Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Piano

As a self-described musical visionary, I've always felt the only thing holding me back was a crippling lack of talent. Nevertheless, I feel that what I lack in talent, I more than make up for in WISHING I had talent. Therefore I'd like everyone out there to take a moment, gather round, and bear
witness to my inspiring rise from drunken keyslammer to concert virtuoso.

Even Schubert (pronounced shoe-BURT with appropriate emphasis) had to dish out a few earsplitting renditions of Mary Had a Little Lamb (potential blatant inaccuracy) before penning his greatest symphonies in his elder years (and dying of syphilis, and that was back BEFORE it was cool).

We've all heard the expression "those who don't know, teach" and if I've learned anything in my lifetime from timeless folk adages, it's that there is no better source for advice (potentially save Reader's Digest, and that's really only relevant for miraculous volcano survivals and the ten best ways to save money this Christmas). So, in order to better understand the nuances of sheet music for myself, I'm going to gather together what little I've learned over the past three years and teach YOU, the reader, how to play Schubert's classic composition "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Figure 1: The "score"

Fun fact: The ONLY song written in the past 200 years that sounds better when you scream out the notes rather than play it.


Figure 2: The subject
(potential blatant minor inaccuracy)

Figure 3: The lesson

Everything you could ever want to know about sheet music (save rests, dynamics, sharps, flats and just about everything important) in one simple picture. Remember the simple acronym for Mary Had a Little Lamb?
B.A.G.A.B.B.B.A.A.A.B.D.D.B.A.G.A.B.B.B.B.A.A.B.A.G. It rolls right off the tongue. And it's all at your fingertips now.

Figure 4: The demonstration
(talent sold separately)

"Technology to the rescue"

In the age of MIDI keyboards and internet dating, it's a small miracle what you can do with a little technical know-how. Welcome to the role of the producer, who, if properly trained, and with the help of a reverb or two, can turn the sound of a wild monkey orgy into the latest prog-epic by The Mars Volta. Let's see if we can't do something similar. Our next subject, the "almost perfect" recording.

Looks like we've got a black lamb amongst our flock (of lambs.) See that circled fucker there? That's an F. Sounds all innocent doesn't it? Well sit yourself down because here comes the bombshell: that F... shouldn't be an F at all. Shift it up a notch (or two if you're big into sharps), because it'd sound a hell of a lot better as a G. In this case, F is for "failure." G is for "good" as in "good note" as in "the right note." But what can we do? We can thank the inventor of the clink-n-drag.

Can we get an instant replay on that?

Beautiful. Tune in next week to learn how to make your very own rock anthem with nothing more than a fork, a pizza box, an even MORE enthusiastic thumbs up, and of course, a big 'ol bag 'o dreams.

Keep hope alive.

- Alex


  1. Keep that big 'ol bag of dreams at the ready there synth-commander, I smell some serious success.

    Also this blog is awesome and you are hilarious in type form, I suspect it is due to your guide writing, which is still helping me through shit.


  2. I laughed out loud like 8 times. And I can barely read.

  3. It's spelled lol Jon jeeeeeez.
    This is sommoning the recurrant opening of Cheers.