Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Clarinet by Any Other Name

October 25th 1805 caricature by James Gillray
"Harmony before Matrimony"

So there I was, minding my own business, writing a scene in my second book, when the fiendish captain picks up a clarinet and begins to play. What? Where in the world did that come from? I know nothing about instruments in 1805. Am I not already plagued by research? Did my characters conspire to force me into spending more time at the library? What manner of madness is this?

I've started looking into it and found a guy, online, who not only plays the clarinet, but has played the very piece my character is playing. I emailed him and asked him how he felt while he played it. Did it transport him to another place, another world? Did the perfection of the music (Mozart) make him want to cry, as it does me just to listen? Well? Fess up, man, tell me about your feelings!

What will this poor gentleman's reaction be to such ridiculous questions? I want to crawl inside the artist and feel what he feels, so I can write it. Is that so wrong? Is it? Will he even answer me?

(And if I didn't know better, I'd think the two cats in the above art were my own two precious rascals, who are obviously not impressed with the music.)


  1. I'd be surprised if he didn't answer. My experience is people love to share what they know. Here's hoping!

  2. Thanks Bill. I've received one response, but I wrote back with more questions. I'm never satisfied, I know. But it isn't me, it's my characters. No, really.

  3. Great little picture. Even the goldfish in the bowl are looking lovingly at each other. What is the piece of music and the composer you are interested in?

  4. Jewell,

    The music my character is playing is Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, 2nd movement. I wake up in the middle of the night and it is playing in my head.

  5. That is a delicious piece of music. I would love to hear what your clarinetist says. I have a funny feeling, though, that he "says" it in his playing, that words may not be his handiest medium of expression. An artist friend of mine whose beautiful paintings sell for thousands of dollars converses with smiles and soft chuckles, shrugs of shoulders, a few gentle waves of the hands and half phrases like "well...it's sort of...I don't know...hmmm...yes..."

    Do you play an instrument? Do you play a piece of music that "puts you in the zone?"

  6. I've come in a bit late, so hope the gentleman answered your question to your satisfaction?

    Happy New Year Melanie :)

  7. Jewell,

    I play the radio and the mouth harp.


    Yes, he did. Very much to my satisfaction. I'm so impressed with him I'd like to mention him, but he has not given permission.


  8. Do you seclude yourself in a wooded, mossy bower in the Mt. Hood National Forest within view of the majestic mountain at twilight and press your harp gently to your lips, breathing sweet harmonies into Nature's ear?

  9. Jewell,

    Yeah, I do live in a wooded, mossy bower, but more in the foothills of Washington's Larch Mountain. And the only sweet harmonies you'll hear is what blasts out from my car radio as I screech into my driveway.

    But that is nearly the same.


Comments are great fun. Really. I love them. Except from the bots that have found my blog. I'm enabling the word verification to block them. Sorry.