Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dotted Quarter Notes

Anyone who has made it through a few years of music, has discovered the challenge of dotted quarter notes. For me, they were a stopping point. I could play the piece by ear, but not from reading. The pause needed in the music was something I never quite could master baring already knowing the tune. The problem with that technique is that everyone hearing the music also knows how it is supposed to sound, and sits waiting for the next notes which may or may not come, depending upon how refined my reading skills are that day. I don't play enough to get requests, but I would like to be able to perform without the 2 minute commercial brakes in between sections I know and don't know.

"Clare de Lune" is a prime example. Salt and peppered with dotted quarter notes in addition to being loaded with sharps, flats and notes that were sharp but are then neutral or made flat, and vice versa; it remains something I have yet to master.

Last week, there was an all school mass with first graders doing all the readings. Listening to first graders navigate the Old and New Testament and the Psalms, there were a lot of pregnant pauses where the laity was anticipating the next word with the same sort of anxiety I feel as my fingers search for the right white or black keys to strike.

Watching as people strained to understand the magnified voices of six year olds over the mike and silently willed the children to successfully get through their petitions or pieces, I had to think, first graders should always be given the readings. Never have I seen adults at such rapt attention. Nothing like a jolt of fear to make sure everyone is alert.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

of course the fact that they're adorable helps too!!

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