Make Some Noise

“… call it joyful, and keep at it until the ‘good Lord, silence!‘ shouts come from all the lands.”

The Bible (slightly paraphrased).


The reason for the quote is that I’ve gotten myself two more flutes, or rather, I’ve ordered them and they should be arriving in a few weeks.

Some time ago I came across Erik the Flutemaker’s website while, if I recall correctly, looking up stuff about the Pentatonic scale. Which is best explained with this video:

Now that the awesomeness is out of the way (0:38 to 0:45 is my favourite bit, simply because the audience instantly makes Bobby’s point so perfectly by singing that note in complete harmony without him telling them!), back to the flutes. The interesting bit is not so much the flutes themselves, but rather the Flutemaker Ministries which is a charity he runs in Nicaragua. As part of that, he sells Cascabel Flutes, flutes that are less than perfect and are as such not sold through his main shop.

“They can be described as humble flutes that can help make the world a better place.”

I was sold, so I ordered a small bundle of them. They are pretty sweet, and my favourites are a “Vivaldi Minor” and a “Japanese Shakuhachi” (the latter being pentatonic, in fact), mostly because even a ham-fisted oaf like me can get a nice melody out of them.

But anyway, checking back again I saw that Erik’s got a few more offerings at the Ministries, and one of them was the Kung-fu Flute, a pentatonic similar to the Shakuhachi. Mine seems to have a bit of an issue with the higher notes, it tends to distort unless I’m really careful with both the flute placement and how much air I blow (and, as mentioned, I’m not particularly suited for “careful”). Probably because it is rather curved, and it’s not exactly round-regular. Not that I’m complaining, see: definition of Cascabel Flute. But figured I could get another, I mean hey, it’s a good excuse to support the project anyway, it was pretty easy to convince myself.

If you want to spend a few bucks helping support a nice bunch of kids with a project in Nicaragua (and check the details, I love the fact that they’re trying to set it up for it to become self-sustaining), I’m sure your help would be appreciated. And you get a sweet flute out of it if you want!

Okay, now for something completely different.

Snagglewordz has an interesting post on the 100 Word Challenge, which is apparently growing in popularity, and they are calling for bloggers to show up (regularly, I presume) and do a bit of R&R on the kids’ work.

So I will do just that. Added it to the blogroll too, why not?

I personally find short works fascinating, in many ways. One of them is that it runs completely opposite of what NaNoWriMo tends to aim for (word count, that is, sit down in front of a piece of paper and hammer words out against a deadline, a kind of “lose your fear and do it!” challenge). In extra-short works, what is not being said is often as important as what is said, or even more important.

For sale: Baby shoes, never used.

—Ernest Hemingway

The real story is, of course, what’s not said, what it implies, which in great part comes from what the reader puts into it. Writing something like that is both difficult and awesome, when it works.

Something similar can be said about popular “anonymous” works, that is, works of oral tradition that are not attributed to one author, but instead pass from mouth to mouth through generations (this is less the case these days of course, back when we were studying this in Literature class it was something more typical of medieval works that bards carried across the lands). Oral tradition tends to be short on verbosity and long on meaningfulness. Take this little “seguidilla” from Spanish tradition:

Dicen que los pastores
huelen a sebo;
pastorcito es mi amante,
huele a romero.

Which would lose a lot in translation, but basically goes something like

Some say shepherds
smell of tallow;
A little shepherd, my lover,
smells of rosemary.

That totally screws the metric, but anyway, in the first two verses it speaks of what some “undefined” people say about shepherds in an almost impersonal way (the use of the plural adds to the effect in the original Spanish), a nasty rumour that is yet to be confirmed. On the last two verses it refers to a single “pastorcito” (a diminutive of shepherd, “pastor”, which makes it more endearing, and much more personal as he is referred to in the singular), and the smell of rosemary, which is very abundant in Spain, and typical of the open spaces where sheep are taken for feeding. All the mixture of smells can, of course, be found in a shepherd that spends days with the sheep out in the open, but the contrast of focus between the first and last two verses is set up by the keyword there: lover.

All that in fourteen words, because the more economical one is forced to be when it comes to words, the more important each one of those words has to be.

And on a final note…

This week’s chapter will come earlier, because I’m off tomorrow morning to spend the weekend camping. Or rather, tenting out on a friend’s piece of land where we’re going to spread two and a half tonnes of lime. Adjusting the pH of the soil takes things like that sometimes. Ah well, a bit of spadework never killed anyone… Or maybe it did, but I’ll probably survive.


2 Responses to “Make Some Noise”

  1. snagglewordz February 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Wow, learning all about your talents here! That Bobby McFerrin video is fantastic, love it! Awesomeness indeed. Maybe you’ll grace us with one of your own flute videos or soundtracks in a future post? I’ll have to checkout the Flutemaker Ministries even though I couldn’t play a flute to save myself. Although… that’s probably not on issue unless I decide to become a necromancer or such! Haha.

    Thanks for the pingback, the 100 word challenge for children definitely needs some more comment contributors.

    • Walkiry February 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Hehe, I don’t think I’m quite ready to subject anyone to my flute playing! I’m pretty sure the Geneva convention would have a few words to say about it…

      I haven’t yet made any comments on the 100wc yet, mea culpa! I got really distracted with the Fungi prompt, deadline fast approaching and I’m a bit stuck with the ending of the story. And of course I still need to edit. Ah, good times đŸ™‚

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