know your standards

A singer gave me new music for this semester. I thumbed through it yesterday, just to see what I was in for. I now had “Sebben Crudele”, “Sure On This Shining Night”, both of which I already knew, and “Gretchen am Spinnrade,” which I thought I knew, but this was apparently a jazz version I’ve never seen before.

I didn’t get a chance to look at the music until immediately before today’s rehearsal. Looking through it, I realize two things: one, I’m not going to be able to learn it before the rehearsal, and two: the footnotes are ridiculous. “NOTE: This text was originally set as a jazz waltz with orchestral accompaniment. The present piano version nods in this direction but should be played exactly as written. For the benefit of pianists who are accomplished jazz musicians, the original chord symbols are included for pianists to embellish the accompaniment based on these changes.” At the bottom of the third page is this note: “*The voice may ‘crack’ here, too full of emotion to control.” Fabulous.

I meet Singer for a rehearsal, tell her I won’t be ready to rehearse this piece today and she tells me to not worry about it for tomorrow’s lesson. I ask her who the composer is since it’s not on the music, and she says she doesn’t know and her teacher didn’t tell her. Crickets on my end. She continues to say her teacher just told her the title, and this is the only one she could find. I broke in.

“$50 says she wanted you to get the Schubert one.”
“Oh, he wrote one?”
“Yeah, it’s one of his most famous pieces.”
“Yeah, I was wondering why you pulled this one, since the Schubert is the standard.”
“Yeah my teacher said the accompaniment actually sounds like a spinning wheel.”
“Yeah, it does. Whereas this one doesn’t.”
“Oh! Huh. How did they end up using the same words?”


My ability to hold a straight face grows stronger each day.



Filed under adventures in accompanying, story time, this actually happened

2 responses to “know your standards

  1. Peggy

    I am laughing so hard, my sides hurt.

  2. alison thomas

    Hysterical!!! I wish all of my music had a note that I might “crack” in it…. that would make life so much easier! ha!

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