The worst tune in the world
So I realized tonight that I’m happy to play any tune in the repertoire, with one exception. You might not agree, and I can respect that, but I think I’ve hit my limit on this one, so I’m just going to hate on this tune for a moment.
All of the tunes I know and all of the tunes I’ve heard can be good tunes, and they take only a little ordinary humanity to make them good tunes. You put in a little of yourself, and out comes some lovely music. All but one, that is.
The exception is the Butterfly. There is nothing, I think, that can make me like this tune. It’s not that the notes are bad, it’s just that there’s nothing good about it. There’s no room in it for the player. It’s either a melodramatic swoopy flourishy flowery bore, or it’s a mechanical monstrosity, but it never has a lilt or a swing that makes you want to play it one time more, and another, and another. Someone starts it, and it’s like a little trip into hell: here we go, bup de dup de da, bup de dup de duddly, bup de dup de da, ba de dup de duddly, tickety tockety tick, until they decide to release us from the rack. Play it on the whistle, or the fiddle, or the Uzbeki Kalashnaphone, it’s always the same: pure unadulterated please-make-it-stop tedium.
And lately it seems I hear it every time I go out to play music.
I’m not fussy. I’ll listen to a rank beginner play the Kesh, halting and fumbling, and I’ll play, and I’ll try to help them make it sound good, and I’ll enjoy it. I’ll listen to some showoff blister through a bunch of reels, all oblivious to the fact that nobody in the world knows them or wants to, and I’ll be fine. I’ll have a great time, of course, if someone happens to play three jigs that go nicely together and turn out to be just exactly what I wanted to play next, although I’d never have known it if they hadn’t been there to play them, and if you play a tune that I don’t know, I’ll try to get the hang of it so I can play it with you next time or the time after that. I’m not fussy, really, but I don’t think I can take the Butterfly any more.
It’s boring. There’s no way for it to not be boring. The way the phrases land on the bar lines, one, two, three, one two three, and they stop there and you have to shove the damned tune every time it gets stuck at the end of a bar. The way it straitjackets the best players into playing just exactly that, never allowing for a deviation or a hesitation (too much repetition, though). The way it just crashes on and on, with the gratuitous third part, just to remind you that the only thing worse than a terrible tune is a terrible tune and a half… It’s an awful tune. Possibly the worst tune in the world.
Is there any way to kill it? Is there any way to put me out of its misery? Or am I doomed to suffer through the duffers banging away at it forever?
Other than that, though, things are fine, great tunes tonight. Aside from one of them, that is.
How are y’all?