I think I understand how mozart felt composing a requiem for his own funeral. that's basically how I spent all of last week, though instead of a requiem, I was writing new melodic and rhythmic patterns to nursery rhymes and christmas songs. and I wasn't writing them for my funeral.
could have been my funeral, if my supervisor had been feeling cranky. as it was, she seemed slightly bemused by how excited I was about starting my resarch. or maybe she just thought I was crazy. mental. bloody mental yank.
I'll be giving my subjects (we're supposed to say 'participants' now, but I prefer subjects; it sounds more ghastly) short passages to play, with one hand, on the piano. there are two conditions. in the first, I will give them the score for a rhythmic pattern and ask them to play the notes from a particular song to that new rhythm. in the second, I will give them the score for a pitch sequence and ask them to play the rhythm from a particular song with those new pitches. the objective is to determine whether it's possible to recall melody and rhythm from a piece of music independently. I expect them to fail miserably, because that's what happened when I had a go at it.
last week I assembled a list of well-known songs and ran it by a half dozen students. I was surprised to discover that no one could come up with the name to 'angels we have heard on high' and distraught to discover that only one could identify the theme song from sesame street.
if there had been sunny days sweeping the clouds away in mozart's requiem, he would have died a happier man.