Saturday, April 20, 2013

Get the Work Done Before My Heart Finds Out

It's difficult to deal with problems of the heart while one is attempting to knock off an entire quarter's work of academic work, but I'm giving it my best shot.  My psychopathology paper is finished.  I endured at least one rather unusual interview but now, a mere thirty-two hours later,   it's all history;  recorded history, in fact, as I included every titillating detail .of the interview in the paper.

My Appalachian music project has likewise made it to the press. The research was very interesting to me. I delved into the pentatonicity of Scottish and particularly Irish ballads and their influence on the ballads and hymn tunes of southern Appalachia.  The pentatonic scale consists of the tones do, re, mi, so, and la.  (The tones can be most easily visualized/auditorialized by thinking of he black keys on a piano, although a pentatonic scale can be played beginning with any kep on a piano[unless it's too high to complete the scale; duh!).  Some tunes, such as "Amazing Grace" or  "Beech Spring," (a hymn tune associated with such hymn titles as "As We Gather at Your Table"  or "Come All Christians, Be Committed,"), "Wayfaring Stranger," and non-hymns such as "It's Raining" or "The Riddle Song" arecompletely pentatonic. Other tunes are suggestive of a pentatonic scale, but insert  the rare to occasional fa or ti,  such as "Shenandoah" or  "What Wondrous Love."  Other cultures, particular various Asian cultures, relied heavily upon the pentatonic scale in melody composition as well.  I know less about Asian music, but with the Celts, many of whom migrated to Appalachia, they obviously knew the diatonic (do re mi fa so la ti do) scale and thus had access to the tones of fa and ti as well, but instrumentation heavily influenced the notes they used in singing.  Pentatonic harps and lyres were common  in Scotland in Celtic regions, and were brought with the Scottish and Irish as they migrated to southern Appalachia. The mandolin, common in southern Appalachia, is tuned to a pentatonic scale minus mi. The banjo, also essentially pentatonically tuned (minus la) made its way up from Africa to southern Appalachia.  The accompaniment  instrumentation clearly influenced the melodies. I suppose anyone who has made it this far has read more than he or she ever wanted about the pentatonic scale and its  influence in Scottish, Irish, and Appalachian music.

If you were bored by the pentatonicity treatise, I apologize in advance for my description of  the incredibly complex memorization required in my "Physics of Fractures" course. No paper or project is required. I merely need to parrot the information I memorize in a series of combination multiple choice/fill-in-the-blanks/short essay answer tests.  I'll try to minimize the boredom to which I subject you here, but did you know that, in theory, because the bone itself has no nociceptors (sensory neurons), a bone fracture in theory would not be painful were it not for several other factors, such as breaking in the continuity of the periosteum, injury to nearby soft tissues, and muscle spasms as muscles try to hold bone fragments in place. I'll spare you, any further clarification, as just hinnking about it has been known to cause pain. Additionally I'll give you a pass on the many types of fractures: many you already know, and the rest you'd probably be better off never knowing..

I still have work from a few classes to address, but I'm making progress at record pace. With any luck I could be finished with this drudgery by Tuesday. . . Except that  it's not really drudgery when it's taking my mind off things on which I'd prefer not to dwell. At least this time the breakup was of our own doing and not the work of parental interference. It could be the final end, or the situation could resolve itself in a mending of the current rift.  Alas, relatively few people end up permanenetly with the subject of their first relationship.  What happens will happen. I can cry, pound my fists against the wall, go on a hunger strike,  or vandalize his car [not seriously an option], but none of those things will change the final outcome.  Que sera, sera.

I've been awake for forty-one consecutive hours. I must sleep, although I'm mildly concerned about what the dream world has in store for me tonight.

Incidentally, the music video is a late 1970's minor hit, "Before My Heart Finds Out," by Gene Cotton, which I've always found charming,  though less so when it applies to me personally.

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