Nov 9, 2010

Classical Music And Me

So I don't like listening to any of that punk metal whatever silliness that's loud and obnoxious and makes me sad. I much prefer classical music. I primarily enjoy music that I've played in the local youth orchestra, because I know it better; my favorites include the overture to La Forza del Destino, the overture to L'Italiana in Algeri, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony K551, and the finale of Beethoven's 5th symphony (NOT the first movement that you probably know).

Being a cellist, I of course sing along to the cello part. (For the high parts, I either take it down an octave or two, or destroy my voice and hope not to upset my family too heavily.) However, being a man, I also percuss. I've become something of an expert of finding interesting ways to find different noises when I need to express variety. I'll often drum with two fingers per hand on the table, occasionally using one hand to hit the keyboard, my lap, a book, a DVD, the mousepad, or whatever else I have at my disposal to get the desired sound. I will also often snap in an isolated rest at the end of a passage to call attention to the silence. (Paradoxical, perhaps, but it's not like I'm trying to impress anyone.)

As for syllables, I usually go "badada bum bum bum badada bum" etc.; these noises are the easiest, I find to pull out quickly. For slower passages, I like to use a "yadada" to express a crescendo at the beginning of a nice note. Perhaps most importantly, I find that quick runs are most efficiently done through "dadliddliddliddle"s.

And the kicker is that this is not simply a vocal and manual exercise. This is a fully body workout. I fistpump wildly for most accented notes. And not some sissy-ass fistpumping. Imagine throwing a baseball, but with a closed first, and your arm crosses over in a roughly circular path to your chest, and in a really triumphant manner. That's what I do. For repeated accents, I will either only bring my fist halfway down so that I can repeat, or use both hands and lurch forward in my chair as I go so that it's sort of like beating up someone a foot in front of me. Similarly, for great releases of tension, I will shove both fists behind me at a 135-degree angle (3pi/4rad, anyone?) and shove my chest forward, in sort of a triumphant-warrior-emerging-from-the-fray style.

So as you can imagine, I tend to emerge from this panting a little, because it is actually more physically taxing than you would think. (I can't recommend enough to any aspiring classical-pumpers (a term coined in the last several seconds); in particular, the ending is excellent.) This also makes everything take FOREVER, because I spend the majority of my time either thrashing about, drumming on things, or singing rather than thinking about what I'm typing. I spent a VERY long time on this article not because it was particularly difficult to write about, but because I listened to a whopping three pieces over the course of this writing (and not three short ones, mind you). I suppose that's the price you pay for quality music.


  1. Dear Greg,

    Why didn't you include a video? I don't want to read about you saying baddaddadd.

  2. Well I'm partial to Russian composers, especially Stravinsky and the ol' Pyotr. Rossini makes some nice "percussing" music though.

  3. I would like to see you do this sometime. But we probably shouldn't ever listen to music together either. :(