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midnight dulcimer

GUEST,leeneia 01 Sep 10 - 02:35 PM
VirginiaTam 01 Sep 10 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Sep 10 - 02:51 PM
VirginiaTam 01 Sep 10 - 03:12 PM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Sep 10 - 07:05 PM
Leadfingers 01 Sep 10 - 08:41 PM
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Subject: midnight dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 02:35 PM

Last night a storm struck River City at about 10 pm. At 11, the power went out, plunging us in deep, deep blackness.

There was nothing for it but to head for bed with a book and a flashlight, hoping that the food wouldn't spoil. (It probably wouldn't. Surely not?)

At 11:18, two booms, one softer than the other, sounded somewhere near. Drive-by shooter? Electrical equipment giving up the ghost? Murder-suicide? Jolted wide awake, I debated what to do. Finally I decided (based on experience) that it was pointless to call the cops and say I had heard loud noises in the midst of the thunderstorm. Besides, there was no sound of a vehicle or of a person in trouble. And the fact that one noise was louder than the other meant that no weapon was involved. Probably. I continued reading.

My book was too exciting, really, but I'm good at skipping the most manipulative parts. By 1 pm, I had put it down and was really trying to go to sleep. Then nine identical reports shattered the night. Rain was still pounding down; this was not a time for normal neighbors to be outside doing anything.

I was heading for the 30-year-old phone, the one that still works when the power goes out, when my dear husband, the DH, said, "That was fireworks." He didn't move a musicle or even open his eyes, but he'd been listening and he'd been thinking about me. Apparently there is something on the Y chromosome which enables the DH to tell gunfire from other reports. Whatever it is, I'm grateful for it.

Ah, modern life. It's the middle of the night and the middle of a bad storm, and somebody decides to do a little dope and rouse the whole neighborhood, including teething babies, panicky dogs, and old people in pain. I'm thinking of having a bumper sticker made that says "Be a dope. Do some dope." But then somebody might break the windows.   

At 2 a.m. I decided I was not going to go to sleep until I found some inner peace. So I crept downstairs, accompanied by the cat. I got out my fretted dulcimer and set it up in the farthest-away room of the house. I'm getting a little rusty on the dulcimer, so I started rebuilding certain challenging tunes.

Barcarolle by Offenbach
Did you not see my lady?
It's a Wonderful World
How brightly beams the morning star

Playing music takes me to a new place in the mind. I think it's like what golfers call 'the zone.' It's a spatial world, determned by the spacing of the frets or the pattern of keys. The "left brain" can't dominate with its constant what-ifs, why-nots, and shouldn't-Is.

I think another state like it is when we are driving a car on the open road, free from traffic worries, integrating the road, our speed, and the paths of other vehicles into a spatial framework. And after a while, the left-brain butts in and says "I can't remember the last half-hour! Where have we been?"

After playing for a while, I began to feel very tired. It meant my mind had entered a saner state. I headed up to bed, grateful to music and to my dulcimer. Not, however, without giving the cat a little snack to compensate for the faithful listening she had done on the chair below the dulcimer.

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Subject: RE: midnight dulcimer
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 02:46 PM

lovely leeneia... every bit of it. you should put this on the sitting around the kitchen table thread.

I am a devout insomniac too. It isn't falling asleep but staying asleep that plagues me. Would love to do music in the wee hours but I am in flat, surrounded on all sides by other flats.

I have been in the brain switch off while driving. I used to say I do my best driving when I am asleep and alternately best sleeping when I am driving.   A bit alarming since I have awakened to find myself sitting on the front porch in my barefeet and pjs with car keys in my hand.

Sigh, but that really was some good writing.

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Subject: RE: midnight dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 02:51 PM


Maybe someone has an idea for a very quiet way to play music at night. Something involving a pick-up and headphones, perhaps.

That's alarming about waking up on the front porch. Has it happened lately?

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Subject: RE: midnight dulcimer
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 03:12 PM

I don't drive in the UK and I don't have a front porch any more.

I used to sleep better when I talked and walked in my sleep. Now I just get up 3 to 5 times a night and wander around and do sudoku until the unwellness, that woke me, subsides.

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Subject: RE: midnight dulcimer
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 07:05 PM

"Maybe someone has an idea for a very quiet way to play music at night"

The keyboard that makes no sound was a common method for practicing music centuries ago ... many famous (today) Classical Musos had them ...

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Subject: RE: midnight dulcimer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 08:41 PM

Solid body Electric Dulcimer ? Would it be feasible to get a Dead Dulcie and stick the Fretboard on a plank with a cheap electric pickup and play it through a baby Amop with Headphones ? NO Noise to disturb a sleeping house , and as long as it played 'in tune' Sound quality would not be an issue !
And IF anyone builds one , it WAS MY idea ! LOL !

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Mudcat time: 18 June 3:52 PM EDT

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