Monday, February 18, 2008
It is a cold overcast Sunday afternoon here in Missouri. There is a pair of cardinals pecking at the feeder outside my window and the walls are vibrating from the sound of Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and dozens of musicians performing a tribute to George Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall that is blasting (or so it seems to me) from our television set.
This is one of my husband’s favorite videos and he occasionally will play parts of it. Today, I believe, he has decided to play the entire 2 ½ hour concert. I will admit that the program is beautifully done, filled with music legends and does a great job of entertaining the audience and paying tribute to George with eastern and western music. But frankly, the eastern part of the CD is not only rattling our windows it digs at my nerves and is as far removed from my liking as any music except rap can be. The western music has sections I will pop into the living room to watch while the rest I enjoy listening to from the distance of our computer room. Is it possible that my dear Frank, has chosen today and this particular music presentation to play as repayment to our neighbor for all of the bass thumping, woofer banging, floor vibrations his sound system has been adding to the enjoyment of our new house of late. No, never. Not my Frank. He is definitely not the get even type.
I do come from a musical family. Most have excellent voices, are great dancers, a few play some sort of instrument, and all enjoy listening to good music. Unfortunately for me and sadly (I’m sure) for Frank I am not one of them. I have been known to say it is all noise as far as I am concerned. Good noise, bad noise, horrible noise, even relaxing or soothing noise, but noise none the less. I am certain when God was handing out musical genes I must have misunderstood and gotten in the clothing line. I certainly don’t have even a hint of musical talent or appreciation.
In fact, in high school, two music credits were required to graduate and chorus was the only music class our school offered. About a month into the first semester I was asked to stay after class by Sister Thaddeus, the music teacher. She said my voice and lack of pitch was ruining her choir, and she could not let me continue. She offered me a deal. In exchange for showing up for class, doing the written work and lip syncing all the vocals, she would give me a B+ for the course each year.
I will admit to owning a sound system and many CD’s and tapes. I rarely play music, but choose songs with very clear lyrics or that fall into the mood music classification when I do. Mostly tunes from the 30’s, through the 60’s, and with a few modern county, soft rock or pop mixed in. I still have my 8 track player and a collection of Readers Digest Classics that serves me just fine. I only upgraded to a CD player, so I would be prepared to entertain, once I decided to start dating again after my first husband’s death. During my teen years there were only two records I purchased for myself. One was “Little White Dove” by Johnny Preston and the other was “Henry the 8th, I am” by Herman’s Hermits. I played Little White Dove repeatedly for hours every day until finally one of my brothers removed it from the record player and broke it over his knee, out of frustration. Henry the 8th disappeared one day never to be seen again. I assumed the same brother was the culprit hoping to prevent his having to withstand repeatedly listening to what he called trash music.
One of my brothers has a sound system in his home that would outshine anything found in the best concert halls. He is so particular about the quality of the sound of his music he has invested more in sound equipment then most folks would invest into a house and car combined. The decibel levels he prefers forced him to move to a very sparsely populated area to prevent complaints from the neighbors. Dave started his career as a DJ for a local radio station then started his own DJ and sound company so he could have more control over the quality of the sound he played for his customers. Now retired, he spends his days fiddling with his equipment in search of the perfect sound system. Frank and I were recently invited to his home for dinner so that Dave could show off his sound system to Frank. I am not lying when I say that during one recording by a symphony orchestra you could actually hear the musicians turning the pages of their sheet music. If Frank’s opinion matters then Dave’s system has surpassed the hearing ability of mere mortals and gives us a glimpse into what the heavenly orchestra must sound like.
Frank can’t wait for our next invitation to spend a evening with my brother’s unbelievable sound system. As for me, I just hope that Dave never learns that it is all just pleasant noise to me.