Monday, June 21, 2010

Naughty, Naughty Sheet Music

My parents gave me a keyboard for Christmas this past year. I took 12 years of piano lessons although I really didn't enjoy them until about six or seven years into it. Still, it would probably be best if I didn't waste twelve years of my time, half an hour a week of my piano teacher's time over those years or the money my parents spent on lessons.


The keyboard resides in the living room and a couple of times a week I sit down and play a bit. I decided to raid the collection at my parents' house rather than go out and buy a bunch of new books and piles of sheet music. I mostly took old favorites, pieces I had memorized once upon a time. For several months, this served me well. I got bored with many of the pieces and frustrated at my rusty skills, though, so I decided it was time to grab more music when I went home this past weekend.

Beyond just my old standby pieces, my mom has a large collection of other music. She likes going to auctions. A lot. Many of the things she picks up are old stone crocks, enamel ware, tea pots and kettles, and wash boards. She's also picked up a few boxes of old piano and organ music, though, and that's where the fun comes in.

I went through part of it. I could have gone through the whole thing since I had gone home for Father's Day only for my dad to have to work 12 hour shifts on both Saturday and Sunday. Only saw him for about four or five hours total the whole weekend. It's better to spread the exploration out, though.

First, I went with things I might use.  A book on blues breaks and fills and a book on how to play popular music. These were owned by a family friend of ours we called Grandma Bertie and her sister Eleanor. Bertie had an auction before moving into an adult living apartment many years ago. While they're old (I couldn't find copyright or publishing dates), I'd like to compare them to some more modern books I have that are in a similar vein.

Then I decided that a bunch of Sousa marches might be interesting to try.


I don't know why I was drawn to this book. I'm not particularly patriotic. Playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" when I was a high school bassoonist kind of got on my nerves. Maybe it's the use of the word "pianoforte". Maybe it's because being able to stretch out my short stubby fingers for the massive chords would be a personal victory.

Stubby Fingers

After these selections, I decided to take a couple out of sheer novelty. First, for obvious Buffy-related reasons, Mister Five by Five. He doesn't really look like Faith's type though.

Five by Five

This last one I consider to be my best find, though.


Copyright in 1920, "That Naughty Waltz" blesses us with such lyrics as "Hold my tightly, swing me lightly, To that naughty waltz". It makes me want to construct a side dialogue:

MAN: Darling, let me hold you close.
WOMAN: Oh, I really shouldn't. This dancing though, this music, with it's enthralling 3/4 rhythm, it compels me to let you wrap one arm around me and hold my hand while I grasp your shoulder.
MAN: I just relish being able to move with you like this, swinging about, gazing in your eyes, all the while counting "1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3."
WOMAN: We really are being quite wicked. Next we'll be saying that that new prohibition amendment was a horrible idea and start making bathtub gin.

There's more where that came from. A couple of drawers full of the stuff.