Tuesday 8 May 2012

Those Tunes I Don't Know

Time to tackle Question 8: If, overnight, you could be bestowed with grade 8-level ability on any musical instrument you liked, what would it be?

As background factoids for those who don't already know, I studied the piano up to grade 4 (along with music theory up to grade 5), but gave it up when I started sixth form.  I never really looked back - much.  I decided that I'd prefer to invest my efforts into forms of expression which stay when you've finished them, e.g. drawing, painting, animating, writing.  The trouble I had with music was that I'd play the piece right once, but then when I tried to repeat it five minutes later it'd all go hideously wrong.  That got extremely annoying.  The hard-earned performance goodness never stuck around for long.

But what if, as Question 8 suggests, I could cheat the system and instantaneously gain grade 8 skillage on any instrument of my choice?  Which one would I pick?

Well, obviously it would make sense at face value to say the piano, since I already went there once.  That would lay to rest those occasional minor moments of regret which I just claimed not to have.  I do have one once in a very long time, but only once in a very long time.  And there remains the fact that I still regard the piano (and certain relatives) as the most logical of all musical instruments, in the sense that each key makes one note, and each note has one key.  That, and you don't have to breathe any specific way, which is the main reason I'd be unlikely to pick a woodwind or a brass instrument.

However, the piano does have certain drawbacks, the most obvious being its size.  The piano is hardly the most portable thing ever invented, and I suspect that if I could play an instrument at grade 8 level, then I might want to carry it around with me sometimes.  To Root Hill, maybe (yes, sheepbaa, I'm looking at that flute).  I know ThePianoGuys have managed to get their instruments into all sorts of obscure and inaccessible landscapes, but most people can't afford that sort of logistical undertaking for their Broadwood Grand, can they?  There is also the small issue of having something like 200 strings to worry about at tuning time.

So if it wasn't going to be a piano... hmm.  *strokes beard*

I've thought occasionally that I might like to play the harp or the marimba.  But those thoughts never got thought out much, just idly toyed with.  And they still have size and weight issues.  If I was going to pick a wind instrument, it'd be a woodwind - I like the sound of woodwinds better than brass, generally speaking, and at an uneducated guess, I'd say probably not as heavy.  This is probably where Tim tells me they're actually heavier...

But all that aside, I suspect I mind wind up in the string section.  The violin has the attraction that you can use its case, in conjunction with a big coat and the right kind of hat, to pretend you're in the mafia and you're going to kill people in seedy bars (yes, I admit it, my mind is mildly warped... not that I'd really kill people in seedy bars, you understand).  Or I might just pick the cello, purely and simply for the fact that Tim's spent several years slaving over that instrument and I wouldn't have to.  Mwahaha.

Although there are certain rules to which Tim and I subscribe, and which have a certain intricate connection to the fundamental fabric of the universe, which means that me cheating my way to grade 8 on the cello might be a slightly ill-advised thing to do...

So for now, I think I'll stick with the piano.

  • Last 10 for 17 status: 4 down, 6 to go.  Nearly half-way.
  • Latest book read: still The Kink and I
  • Latest film/TV watched: still Logan's Run
  • Latest music listened to: Somewhere Over the Rainbow cover by ThePianoGuys
  • Latest edible item eaten: Biscuit
  • Programs and web pages currently running: Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Firefox (tabs: Blogspot Create Post; YouTube)
  • Webcomics posted today: Cylinder and Miserable Episode 1474

- The Colclough


  1. Piano's a good choice. I go for that myself, but can already can play it up to grade 8, so that would be a wasted opportunity. I'd think I'd go for either the guitar, drumkit, french horn or trombone. If you were going to take up a string instrument, the cello is the best one to go for, although I was surprised that you'd be that vindictive. 8]

    1. i'll stick to the piano then. wouldn't want to be vindictive, especially not to the Almighty Sarlacc!

  2. I once learned to play the keyboard but it got tricky when it got to 2 hands.

    I would like to learn how to play Guitar/Bass (primarily Bass but I am fascinated about both) and I am not talking about acoustic, electric only.

    I sometimes find myself looking at guitars in shops because I like looking at them, they are almost like art to me.