Sunday, November 30, 2014

Music Mystery

My piano lessons are going swimmingly.  I'm playing several fun ditties--"Cuckoo Clock," "Beautiful Brown Eyes," and "Alpine" something-or-other, from my Adult All-in-One Piano book.  And I've added several Christmas carols to the mix--"Jingle Bells," "Joy to the World," "Jolly Old St Nicholas," "O Christmas Tree," and "Deck the Halls."

But occasionally my mind wanders back to music I played 20+ years ago the first time I took piano lessons, for two or so months, after college (I think it was.)   They weren't great lessons; he was a young and unchallenging teacher, not really stressing that I learn to count or keep time.  But we rushed through all the major keys and I photocopied lots of songs I liked.  There were a few that stuck with me--"Musette" by Bach, a piece called "The Knight and the Lady," and this other piece, which sheet music I had lost (which I swore had a picture of a castle on it.)  I could sort of remember the tune, but not enough to play it, mainly because I don't play that well and I don't easily parse music into notes.

I looked in our books and online and finally realized that the book the music was in was John Thompson Modern Piano Course, which also had the aforementioned "The Knight and Lady.".  And when I showed Mama the cover on Amazon, she said she had  used that book as a child!  Which of course meant she still had it; I found it in a minute, down with the other piano books in the basement bookcase.  I flipped through it hurriedly, passing "The Knight and the Lady" but not finding the piece with the castle I remembered (there was a castle drawing, on another song.  See I'm more visual than auditory.)

I remembered that it might have been in one of the old costume dramas that I love, something based on Jane Austen . . . was it perhaps a minuet?  Did Margaret Dashwood play it?  Did Lizzie Bennet, only tolerably?  No searches yielded much help.  (But I liked this.)

So I went to the piano and began to fiddle with it.  Amazingly, I seemed to catch the cadence and soon had an idea of how it went, maybe even remembering playing it.  Mama wrote the notes down as I called them out, really simply:  e f e g g,  d e d f f, c c d d e, g f e d.  It sounded real, better than I could have made up in my head for sure, but she didn't recognize it.  And so I let it slide.

Until we came upstairs and I googled, "how to search for sheet music by notes" and came up with Musicpedia, which has a "Name that Tune" search.  I typed in my song with the notes Mama wrote down and kept trying to search.  And odd songs were coming up in the search results.  But I had all half notes.  And that isn't really what they are.  So I tried to guess when they were quarters and half and such, to make it sound like a melody--amazingly, the website let's you play what you come up with so I could tweak it.  But it took a long time to make it sound as close as I could recall.
And about an hour into this effort of tweaking and adjusting, it came up with this:

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: piano sonata No. 11 in A K331, 1st movement

I was off two notes and in the wrong key, but it looked promising.  But my computer wouldn't play the melody from Musicpedia, so I found Mozart's sonata on YouTube:

That's THE SONG!!!!!

And guess what?  It is in the Thompson book!  Called "Air by Mozart," only there's not a picture of a castle.  (I guess my visual memory failed me where my auditory one didn't.)

But it is on the page opposite "The Knight and the Lady."

Talk about an earworm.

But I'm just absolutely astonished that a.) I could figure out the tune well enough to search for it (yay for my piano lessons!) and b.) that the computer could make sense of what I typed.  Isn't the internet amazing??

1 comment: