I think I’ll step away from divination for a few days. Just because there are so many methods of auguring and I’m feeling restless. A world of symbols beckons! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m referring to auguring or reading signs as part of my symbol series. I’ve covered many different symbols from body language to tarot. Do scroll back and enjoy.
I’ve been singing a lot lately. Humming, chanting, outright singing, you name it, I’m vocalizing. (perhaps the polar vortex and snow are making me batty!) Today with music on my mind, I’m talking about notes.
“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”
Many kids growing up in 1950s-60s America had piano lessons as part of our lives. So were the Lawrence Welk and Sing Along with Mitch TV shows. Nothing interfered with those programs coming into our house. My dad enjoyed them and so did I. I don’t need to follow that bouncing ball when the Blue Skirt Waltz or Battle Hymn of the Republic comes to mind. lol
My sister played piano with skill, she still does. I had my favorites and I’d ask her to play them –Favorite Things from The Sound of Music, or the theme song from the movie Exodus. My two sisters together could play Heart and Soul. While they got into it, piano just wasn’t the instrument for me. The very pinnacle of my career as a pianist was being able to play Down in the Valley. I kept losing my place on the sheet music and my left hand took issue with harmoniously working with the right. I tried because it was expected, but I never really wanted to play the piano. I wanted to play the fiddle!
If anything is a symbolic representation of emotion, it’s musical notation. The earliest form of musical notation was found on a cuneiform tablet in Iraq dating from about 2000 BCE. It showed a basic 8-note instruction for playing a tune on the lyre. The ancient Greeks went further; their notation added pitch and duration. Several complete compositions from that time show symbols above text. The first sheet music. A different notation shows up in the Arab world in the mid-1200′s as geometric representation on a graph. It took the monks of 8th century Europe to devise the ancestor of the familiar musical notation we know today. By the 16th century, the common 5-line staff was in play. The concept blossomed in France, and spread from there. That’s the history of musical notation in a nutshell.
But it doesn’t stop there. From my background in living history, I know a little bit more that takes these music symbols to a whole new level. In the United States of 1801, a new form of musical notation developed to teach music reading for singing at a glance. It was called Shape Note, and under that umbrella, another form called Sacred Harp.
This method replaced the standard notes with these distinct shapes. Each shape corresponded to the Do Re Mi of pitch. The song was first sung through using the Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do instead of the lyrics to set the tune. After, it was sung again with lyrics. People who do this professionally say sight reading the music comes instantly for nearly everyone who tries it. I can’t possibly explain it better than this:
Learn more here: http://fasola.org/
I’ve recently discovered a group that regularly meets to sing Shape Note style. My husband is game so we’re going to try it. We often sing together — a tenor and an alto tenor. There’s a gathering tomorrow night and it’s a long drive to get there, but Chicago‘s lax response to the mountains of snow makes it impossible to park anywhere in the city. Next month we’ll give it a try. Hopefully winter will be on it’s way out by then. I sure hope so.
Here’s one for today:
Alabandical (adjective common 1656-1775)
barbarous; stupefied from drink
Over on the Exquisite Quills blog it’s a day dedicated to clothing. In 300 words or less taken from the pages of their novel, authors can describe what a character is wearing. Come join us today!
Today is Author R. Ann Siracusa’s blog day..
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