Monday, January 24, 2011

Zip-a-Dee Do Dah

John Denver had a song lyric that I like.
Music makes pictures
And often tells stories
All of it magic and all of it true. 
I had a lot of music in the house this weekend. I think the girls were a bit surprised because I'm not one to have a lot of background noise about. The TV isn't on just for the noise factor. The radio only comes on when I have to get up or I goof up on the alarm. I do have the game sounds on and there is music with the game, but it generally isn't loud enough to carry into other rooms. So, having music playing from the DvD player seemed to leave them a bit unsettled. But I felt like music.

On occasion, I would get an email thread from someone with the premise that you would score the movie of your life. What would the music be? The idea behind the email was you'd learn something about the person you sent the email too simply by asking what music they'd like to see behind the movie of their life.

I like jazz and not that smooth jazz that embraces Kenny G, Najee, or Spyro Gyra. I also listen to Scottish folk music as played by The Tannahill Weavers and Old Blind Dogs. I know pop music up through roughly the end of the 1980's and a bit into the early 1990's, but the current pop scene is foreign to me. I also like, for lack of a better description, "old" music, a lot of it Stephen Foster-ish and his ilk. Broadway show toons? Check. Andrew Lloyd Webber? Check. Theme songs from animated movies? Check. It adds up to a lot of material from which my brain has to choose.

Which leads to some of the weird songs I've had kicking around in my head lately. Someone took the term "earworm", which describes a type of worm that burrows into ears of corn, and applied it to that song that gets stuck in your head; you know, the one you can't get rid of. It's an apt appellation. Lately, songs stuck in my head have ranged from "A Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific to "Keeping the Faith" by Billy Joel to "Bra' Sailin'" by Old Blind Dogs to "Peel Me a Grape" by Diana Krall. That's quite the repertoire. I was thinking about the title to this post and suddenly, I heard Uncle Remus saying, "This is one of those 'zip-a-dee-do dah days, the kind where you can't open your mouth without a song zippin' right outta it." I don't know about my bursting into song, but my brain certainly did. And I could do a lot worse than hearing the upbeat
Zip-a-Dee Do Dah, Zip-a-Dee Ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day.
Plenty of sunshine heading my way.
Zip-a-Dee Do Dah, Zip-a-Dee Ay.
Never mind that it's overcast and warm enough to make the snow melt straight into fog. You have to be cold of heart not to hear that and feel warm.

My earworms are certainly situational. Overwhelmed, I can conjure up songs of abandonment. Jazz is really good for that. "But Not For Me" seems to be one of my brain's favorites. "Blue Moon" is a jaunty melody that comes up a lot. "Piano Man" turns up because I wrote a parody to it for World of Warcraft last year. Plus, I like the fact I know ALL the words, including the stanza from the long version of the song.

I guess because I have a son-in-law in the Navy, I've had the anthems, with words, to all the military branches. We had to learn those when I was in school. Show of hands. Who knows the words to "Roll on Columbia"? I do. How about "I Love to Go A'Wandering"? Some 25-odd years ago, I remember reading an article stating that so much music, which would be considered "folksy" was in danger of being lost because it's not taught in school. Well, that gets into the whole cutback issue and what are you going to cut first, music programs or football? Let's not get into that here.

In grade school, we had music 3 times a week. In middle school, you could have it daily; chorus 2 times and band 3 times a week. It was the same in high school unless you were in multiple choruses and the band. I had music 2 times a day 3 days a week. We sang more difficult pieces. I sang a piece by an Italian composer. My music director had to contact his alma mater for someone to come spend 2 hours after school with me so I could sing the piece in Italian. I have no memory of whether we knew what I was singing about. He just wanted me to perform it "properly". It certainly wasn't "Shenandoah".

"Music paints pictures and often tells stories." Music gives my life another dimension. I played Dizzy and the CD David gave me for Christmas (Miles Davis and John Coltrane) and some Benny Goodman and Ella. I'm missing a Tannies CD but "Four on the Floor" filled the house with Uileann pipes and Jonny Hardie's fiddle. Music makes doing laundry or dishes or cleaning kitty litter and finding tax information more than a little bearable.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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