|what should I name her?|
The more I play this fiddle, and the more music I listen to, the more fascinated I become. Today, as I was listening to music while riding my exercise bike, I felt like I was falling into a little musical portal. I was so captivated by sound, it felt like catching a glimpse of what improvisation or composing might be like, what understanding the language of music must be like.
It amazes me that a musician knows exactly what sound she will hear if she plays a specific note. And not as in, that right there is B flat, so I will hear a B flat. As in, she knows the sound, can hear it in her head, before she plays it. Maybe I'll get there someday.
Also on my mind lately? The fact that scales are miraculous. A scale is like an autopilot coach for my fingers: do enough of them, and my fingers seem to start doing them perfectly on their own. I am in love with music. Playing it, listening to it, thinking about it, having it in the world.
For most of the past year, I've rewarded myself for time on the exercise bike with binge-worthy television. It makes sense -- there's so much to do around here that there are very few, if any, other ways to justify too many hours of Grey's Anatomy. And since I tend naturally toward sloth-dom and away from sweat equity, I typically have to force myself through a workout. Often, I can barely make it from minute to excruciating minute. Being convinced I've ridden for well over 10 minutes only to discover it's been more like a minute and 34 seconds is BRUTAL. TV helps numb me through the whole healthy business.
But these days, I am having severe eye sensitivity problems, particularly with screens, and since I have to use a laptop for work, it's imperative that I avoid screens as much as possible all other times.
A happy fact, as it turns out! Instead of mind-numbing TV, music carried me through a vigorous 45-minute ride today and it was glorious. And yes, I realize most of the fitness-crazed world is totally on to this strategy, it's just one I deliberately have eschewed so that I could watch bad TV without guilt. Oh, but the music this morning! It was so joyful and energizing that I feel I must share my playlist with you. Here it is, in all its eclectic weirdness, annotated because this is my blog:
- Bottomless Lake, by John Prine – started with this one because I am trying to learn it on the fiddle so that I can play it on our family zoom calls with my dad on banjo, my brother on guitar, and my sister, her family, and my aunt (plus anyone in my own house who I can wrangle) on vocals. Pretty sure I won't wrangle anyone in my house. It will still be epic. Just the attempt will be epic.
- Seven Nation Army, by The White Stripes – because this song is on my daughter Tallulah's Pump Up Playlist for her soccer games, and she really misses her soccer games these days, so listening to it this morning was an homage to what she and we are missing.
FOUR selections from Rhiannon Ghiddons because she is just that damn good. So good. Achingly good. Treat yourself:
- At the Purchaser's Option – heartbreaking.
- Don't Let It Trouble Your Mind – freeing.
- Shake Sugaree – delightful.
- Up Above My Head – envigorating.
- Everything is Broken, by Bob Dylan – not once, not twice, but THREE times because (a) that song is perfection; (b) that song is too short; and (c) it's almost his birthday and I'm gearing up to celebrate. Also, that song reminds me of my house and family and lets me know I'm not alone.
- Come Together, by The Beatles – because most playlists in the world are made better with a Beatles song and also because a delightful rendition on Facebook brought this song back to me this week and I found myself craving the original.
- Finally, I cooled down with another John Prine, which, frankly, was kind of a downer ending, but there is a line in this beautiful song that I stole and used in my last blog post, so it's been top of mind lately. No one turns a phrase like Mr. Prine.
Thank you, quirky playlist, for morning joy and exercise. Music and language all mixed up together: there is no more powerful force.
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Why are you still here? Go listen to something! She's a good teacher, but an even better companion.