18 August 2005

Music vs Four Stroke

It is depressing how basic things are revealed to be when you expend some effort into understanding how they work. The following revelation came about when discussing how difficult it is to play the drums. The conjecture was that it is easy to play the drums badly, because, to quote the learned gentleman in question, "music is just banging things together".

I countered this posit with the rejoinder that concert musicians would take no small measure of umbridge in having their considerable skills reduced to "banging things together". Especially since "banging things together" only really describes the Percussion section, if a little rudely. But then, he's a rude guy. So, after some discussion, it appears that music can be created in the following ways;

* Banging things together,
* Rubbing things together,
* Blowing into tubes,
* Sucking.

Sucking is a bit of an outsider, since it only applies to the Harmonica, although I have seen musicians on TV sucking big style. And not in a good way.

Put simply, Bang, Rub, Suck, Blow. Music reduced to four words.

So where, I hear you cry, does "Four Stroke" come into it? Well, the Four Stroke Internal Combustion Engine is so named because it goes through four stages during a combustion cycle. Again, put simply, these are Bang, Blow, Suck, Squeeze. Which is very close to the way music has been so succinctly characterised above. Coincidence?

Granted, there is no place for Rubbing in an engine. Large amounts of money are spent making sure engine parts rub against other engine parts as little as possible. Because, as I'm sure you'll agree, rubbing is tiring, and a tired engine is no good.

So, rubbing has been replaced by squeezing. Which is fine. Musically, this only applies to the Accordian and the Bagpipes, neither of which are found in the traditional symphony orchestra. Neither, strictly, are Harmonicas (or is it Harmonicae?). Maybe they should be. Maybe Harmonicas and Accordians and Bagpipes should be included into symphony orchestras. They let new sports into the Olympics, they should let new instruments into orchestras! Yeah. So, where was I?

My point? There wasn't one. It started off interesting but kind of got wierd at the end. I'll try harder next time.

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