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Fun with music…

December 20, 2015, 12:41 PM

This past Thursday, among other places, Elyse and I checked out a store called Bill’s Music in Catonsville.  What a wonderful place this was, with professional-grade equipment for sale at professional-grade prices (but you’re paying for quality).  The store has every single piece of musical equipment that you could imagine, including some stuff I hadn’t seen in years, like real xylophones and such.  Elyse actually knows a thing or two about music, unlike me.

The first thing that we discovered was a metallic xylophone (metallophone?).  I hadn’t played one of these since sixth grade music class, a six-week “exploratory” course at Stuarts Draft Middle School.  It was pretty awesome, working not so much with singing, but mostly with musical instruments – primarily xylophones.  We learned some very basic songs on them, and apparently I still remember a couple of them:

This one was pretty simple, only involving three notes.  I want to say it had some basic lyrics to go with it (probably as a learning aid), but for the life of me, I do not remember what they were.

Now for this one, also involving only three notes, I managed to retain the lyrics.  They go like this:

Here they come,
Marching down the street,
Marching, marching, marching, marching,
Aren’t they neat?

I never explored this sort of thing beyond the single sixth-grade course, unfortunately.  Looking back, I think it might have been fun.  Still, I’m impressed that I remembered the tunes, considering that it’s been more than 23 years.

We later found our way over to the electric pianos.  My whole idea of interacting with pianos on display like this is to peck at the keys a little bit, play with the different sounds that the piano can produce, and tap out something extremely basic.  I have tapped out “Go, Go, Power Rangers” before (literally just those six notes – not the whole theme), the basic idea for the theme to Today’s Special (with much difficulty and many mistakes), and a few other random things.

Now in this case, I went to an old favorite, playing “Cabbage” on the piano:

Yes, this is the “magic spell eraser” from the Today’s Special episode “Pianos“.  After Muffy accidentally turned Jodie and Sam into mannequins after saying the “Hocus Pocus Alimagocus” phrase that normally brings Jeff to life backwards, Jeff played the C-A-B-B-A-G-E notes on the piano to bring everything back to normal – after, of course, being reduced to small size after Muffy used a size-reduction spell, intended for the piano, on him.

I also played “Cabbage” on the piano with some narration based on the episode:

“It worked!”
“Hooray, hooray, you saved the day!”
“Stumblin’ Steinways!  What happened?”
“I think we just got freed from a magic spell that backfired!”

Meanwhile, unlike myself, Elyse has actual talent when it comes to music:

Though I’d heard about Elyse’s musical abilities before, this was my first time seeing it.  I was quite impressed.

After we finished with the pianos, we went into the back area of the store.  There were lots of things on the shelves there, as well as a large, wooden xylophone.  That was closer to what I remembered from the aforementioned music class in sixth grade.  Xylophone with wooden bars, and sticks with the ends covered in some sort of yarn.

I have a feeling that my original intention was to do that G-G-G-B-B-B-G-G-B bit again, as well as the “Here they come” bit, but fate would intervene.  The first note I hit was one that should sound very familiar to the riding public in Washington DC and vicinity, and the rest wrote itself, with my being the transit nerd that I am:

Yep… nerd cred confirmed.  Also, until I heard the xylophone make that sound, I had never given any thought to what kind of instrument made the door chime that I had heard hundreds, if not thousands, of times before.  But now we know: xylophone.

So that was a fun time.  I love going to stores like this where you can kind of just explore around and have a little fun with the merchandise.