L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I almost always wake up with some sort of song or musical passage rattling around in my brain. I never know what I'll find; it can be literally anything. What I got this morning stayed with me as I was hitting the trail: Fanny Brice's "Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love" from her second film, Be Yourself. Not at all, as it turns out, an encouraging tune for vigorous exersize. The rhythm is all wrong. It totally worked against my own; I felt like I was dragging a cannon behind me, up the hill. So I forced myself to switch to my old stand-by, that final waltz from Ciboulette.

It made me think that maybe what makes that particular piece work so well for me is the fact that it's in three quarter time. There's something about this time signature - I'm sure someone with a musical education could explain this - that feels like it's moving itself forward, tossing out its notes, ahead of itself, with never a chance to really catch up. It must have something to do with why we respond so readily to the music of a waltz, or anything in three-quarter time; we respond to it physically. We want to get up and dance or just move about or, at least, sitting in our seat, to wiggle our toes. Right there in the time signature is a vitality, a rhythmic propulsion. So, I find it perfect for regulating my pace and getting me to move just a bit more briskly.

After a while, I found that "Amour qui meurs!...amour qui passes!..." had somehow morphed into "Makin' Whoopee", the old Eddie Cantor song; a slightly more down-to-earth selection. And after a bit of that, I finished the rest of my hike to the strains of "High and Low" from the original stage version (1931) of The Bandwagon; which is not in three-quarter time, but constructed with more than its share of lilt!

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