(Blogmeister note: a couple of posts went off into the ether so I’m reposting them in case somebody missed ’em.)

Fair warning…this is all a little weird BUT very fun. Stay with me.

Let us consider the bagpipe (but not too much, there is a limit). This particular instrument has drones that give a constant chord and then a little flute thingy that plays a tune. Simple. The movement of the notes around the drone notes gives you that unique bagpipe sound.

“New Rule: Stop calling bagpipes a musical instrument. They’re actually a Scottish Breathalyzer test. You blow into one end, and if the sound that comes out the other end doesn’t make you want to kill yourself–you’re not drunk enough.”  ― Bill Maher

If we expand this thought a bit, couldn’t a tune be sung or played against ANY drone note with some level of success? Seems reasonable to me. Of course, this all came bubbling up through the Blogmeister’s addled brain while vacuuming (Blogmeister doing housework = happy Mrs. Blogmeister). The droning tone of the vacuum stuck in my head and, as I passed the piano, it occurred to me that there was a note in the midst of all the sucking sounds*.

The next logical step was to hum along with the vacuum and then I found myself creating a little tune to dance around that droning note. Not only did it tickle that little corner of my brain that has a small nugget of creativity, it was also a fantastic exercise in pitch control. I found that it was pretty easy to wander from the purity of being in complete tune with the vacuum cleaner (read that again…I told you it would get weird) and making the constant adjustments to stay exactly on pitch was an excellent practice exercise.

Of course this led to more weirdness once the vacuuming was done. Where else could I find music? (Disclaimer: if you go down this path you will never be able to escape and you will forever be surrounded by music and rhythm. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Thus began a bizarre journey that isn’t going to stop any time soon. A short list of places that I have visited:

  • The refrigerator has a very soft drone and is a great thing to practice staying on pitch while singing softly, which can be a little challenging.
  • The tink-tonk of the turn signal in the car is cool to tap counterpoint with. You’ll find you tend to speed up and forcing yourself not to is a big deal.
  • The dishwasher is pretty much an orchestra with a drone (actually mine sounds like two), a rhythmic whoosing noise and, if you set it up just right, a metronome of two plates banging (gently) together.

* My Shark vacuum hums a constant D.