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Poem: "Become Music Again" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Become Music Again"
This poem is spillover from the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siliconshaman and this image.  It also fills the "thrift shop" square in my 12-1-16 card for the iPod Shuffle Music Fest.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: technoshaman

FULLY FUNDED
280 lines, Buy It Now = $140
Amount donated = $57
Verses posted = 23 of 85

Amount remaining to fund fully = $83
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Warning: This poem is about as fluffy as Shiv ever gets.  His head is still a mess, but good things are happening to him.  Boss White helps a lot, but Shiv doesn't always know what to make of that.  Hanky warning, especially for musicians.


Become Music Again


After Shiv got out of prison,
Boss White made sure that he
didn't have too many chances
to get into more trouble.

Inside of a week, it drove him nuts.

He wasn't a secretary, dammit,
he was muscle. He was meant
to scare people and get into fights,
not push papers around a desk.

So when Boss White sent for him,
Shiv slunk into his office already
slouched in anticipation of getting
even more office work to do.

"Buck up, boy, I got something here
that I think you'll like," the boss said,
taking out a heavy black case. He
popped the latches with a clack.

Shiv leaned forward to see ...
bits of dim silvery metal.

It took a moment for him
to recognize the pieces of
a saxophone, its silver finish
dull with tarnish but the pearl
still bright on its buttons.

"I, uh, can't play that," he said.

"Can't rightly teach you how to play
without a horn, can I?" said Boss White.

"I suck at school," Shiv said, hunching
even further into himself like a turtle
trying to hide inside of its shell.

"Do I look like any teacher you
ever had?" his boss drawled.

Shiv looked at the tough old gangster
and admitted, "No, I guess not."

His fingers itched to touch the horn,
so he stuffed his hands into his pockets
to keep them out of mischief.

"Go on and touch it, boy,
it's yours," Boss White invited.

Tentatively Shiv reached out
and trailed his fingertips over
the smooth metal. It wasn't
sharp, but it was crisp and
bright inside his mind.

"It's pretty," he said.
"I don't deserve it, though."

"Did I ask you if you did?"
Boss White said. "Now, if you
really ain't interested, just say so
and I'll pass 'er along to someone else --"

Shiv's hands clutched reflexively at the case.

"That's what I thought," Boss White said
with a warm chuckle. "Just watch
while I put the pieces together."

His big brown hands cradled
the parts of the saxophone as he
slotted each one into the next.

"Now what?" Shiv said.

"Now I take it apart, so you can
put it back together," Boss White said,
suiting his actions to his words.

He talked Shiv through the assembly,
one piece at a time, until the horn
lay whole and heavy in his hands.

The metal was gray in most places,
almost black in others, shiny silver
where fingers had rubbed it often.
A few scratches and tiny dimples
marred the finish in some spots, but
Shiv didn't think they'd hurt the tone.

"Is it supposed to look like this?" he said.

"It needs a little lovin' care," Boss White said
as he brought out a cleaning kit plus cloths
and bottles of polish. "Take it apart, just like
I done before, so we can clean it up."

He showed Shiv how to dab paste on
the worst of the tarnish and buff it off,
while the lighter areas cleaned up
just from rubbing with a cloth.

The true color of silver emerged
under their efforts, like the moon
sliding out from behind a cloud.

Shiv grinned. "It's working!"

"Sure is," Boss White said.
"Give it one more go-over with
the buffing cloth, then assemble it,
all by yourself this time."

Shiv struggled to obey.
He was good with his hands
and he could learn from watching
a decent demonstration, but this
was still new and unfamiliar.

"Is this right?" he said anxiously,
running his fingers over the finish.

"Let's find out," Boss White said.
He pulled out his own saxophone.
"I started on an alto, like yours there,
and switched to tenor later. Alto is
easier to learn on, but small as you are,
you might try soprano later. Start like this."

He blew softly into his horn, which
made a low sweet note that raised
goosebumps up and down Shiv's arms.

Shiv tried to copy everything that
Boss White was doing, but the alto
honked and squeaked in his grasp.

"I stink at this," he said, slumping.

"Everybody does when they start,"
said Boss White. "When I was first
learnin' how to play, I stunk so bad
it drove my momma out to the park.
She wouldn't let me quit, though,
and I ain't lettin' you quit either."

"But I'm no good," Shiv said.
He wished he could do better,
but it was just hopeless.

"You'll get better as you practice,"
Boss White said. "You're so tense
most of the time, that ain't helpin'
you blow the right notes. Relax
your face more, and try again."

Shiv tried, mouthing around
the funny taste and sharp edge
of the reed, feeling with his lips
for a better grip on the mouthpiece.

When he blew, the horn farted
and stuttered, then for a moment
it made a piercingly sweet tone.

"Holy shit," he said. "I did it!"

"You sure did," Boss White said.
"I knew that you had it in you, yes I did.
As much as you've come through, Shiv,
you're a natural for playin' the blues,
and I know you like jazz too."

"Why would you go to the trouble,
just for me?" Shiv said softly.

"I saw that horn sittin' in a thrift store,
lonely as could be, and I thought of you,"
Boss White said. "I knew you'd need
somethin' to hold onto once you got out."

"People say I'm noisy enough
as it is, though," Shiv said. He'd
gotten smacked for it plenty of times.

"People are stupid," Boss White said
with a rude snort. Then he looked at
Shiv with a challenging glint in his eye.
"May all that has been reduced to noise
in you, become music again."

The words shivered through him,
making Shiv vibrate in his chair.

"I don't know where to start," he admitted.

"Start at the beginnin' and go on from there,"
Boss White said. "Learn to play one note at
a time, then run some scales." He showed
Shiv how to do it on the tenor sax.

This close to the music, the sound
of it rippled all along Shiv's skin,
penetrating and vivid.

He tried to follow along, but
it was difficult to hit even one note,
let alone string them in a scale.

It was also boring.

"I know that look," his boss said.
"You can be a lazy little cuss, so
how 'bout I give you a goal
worth workin' toward."

He played a song then, singing
between the riffs, about someone
called Mack the Knife, its lyrics
all bright steel and deadly edges.

Shiv leaned so far forward that he
almost fell off the front of his chair.

"I love it," he said. "I can't
play that, but I love it."

"Course you can't play it yet, you're
just startin' up," said Boss White.
"It's a good song for beginners,
though, so after you practice for
a while, then you can learn it."

"Play it again?" Shiv whispered.

Boss White played it again, and
it was like their lives spun out in song,
the violence and the beauty together,
just knowing that you could take something
awful and turn it into such amazing music.

That was enough to motivate Shiv
into squawking his way through the notes
until he managed to string them together
into a ragged, pathetic scale.

"Well done," Boss White said, and
the praise made Shiv feel warm inside
even if he didn't trust it since he'd
obviously done a rotten job.

"Uh huh," he said.

"You can practice in the board room,
any time there's not a meetin' there,"
said Boss White. "Aim for half an hour,
but if you can't make it that long at first,
don't beat yourself up about it."

Shiv took out his datebook
to pencil in some practice times,
but Boss White snapped his fingers
for it, and Shiv handed it over.

The boss jotted down music lessons
as well as practice times, then
passed it back to Shiv.

It felt strange and new inside
his head, almost stretchy, and
he wasn't sure what to do with it.

"Time to wrap up," said Boss White.

He showed Shiv how to clean the horn,
explaining each step in order as he
demonstrated on his tenor saxophone,
which was basically the same as
Shiv's alto, only a bit bigger.

Listening to the instructions, Shiv
followed along. He was getting
more familiar with the instrument.

"Did you ... do this on purpose?"
he wondered, smoothing his hands
over the pebbled black leather
of the saxophone case.

"Well, yes and no," Boss White said
as he got up and shooed Shiv to the door.
"I didn't go shoppin' around music stores
lookin' to buy you a sax. I did spend
a couple weeks thinkin' on how
to keep you out of trouble."

"Don't mean to make extra work
for you, boss," Shiv said, scuffing
his feet against the floor.

Boss White clucked his tongue.
"What do you think boss work is,
but puttin' trouble where it's wanted
instead of where it's not?" he said.
"Could've been anything caught my eye,
just happened to be that horn in a thrift store.
Pretty little thing, even a bit beat up like
it was, and it reminded me of you."

Shiv thought about the slim, beautiful shape
of the saxophone and how the tarnish had
come all off to show the shine underneath.

It reminded him of how Boss White had
treated him when Shiv first showed up
in Omaha, his body still so battered from
Boss Batir's sendoff that he could hardly move.

Lieutenant Brown had found Shiv and
brought him to see the boss, who had
taken one look at his mind and body
and sent for the gang's patcher.

Shiv hadn't liked that one bit, but
he had enjoyed the velvet touch of
Boss White's mind against his own,
the gentlest thing he'd ever felt, and
by the time he woke up in the flop room
at least he could move again.

It was Boss White who had taught him
how the wildness of his life could be
contained or freed at will, just like
closing and opening a knife.

All that, and now this; it sent
his thoughts tumbling around
in his head like clothes in a dryer.

Shiv didn't know what to say
about all that except, "Thank you,"
so he said that and brushed against
his boss on the way out the door.

He wasn't a hugger, but he knew
that contact boosted telepathy, and he
really wanted this to get through.

Boss White rubbed his big warm hand
up and down Shiv's back, just the once,
and ruffled the floppy mess of his hair.
The velvet caress of his mind nearly made
Shiv's knees buckle, but the boss caught him
and got him back on his own two feet.

"You're welcome," Boss White said.

As Shiv headed up to his room,
he thought that maybe learning
a few manners was worth it after all.

* * *

Notes:

Blues Moon has an office floor under the jazz club.  The basement contains the working part of the lair.  The largest office below the lunch room belongs to Boss White.  The one across from it is the guest room.  The big corner office in the upper right is the patch room.  They actually don't have an exercise room in their own lair; instead they have a group membership at a nearby gym.

Boss White has a big ebony executive desk and library bookcase, again reinforced with ballistic panels, alongside a small sitting area with black leather chairs and an ebony coffee table. What looks like a corner window is actually a bank of sixteen viewscreens, often tuned to display a city view.

In the board room, the table is gizmotronic, with viewscreens in front of every seat, and connections to the control screens at head and foot plus the big display screen at the end of the room. The walls are decorated with photographs of famous musicians.  The room has sound-absorbing panels, both for privacy and so it can be used for musical practice when meetings are not in session. Such panels come in tan but also many other colors.

The saxophone spans a family of instruments, generally classed as woodwind despite the brass body.  Most people learn on the alto, from which they may later switch to a higher soprano or lower tenorRead the steps or watch a video on saxophone maintenance, and start exploring how to play an alto saxophone.  A basic cleaning kit will take care of most instruments, but when it's been allowed to get this grungy, you are going to need more serious metal polish to clean it up.  When learning to play sax, it helps to watch video lessons.  Pick out some free sheet music here.

Shiv plays a Weltklang Alto Saxophone in shiny silver with pearl buttons.

Ideally, children and adults put a lot of thought into choosing which instrument they want to learn. In practice, the choice is often made for them by parents or a music teacher. With luck, those people use a test or careful observation to make a good guess which instrument will work well. It doesn't always pan out. Boss White has used observation, taking into consideration Shiv's size, his musical tastes, which instruments he pays the most attention to, what will best give voice to the music inside him, and the telepathic impressions. So for instance, Shiv is small and needs a modest-sized instrument; he loves jazz and blues, particularly the brass and woodwinds. Sax is actually a hybrid: a brass body, but the reed mouthpiece of a woodwind. But it's really the issue of voice that settles it: Shiv's whole life sounds like a saxophone wailing on a street corner. In the rain.

Some people can have skin orgasms from music.  This page describes more of the effect and includes videos of several songs known for inducing skin orgasms. The really interesting thing? When I decided to try it -- because I do get pleasurable shivers from music -- I could feel the shift as my skin listened for the music, and then responded when it turned on. Apparently the shift is perceptible, at least to me, when my brain cross-connects different areas that usually don't work together.

"Mack the Knife" (aka "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer") by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht is a jazz standard.  See a video of the sheet music.  Boss White's performance resembles this one by Louis Armstrong.

Practice is essential to build and develop any skill.  In order for this to work, you need to practice the right way: mindfully.  (An exception is skills you want to be automatic, like thinking in another language.  That takes subconscious practice, which is different.)  In practicing saxophone, it helps to establish a routine.  Follow the steps.  Shiv is lucky to have a teacher who knows him well enough to set up a decent plan for him to follow -- and who is dominant enough to make him stick with it long enough to realize that he has real potential here.

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34 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: technoshaman Date: December 18th, 2016 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmmmmmm.... purrrrr....
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 18th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
>> "Did I ask you if you did?"
Boss White said. "Now, if you
really ain't interested, just say so
and I'll pass 'er along to someone else --" <<

Heh heh heh. That one often works. You have to be genuinely honest about it; you have to be a bit patient; and you have to know your audience, because those who have a bit of a martyr complex would react differently than those who are merely defensive about wanting things; but...in the right circumstances, it often works. *shrugs* It can be hard to give and accept things; finding the right circumstances and the right offer matter, and so does making multiple low-key attempts. I like Boss White a lot for how he's trying to take care of Shiv on multiple levels, not just ones related to immediate function.

--alatefeline
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...


>> "Did I ask you if you did?"
Boss White said. "Now, if you
really ain't interested, just say so
and I'll pass 'er along to someone else --"


Heh heh heh. That one often works. <<

Boss White is used to Shiv deferring to him because he's the boss. Having authority greatly increases the chance of this technique working; having respect raises the chance of it being a positive experience. In this case the subtext is that Boss White does a lot of Shiv's emotional and mental work for him, which keeps the boy out of a fair bit of trouble he would otherwise get it in.

That this is immediately followed by an option to back out is what makes it an option, not an order. It's Boss White letting Shiv know that this is a guess, and if it doesn't work out, that's okay. Shiv's response isn't just greed; he actually trusts his boss about as much as he's capable of trusting anyone: in limited areas based on observed competence. If Boss White thinks Shiv can learn sax, then Shiv is willing to try, even if he's baffled and uneasy about it.

>> You have to be genuinely honest about it; you have to be a bit patient; and you have to know your audience, because those who have a bit of a martyr complex would react differently than those who are merely defensive about wanting things; <<

True. And it helps to understand that traits are just traits; it's the degree and the application which make them virtues or vices. Here, playing to Shiv's greed a little makes him commit to the offer of learning music.

>> but...in the right circumstances, it often works. <<

Yep.

>> *shrugs* It can be hard to give and accept things; finding the right circumstances and the right offer matter, and so does making multiple low-key attempts. <<

True. For Shiv, he has so many negative memories associated with that whole swath of life, he prefers to steal than to receive gifts because then it's entirely in his control and less likely to go wrong.

>> I like Boss White a lot for how he's trying to take care of Shiv on multiple levels, not just ones related to immediate function. <<

Sooth. Boss White takes pride in caring for his people. He also understands that happy, healthy employees perform better than miserable, messed-up ones. So even in a gang, he tries to find ways for people to fix up their lives a bit.
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: December 18th, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
After a fling with a flute that ended up a failure, my music teacher wanted to put me on violin. But I heard a cello demo and fell in love with it, so that's what I ended up with.

In hindsight, that doesn't surprise me at all. I have a history of being drawn to deeper voices -- alto/contralto over soprano, bass/baritone over tenor. I'm glad that my own voice runs deep for a woman (as in, under the right circumstances I can sing "Velvet Green" in the same octave). When listening to choral harmony, a resonant bass voice will always catch my ear. Here's a good example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_hlYgCNFZc
thnidu From: thnidu Date: December 18th, 2016 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah! I love "Riu Riu Chiu"! .
I grew up hearing this and have always loved it. My mom had this record.
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: December 18th, 2016 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is the version I've imprinted on. Notice that Waverly Consort uses a hard "ch" sound, the Monkees use a very soft one, and the one you linked is in between the two. I find that fascinating.

Also, I've always suspected a connection between "chiu" here and the Darkovan "chiyu", which is derived IIRC from Portuguese.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: December 19th, 2016 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)
«the Darkovan "chiyu"»

Been a lo-ong time since I read any of the Darkover tales. What does that refer to, please?

Apparently the song's title represents the cry of the kingfisher.
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: December 19th, 2016 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a term of endearment for a young boy. The female equivalent is "chiya". ISTR that there's more to it than that, but it's been a long time since I read any of the books too. However, I believe that the "y" moves it into the intimate case; I do recall the declension bredu / bredhu / bredhyu as meaning neutral, family, intimate respectively.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 19th, 2016 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

And the wars started over said declensions. I love Darkover, but wow, that place is batshit crazy.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> After a fling with a flute that ended up a failure, my music teacher wanted to put me on violin. But I heard a cello demo and fell in love with it, so that's what I ended up with. <<

I'm glad you found something that worked!

For me, nothing was going to work right because I have nearly no musical aptitude in this life. But if I'd gotten to try instruments I liked instead of merely tolerated, it would've been less a chore. I was quite charmed by piccolo, which a gradeschool music teacher played, and which I could get notes out of; but people were only allowed to learn flute first and piccolo later, and I couldn't hold up a flute. I tried, at various times, piano and clarinet and snare drum, none of them a very good fit. It was after all of that I discovered harp and hammered dulcimer. If I could've learned on those, at least I would have had some personal inclination to practice.

There's a bit on this in the footnotes about choosing an instrument: it must produce a sound the student really likes. If they're "meh" on the music, they're not going to put their back into learning it.

>> In hindsight, that doesn't surprise me at all. I have a history of being drawn to deeper voices -- alto/contralto over soprano, bass/baritone over tenor. <<

I like a wide range, but there is something awesome about a good deep voice.

>> I'm glad that my own voice runs deep for a woman (as in, under the right circumstances I can sing "Velvet Green" in the same octave). When listening to choral harmony, a resonant bass voice will always catch my ear. Here's a good example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_hlYgCNFZc <<

Cool!
From: technoshaman Date: December 31st, 2016 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yes, I love a good bass voice (I can do a decent bass on a good day), and <3 <3 <3 <3 CELLO!!!

This is some of the best bass-as-lead I've heard... Home Free borrowed Pentatonix' Avi Kaplan and fell into a burnin' Ring of Fire...

Hmmmmmmm. what kind of cello do you like? Classical? Jazz? as a rock instrument? New-agey?
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: December 31st, 2016 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Johnny Cash is extremely iffy for me, and that's not one of the ones I like, and that version is, unfortunately, really not appealing. Sorry!

Then I went on to check out that group's version of "All About That Bass" because it was on the sidebar, and... well, I've now found another song that comes off very differently when you change the gender of the lead singer. The original version is basically a woman giving a big FU to body-shaming. Make it a man singing to a woman, and it sounds much more like "REAL women have CURVES" -- very male-gazey, which IMO is undermining the original point of the song.

Right now my favorite men's-chorus piece is "Misty Mountains Cold".

As to cello, I haven't yet heard a way to play it wrong. The first time I heard the theme for "Game of Thrones", I immediately got the soundtrack album. I like Piano Guys, and those women with the hard-rock cellos, and pretty much any cello concerto that doesn't spend all its time way up the fingerboard. Oh, and this.
From: technoshaman Date: December 31st, 2016 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, sorry! Dif'rent strokes. Let's try something completely different. Pentatonix ft. Lindsey Stirling - Radioactive. PTX's beatboxer is also a cellist, which works as an awesome foil for Lindsey's Luis and Clark carbon fibre violin...

which violin I recognized because I have been up close and personal with (and have occasionally schlepped) its custom 5-string, long-end-pin big brother Raven the Cello... which belongs to stealthcello, MKA Betsy Tinney.

Lessee. Valentina's Dance, in which Betsy recreates the mournful plight - and subsequent sheer joy - of a whale trapped in a fishing net, cut loose by amateur divers.

Chickies in the House - Betsy and bandmates SJ Tucker and Alexander James Adams cut loose on a trio of traditional fiddle tunes.

Traditional eight-bar blues: Eight-legged Blues ft. "spooky cello shit" (it's a technical term). Put DOWN the beverage, and no cheating flipping over to the lyrics. :D

And last but not least, the first song ever written specifically for Betsy+Raven to have a solo: We Can Be Anything, a love song for a costumer. Frankly about as far from the male gaze as can be got.

Hmmm. It occurs to me that I was at the debut for all four songs... what, me, big fan? Ummm, yeah. :D

*samples the YoYo Ma* Okay. He's doing "Star of the County Down" like a dirge... but the rest of what I sampled? Yeah, he can hang. :D

Edited at 2016-12-31 06:46 am (UTC)
thnidu From: thnidu Date: December 18th, 2016 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't help translating the title into Esperanto as a single word, Remuzikiĝu. Then lo and behold, as I followed starcat_jewel's link and was delighted, I also came across this.

In the picture linked for Blues Moon, what are we supposed to be noticing? The (closed?) store with the big white placard? The place with the multicolored signs?


Edited at 2016-12-18 10:43 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2016 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> I couldn't help translating the title into Esperanto as a single word, Remuzikiĝu. <<

:D I don't think Shiv has encountered Esperanto, but it's quietly popular among the soup community. More than a handful of my characters know it. Dr. G does.

>> Then lo and behold, as I followed starcat_jewel's link and was delighted, I also came across this. <<

Cute.

>> In the picture linked for Blues Moon, what are we supposed to be noticing? The (closed?) store with the big white placard? The place with the multicolored signs? <<

Blues Moon is the one in the middle. Consider this picture to be from when Boss White acquired the place. The gang also owns the shorter adjacent building, which they use for storage. The lair itself is two floors of apartments above a jazz club, with the "business" floor hidden in the basement.
From: technoshaman Date: January 1st, 2017 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Right then. To end 2016 on a positive note... blow, Shiv. Blow de horn.

(Finishing donation incoming.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 1st, 2017 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

*honk* *squeeeeealll* *squak*

He kind of hates you right now. ;) It takes a few days, or weeks, to get nice notes consistently.

But the poem is all up now.
From: technoshaman Date: January 1st, 2017 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Yaaay!

He'll get there.

Boss knows what he's doing.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 1st, 2017 07:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

>>Yaaay! <<

\o/

>> He'll get there. <<

Yes, he will. Shiv has a decent ear for music, good dexterity, plenty of familiarity with jazz and blues ... and a lot of heartache to put into soulful music.

>> Boss knows what he's doing. <<

Ayup, that he does. :D It's not an accident that the higher ranked gang members all play some instrument. Boss White looks for that as a sign of discipline and depth.
curiosity From: curiosity Date: January 1st, 2017 06:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I can see Shiv using his powers to make instruments some day.

Are 'skin orgasms' the same thing as ASMR?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_sensory_meridian_response
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 1st, 2017 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

>> I can see Shiv using his powers to make instruments some day. <<

Maybe? It would be very difficult to make something as complex as a saxophone, and challenging even for a tinwhistle. But he could probably make excellent solid or hollow chimes.

>> Are 'skin orgasms' the same thing as ASMR? <<

Not quite -- they are listed separately -- but they seem to be a related phenomenon. I have more links about both in "The Sharpest Dose of Reality" where I'm triangulating orgasm-like experiences in comparison to powergasm.
johnpalmer From: johnpalmer Date: January 5th, 2017 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Maybe...

Maybe the day he picks up the sax, wanting, or needing to play, he'll notice once he puts it down that all the little pits and dents have smoothed out and the tone improved - maybe not "sax perfect" but Shiv-perfect.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 1st, 2017 07:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. Oh.

Boss White...when he Spoke...

>> "May all that has been reduced to noise
in you, become music again." <<

Wow. That rang through me also.

Also, >> What do you think boss work is,
but puttin' trouble where it's wanted
instead of where it's not?" <<

is another great line.

I'm starting to REALLY like Boss White.

And Shiv - actually saying thank you and giving a gentle touch, playing his instrument and working towards his goal - so beautiful. So glad to see him where he is now, and going forward as he is going, because growth is life.

I needed this. Thanks. --alatefeline
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 1st, 2017 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> Oh. Oh.

Boss White...when he Spoke...

"May all that has been reduced to noise
in you, become music again."


Wow. That rang through me also. <<

:D Wow! He is a telepath. I didn't realize it would echo all the way through to another dimension! But that is plausible. (It's hard for me to tell, because I have a close connection with Terramagne. But it's not the first time other folks have gotten pickup from my settings.)

>> Also, >> What do you think boss work is,
but puttin' trouble where it's wanted
instead of where it's not?" <<

is another great line. <<

Yay! I'm glad that works for you.

>> I'm starting to REALLY like Boss White. <<

\o/ He's one of the good bosses. He's more about managing trouble than making it from scratch.

>> And Shiv - actually saying thank you and giving a gentle touch, playing his instrument and working towards his goal - so beautiful. <<

One thing about Shiv: when he says "thank you," he means it. He doesn't say it by rote. A drawback of ubiquitous etiquette is that it obscures things like this. People say "thank you" for passing the peas or saving the day. Hardly the same thing.

>>So glad to see him where he is now, and going forward as he is going, because growth is life.<<

Yay! Shiv has a lot of forward momentum, even if he doesn't always realize it.

>> I needed this. Thanks. --alatefeline<<

*bow, flourish* Happy to be of service.
From: daisiesrockalot Date: January 2nd, 2017 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Agreed, with Boss White speaking there. I'll sometimes pick up a bit from the character, but that? That best way I can describe it was that it /echoed/.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 2nd, 2017 10:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

*happydance* I'm glad you found this so moving.
cflute From: cflute Date: January 1st, 2017 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)

come wail away

*SQUISH* Boss White. A well-played saxophone is indeed a thing of beauty!

Btw, I'm listening to Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 as I type this...

Two years of piano lessons came in *very* handy when I decided to take up flute, and that's still the woodwind that I'm most comfortable with - at least, when neither hand is in a cast* and I can "go where the music is" and improvise at will. I choose to use the lowest octave of the concert flute the most, and some of the middle octave, and avoid the shrill, screechy topmost notes. Like many other commenters I prefer deeper-voiced instruments; this is why I have a bass flute. I remember, when I went to pick mine up after it had been in the "flute hospital", and played it for a few minutes so that the tech could be sure that *I* was satisfied with how it played, he remarked to the friend I'd brought with me, "She plays that like a solo instrument." Well, yes, actually, I do, and proudly so!

For any instrument, it's crucial to get the best quality that you can possibly afford; a reconditioned, high-quality used instrument will beat a "student model" hands down, just about every time. One reason that many would-be music students get frustrated and quit after just a few lessons, or months, is the limitations imposed by the particular instrument they are (stuck with) learning on. I'm glad that Boss White chose a good one for Shiv!

The next thing to consider re sax specifically, is reeds. Nothing was mentioned about soaking the reed in water for a couple of minutes, or putting it under one's tongue, to soften it up, but most experienced players will do that, because it makes it easier to get it to vibrate against the mouthpiece. A new student like Shiv will do better with a softer reed, whereas an experienced player like Boss White will favor a firmer one because it gives better tone control across the entire range of notes.

Thanks for the links to the video lesson and free sheet music! Awesome bard is awesome (again)!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 1st, 2017 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: come wail away

>> *SQUISH* Boss White. A well-played saxophone is indeed a thing of beauty! <<

:D

>> Btw, I'm listening to Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 as I type this...<<

Pretty.

>>Two years of piano lessons came in *very* handy when I decided to take up flute<<

Piano is good for learning any other instrument, because of how well it teaches music theory.

>>For any instrument, it's crucial to get the best quality that you can possibly afford; <<

This is debatable. Cons of that approach: you spend way more money than you need to at first, and sometimes an expert tool is more than a novice can handle. My preferred method is to buy a tool that is a notch or two beyond the current skill level.

>> a reconditioned, high-quality used instrument will beat a "student model" hands down, just about every time.<<

This is often true.

>> One reason that many would-be music students get frustrated and quit after just a few lessons, or months, is the limitations imposed by the particular instrument they are (stuck with) learning on.<<

You're not going to learn anything on a cheap, crappy instrument. A few instruments are easy to get decent quality cheaply -- tinwhistle, recorder, and ocarina for example. But for most, you need to look for things that are affordable without being shoddy. That means comparing several models and examining the specific differences among them. Are you paying more for materials that will make better sound quality? Or just stuff that makes it prettier or more convenient?

>> I'm glad that Boss White chose a good one for Shiv!<<

Sooth. He knows how to look beneath the surface.

>>The next thing to consider re sax specifically, is reeds. Nothing was mentioned about soaking the reed in water for a couple of minutes, or putting it under one's tongue, to soften it up, but most experienced players will do that, because it makes it easier to get it to vibrate against the mouthpiece. A new student like Shiv will do better with a softer reed, whereas an experienced player like Boss White will favor a firmer one because it gives better tone control across the entire range of notes.<<

Nobody ever mentioned this to me when I was trying to play clarinet, another reed instrument. But it makes excellent sense. The thing played better after it got wetter.

I imagine this will come up after Shiv slits his lip on the reed and then realizes that this is fun for about three seconds. They're less hazardous when wet, too.

>> Thanks for the links to the video lesson and free sheet music! Awesome bard is awesome (again)! <<

*bow, flourish* Happy to be of service.
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: January 1st, 2017 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I've gotten the "skin shiver" reaction on many occasions while listening to the English dance band Bare Necessities -- generally at the point where the viola takes the melody (see again, preference for deeper voices). Here are a couple of examples:

Their eponymous tune, Bare Necessities, being played as background for a re-enactment dance. The viola lead comes in at about 2:45.

Studio cut of Irish Lamentation; the viola lead starts at about 2:25. This one very nearly caused me to lose my place in the dance one time because it riveted my attention so hard!

(The viola player, Earl Gaddis, is a really sweet guy too. And their flute player, Peter Barnes, occasionally shows up in drag as "Petronella".)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 1st, 2017 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

I get it a lot from certain instruments, which are among my favorites -- bagpipes, harp, and hammered dulcimer -- but a good orchestra can often do it too. The "soaring" sound popular in sci-fi tracks is another one of mine, like for Star Wars or Star Trek.
tigerbright From: tigerbright Date: January 1st, 2017 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do love how somehow prickly Shiv attracts people who know how to care for him.

I've played flute since fourth grade, at an average level, and hadn't played in quite a while. A friend of adopted-family mentioned that her daughter's flute had been stolen, and said daughter is at a much higher level than me, so I thought I'd send her mine. But then I played it and said, "no, I can't!"

Saxophone has the same fingerings as flute, and I've played soprano sax with surprising (to me) ease. I wish I could deal with playing a not-in-C instrument, though, as I like the sound of the E-flat alto much better.

Edited at 2017-01-01 04:02 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 2nd, 2017 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> I do love how somehow prickly Shiv attracts people who know how to care for him. <<

:D He is now. For a long time, he had shitty luck with people, but it is getting better.

>> I've played flute since fourth grade, at an average level, and hadn't played in quite a while. A friend of adopted-family mentioned that her daughter's flute had been stolen, and said daughter is at a much higher level than me, so I thought I'd send her mine. But then I played it and said, "no, I can't!" <<

Yikes.

>> Saxophone has the same fingerings as flute, and I've played soprano sax with surprising (to me) ease. I wish I could deal with playing a not-in-C instrument, though, as I like the sound of the E-flat alto much better. <<

Fascinating!
johnpalmer From: johnpalmer Date: January 5th, 2017 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a funny Mack The Knife story.

I couldn't quite make out the words - partly because I didn't parse "Macheath" as a name! - so I found a cover by a singer I knew had a clean, clear voice.

The choice? The person I picked, so I could learn the words? Ella Fitzgerald.

(Those of you who don't know - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald - the first paragraph sums it up.)

But that's NOT the worst part. Nooo, that would have been unhappy, but bearable. DURING THE SONG, where I'm frustrated, and, yeah, a little angry, though recognizing I can't blame anyone but me, but DURING THE SONG...

...one of the lines was:
"and Ella, Ella... and her fellas...
"Are making a wreck... a wreck of Mack the Knife!"
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