Monday, 8 February 2016

Surprised and Soggy.

I had a thought while listening to the car radio on the voyage home today. (It’s that wet in Britain at the moment. Fledgling river valleys are appearing in fields, disgorging brown torrents of rushing water to make lake beds of the lanes. It’s like watching page 1 of Genesis.) But anyway, it struck me how amazing melody is. There are only twelve notes in the chromatic scale, and yet for thousands of years people have been arranging this tiny resource in varying combinations to create countless millions of tunes, all of them different.

What really surprises me, however, is that so many of them are appealing. Some even have the power to enhance or change your mood, so how do people do that? Where do they get them from? I could never write appealing melodies for toffee. I wrote lots of songs with decent lyrics, but tunes were a complete mystery to me.

I said something similar in a YouTube comment once, and got one of those preachy types telling me that humans don’t write melodies at all; God does. He said the very existence of fine melody is proof of the existence of the big Guy. It was in the early days of my war against the preachers, the trolls and the sub-Orcs ranged across the battlefield that is the YouTube comment facility. On that occasion I had a few allies. Mostly I don’t.

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