Life According to Piano

The Elephant in the Music

If I ever write it, my memoir will be called The Elephant in the Music.

Here’s why.

When I was a little girl taking piano lessons, for some reason the pedal sign 

Pedal sign

looked like an elephant to me.

Perhaps I first saw that pedal marking very soon after seeing the movie Dumbo. I was fixated on the baby elephant’s huge ears — and so I saw the huge “ears” on the pedal sign and naturally thought “elephant!”

Huge ears, long back, massive legs. Elephant.

That’s the story to which I shall be sticking, anyway.

I have no explanation at all for my willingness to overlook the missing trunk!

Seven-year-old me decided that the pedal sign was an elephant. There were elephants all over my music. I rather liked that.

I knew perfectly well that seeing an elephant in the music meant to depress the damper pedal. It never occurred to me to wonder — or ask — why an elephant was used for the pedal sign. Written music was so full of odd symbols, surely there was room for an elephant. (I still think that!) The same ancient anonymous folks who decreed

Studio musings, not particularly philosophical

Stream of consciousness, pretty much:

Hmm, I really like this new flute & piano piece for Nancy. It’s in Bb. I think she’ll like it too.

But, she said F major is her favorite key, and this is in Bb.

(Why do I even ask people what key is their favorite? I never write in the keys they like.)

Oh hey, I can compose a nice middle section in F major, that solves that! I like these new ideas, too. This is going to be wonderful.

But, the piece isn’t really in Bb major; it’s in Bb mixolydian. And the modulation to F just sounds forced.

This is weird, it’s really not working. I don’t like this.

(Why do I even ask people what key is their favorite? I never write in the keys they like! I should just shut up about it!!)

Oh hey, I can take this middle section, that I can’t find a good way to modulate to, and make it a second new piece for Nancy. Two movements! A suite! 

Hmm, I really like this new new flute & piano piece for Nancy. It’s in F; I think she’ll like that. 

I’ll let you know when Lauds & Evensong are complete. Did I mention that one is in F & the other is in Bb?

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