31 August 2011

Pub Singing and Merlin's Unrest

A friend invited me to a pub sing, and I was actually free, so I agreed to go.  To prepare, I pulled out my maritime music CD (hooray for random free promos) and gave it a listen.  I headed to the pub after an 11 hour day at work.

This is pub singing, not opera: loud, boisterous, informal, and slightly (increasingly) drunken.  Pitch is not the most important thing.  I'm not sure what is; maybe enthusiasm?  There were sea chanties and hymns and shaped note music.  I knew a couple of the songs and different versions of a couple others, so I couldn't really sing along, per se.  There were some folks who were amazing and a few who were terrible.   All of them were passionate about music.

I kind of wished the director of my a cappella choir and maybe some of the members could go to one of these.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because I enjoy watching inhabitants of the Great White North encounter rhythm and emotion.  It makes them uncomfortable.  (At a concert I went to recently, the only people moving to the beat were a handful of children too young to have the joy of motion stamped out of them by peer pressure.)  I also think that they might have enjoyed themselves and learned something that could transfer to their classical singing.

My friend goes because he's learning harmony from it, he says.  It's definitely a good place to do that because when you don't know the songs, but you want to sing, you have no choice but to make up your own notes.  The repeated choruses tend to make this easier (as does the fast and loose pitch sometimes).

Did I mention the pitch issues?  It wasn't always as bad as I'm making it seem, but when a room made up of several professional singers can't seem to find the key because of the warbling soloist, you know it's not great.

My friend concluded, "I guess I'm not as fussy about pitch as you are."

My sister would get a kick out of that.  My ear for pitch always drove her crazy and made her nervous about singing in front of me.  And she wasn't even the tone deaf sister.

I seem unwilling to cover my reaction to bad pitch, even now.  I just can't enjoy it, no matter how much passion and love for music is involved.  Why is this?  The world may never know.

Perhaps it's related to why I apparently must move to music when I'm surrounded by people who are uncomfortable around people who move to music?  It doesn't feel like contrary orneriness, though.  I wonder.

They had good root beer.  I enjoyed myself.  Will I ever go again?  Maybe.  There's something undeniably compelling about random people loud enough to drown me out singing whatever the spirit moves them to sing . . .

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