Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Silence is Never Off Key

At church choir rehearsal a few days ago, this idea popped into my head: “Silence is never off key.”

Our choir director was explaining to the grunting herd, er, I mean, the men in the back row, that if there are notes out of our range, instead of making screeching or growling attempts to hit those notes, it would be best not to sing at all until subsequent notes are back in our personal comfort zone.
This in not a new concept for me. I’ve been lip-syncing through about half of the Bass section music for many years. And since there are guys in the choir with much broader ranges than mine, when I go silent for the really high or really low notes, no one notices. Best of all, no one hears me struggle to make sounds that not only are nowhere near the correct pitch, but also are so physically stressful to attempt, I’m likely to pull a hamstring muscle (or whatever other muscles are in one’s throat).

Since all this takes place in a church, I recall the wise words of my favorite Old Testament prophet, Clint Eastwood, who said: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

However, being a slightly below average church choir singer is not my main point — although based on my experience attending Masses and church services in many parts of the country over the years, it seems there are a whole bunch of folks who can relate to my level of melodious mediocrity (or should that be mediocre melodiousness?).

My main point is that the idea I mentioned at the beginning, “Silence is never off key,” showed up with ZERO matches on a Google search. Over the years, I’ve been convinced many times that I thought up something really clever and unique, only to discover via Google that people had been using the exact phrase for decades. In one case, my so-called original thought was actually a book title from the 1960s.
Maybe you don’t appreciate what it means to have zero matches on a Google search. Google has collected and compiled EVERYTHING that has ever been written, spoken, and most likely even thought during the entire history of humankind. If someone had made the statement, “Silence is never off key,” before I thought of it last week, it surely would’ve shown up in a Google search. (A few years ago, I thought up a variant, “Silence is golden,” but it turns out someone else already beat me to it.)

I can’t believe I’m the first person in history to string together those five words in that particular order, but after years of being disappointed when doing Google searches, I’ll take it. I wonder if I should have the phrase copyrighted? Or maybe I’ll write a book with that phrase as the title, so it will get its own ISBN number and be “carved in stone” forever. (I also thought of the phrase, “carved in stone,” but again someone else thought of it first.)

With the Easter holidays coming soon, I’ll get to put my lip-syncing talent to good use. During Holy Week, our church choir is scheduled to sing on Thursday night, Friday afternoon, Saturday night, and Easter Sunday morning. Good thing I only sing about half the notes, or my voice really would be shot. (I mean, more shot than usual.)
When I’m pretending to sing, I’ll try to think of something just as original as, “Silencer is never off key.” Here’s one that just popped into my head: “Music soothes the savage beast.” That’s appropriate for my fellow grunting wildebeests in the back row, and I’ve never heard it before. I wonder if Google has?

No comments:

Post a Comment