’s the generic English term, and many other languages have similar generic terms, but many varieties of bagpipes have specific names in the language of their originating culture. We just happened to import a bunch of specific terms for stringed instruments from other languages and cultures.

    Admittedly “strings” wasn’t perhaps the best analogy, as it’s probably the most diverse class of instruments other than percussion.

    The wikipedia list of bagpipes is quite comprehensive.

  5. I’ve seen the wikipedia thing, and it is quite impressive. More diversity there than I realized.

    Keep in mind that this post (which is the first in a series) is a memoir of someone who grew up where there were two kinds of bagpipes: Irish and Irish. At the time, for my sister, in order for her to learn the bagpipes she had to join the Ancient Order of Hibernians Bagpipe Marching Band thingie.

    The whole thing was very painful. As most things involving bagpipes are.

    (ducking)

  6. C, I was talking mostly about being able to comment anonymously. I didn’t set up the comments, and I haven’t had a chance to look at them. I wasn’t too worried about you being unwilling to comment when you find something you want to talk about. 🙂

  7. At the time, for my sister, in order for her to learn the bagpipes she had to join the Ancient Order of Hibernians Bagpipe Marching Band thingie.

    The whole thing was very painful.

    Oh, I believe it. The Great Highland Bagpipe isn’t actually a musical instrument, it’s an indiscriminate weapon of war which ought to be banned under the Geneva Conventions. Nobody ever played that thing for pleasure – that’s what small pipes are for. It’s a terrible shame that most people’s impressions of the bagpipes are formed entirely by an instrument expressly designed to make your enemies pee their kilts from two glens away.

  8. Steph: I left a comment-ary under Gregs piece about da’mayorSonny and his ever lovin'[ahem]Cher….my first album*embarassed-to-bits* was Rod Stewart…Wake up Maggie….

  9. Dude, mine was Def Leppard. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    That is very impressive. How would you feel about me tidying it up just a bit as to punctuation and promoting it to the front page?

  10. Steph&G, I would be sincerely flattered–which isn’t something that happens easily, considering that my career path consists of kissing ppls asses and other ego bits;-)
    So what is the deal with that there part-time BZ blogger call anyways? Is it open post, or??

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