Moments of Melancholia

Marzi at Introvert Doodles posted a list of things that made her feel melancholy. She further clarified “I think of melancholy as an inexplicable sadness, sometimes tinged by a bittersweet nostalgia”

She asked “Are any of these relatable or am I just weird?”

For me, they’re relatable in that we all have a list – just not necessarily Marzi’s list.

So what’s on my list?

Watching life from afar. Marzi called this “being up high and watching people scurry below” but I think it’s the same thing. It’s when you’re up high in a building or when you’re on a plane and suddenly the world is made up of Matchbox cars and the traffic moves like a surreal clockwork.

Related to this, SonderSonder is the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. If I pondered this every time I passed someone in the street I might go mad, but when I do have time to take this in, the extraordinary wonder brings melancholy.  [Which, in turn, makes me wonder if ‘sonder’ is pronounced ‘sunder’]

Old photographs and photograph albums. I’m not good with change, and photographs prove life is change. For better or worse.

Music. Not all music, but it is difficult to be specific. Some music arcs you back to a different time, some music reminds you of who you were, some music reminds you of someone you loved. Marzi got specific and made a good choice.

 

Things that are broken.

Spring cleaning. This in itself can be invigorating, but sometimes it involves letting things go.

Like Marzi’s ‘geese flying in formation’ , similarly – a murmuration of starlings.

Cacoons. Melancholia in a place where I am safe from the world, particularly during wild weather despite being ever thankful for the roof over my head.

Sunrise and/or sunset can be wonderful. It can be thoughtful, it can bring melancholy.

 

So I ask, are these relatable or am I just weird?

What’s on your list?

 

Advertisements

Desert Island Disc

Music is food for the soul.

To reveal a list of music that is meaningful to me is like opening up my heart and giving you permission to poke around.

It’s personal. It’s subjective. It’s fluid – it ebbs and flows. My go-to song today won’t be the same tomorrow or a year from now.

Because of all this, this post idea has been in drafts for over a year. I urge you to go visit my friend and fellow blogger, Sinéad who shared some of her own musical loves and inspired me to finally finish this post. Also, her music is much, much cooler.

This though, is me:

I used to listen to Australia’s version of the BBC’s Desert Island Disc and wondered about the music I’d choose if I were on the programme.

Of course, this strange mix of music is but the tip of the metronome (which makes no literal sense, but I’m keeping it).


This is a song that reminds me of my childhood – it reminds me of my parents and dancing around the house. There are many songs I could choose here, but I thought I’d opt for an Australian band. I rarely listen to it now because I guess it’s my love of their music.

This reminds me of my brother. We didn’t have much classical music in our house and it was my brother who discovered it for himself and introduced it to me. It is something we still share despite our differing tastes. It was also a family joke. My mum used to say that he loved a dirge. This music never ceases to stop me in my tracks. It also always reminds me of Warner Bros cartoon – ‘Kill the Wabbit!’.

This is a nod to my husband. He is too modest to admit he is a talented guitarist but I remember admiring him when he played this in music class aged 16, long before we were a couple. This song was the beginning of a whole heap of music he would introduce me to.

Some of my favourite music belongs to film. I don’t necessarily mean iconic film scores like Star Wars or Lawrence of Arabia, often I find beauty in the incidental. Music that merges into the power of a scene so seamlessly it is almost unheard.

This, by Thomas Newman, is a great score which perfectly encapsulates the quirky mood of this film.  There are probably better examples from this score, but it’s also a great excuse to screen these mesmerising end credits.

I love my fair share of traditional music (in this case Scottish), this is a particular favourite with its awesome rhythm.

I love it when relatively modern music arcs back to older music.

I love music that is somewhere between heartbreak and healing…

That might do for now. Too many to choose.

Let me know what you think. Leave a comment, or create your own post – tell me your music.

Begin Again

Writing is a series of footsteps.

Placing one word after another until you reach your destination.

Once

Upon

A

Time…

 

A piece of music is medicine.

You only have to take one note at a time for as long as it takes to get better.

20170120_125605a.jpg

Excerpt courtesy of Chopin.

 

A picture is a thousand brush strokes. A thousand dabs of paint. A thousand colours.

But it begins with only one.

 

One word. One note. One colour.

Repeat. Don’t stop.

Begin again.

 

 

Classical Note

I love music, but I’m not particularly musical.

I can play the piano but I’m somewhat restricted by my repertoire. I have zero gift for improvisation and I’m unable to play sheet music at first sight unless the tempo is glaciale (yes, I made that up) – and even then, I can make no promises. My preferred audience is my cat, but unfortunately he hates me playing and will either meow at me, make a point of leaving the room, adjust his sleep position to ensure he’s on his ears or jump up onto the keys/hands/lap/anything-that-might-make-me-stop. My personal favourite is when he plonks himself on the low notes and just stares at me.

I’m also pitch imperfect which, on a positive note, allows me to play my old and un-tuneable piano. Miraculously, my husband who’s has perfect pitch has not yet divorced me.

I love music though and I rarely do anything at home without a soundtrack.

Although musically inept, I’m ridiculously pedantic about certain musical etiquettes. This IS entirely MY problem but I wish to enlighten anyone willing to listen so we can share the same, inane first-world-problem. And then we can be frustrated together – yay!

Rhythmic displacement – otherwise known as clapping on the wrong beat. Its disjointed effect and its seamless correction is shown in the clip below by the skillz of Harry Connick Jr.

Also, I have an issue with applause.

I promise, I’m not anti-clapping per se.  How can clapping even be wrong?

Well, since I asked myself on your behalf – it can be wrong at classical music concerts.  I struggle when people clap between musical movements. Which is, essentially, before a piece has finished.

The last concert I attended accentuated this issue – The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs by Henryk Górecki.

If you are unfamiliar with this work, it is as it sounds – profoundly slow, expressive and mournful – the words taken from the walls of a Gestapo prison. The first time I heard it in my teens, it froze me in my tracks. It is exquisitely beautiful and emotive.

The silence is part of it. More than any other piece, it deserves the silence.

*Awkward silence*

So, any thing small but musically significant frustrate you? I will not accept answers which include folk who are, allegedly, musicians.

Meanwhile, I’ll be on a musical bridge getting over it.

Forty Reasons to be Cheerful

 

  1. Love
  2. Friends
  3. Family
  4. Books
  5. Music
  6. Freedom
  7. Contentment
  8. Snow
  9. Sunshine
  10. Leaves
  11. Kindness
  12. Cuteness
  13. Art
  14. Creativity
  15. Writing
  16. Smiles
  17. Laughter
  18. Pillows
  19. Silly Socks
  20. Respect
  21. Writing with your favourite pen
  22. Experience
  23. Sharing
  24. Discovery
  25. Pets
  26. Colour
  27. Eccentricity
  28. Giving
  29. Letters
  30. Sonder
  31. Connections
  32. Compassion
  33. Lighthouses
  34. Rivers
  35. Moonlight
  36. Sanctuary
  37. Hugs
  38. Wood-fires
  39. Cosy
  40. Gratitude

Post inspired by Graeme Koehne, and his fanfare, ‘Forty Reasons to be Cheerful’.

NB: There are more than forty reasons.

Collecting Memories

004 Aus music book

The Australian Music Books series. Circa 1900

Sounds like the name of a novel doesn’t it? No wait – I should have gone with The Memory Collector. That’s the name of a novel. And if it isn’t, I might copyright it or something – right now – STOP! It’s my title, you can’t have it.

But this post isn’t about books I haven’t written.

Christmas has faded into a happy memory. Over the holidays I was gifted ‘Stardust (by Neil Gaiman) but as soon as I read the blurb I realised I already owned the DVD adaptation. I already loved this book.

But this post isn’t about how slowly I make connections, either.

001 Music stackWith Christmas comes the clean up. Not from Christmas festivities (although, that too) but from the year-long accumulation of stuff in my loft. I always intended to convert the loft into a studio for my writing and arty-crafty faffing about and while I am inhibited by the climate up there – sauna in summer and freezer in winter – it forever remains a depot for random stuff I can’t give up but have nowhere else to place.  Cards, letters, old school memorabilia, old craft projects and school projects can all be found here. I’ve saved boxes for wrapping presents in. I’ve got artwork I can’t find a place to hang. Also up there are a significant amount of  flea market finds I struggle to slot into my home.

This is a difficult thing to explain to the anti-hoarder/my husband.

006 Etude Music mag 1913

Also amongst the sheet music, ‘The Etude’ music magazine. Now 101 years old.

From a market a few years ago I bought a whole box of piano sheet music. I broke my arms getting the collection back to my car but it was wholly compensated by the buzz of joy deep in my chest. The lady who sold it to me asked if I would play it. She’d grinned at my enthusiasm and said, “I’m glad it’s going to a good home”.

I sat on the floor and sorted through it.  While I knew it was a box of music, it was such a delight regrouping the sets, removing the lonely pages and discovering the old music coverpages. I planned to reuse the incomplete music as unconventional wrapping paper. I managed that once – it took me so long to decide which piece to sacrifice I haven’t tried since. I’ve attempted to play some of it, of course, but mostly it’s remained upstairs with its makeshift dividing markers.

Montage of sheet music

Some of the more interesting coverpages. All published in 1926/7.

The owner had written her name on some of the music in fine calligraphy. I surmise she’d inherited the older music which dates from the 1900s but she’d added her own musical tastes to the pile all the way up to the 1960s and undoubtedly played it. It was well thumbed and dog-eared and yellowing. They were all out of order because she probably kept them long after she stopped playing . She probably kept them even when piano-less. A lifetime of music.

I love things relating to pianos, and cover-art of this era. On this basis you could argue I collect music. Maybe I do, maybe I have. But this isn’t just a box of music, it’s also a box of memories – is it so strange that they’re not my own?