Category Archives: Music

Let’s talk about Music

My sister just got a new trumpet, so I figured I should talk about music today.   So, today (in which I am in Washington, D.C.), here are some random thoughts about music, bands, and genres from me.

Kill Switch. Wouldn’t that be a great name for a band?

I thought so.  And it turns out, I’m right.  The internet knows of two such bands: Killswitch Engage is an American metalcore band (no surprises there).  The second one is Kill Switch…Klick, which was an American industrial rock band back in the early nineties.

Apparently other countries have less violent switches.

I also find it really interesting that both bands produce rather abrasive forms of music.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t like any of their music.

I’m in danger of being flooded in chiptune music.  Which is probably going to make some people cringe, since chiptune isn’t refined like classical.

Sometimes instruments aren’t even involved.

What is involved is lots and lots of retro video game sounds.  Which is actually not exactly uncommon.

There’s a push for electronic music lately.  It’s more than a trend, it’s becoming the standard.  I’m really excited for it, but I’m willing to bet that not everyone is. There’s a rise of one-person bands (Avicii, Skrillex, Owl City, etc.) that don’t need anything other than a computer and a keyboard synthesizer to make awesome music.  That’s cool, but what about bass guitarists?  Violinists? Are they out of a job?

Short answer: No.  But they may have to work harder and try things outside of their comfort zones.

Case and point:

I love creative people.  They’re awesome.

I’m not sure what the future holds.  Part of the problem is that “good music” is subjective.  Everybody has different tastes.  I’m not sure how there’s a pop station.  My brother’s hardcore into rap, I’m into electronic, dad’s into country, mom’s into contemporary Christian.

I am sure that classical music will never be truly dead.  Those composers were genii.

7 Instruments I Wish I Could Play

I’ve never been overtly musical.  Sure, I like music.  I think everyone does, to an extent.  And I paid my dues in middle and high school band.  I can squawk out a few songs on a flute still, and I can carry a tune.  But I’m less than stellar at anything musical I attempt.

I have a friend who can play anything.  Give her a day or so with any sort of strange, unfamiliar instrument and she’ll be semi-proficient before you can say Mozart.  She’s ridiculously talented, and I’m jealous.

If I had that kind of talent, these are the instruments I’d play.

7. Xylophone

Say the word “xylophone.”  It’s like gymnastics for your tongue.  And how many words start with the letter “x?”  Not many.

These things aside, Xylophones are awesome.  And they make beautiful music, which should probably be more important than how cool it is to beat on giant metal tubes with mallets.

Xylophones occasionally get really nice moving parts, too.  Which was kind of sad, because our percussion section was garbage in high school and always butchered them.

6. French Horn

Played correctly, french horns are gorgeous-sounding instruments of wonderfulness.

Played incorrectly, they sound like sputtering, dying elephants.

I’ve always really liked the way french horns look.  All curled up, like some sort of intricate masterpiece.

That curvy bit looks kind of like modern art!

Credit goes to musicwithease.com

They don’t seem to get great parts consistently, though.  They’re usually playing backup for the trumpets.  Everyone is usually playing backup for the trumpets.  Darn trumpets.

5. Oboe

I have a love/hate relationship with oboes.

They have a gorgeous sound, are slightly uncommon, and are similar to clarinets, which are also fun.  Oboes are also featured in Peter and the Wolf, representing the duck, one of my favorite characters in that symphony.  (My other favorite is the bird, which was one of the reasons I played flute.)

HOWEVER.

Oboe reeds are the most bizarre playing devices I have ever seen.

These things are ridiculous.

Credit goes to curriereeds.com. They have committed the sin of using Papyrus in their company logo.

Look at those things.  Do they look like they’d be used to play an instrument to you?  More like boat oars, in my opinion.  They’d even come with handy grips so that your hands don’t get blisters as you paddle.  How thoughtful of them.

Of course, I might be prejudiced.  I tried to play an Oboe once.  Aside from the fact that my Oboe playing sounded like someone stepped on a mouse, my tongue got caught in the reed.

And I don’t mean just the tip of my tongue either.   I was caught in a painful inch of death grip by two silly pieces of wood.  One of my bandmates had to pry the wood off for me, because it hurt too badly when I touched it to yank it off myself.

But still, I want to attempt the oboe again.  It is a lovely instrument, and it is probably my fault it attacked my face.

4. Saxophone

Saxophones are just cool.  They make me think of jazz, 2o’s era bars, flappers, and feather boas.  Yes, please.

Jazz music has always been my favorite type of music to play.  It has this spunky character that makes me want to dance–even though I dance badly, and would probably hurt someone (like myself).

And all the good parts go to the saxophones.  And also the trumpets.  But trumpets get all the good parts, no matter what the style of music, so they don’t count.

3. Clarinet

Clarinets are fun little instruments.  They hum, like bees, hummingbirds, or a particularly noisy refrigerator.  But unlike all those things, clarinets can actually make some nice music–though I would probably pay money to go see a hummingbird quartet.

My aforementioned talented friend started off as a clarinet player.  I feel like I could be a decent clarinet player if I really tried.  After all, I was able to play some easy scales on one once.

2. Piano

I know this is probably on everyone’s list of “stuff I wish I could do.”   And that’s because pianos are capable of playing whole songs without another instrument to help out.

They have the best parts ever, because they can play anything.

One of my biggest regrets is quitting piano when I was a kid.  Maybe I’ll try to pick it up again now that I’ve graduated and have more free time and stuff.

1. Cello

I’m kind of torn between cellos and violins.  Both are beautiful instruments that make sexy, sexy music.  And I would only want to have to learn fingerings for one of them–they don’t get cheats like buttons or keys.

But in this case, the cello won out….probably because of this.

Cellos+leather jackets+Michael Jackson+overly dramatized settings=WIN

Cellos are also lower in pitch, which I like.  Squeaky things can get annoying.  I should know–I’ve played flute for years.  Why do we always get the high squeaky parts?   I blame the trumpets.