Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blog #17, Independence Day

Happy Independence Day everyone! I hope all readers of this blog will take a few minutes and sing through my setting of the First Amendment, which can be downloaded elsewhere on this site. We’re going to sing from The Sacred Harp at my house tomorrow (Sunday 5 June) and sing the First Amendment as well.

My previous blog elicited spirited responses from both Susan Matheke and Ian Ganassi. Just to set the record straight, Ian did indeed do the exercise, and I stand corrected. I jumped to the conclusion that didn’t do it because I didn’t see him fill out the paper. He wrote to me that he “assigned two instruments to each of [his] responses,” which indeed I noticed at the time.

Susan liked the blog, but took exception to my use of the word “routine” to describe a dance phrase. What I learned from her response is that dancers really don’t like the word “routine,” which has pop culture overtones they find objectionable. My piano teacher Sophia Rosoff has a similar aversion to the word “exercise” when used in the same sentence as “Abby Whiteside,” as in “Abby Whiteside has a wonderful exercise for developing awareness of flexion and extension in certain Chopin etudes.” At her insistence, in Sophia’s presence I always refer to “Abby Whiteside principles” and never to “Abby Whiteside exercises.”

What is interesting is that in both cases I have inadvertently used words that have (for me) a positive connotation and have (for others) a negative one. I suppose everyone does this from time to time, and I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. However, I would like to observe that to a person such as myself, whose life is almost chaotic in its irregularity, the word “routine” has connotations of blissful self-assurance, especially if that “routine” is a springboard to making beautiful art. Similarly, the word “exercise” means something desirable, even wonderful, to someone who needs more of it and is afflicted with middle-age spread.
So I can say with pleasure, and some measure of pride, that blogging has become an important part of my daily routine. And speaking of exercise, it’s time to get in the swimming pool.

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