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Oooh. I *can* actually do that ...


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Backstory: I'm a bass vocalist. I've sang in the choirs/assorted vocal groups at 5-6 different churches over about 20 years. I've had some formal vocal training. Enough to be dangerous. Not enough to be a serious soloist. I quit singing and playing regularly at many years ago.


I was cleaning up my MP3 collection the other day, looking for my rather small collection of Christmas music. There's a version of Michael W. Smith's/Amy Grant's song, "No Eye Had Seen," that one of the various choirs I was in did. I've always fooled around with the male vocal part on that because a) I'm a bass singing tenor 1, which is always amusing, and b) it's just a really nice tune. I've never hit the highest part of the solo, though. I've always had to go falsetto and that sounds ... false.

So. Loaded it up on my iPhone. Drove to pick up one of my kids from school and sang along.

And nailed it.

Maybe not exactly in tune, maybe not ready to do it in front of an audience, and I did see spots in my eyes. But, I hit it. It's a freakin' :TrebleClef::Line5: according to sheetmusicplus (page 6). Also, you might be able to hear the bass line in the last measure. Those are three 8vb :BassClef::Space2:, IIRC. I also nailed that -- although low has never been a problem for me.

I'm sure that other folks out there have similar stories. That Rascher Intermezzi with the 5 double flats in the key signature and you finally got it down at 120bpm? How about that crazy solo that you've been working on for months and didn't quite nail it until you were on stage? Do tell.
The first time I ever played a featured solo piece in a concert, back in the stone age, I stood up, the conductor looked at me, I nodded and the orchestra commenced to play. I can't remember what the piece was, certainly nothing of substance as I wasn't very good. As the orchestra played the introductory bars I realized that I'd had a total memory failure and had not the slightest idea what came next. A moment of total panic and confusion and then we were at my entry. I just turned my brain off and "Let my fingers do the walking", relying completely on muscle memory. It worked. Without any conscious input from me my fingers, assisted by the rest of me, played the opening phrase of the piece and then my brain woke up and remembered where we were and what we were supposed to be playing. It stepped up and said "OK, folks, I've got this!". The rest of the piece went quite well, but I never had the feeling that I was actually in charge of events. There have been a few similar events since, not all music-related, and I have learned the awesome power of muscle memory. If you've done your homework it will get you out of trouble.

I've just remembered the name of the piece. It was the air from "Rinaldo" on Eb clarinet.