Monday, May 21, 2007

Thanks Neighbor, you're the best...

Ah the joys of living in The City! The fresh smell of garbage in the late afternoon, the layer of dust that covers everything in my apartment, yes mom I dust regularly. What more could I ask for? Oh,...Music! What else?

I'm not talking Broadway here, but good old, share your music with your neighbors type of thing. All day yesterday my friendly neighbor across the street serenaded me with all sorts of tunes. First they played some pretty great Cuban Jazz, great improvs on the piano and bass, then came a schmaltzy instrumental version of the Carpenter's "Close To You", before moving on to some great Mexican Mariachi music, complete with a tenor singing his heart out and swaggering trumpets. Wide vibrato, you know the kind, guitar interludes, nothin' but the best. (It really was quite good! Honest.)

The other day, my other neighbor played us a complete Wagner opera. I couldn't quite place which one it was, but it was quite lovely! The leading Soprano and Tenor were superb. Their vocal ranges were versatile and a pleasure to listen to. The only thing I wished was different, was that I'd had enough guts to lean my head out the window and ask them who was singing so that I could buy a copy from iTunes. I did, however, feel a tinsy bit sorry for my neighbors that don't quite appreciate Opera.

The only thing that surprised me about the impromptu concert in the street, was that I didn’t hear a vigorous, "SssshhhhhheeeeuuuuuuddddUuuuuppp!" from anyone. Nope, not one call for peace and quiet. From my vast experience learning about NYC neighborhoods from the movies, I would have expected various amounts of people hanging from their windows shouting all sorts of epithets at each other.

Oh, so back to the friendly neighbor across the street, they have quite a sound system. I can clearly and crisply hear all the details of the music from any room in my apartment. They really are quite thoughtful, sometimes people only play things loud enough so you can hear the beats and base line over and over again. Most of the time it gets quite old, because the same genre of songs usually has the exact same beats and baselines, and only vary the vocals and melody on top… You can imagine how tiresome that gets after oh' say about five seconds or so.

Due to my training as a classical musician, I’ve been able to pick out that my neighbor is playing recordings from a few decades ago, the scratchy sound every now and again coupled with the recording quality and choice of songs leads me to believe that said neighbor is either playing these songs off of a suped-up LP player, or has purchased several re-mastered versions of their favorite songs on CD.
Oh rats, they've turned it down. Now it doesn't sound like I have front row seats anymore, but am back in the nose-bleed section of a concert hall. Currently being played, a Mariachi serenade. Performed by a trio, a couple of voices, a guitar, the music is very evocative. I can vividly picture myself down in Mexico somewhere, sitting at an outside at a café. Drink in hand, gentle warm breeze wafting by, significant other sitting by my side. Mariachi band playing in the distance. Perfect.

Here's hoping your neighbors are as thoughtful as mine, too bad the WIP that I’m currently word-smithing doesn’t take place in Mexico…

Meanwhile, I’ll sit back and listen to the great salsa music that just started up and wait for some gallant hero wearing a Zoro mask to scale the brick wall to my apartment, complete with an American-Beauty long-stem red rose clutched between his teeth, to whisk me off to Acculpoco where we'll sit on the beach and eat mangos.


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