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On Angels and Messengers

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Glossary of Seldom-Used Musical Terms

Dr Speedbump’s                                                   
 Glossary of Seldom-Used Music Terms 3.5
Page 1 of 2

al dente
with a toothy grin; (see liberace)
al Fredo
al Pacino
violent, but charming
as high as you can sing
gradually emerge from a painfully slow tempo
few will like this section; (see broccoli)
slow enough to put the audience to sleep
extremely stretched out
aria guitaria
air guitar
aria guitaria segovia
very good air guitar
squirming around in your seat to get more comfortable
an alto who’s absent without notifying the director
distasteful, but doesn’t stink as bad as anchovi
bromo salsa
a dance like the one that follows anchovi pizza molto presto
crisp; (see dorito and tostito)
whole notes smushed together but still distinct
clipiti clopiti
in the style of Gene Autry; (see palomino)
beautiful, except where it’s flat
con supina
sing even if you don’t want to
counter tenor
a singing waiter at a diner
da Vinci
be inventive; make something up
de Julio
campy, but in an oriental style
de Niro
forget about it; the composer’s not talking to you
falling apart; e.g. when the conductor loses his place
finish the movement in 30 minutes or less, or admission is free
corny; one variation of caracas
heavy, but soaring
el Greco
distorted, just like the last section and the one before that
from a distance
fine but distasteful
sung slowly, faking the words
in control and with conviction; screw it up and you’ll regret it
generally shaky
with a commanding voice
a rocky, medium-heavy rhythm; (see marciano)
very suggestively
sickeningly sweet
largo cargo
slow and heavy
largo con fuego
a slow burn
with gaiety and a toothy grin (see al dente), usually in a tuxedo

Glossary of Seldom-Used Music Terms
Page 2 of 2

a very thin tone
a rocky, very heavy rhythm; (see graziano)
martini pimento
ornamentation with no real purpose
mea culpa
with lots of mistakes
mea maxima culpa
the worst mistake imaginable
nolo prima
miss the entrance
saturated with flats
flat and boring
more uniform than pinto; (preferred by Gene Autry)
with contrasting spots; (see clipiti clopiti)
with blind determination, ad infinitum
you must pay to play; obviously, no union musicians
played stiffly with strings
pizza molto
very flat
pizza pepperoni
with zest, but still flat
pizza poco
just a little flat
pizza poco a poco
getting flatter all the time
what you should have done before the concert
performed while standing for more than 4 hours
start way too soon
quasi modo
moving along at half-speed
quasi morte angelina
beautiful but fading; literally “like a dying angel”
very disgusting
performed by an ensemble, when it’s supposed to be a solo
riga morte
stiff and very dull; quiet but not soft
a more robust tone; (see linguini)
rondo bondo
a recurring theme, each time by a different instrument, but never as well as the second one; always rehearsal section 007
sara palino
with no preparation and stopping suddenly halfway through
coarse and gritty
no sorento, ever
a cappella tutti (orchestra, chorus and soloists)
soni bono
literally “a good sound”, but actually a bit irritating
go back to this place; (synonymous with DS)
stumbling painfully along
from an even greater distance than fargo
there’s absolutely nothing for you to do in this section
very exciting (umm…compared to omaha or topeka, anyway)
another variation of caracas (see dorito)
vivace fortissimo subito
wake the audience up; (see anesthesia)
wasilla vista
see siberia
riga morte quasi modo

Saturday, February 9, 2013

♫ A Jukebox of My Music UNDER CONSTRUCTION

You won't find these on the Wurlizter at the soda shoppe.
Only on and sometimes on
So here's a convenient way to listen to some of my compositions.

Simply Go to My Page on FREE-SCORES.COM

or try your luck with the links below.

2 -  The Lord's Prayer (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB a cappella 
3 - Glory to God (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

4 - : Ave Maria 
Piano and Voice

5 -  Lamb of God (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

6 -: Lord Have Mercy (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

7 -  Alleluia and Gospel Verse (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

8 -: Great Amen (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

9 -: Holy, Holy, Holy (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

10 - A Light Before the Dawn (Opus 1 - revised)
Strings ensemble, Voice

11 - : Memorial Acclamation (St Cecelia's Mass of Hope)
Choral SATB

Sunday, February 3, 2013


A Template for Blogger

Back in the 13th century, Rumi said:

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, 

there is a field.

I'll meet you there." 

The second verse is rarely quoted: 

"When the soul lies down in that grass, 

the world is too full to talk about. 

Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" 

doesn't make any sense."

When I was a grad-student at Virginia Tech in the early Seventies, my bride and I lived in a house on a mountaintop, connected to one other house by a covered deck. The view did not include any other man-made structures or infra-structure. We had 500 acres, including a 60-foot Travertine waterfall.  The retired bachelor who lived next door was 40 years my senior.  I was from New England. He grew up on a Southern Plantation. Our political views were probably opposed. When we sat on the deck, we rarely broke the silence. There was no need to, because  "language didn't make sense."  Visitors often got uncomfortable with the lack of conversation. They never heard what Rumi said.  Neither had I, at the time.  Now, 40 years later, I am reminded of that mountaintop, where the houses are now headquarters for the Falls Ridge Nature Preserve.  On the back side of the mountain (not visible in the photo below), there is a small field hidden in the middle of the woods. Never mowed, it inexplicably is immune to natural succession. 
Who wants to meet me there?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

ASSUMPTION CHURCH, SYRACUSE, NY -------- My latest Pen & Ink


This may be the most detailed drawing I've done to date. 
 You could enlarge it  nearly to life-size and it would still be sharp.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Memories of My Cousin, 
Bob Kirk:  a personal reflection

Part I.  The Red Plastic Scissors

I have no memories older than this one -- a gift from my cousin, Bob.  I was no more than 2 years old.  He was in his early twenties.  My mother was his Guardian; and Bob lived with us when he was in college.  I know it was no later than 1948 or 1949, because Bob moved out when he and Jeanne got married; and we moved across the street in 1950.

The "boy's bedroom" had dark maple bunk beds for my brother and me.  I can vaguely see a desk and a single bed. I guess that would have been Bob's bed.  I remember Bob sitting in the chair at the desk, graciously letting me try to cut his hair with a pair of red plastic scissors.  I'm not sure if the scissors were sharp enough, but I do remember that both of us were laughing.  When you've been on the planet for only a couple of years, it's a big deal when you're allowed to do something new like this.  I'm sure Bob had no idea how special that moment would always be to me.

After 64 years, I finally got around to start writing this thank-you note to him ...  and another 6 months to finish it.  My mother always told me to slow down.  (Bob, please tell her I'm OK.) 

Part II.  More Memories of Bob -- some big, some small.  
  • I remember being puzzled about Bob's last name being different from his brother's.  This was long before Bill Shatner decided to become a Kirk, too.
  • I remember when Bob took me on my first airplane ride, sometime in the late 1950s, perhaps 1957 -- on a twin-engine plane with propellers, probably a DC-3, Mohawk Airlines from Boston to Rochester, NY.  It was nighttime -- and pouring rain.  Back then, planes didn't just roar:  they whined and rattled, too.  The flight  was awfully noisy, very dark, quite turbulent and terribly exciting -- but not scary, because Bob was there.
  • I remember the house on Seneca Parkway in Rochester.  I recognized the street 50 years later, when some of my NY "family" bought a house a few doors down.  
  • I remember a compliment that Bob gave me in that house. Bobbie had tripped over the cord of a big ceramic lamp, which was on the end-table next to my chair.  The flying lamp would have crashed on or near her.  Only a skinny kid could have made that diving catch behind the chair.  I was surprised and pleased to hear such a loud, enthusiastic "Fantastic catch, Vinny" from Cousin Bob.   
  • I remember being delighted to learn that Bob was bringing his family back from Rochester to the house they bought on Front Street in Weymouth. 
  • I don't remember if I ever thanked Bob for splicing the mast on my first sailboat, the first time I somehow snapped it -- half-way up.
  • I remember being impressed by Bob's oil paintings, and those by my own Dad -- and I listened when they talked at the Cape with Van Coleman about technique and composition.  
  • I remember, when many a Christmas morning was winding down, the joy of realizing that there would be more fun in the afternoon, when the Kirks arrived like gangbusters.  Sometimes, I didn't realize it until the door burst open.  Suddenly, the day had new life.
  • I remember thinking that my Cousin Bob had the ideal family -- better than the Nelsons -- and I confess that there were one or two times when I would have preferred it to my own.
  • I remember how Bob told me, as an adult, about his remarkably successful battle with arthritis.  He got me interested in Hatha yoga; and it has helped a lot.  That was one gift from Cousin Bob for which I did express my thanks to him.

Thank you, Bob, for all the inspiration that you gave me through the years.  We miss you here -- but I do believe that you and Jeannie are together again.  I also believe that if we could see you now ... Well,  there's a song about that.*  Please tell  Fr. John that we miss him, too -- and ask if he read what I wrote when he crossed the bar not so long ago.**  You do have Wi-Fi there, don't you?

With Love,
     Cousin Vinny

*   Click HERE  or Google "If You Could See Me Now - Don Moen".
** Click HERE or Google "Meus Deus Pater".