Thursday, June 11, 2015

Music IS the food of love by Amie Denman

“If music be the food of love, play on.” William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Shakespeare’s wonderful comedy "Twelfth Night, or What you Will" has all the elements of classic romance. There is danger (a shipwreck), misinterpretation (no, your twin has not perished in the sea), laughter (uh…that’s actually a woman dressed as a man), some cruelty (poor Malvolio), a very happy ending (three weddings!), and plentiful music (youth’s a stuff will not endure…).

I love music, and I really do think it feeds the soul. When I was young, I walked to the church in my
hometown and took weekly piano lessons from a nun. A very exacting nun. Hence my near-metronome ability to keep time and play exactly what is written on the paper. As an adult, I’ve decided no nuns are looking over my shoulder, so I have a lot more fun just playing and improvising. I’ll never be a concert pianist (that was my goal at one point in my life), but I play almost every day just because I love it. I have The Big Book of Broadway Showtunes, The Big Book of Hollywood Musicals, and (a recent favorite) The Big Book of Barry Manilow. Yes, you’ll hear "Mandy" and "Weekend in New England" if my windows are open when you walk by.

Showtunes are THE MOST ROMANTIC SONGS EVER. (*note: not scientific and completely prejudiced based on author preference.) Why are songs from movies and musicals the most romantic songs? Because they feed off the soul of romance: uncertainty. Does he or doesn’t he? Will they or won’t they?

I love it when music is featured in novels. In one of my favorite romance novels of all time Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins, the quiet loner of a hero secretly plays a piano in his home. It’s romantic when the heroine pauses outside and overhears. One of these days, I’m going to write a romance in which the heroine is a pianist. And Mr. Right will be on the sidewalk in front of her house, captivated. "On the street where you live…"

19 comments:

  1. Amie, I'm so un-musical except for the fact I love listening to music of all kinds. When I lived in Texas my next door neighbor in our community of town homes, played piano. She practiced daily and I tried to be out working in my yard just to hear her play. It's lovely you are so talented to play piano and write. I hope you write that book about the pianist and Mr. Right.

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  2. Thanks so much! The real pleasure in music at this stage of my life is sharing it with my children. My sons each play an instrument (cello and violin) and my niece sings like an angel. We have epic singalongs by the piano!

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  3. I love music!! I played the clarinet in our band in school and music was my favorite subject, especially in H.S. I've always loved listening to the piano. I went with my daughter to her college a few years ago to hear a young man (who happened to be blind) play the most beautiful piano pieces. I closed my eyes and relished every minute of his playing. I think when you are taught music you really develop an ear for notes and sounds and you appreciate melodies in a special way. Thanks for taking me back to that wonderful time.

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  4. Right there with you, Amie! Show tunes always make me cry and give me chills. As I'm completely talentless in the musical arena, it makes it all the more special. Wonderful post! Now I need to go crank up my iPod and take a look outside...where I live. :)

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    1. Pippin and Wicked are two of my favorites (same writer, no wonder!), but I love the old musicals, too, like West Side Story and Porgy and Bess.

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  5. We love music in our home too :). I took guitar as a kid and really wish I'd stuck with it. I've forgotten how to play, but still love the sound. My kids all took piano growing up (we still have one that they play on), but my middle son switched to french horn during middle school and, though no longer playing it, is now involved in drama musical productions. My youngest is about to switch to alto sax next year. Me...I enjoy listening to all kinds of music :)...but I never could 'hear' to tune my guitar lol.

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    1. My son was in The Sound of Music last year and it was so fun (as a parent) to watch! As for tuning, I'm no good at it. I pay a man to come and tune my piano, but I've always thought it would be cool to learn how to do that.

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  6. I'm gettin' in the "I love music!" line, too! I'm with you on the showtunes being some of the romantic songs, ever...and Barry is still one of my favorite singer-songwriters! Fun post, Amie! Hope your Thursday was terrific!

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    1. I just saw Barry in concert over the winter. He was AMAZING!! Used to dance to his music in our living room when I was a kid--my Mom loved him.

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  7. While I’m reading your blog, I’m listening to piano music by David Lanz on youtube.com. It’s so calming. Your talented hero sounds enchanting. I envy anyone who can play a musical instrument, and I often include people with these skills in my own writing.

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    1. Ever listen to George Winston? One of my favorite pianists to listen to. His albums "Autumn" and "December" would go with me if I were stuck on a desert island.

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  8. I would enjoy hearing you play, Amie. I am like Roz: un-musical. My husband has all the talent in that category in our family, and I love to listen to him. He can sign pitch perfect almost any song a cappella. He remembers the words and the music! It never ceases to amaze me. I admire people who are musically inclined, you and my husband included. I think you should write that book!

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    1. My critique partner, May Williams, just wrote a great book about a music teacher called Playing the Piper. I admired it so much! I may just write my pianist book this winter--a Rachmaninoff Romance. I love the sound of that.
      Your husband has a great talent. My singing only sounds good in my kitchen (some acoustical miracle?).

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    2. That book sounds wonderful, Amie! I have that miracle, too--I sound really good in the car!

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  9. Alas, I have not one musical bone in my body. Although I do enjoy listening to all types. I plan to add George Winston to my play list. Enjoyed your post.

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  10. Amie -what a fun post. Got me thinking about all the music I love and why. I was a teen when folk music was hot and I loved it because it has what so appeals to us about Showtunes - lyrics to remember! Peter, Paul, and Mary will live in my head forever, and absolutely every moment in every song in Les Miserables is unforgettable - On My Own, I Dreamed a Dream, Bring him Home. I never hear the music without alternately sobbing and cheering. Do write that book. A Rachmaninoff Romance is a great title.

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    1. We went to see Peter, Paul, and Mary twice, Muriel. Probably the best concerts I've seen.

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  11. I'm with Rula. I took guitar lessons as a teen. I remember the teacher really liked Elvis. Me, I wanted to play like the Wilson sisters of Heart or Juice Newton. I made it to Dueling Bangos and some of Glen Campbell (obviously my teacher and I didn't have the same taste). Later I taught myself to play the psalter. Which, I intend to play again as soon as there's empty nest.

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  12. I loved this, and I want to walk by your house! I can barely play the radio, but my husband plays guitar and sings and is active in local theatre. He's in the midst of the annual Cole Porter review right now, and hearing those songs lend a sort of sweetness that lasts a while.

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