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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Training Wheels

Another thought on my cowardice in singing that funeral yesterday...

I did not learn to ride a bicycle, until I was, what 11? 12? can't remember, but somewhere really "up there." This is in contrast to everyone else in my large family, all of whom learned at 6 or 7, or eight at the latest, as is more usual.
Oh, I had reasons, I had excuses... but that's not the point.

I'm essentially a coward. I will take no risks, unless I am forced.

Everyone who has ever played a largish role on stage is aware that there is a point in the memorization process (the perpetual civilian question: HOW do you LEARN all those LINES?!??!??!?,) when the script actually hinders your progress. You must, as it were, take the training wheels off and risk falling, or rather, risk going up completely, or not only will you not know if you can do without, you actually can not do without the crutch of the written word.

There must be the moment of free-fall.
And I know it, but I am one of those actors who stays on book until the director expressly orders it out of my hand.

I realized looking at some music this morning that I will NEVER achieve any real skill at solfege, and never proper facility with square-note as long as, when push comes to shove and I'm on my own, and absolutely must sing, I can turn to my modern notation Liber.

Now, an actual liturgy is not the time to take those risks, so it's a good thing for me that my parish, in the bad-old-pre-VCII-days, before the joys of Glory and Praise were known, used modern notation, and in a forgotten drawer there awaits my little crutch.

But at home, I should put the modern notation Liber, (which I cadged for a fantastic price on eBay a few years ago,) on a high and nearly inaccessible shelf, or in a box in the attic, or under something and try to forget what.

4 comments:

Dad29 said...

Umnnnhhh.....

You could always CHEAT!

When the DO marker is on the top line (as is usual), read the Chant as though it were in the key of D Major, just like modern notation.

When the FA marker is on the 2nd line from the top (as is usual), read the Chant as though it were in the key of F Major, just like modern notation.

You're in trouble with the Gradual of Holy Thursday, which has a 'switch' in the middle...but for 95+++% of Chant, that method will get you through.

When you become familiar with the Chant melodies, it's easy to sight-transpose them down a step.

Scelata said...

Oh, I do.
Sometimes me cheating goes a step further, when I'm REALLY in a pinch for time, and draw in a fifth line to make the modern key signature easier to remember.

I wonder, is that something I should bring up in my next confession....

(Save the Liturgy, save the World)

lvschant said...

Now, I was so ignorant of what tools were out there when I began learning chant that I didn't know there was such a thing as a complete modern notation Liber... so I had to just learn it the hard way from the start. Now, I did use the same cheats and (mental) key signatures for a really long time, but always with the square note notation :) I'm finally getting to know the solfege notes on sight after all this time... old habits die hard...

I don't think it is material for confession, though :)

Dad29 said...

I don't think it is material for confession, though

Depends on what Order your priest belongs to...

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