1 Dadjoke asked what happened to the cereal. Here it is. I keep the food that people eat spontaneously in the kitchen. Things for cooking with, or unopened boxes, stay in the pantry. I was able to put the cereal into the kitchen. Thus the lack of cereal boxes in the tidy pantry

Not very exciting. But go read Dadjoke. He has a new xanga and needs greetings. You might think that he is a jocular dad, from his name, but that appears not to be the case. In fact, I think he used to be Scrawnyjohnny. Maybe he filled out and gave up his old xanga name.

Having spent a full day yesterday trying to finish up the rocks and  minerals subunit, including a walk in the bitter cold during which I figured out what to do with the whole rock vs. mineral thing, I headed off to bells practice.

Miss B and I switched bells, so I now have middle C. Middle C, for the non-musicians in the group, is the one in the air between the treble and bass clefs, with the line through it. It is the easiest note to recognize. The picture below shows how it looks, depending how much of the staff you get in your music. The additional pictures at the bottom, labeled with the parts, apparently are intended to show how various singers feel about middle C.

MiddleC As a singer, I do feel about middle C the way they say an alto should. As a bellringer — the world’s worst bellringer, let me remind you — I like it a lot. I can recognize it easily.

I also have B, as well as B flat and C sharp, but all of them are close enough to middle C that I can recognize them without counting up or down. You would think I would be in clover, or the bell-like equivalent of it.

Here’s the thing: as a member of the bass clef, which is where middle C hangs out in bell music, I pretty well don’t ever get the melody. Thus, I lose all the advantages of knowing the tunes to some pieces. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” for example,  is a very familiar piece for me. I know the soprano and alto lines, and the melody line of the accompaniment. The bass line of the accompaniment, which is what I am playing, was a complete surprise to me. We did it at such a slow speed that I couldn’t even pick out the tunes I knew, and there were so many errors in all the lines (as the other bad players and I messed up) that I lost my place repeatedly. I played the right notes, of course, but not at the right times. So they were wrong notes.

In fact, there was one measure (measure 110) in which I had 4 quarter notes and a half note. All but one on B. The fifth was a C. This piece is in 4/4 time, so you should only have 4 quarter notes, or perhaps 2 half notes. There shouldn’t be 5 counts of B. That seems wrong. The director, when asked, saw nothing odd about it. Presumably there is not, in the world of bells, anything odd about it at all. To me, however, this sort of thing is very confusing. If you are singing music, you get something for every potential note. If you aren’t supposed to sing there, you get a rest, which is a little mark telling you not to sing there. With bells, you have to count up all the various notes, and they often don’t add up to the right number. Or at least that is how it looks to me.

So I continue to be the worst bellringer in the world.

Actually, I think it likely that I will be able to continue getting on top of the pieces in time to play reasonably accurately, if not well, by the time we play them in public. My goal for the bells this year is to get to where I enjoy playing.

Maybe next year I will get to where it’s music for me.

Following the misery of bell practice, I enjoyed choir practice. It is a completely different experience for me. Even when I make mistakes in sight reading (which I do, constantly), it’s temporary and fixable, which is not how bells feel.

Enough whining. I return to the rocks and minerals.

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” can be the song for the day, even though it is not especially intended for Christmas or for Epiphany. It is always a good piece, and you can sing it or play it on your guitar or tap it out on water glasses with a spoon, and it will always be beautiful. Johann Schop wrote the tune, but J.S. Bach arranged it, and he generally gets the credit for it. Martin Janus wrote the words in 1661, and Robert Bridges translated it a couple hundred years later.

Actually, if you look online, you can see Josh Groban listed as the composer of this piece. That is of course loony. However, Groban did bring this piece to the conscious awareness of a whole bunch of people who wouldn’t otherwise have known it, so he deserves some credit.