Thursday, October 27, 2005

Reading and Writing - Words and Music

As you can see, dear readers, I have been making an effort to post more frequently, due to the abnormally large amount of people who have been visiting my site! The counter has been up for less than ten days, and already more than a hundred people have stopped for a look.

Of course, with more quantity comes the threat of a lack of quality. When I post every now and then, it is usually because something extraordinary has happened, and I naturally put all of my writing skills to good use in order to transcribe the experience accurately. When I'm updating with the extraordinary (albeit to a lesser extent) somethings of every-day life, naturally I should spruce up the language a bit to keep you all interested, and to give my writing skills a good work out for the literary equivalent of a triathalon that is National Novel Writing Month. With three papers due in November, I have my doubts as to whether or not I will be able to reach the 50 000 words, but I at least want to try. I can be fairly wordy at times, so reaching the limit shouldn't be as difficult as it might be for some, but whether my ramblings will make any sense is anyone's guess.

I did rather terribly on my Classics Midterm, but the professor was very merciful in tolerating my bad spelling (I wrote Pharaoh Akhenaton's capital as Akheton, and the prof accepted it, even though the real spelling is Akhetaton). Still, I only got a 75%, and I don't want my GPA to drop any lower than where it already stands at 3.4, because I can't bear the thought of Sister #1 gloating how she has higher marks, and how a 3.4 is the equivalent of a C+ (I think it's closer to B+, but feel free to comment if you know for sure), which is nothing near as remarkable as her wonderful grades.

And my Symbolic Logic mid-term is today. It is one of those dangerous subjects where one feels that one is so very good at it, and understands each concept so clearly, that studying for it is a horribly boring task and one cannot help but do it very poorly. Of course, when the results of these subjects come back, one finds that one's work is not nearly as perfect as one fully expected it to be, but is instead riddled with dozens of tiny mistakes that one could have avoided if one had studied to the fullest extent of her abilities.


Moving onward, my rehearsals with the Mixed Chorus are going very well. With few exceptions, I have always managed to work myself up into a foul mood concerning some small inconvenience that occurs at the beginning, but I can never succeed at holding onto that black mood for long, because I am always overwhelmed by the power of the music and the general good-nature of the other members. There are two kinds of rehearsals - the ones during the week are "Full Rehearsals" - where the entire Chorus sings together. These are my favourite kinds of rehearsals, the music vibrates so strongly through the soles of my feet (with the help of the very sexy-sounding Bases and Tenors) all the way up to the top of my head (with the pixie-ish voices of the Soprano Is - I am Soprano II, and as such, am rarely called upon to extend my voice up into the quivering heights of the First Soprano Range).

I always feel very powerful when I am performing a solo, but that is nothing compared to the strength that one feels when one is singing with two hundred people behind you. It glorifies my vocal strengths and conveniently hides my mistakes. I feel the same importance that I do as a soloist, but I am no longer subjected to the pressure of having the success of the performance rest entirely on my shoulders, to know that my voice is supported by women who can reach higher notes than I can, and go for longer without breathing, and can remember the pronunciation of the German/Latin/Old English words.

The second kind of rehearsals is the "Sectional", and thankfully -- since our Christmas Concert is drawing nearer -- there are going to be far less of those. Sectionals have their uses, but they come nowhere near the glory of the Full Rehearsal. Sectional is where each section (Soprano I, Soprano II, Base, Tenor, etc...) learns their own notes individually. For someone who can't sightread music, this is incredibly helpful to me, because in the heavenly cacophony of the Full Rehearsal, it is sometimes hard to pick out what is supposed to be your note out of the host of others.

My two problems are that it sounds a lot quieter and makes my fumblings more apparent to sing in a smaller group, and that our section leader and instructor makes a frustrating amount of mistakes when teaching us the notes. We always get it right in the end, but I have lately taken to keeping a score of how many times the instructor says "Sorry" throughout the course of the Rehearsal. I realize it's petty, but since everyone has already learned their parts for all of the songs, I will have less occasion to do so.

Lastly, I am completely engrossed in Mary Barton. It truly is a marvelous work of fiction - it drew me right into the story so that I could not stop reading. All the heroes are so flawed and beautiful, and Elizabeth Gaskell is very adept at linking the scenes with the proper amount of suspence. Mary Barton, if you don't wish to be spoiled, does not go the Emily Peggotty route, I am happy to say. Her mistakes are eventually rectified, not without cost, to be sure, but the ending (I haven't quite finished) doesn't look like it's going to be as completely depressing as I suspected it would be. As I mentioned before, the book is quite realistic, although it does occasionally rely on the quaint idea that strong emotions (sorrow, a broken heart) can lead to illness, convulsions, and death. During the courtroom scene where Jem (Mary's true love) is declared "Not Guilty", Mary is so anxious and stressed that she undergoes a type of epileptic seizure, and takes a long while to recover. I think it's fairly silly, but the rest of the book seems to be quite well-researched, so I'll leave it alone for now. I highly recommend you all try reading Mary Barton, if you haven't already.

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