This piece has just been published in Syncopation Volume 2 Issue 2
Mervyn Martian and Edgar Earthling discuss music
MERVYN: Edgar, what are you doing?
EDGAR: I’m writing a song.
MERVYN: What is a ‘song’?
EDGAR: A collection of words set to music.
MERVYN: What is ‘music’?
EDGAR: It’s an arrangement of sounds that is pleasant to the ear.
MERVYN: How is that done?
EDGAR: Usually they’re produced by instruments.
MERVYN: What, like a microscope or an odometer? They don’t make sounds.
EDGAR: No, a different type of instrument. They’re built from wood and metal and are made to
be strummed, struck, or blown to make sounds. Unless of course they are electronic instruments
that can be programmed to imitate other instruments.
MERVYN: You have already invented a machine to replace all the others, but you still
manipulate the old ones?
EDGAR: Yes. Most people prefer that form of music.
MERVYN: You prefer a primitive, imprecise form of noise-making? Why have your people
EDGAR: We’re working on it. In the meantime, I’m writing a song.
MERVYN: With sounds that are pleasant to everyone’s ears.
EDGAR: Not everyone. Some people like sounds that other people hate. Musical sounds go by
various names, like classical, rock, folk, blues, country and so on. There’s even a form called
jazz, although there’s still a debate about whether that counts as music.
MERVYN: So where do you get the words for these songs that some people will find musically
EDGAR: Some people write about love, some tell stories, some just make up nonsense words.
The possibilities are endless.
MERVYN: So, these words are not always about anything real?
MERVYN: Meaning most of them are lies.
EDGAR: Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
MERVYN: And what do you do with these songs when they’re finished?
EDGAR: We record them, so anyone can listen to them. Or we perform them live.
MERVYN: And do all these recordings get listened to?
EDGAR: Some a lot, most hardly ever.
MERVYN: What will your song be about?
EDGAR: About a man who has conversations with a Martian.
MERVYN: But that’s not a lie, it’s true.
EDGAR: Only if I write a song about it, Mervyn.
3 thoughts on “Scene from the latest Hollywood blockbuster ‘Not-so-close encounters’”
Call me square as, man, but jazz remains light years away from being entertainment, to my tin ear at least. Unearthly, yes, but music? ‘Not as we know it Jim…’
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Exactly. Don’t beam me up, Scott Joplin. 😉
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