Friday, August 3, 2018

Rosie's not riveted

Our new feline, Rosamunda, has graced our domecile for nearly two-and-a-half months. She's very entertaining, friendly, quiet, and has a wonderful purr. The trouble is her musical taste is suspect.

You may find this a trifle, but since one of her humans is a musician this is at least bound to cause some friction. It could be worse, though.

A teacher of mine in college had two dogs that would howl whenever they heard the sound of a piano. I dog sat for him one week and if you wanted to practice you had to lock the dogs in an upstairs bedroom and turn the radio on loudly to a country music station (no pianos). When you returned a couple hours later the dogs were hanging out listening to country. It was surrealistically amusing.

Rosie doesn't whine when I play the piano. In fact, she seems to tolerate it rather well. But she's no fan of the organ. I can tell because, whenever I play a recording of the instrument she leaves the room immediately.  There are at least modifications that can be tried. For a start, I don't have an organ at home, so, being recordings, I could spare her suspect ears by using headphones. Also, the organ is a variable instrument, with a wide sound palette. As a result of experimentation I've determined that it is only the rich, full organ sound that she dislikes. That means it is likely the sharp, high-pitched mixture stops that are bothering her. Some humans have trouble with these stops also, particularly if they are older and losing their hearing. The year I was recovering from chemotherapy I was having trouble with them myself.

My former feline, Erasmus, used to find the organ fascinating. Whenever I played a recording he would press his ear to the speakers, and whenever I played a particular piece, he would mew whenever I got to a particular note. Only that one evoked a response. I'm not quite sure if he was saying "bravo!" or "turn that off!"

The only thing he didn't care for was repetition. If he came in to the room while I was practicing he might stay for a while, but the instant I got back around to something he'd heard before, namely the passage I was on when he walked in, he left immediately. He was not into encores. Otherwise, save the time he was under the piano and got caught off guard by a bass entrance during a fugue, he and instrument were at least functional acquaintances. It's the same way with Rosie and the piano.

Some of my human listeners must feel the same way, which is unfortunate for the organ. Usually when someone doesn't like something they don't stick around long enough to risk their mind being changed, either. Oh well. At least I'm diversified.

Since this week's headline recording at features the organ (without those offensive mixtures) I thought I'd try it out on Rosie, who was sitting on my lap. She stuck around for the whole thing. Maybe you will too.

this week on the homepage of, we settle the superiority of the piano versus the organ once and for all. And achieve world peace.

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