My New Decade

I’m ecstatic. Honestly, I am. I thought I would approach this birthday with fear and apprehension, and to my surprise I feel reborn. I know that it’s only a day, but it means so much. For some reason, I feel unfettered by my past self. I feel mature, I feel like I’ve risen above the petty things that used to hold me back. I really feel like a new person. I’m no longer a child, I no longer have the “teenage years” weighing my down. Life has begun afresh. I am 20.

And I’m also determined. I don’t feel weak anymore, nor do I feel apprehensive. I want life. I want to taste it, I want to feel it’s many fabrics, listen and be in tune with it’s layers of sound, stand and peer out over it’s valleys, and breathe it’s aromas. Finally, I feel young.

This has actually been a quiet day, however, and the overblown positivity you see above is probably due to a rush of endorphins, thanks to my first-day-of-my-twentieth-year-of-life work out. My boyfriend’s been at work today, but he’ll be off tomorrow and once I get home from work I’m hoping we can go out and celebrate. I really just want to go to Best Buy, hopefully I’ll have gathered enough money to afford a microphone, and then recording can begin! Of course, there is another obstacle, and like being bereft of a mic, it’s an obstacle I’ve had since I first inherited my piano: there’s a broken key. And it’s not the very bottom or very top key, it’s the high E. You might be surprised how many times you find yourself in need of a high E key, and as fate would have it, the keys I play best in usually involve an E natural.

I have an upright piano, I think I’ve mentioned before that it’s a Marcellus, which, as far as Google is concerned, doesn’t exist, so I’m going to assume that the makers were more of a mom-and-pop piano store than, say, Steinway and Sons. It’s a reliable piano, I don’t know if I ever would have made it to this point as a musician if I didn’t have it, but altogether I prefer the sound of most other models to my Marcellus. I enjoy Baldwin’s (particularly their higher octaves); I have limited experience with Steinway, but I believe the piano I often found myself playing in my high school auditorium was a Steinway. A piano I’ve never played, and that I can’t say for sure I’ve ever seen, is a Bosendorfer. These are Tori Amos’ weapon of choice, and they have a very specific sparkling sound to them; I’d like to have the oppurtunity to play one.

But back to my broken E key. I think everyone likes the high range, let’s face it just sounds really pretty, and that high E has been the main reason I don’t read sheet music very often. I’ll learn the first two pages of a song, or perhaps even less, but my hopes will be up, and I’ll find a spot in the music where I need that high E, and I either have to quit, or try to transpose the song down an octave. I once asked a piano tuner how much it would cost to have it fixed, and I believe he said it would be about a hundred dollars. So, in this situation, I need 90 dollars for a microphone, and I need about a hundred to have my piano fixed. I’m going to do them in that order, because I can live without my high E key for a while until I can have the piano fixed, but I’m tired of waiting on a decent recording device to come along.

This seems to be one of those days where I’m not as eloquent as others, don’t hold it against me.

It’s now time for a midnight pot roast dinner, because here at my boyfriend’s house our schedules of working, eating, and sleeping are all transposed up by about 4 hours. I’m really happy to be 20; I don’t feel like a child anymore. I feel like I’ve been given a chance to start living with determination, and success doesn’t feel so out of my grasp anymore. I feel free from the teen age, I feel new, and I feel successful already.

So I’ll wrap up my thoughts and leave you with a poem today. My high school chorus teacher sent me this in honor of my birthday, and while it’s actually not a very bright poem, he says it’s one of his favorites, and I can look on it thoughtfully rather than negaitvely.

Loveliest of Trees
by A.E. Housman

LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

I’m glad to stand at the beginning of a new decade, I feel the weight of yesterday’s troubles has been lifted; I maturely and postiviely take my first steps into this new year, and this new era of my life. Have a good day everyone.

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The Hundred-Year-Old Piano

Well well. There is not much reason for this post, I’m sitting up in bed. Tomorrow is supposed to be our big move day, so by then maybe I’ll have my whole room moved over to the new house, which it seems will not include my piano because my mom is insisting that it not come into my room.

She doesn’t believe me when I say I won’t play it at night, at least enough to bother her anyway. And I have a very expensive keyboard I got for Christmas, unfortunately it has no speakers and I just don’t have the equipment to harness it’s potential, it doesn’t have weighted keys, and I don’t really love it’s sound. It’s not that it’s a bad keyboard, I just don’t particularly care for it’s sound, and some of the “piano” functions on it don’t quite sound right, the upper half is impossible to hear no matter how hard you press the keys, and the lower half is the opposite. It does however have a fully functioning set of keys, unlike my piano which has (and has always had, so long as I’ve been in possession of it) a broken high E key. I almost kind of wish we weren’t moving just so I could keep my poor piano in my room with me 😦 But it seems it will be going to the garage, where hopefully it will survive and will not be warped by whatever forces of nature creep through the walls, and also where everyone will hopefully take care of it. I’m still going to try one more shot at my mom letting me put it in my room or at least the living room, because who doesn’t want a piano in the living room? It’s the perfect living room piece, a hundred year old wooden piano.

Oh yes, and on another note regarding the piano, the manufacturer is Marcellus, who I cannot seem to find anywhere on the internet. Am I sitting on some sort of piano gold mine here? (Not that I’d sell it if it were, alright maybe I would, but I’d feel lost without it, I’m accustomed to it’s sound and my abilites pertaining to it, I’d be afraid that if I got rid of my piano I wouldn’t be the same musician. Which I don’t want to be, I want to evolve, but still I want it around, it’s become a friend.)

I’m feeling very British right now, my inner monologue while I’m typing this is speaking with Imogen Heap’s voice, mostly because I’ve been watching some of her vBlogs. We pretty much finished cleaning today, I listened to Madonna, Britney Spears, and the Eurythmics on my MP3 player while doing so. Did I mention I got an MP3 player? 40 Dollars at Wal-Mart, not too bad. It’s file-based, in that you can just add and delete songs via the folders inside it like a flash drive, which I like, but it’s hard to customize the music and put all the right information in and give it album art, so I had to download this program called MediaMonkey solely for the purpose of putting album art on, and while it works it’s a little odd and doesn’t always quite cooperate with me.

Ah yes, and the Eurythmics. I’ve had their old Greatest Hits album for a while now, but I hadn’t listened to much of it, and I put it on my MP3 Player last night and listened through a lot of it today, it’s actually quite nice. I think I have a similar musical taste to Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart, although I get the feeling it might be more with Annie Lennox. So I had to go and look up who the other member of the Eurythmics was and I’ve just been reading some of the Wikipedia article, and as it turns out, the song 17 Again is a Eurythmics song! I had no idea! I remember really liking this song when I heard it in an episode of Will and Grace a long time ago, it was so emotional and gave the episode of reality and depth.  After writing that sentence I went and watched the music video, the song is really beautiful, I think maybe be a full-blown Eurythmics enthusiast now. Well, somewhere above fan and slightly under enthusiast maybe. It’s getting late and I have a tendency to be indecisive with how I word things.

On the note of the Eurythmics, here are some songs I would recommend listening to: obviously you’ve probably heard Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), it’s a great song but I burned myself out on it by listening to it too many times, Missionary Man, Here Comes the Rain Again, Who’s That Girl, 17 Again, and there are more, just get the Greatest Hits collection or the newer one, I think maybe I’ll have to get it too. Also, as Annie Lennox goes, she has this very cute and unique song called Keep Young and Beautiful that I was just struck by because of how original and simple an idea it is to make a song in the style of the 1950’s or so, I couldn’t say precisely when. I also like the song Big Sky, and the album Songs of Mass Destruction is pretty good, I haven’t heard it without commentary on top of the songs because the disc I put on my MP3 player was someone elses who I ripped to the computer, and as it turns out I ripped the commentary disc. But I actually really like the commentary, it makes me feel like I don’t want to go back to listening to regular music without commentary after I’ve been hearing it for a while.

Well since I’ve gotten onto the subject of music reccomendations, I’d may as well continue with it. I’ve had Madonna’s new “greatest hits” album Celebration for a while now, but I haven’t really paid it much mind, since a lot of the songs are precisely the brand of pop music that I dislike, but I enjoy her more recents songs, much more than the others at least. I used to really like Like A Virgin back when I was about 13, but that’s another one of those good songs that I’ve heard so many times I don’t really like it anymore. Anyhoo, if you’d like some reccomendations on some Madonna songs, and you will be getting them whether you like it or not, I’d reccomend: Hung Up, Music, 4 Minutes, Like A Virgin, Sorry, Miles Away, Hollywood, Die Another Day, and Celebration (which I didn’t think would be good and I discovered I actually really like, for the first couple minutes anyway, I like the verses much more than the chorus). Like A Prayer is not a bad song, but it’s one of the songs where Madonna attempts to serenade, and her voice sounds a bit too strained for my tastes, but there is another version of it called the “churchapella” version that is supposed to be much better. I’ve heard both versions, but not extensively.

Oh yes, and one more note. Imogen Heap has introduced me to an African instrument called an mbira, and I think the sound is so wonderful, and I would really like to get one for myself. I have discovered that Imogen plays the Array Mbira, and I’ve just gone to their website and the prices for the mbiras are mostly between 1,000 and 2,600 dollars. Well it looks like I’ll have to start myself an mbira fund, hopefully it will still be an original thing to do by the time I get one and put it on my album.

I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful coming day, be safe and be happy 🙂

P.S. One last thing, here are a few albums I would like to get at some point, and that I would advise you guys to try out too!

Plague Songs – Various Artists (including Imogen Heap and Rufus Wainwright)

Ellipe – Imogen Heap

The Collection – Alanis Morissette

Songs For Tibet – Various Artists (including Imogen Heap, Alanis Morissette, Vanessa Carlton, Regina Spektor, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Suzanne Vega, Moby, and more)