Like a language

Working on gaining one language while forgetting the others.  I’ve picked up the ol’ music theory book and am working on transcribing pieces, writing new ones, and general sight-reading skills.  There’s a reason for this, besides the fact that notes just look so great on the page.  It’s also that I’m realizing some of these tunes will want some outside treatment and some non-rock instrumentation at points.  They’ve always wanted that, and maybe the unfamiliarity of arranging and organizing that is one of the things that has kept me from making significant progress with the tunes (even though I’m always making significant progress with them, it becomes circular after awhile).

I’m reminded of the Spanish lessons in Buenos Aires, the Finnish lessons in Helsinki, walking around mumbling to myself and slogging my way through everyday grocery-store conversations in order to understand just the tip of the language iceberg in each case.  And now, with nothing to support them (who speaks Finnish in Chicago?), they recede in the memory like the hazy streets of those beautiful cities themselves, edges rounded with time and frustratingly, decisively, dulled.

So why else this?  Maybe it’s just a test for myself to see if I can still learn in a systematic way.


About Travis Bird

New Orleans musician and writer
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