Zimmering with satisfaction

It’s time for Hans Zimmer’s dynamic music to render a fitting finale to this month.

I say it’s also time to squeeze in a bit of narcissism in my final post for this month.

Twenty five blog posts in the month of April with this one being the twenty-sixth. I can hardly contain my delight. Sundays were certainly off for good behavior. I earned this sense of achievement I’m feeling right now.

This month has been eventful some ways. Writing has acquired a new meaning for me. It kept me away from stress, sadness, and anger. Writing about music was the cherry on the cake. It has been a learning experience (Super-cliched line, I know). I did my homework before coming up with these posts and their respective titles.

I preached a lot especially about life and its doings. Well the thing is I was exposed to all the surprises, shocks, and disappointments, it threw during the course of this month. They followed a sequence, to form an arpeggio as I mentioned in my first post. Overall. it was an April arpeggio that I will never forget.

The examination blues that almost frustrated me, yet left feeling content by the end of it all. I can’t thank the cheerful Blues plus Capo-chinos enough for helping me get through this phase.

Sadly there weren’t any decelerandos this time. However the month as a whole has been quite expressivo in terms of circumstances. My friends have been big time supports, lightening my mood regularly. Some fugue huh?

April pushed me into getting into the groove of studying, blogging, composing tunes and making most of the time I had with my grandfather.

Hummingbird is one song that is still stuck in my head. A couple of impromptu jamming sessions boosted my spirits, not to mention providing inspiration.

The keys are something that I have been neglecting. I need to get back to playing my keyboard.

It hadn’t been a smooth, legato-ish month. April’s metronome kept up a rapid tempo of events. I can’t believe a month of summer is already over. Meanwhile, guitar classes have definitely helped me sight read better; there’s nothing better than joy of being able to interpret musical notes.

I wrote my first story. I decided I would keep it offbeat, and I sincerely hopes it works!

Summer break has given me a chance to pause, analyze whatever has been happening until now, and make plans to keep myself busy. Enough of quicksteps.

The crazy rhapsody of circumstances that April sang of, taught me to not get overtly affected by every little thing. Learning to be staccato.

Thatha’s death wasn’t unexpected. But I really miss the beautiful timbre of his personality. His passing away had the undertone of peace and happiness. He is probably content in his own place while he has given his family to gradually cope, and get used to his absence.

April has made me stronger. The low phase seems to have infused me with a vivacity to keep writing, and nurture my skills. Writing and music have proved to be the best remedy to my problems.

And as this month comes to a close, I realize it’s time to relax a bit. Maybe indulge in a waltz of memories or yodel for the heck of it!

It’s time for ze finale! Here’s Zimmer’s highly popular soundtrack – Main Theme (Pirates of the Caribbean)

And a big thanks to all my fellow bloggers for their appreciation and encouragement. Happy May!

Yodeleyee Huu

“High on a hill was a lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo!”

No points for guessing. “The Sound of Music” soundtrack would be always incomplete without this catchy yodel.

One of the wacky aspects to music is Yodeling. Almost all songs with yodels have remained unforgettable.
Yodeling is a singing technique, involving alternation in pitches of a sustained note, from low to high, by switching from the normal chest voice to falsetto and vice verse. 

Here are a few popular numbers with yodels! 

Hocus Pocus by Focus has an amazing combination of rock with yodeling!

Jewel yodeling in her lovely voice, in Chime Bells
Or cute old Jimmie Rodgers singing T for Texas 🙂

 And how can I forget Kishore Kumar, the best Indian yodeler of all times! Here’s Nakhrewali, a Hindi song.

Although it sounds really cool, yodeling requires a crazy deal of practice plus breath. It isn’t easy to fluctuate between full throat-ed vocals and falsetto. Hence kudos to these yodelers!

Yodeling included as a part of a usual song, can bring a quirky element into it. It sounds eccentric, and heightens the mood of a song. It’s a unhindered form of singing with no rules to follow. Yodels could be impromptu while performing onstage!

However, it’s limited to a certain audience. I know of those who find yodeling extremely annoying, or jarring to the ears( that would include most of my peers, no offense). However, imperfect yodeling  is painful to the eardrums, and can contribute to a headache, cause in such cases, the singer ends up sounding like a dog howling in pain. Ouch.

As I have mentioned before, I’d like to consider Music as a living entity, with a variety of aspects to her  nature, be it delight, or melancholy, or pain, or passion, or somberness, or wild enthusiasm, or eccentricity that is today’s highlight.

Do you have a balmy side to your nature, the wacky-cum-carefree part of your self? Well, I definitely do, and it usually surfaces when I’m amongst my close friends. The time when I let myself loose, crack silly jokes, laugh hysterically or play harmless pranks on others. Or maybe improvise crazy tunes and riffs while jamming, and generally have a real good time with everyone around.

There’s one point I’d like to stress on, though. Don’t go nuts to such an extent that it ends up irritating those around you. That isn’t cool. That’s similar to a bad yodeling overdose.

Yodeling is Music’s way of letting her hair down. How about you?

X-pansivo

X
X
X
X
X.

So obscure, yet very important.

It adds a special touch to anyone or anything, you know that “X-factor”, which is in great demand these days. 

A good dose of X could mean anything –
Xcstacy, Xtraordinary ,Xcellency ,Xceptionality ,Xcitement ,Xpression.

A bad dose, on the other hand has unpleasantness attached to it –
Xhaustion, Xplosion, Xasperation, Xtravagance, Xaminations.

And the list goes on and on.

It’s time to revert to the topic. Technically speaking, the actual word describing overtly expressive music, gushing with emotions, is Espansivo, that has its origin in the word ‘Expansive’.

I prefer subtleties to effusion. Expression is enough to emphasis the mood of any song, but, according to me, excess expression kills any form of music. I may be wrong. Maybe sometimes music needs to be effusive, as in the case of drama and background scores. Yet, it doesn’t appeal to me.

I wouldn’t want to name any, but I already have list of singers and bands that are con molto Xpansivo, in they way they sing and compose songs.

Moderation is the key to everything. So cliched. A much beaten to death saying.

But, there’s a reason why I can’t tolerate highly jumpy people around me as well. Craziness, anger, eagerness, excitement, passion should be controlled, else it just gets annoying, sometimes scary. Seriously.

It could also mean that the other person is just trying too hard. Is it all a pretense after all? Or is it genuine?

I know I just sounded really Xtreme, but it was something I just couldn’t resist bringing up.

 

Waltzing in love

They glided across the resplendant hall that seemed to stretch endlessly, oblivious of everyone present  including two faces, wild with envy. He held her so close that their faces almost touched each other, eyes held in rapture. She hadn’t ever dreamt of this moment, not even in her wildest dreams. He, on the other hand, had been so enamoured by her beauty, the minute he set his eyes on her, that being in such close proximity with her was almost dream-like to him. As their steps followed the triple beats of the music, they secretly wished for the night last forever, for the music to play infinitely, and to never be separated for a long time to come. Hardly had they wished, when the enormous clock struck twelve. She broke herself free from him, and fled from the hall in panic. Incredulously, he hotfooted her, pleading her to stop. He arrived just in time to bid her a hurried farewell, as the carriage pulled ahead. Clink, fell her glass slipper that had danced the ubiquitous waltz.

 

 

Vivace

Doesn’t matter if you are a brilliant opera singer,
Or a bathroom vocalist,
Or an exceptional guitarist,
Or just a novice,
Because it’s the vivacity that you add to the music, which matters.

Music is zilch without spirit. Though technically, fast and lively tempos are termed as Vivace, this word has its origin in”Vivacious” which means, full of spirit or life. Quick paced numbers usually grab anyone’s attention, their gusto and vigor being quite addictive. However, any song, irrespective of its pace, can be spirited as long as the musician becomes the music.

Mediocrity usually stems from lifeless, soulless music, which isn’t music really. Standard beats  with just a bunch instruments thrown in, maybe an incompetent vocalist as well. And, let’s not forget meaningless words. Where’s the zeal?

Similarly, one’s got to be upbeat and enthusiastic as often as he can; quick to overcome ugly phases and making the most of all that is good. Man, you just get one life. One chance. Being a cynic, or sluggish or some sort of a prosaic douche isn’t going to help.

It’s better to think of it as a song that’s vivace, rather than thinking of it as tedious, dismal tune. It’s better to make any vapid, unpleasant task seem appealing, for your own satisfaction, else you would sit drowning in a sea of woes.
 
Going all out, giving your best shot, is the way to a vivace nature.

Here’s something quite vivace
Have a funky night!

Unnoticed Undertones

“Every morning I still wake up and the first thing I want to do is to see your face.”
Gerry Kennedy aka Gerald Butler (P.S I love you)


This man may not have the perfect features. But he sure does have the perfect voice, expressing undertones, that are drool-worthy.

Before I get carried away, I’d like to revert to the topic.

U is for Undertones.

Undertone,technically means a low pitch, usually concerning vocals. Undertones aren’t prominent,but, as the word implies, underlying the main voice.


Undertones may not always a have musical context.

However, irrespective of their context, undertones are contradictory, the antagonism full of insinuation.

Some undertones could be nasty, especially those implying contempt. Let me illustrate.
“Wow! That was a brilliant performance!” exclaims a certain Aunty, clapping like a retarded seal.

“With a lot of hamming thrown in.” she says, in an undertone, to the adjacent Aunty.


Undertones could express affection. Usually all those individuals who have the rough I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude, are big time softies. Beneath all that coolness and insouciance, is a heavy undertone of emotions and sentiments.

The unusual calm that sailors observe during their voyages, has an undertone of an impending storm.

At times, a warning delivered in an undertone can be more menacing than a loud threat.
Sounds familiar? Of course. All of us with mommies know the repercussions of taking their threats lightly.

Black comedies are humorous plots with undertones of morbidity.

Undertones hint at the true nature of people, actions, occurrences, warnings, and music alike. Yet, they go unnoticed most of the times. Undertones, though subdued, expose all those nuances that don’t grab your attention instantly.

Before I sign out – Greenday’s “East Jesus Nowhere” is on loop, rebellious with a formidable undertone.


Thatha’s Timbre

“Anju! Get me some iced tea, please!”
And that was a request, ordered by a booming voice.


The most striking feature about Thatha was the timbre of his voice. Though cancer affected his vocal chords, they didn’t completely lose their resonance. It was only in his last few days, that his voice and personality, both, were enfeebled. I rushed home from Bombay yesterday, only to see him in a deep, peaceful slumber from which he would never wake.

No two voices are alike. Even two Fender Squiers would sound different, when strummed simultaneously. This property is omnipresent,in music, in people, in two inanimate objects as well. Timbre sets everyone and everything apart. It’s somewhat like DNA.

My grandfather had a strong persona. The timbre of his personality was unique. It was not only his voice, but also  his swagger, his expressions, his traits, his practical attitude towards his ill-health, his stubbornness, his sarcasm and his sense of humor.

Oh wait. There’s more.

The timbre of his teaching methods was also spectacular. Especially when it came to Math – ascending and descending order of numbers, simple arithmetic and later Calculus and Geometry. It was a wonder how a seventy year old man could recall old school Math.

Some of his unique habits and mannerisms were –

  • He wouldn’t touch water, whilst he ate his meals. No, not even a sip.
  • He had a characteristic posture while eating. His feet never dangled from the chair; right leg folded while the other bent, his left arm lying balanced on his left knee.
  • He had another characteristic posture while he relaxed on his bed, regally reclining on his soft pillow.  
  • When one tried to convince him into doing something he didn’t want to, he had a fiercely scornful look that said “Whom are you trying to kid?!”.
  • His reaction to anything that sounded ridiculously stupid to him – “Aamam!” translating to a sarcastic “Right!”.
  • Boiled sweets were his favorite.
  • My tantrums and sob stories were dealt with nonchalant sarcasm. Technically speaking, they were wasted on him.
  • He loved intimidating people, especially shopkeepers. “Oye Pappu! Ek peppermint packet laane ke liye kya itna time lagara?!”; translation – ” Pappu! Why are you taking so long to get me a packet of peppermints?!”. Pappu was the name assigned to every shopkeeper.
  • He loved to drink strong, dark, South-Indian filter coffee, out of the traditional stainless steel, tumbler and dabara.
  • He loved watching “The Lion King” with me.
  • Tender coconut ice cream, iced tea and buttermilk became his favorites, once he was ridden with cancer.
  • A bowl of curd and sugar was a must with every meal.
  • He was a brilliant artist. Our house is decorated with his works.
  • Always punctual, disciplined and rational, he was his own master.

    I may have missed out on many of his other traits but Thatha’s timbre was magnificent. He left us with his dignity intact.

    “You can take the moon, gather up the stars
    And the robins that sing merrily
    Put ’em in a box, tie ’em with a ribbon
    Throw ’em in the deep blue sea!”

      
    Doris Day 

  This was his favourite number.

Staccato

Being detached to certain scenarios, and people isn’t a crime. Disconnect is sometimes better than association. The strings could be played staccato.
 

Staccato is the opposite of Legato. It’s the opposite of smooth connection. Staccato is a form of musical articulation, indicating that the notes should be played detached, their duration shortened. Instead of being bonded together, staccato notes sound abruptly disconnected. A combination of legato and staccato, when blended well together, adds a unique touch to the melody.
 

You may wonder how staccato could contribute to a melody when it means disconnect and disjunction. Music isn’t always about smooth, free flowing notes. It isn’t always about intense emotions. These are notes that show indifference, but unknowingly add to the beauty of the tune, their impassivity being superficial.

And then again, I have come across many individuals, aloof by character, never letting any emotion surface on their faces, yet putting on some sort of facade of going with the flow. The people-may-come-and-go-but-I-don’t-get affected attitude. I often displayed a distaste towards such people because expression matters to me a lot.

But then there is a reason behind all that nonchalance. It’s only after experiencing personal problems, that I have realized, sometimes a little bit of disconnect is the way from getting bogged down by negativity. Getting overwhelmed by every bad phase, isn’t healthy. Probably, aloofness is the only solution to these problems. Probably, the staccato character behind such people is intentional, and intense to cover the fact that they care.

Moments of disconnect are important to let one deal with themselves and others around them. It isn’t always about smooth, unobstructed flow.

Rhapsodically speaking

George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody of Blue’ yelled “Tom and Jerry!”, when I heard it for the first time today.

This piece promises anticipation at every step. It’s random, frenzied and wonderfully impulsive, as if Mr.Gershwin had improvised it in a whim. It’s almost as if it describes the mayhem that Tom causes while chasing Jerry.

What I described above was a rhapsody. And Rhapsody it is for all its enthusiasm and ecstasy. Such musical pieces are free style, expressing sudden mood changes. They are story tellers and narrators, depicting a variety of emotions, thus enthralling the listeners, as the music unfolds the plot.

A rhapsody is potpourri of emotions, infused with improvisations, that makes it irresistable, leaving you wanting more.

Sometimes I feel I’m living a rhapsody, filled with unpredictable events and circumstances, each one bringing out a different emotion in me. Inspite of the the mundane routines and turmoils it narrates, a large chunk of it is robustness and zest; zeal to live the moment and take everything as it comes. A rhapsody can never be morose. It brings out the best in musicians and likewise the rhapsody of life speaks of the purpose behind each experience or incident.

So, which is your favourite rhapsody?

Quicker Quickstep

Q is for….

….

I racked my brains hard for this one but that didn’t yield any results.

My mind started wandering and my ears suddenly became aware of a song playing in the background.

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Sounds familiar?

Yes of course, it’s Istanbul (Not Constantinope (mind you)) by They Might Be Giants. Soundtrack for Tiny Toon Adventures. It’s a comical, trippy number with a steady quick pace. I could probably dance along with the music. With someone to accompany me.

It makes me want to take quick steps.

That’s it!

Quickstep!

I researched a bit about this song and concluded that this song is of the genre Quickstep. Technically speaking, it is an energetic form of dance, that involves swift movements, brimming with zest. Quickstep, as a dance music genre, is dominated by unconventional rhythms or as Wiki puts it, syncopations, that add the oomph to the dance. It has a strong essence of the genteel Foxtrot, tempo increased. Quickstep, is thus an elegantly zingy genre!

The steps come to you quickly when you hear Quickstep. Not only that, but it also enlightened me quickly!