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02/04/2004: "etudes."

Spent the morning practicing etudes, with the sunlight streaming through my window, on my old synthesizer. Etudes my Russian teacher taught me when I was half the age I am now, but stuff I still remember somehow, almost by instinct. My synth doesn't have a full 88-key keyboard, so I spend a lot of time figuring out ingenious ways to double up. The dream is to settle down in an apartment for longer than a year -- in a place where I'd have more space, Brooklyn maybe -- so I can move my Steinway from my parents' house. They're currently using it as a bookshelf (!), so I don't think they'd miss it. There are few things in life that I love more than that particular Steinway; I know the touch and feel and voice and personality of it better than I know most people. It is a person, kinda.

Playing everything by ear and my (my rapidly failing) memory, but at some point I'm going to have to get some sheet music. Playing by memory is a cool challenge, though, because it's like accessing some weird part of your past, summoning bits of your own life from a different time and arranging the code into something that makes sense. Trying to unscramble the signal that was always there, running in the background.

Reading a semi-academic book right now called "Music and Memory," actually -- and why is it that neuro-music books are always so disappointing? It's such a rich subject from so many different angles, and yet these books always seem to descend into dry tedium or stupid pop-science oh-wow-ness.


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