Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Taking the scenic route

Writing the novel I am in the midst of describing the slow birth of a love affair but that can be just as demanding as being clear about the passage of time, or tapping out details of a room where the disposition of the chairs helps propel the plot. What is different is my involvement in the emotions and the need to break away from time to time and stop panting.

I mentioned acquiring an electronic keyboard. It sits inches away from my left elbow and the voice is set to Grand Piano. But what tune when Jana’s dilemmas become too piercing? Here’s a song where simple words and heartbreakingly simple notes combine.

Did you not see my lady (A tight cluster of notes, one for each syllable)
Go down the garden singing (That lovely lower note on “Go”)

And in no time at all words and music create the image of a woman whose grace is implicit (“my lady”) singing, not for an audience, but for the sheer pleasure of the thing. It is surely her very unselfconsciousness that sets the alleys ringing.

Another verse followed by true genius, the middle eight which starts.

Though I am nothing to her,
Though she would rarely look at me,

The musical pattern is similar but moves up the scale. A transition into what sounds almost like a minor key captures the restrained yearning of the admirer. How clumsy I’m making it sound. How much better that you pick it out on your own (or blow it on a tin whistle) reciting the words in your mind. The tune, I have just discovered, is by Handel. I should have known that years ago.