April 09, 2007

Signal to noise

The Joshua Bell as subway musician story has made its way around most of the musical blogs already, but I'll join the fun and link to it as a service to those readers who don't always frequent other sites (like, say, my mom).

Personal analogue: my college roommate Mark used to have a gig playing lounge piano in the lobby of a fancy-schmancy apartment building in Chicago, and I would sub for him every now and again. How little attention was being paid? I could leaven my directionless Dukelsky-esque noodlings with entire pieces by Schoenberg and Feldman with nary a raised eyebrow from the residents. Ignoration has its perks.

(Actually, there was one guy living there who did pay attention. Whenever Michael Morgan walked through the lobby, Mark would segue into the most incongruous bit of operatic repertoire he could think of. There's a certain unique fun in pitching your act to the farthest corner of the room.)

7 comments:

Lane Savant said...

Ignoration! Mirable dictu!
One step up from ignorance.

Matthew said...

It's a real word! Honest! (At least it was in the 19th century). English doesn't actually have a common word for "the proprty of being ignored" because the idea is so horrifying that no one's talked about for a hundred years, apparently. (For a while, I would see "ignoral" here and there, but now that's become slang for an act of ignoring someone.)

adooma said...

There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog: www.SawLady.com/blog
She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

Mark said...

If only to illustrate that I am useful for more than lounge-lizard renditions of Mahler's 2nd, I will concur with Matthew that ignoration is in the OED and has a use fitting for most things that pass for political dialog these days: Ignoration of the Elench--and anglicized version of ignoratio elenchi, which is the logical fallacy of refuting an argument that was not made or is irrelevant to its professed purpose.

While looking this up I also happened upon ignivonous: adj. Vomiting Fire. Use it three times and it's yours!

It's nice to see that Michael Morgan is still in the running for the TBLBA (Thomas Beecham Long Baton Award.)

Mark said...

That's ignivomous. When will spell check get with the times?

Lane Savant said...

Or how about "ignoramus" as in
"venite ignoramus" as it applied to Joshua Bell's busking

Maury D'annato said...

Ignoral! Oh, morphology is so capricious anyway, such a fickle beast which is to say a beast of considerable fickality. Just discovered your blog after seeing the name several places. (I run an idiotic opera blog in another corner of the internet.) It seems swell. The mental picture of someone switching from "What I did for Love" to hotel lobby Schoenberg is riotous.