Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Bugle Adventure

I set my keyboard to a dynamic synthesized voice, gentle, plaintive. I tried to play the little melody lacrimoso—music mood talk for sadly, forlornly.

“Is that a bugle call?” she asked.

“It’s a little melody that just happens to use five notes,” I said.

She just stared at me.

“Music is about rhythms and pitches,” I said. “They make melodies. It’s not about the instruments that perform the melodies.”

She continued to just stare at me.

“Okay, look,” I said, “maybe the bugle is the most sincere of all the instruments. It doesn’t have valves like a trumpet. It doesn’t have electromagnetic pickups like a guitar. It doesn’t have digital signal processing chips like a keyboard. It just has five notes and it can make them cry or sing, depending on how the performer plays the instrument. A bugle can’t be programmed to sound good, it has to be played good. Maybe there should be more bugles in pop music.”

But she was laughing, then, and I saw that we weren’t going to get into a philosophical discussion on music and the instruments that make it.


Hey, look, here’s something you don’t see every day:

That’s a 1984 Macintosh brochure.

When you bought an early Mac, that brochure was packed inside the Macintosh box, and if I remember right, it was positioned to be open to the first fold, so that when you opened the Macintosh box the first thing you’d see would be the text on the first fold:

If you click on the picture it gets bigger. The text reads:

“The Adventure Begins Here.”


That little brochure is almost thirty years old.

I was a Macintosh user during the early years. But then I switched over to Windows. Apple is a very strange company — Apple And The Status Cow.

But the early Mac years were extraordinary.

It really was an adventure.

I mean, both the early Mac, and for me to get from 1984 to 2013.

That brochure didn’t lie.


This afternoon I reached up onto a book shelf to pull down a book on the history of orchestral instruments. For one reason or another I’m interested in bugles now, and so-called natural trumpets. A while ago I was interested in accordions. And then the Tempest percussion synthesizer. Now I’m interested in bugles.

Anyway, this afternoon I reached up and pulled down a book and that brochure fell down. For some reason somehow the brochure had gotten wedged between books I hadn’t touched for years and I’d forgotten all about it.

It’s very cool to see it again.

I wonder: Is that brochure telling me another thirty year adventure is about to start?

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