Saturday, July 05, 2008

Music as oh-so-fleeting defamiliarization

Some music was playing as I walked into the room just a moment ago, and despite my familiarity with it (fyi, it was Hawksley Workman's "Old Bloody Orange") it took me a good 3 seconds to recognize it. In those 3 seconds, it was completely foreign to me - I must have wandered in part-way through a bar of music because I didn't recognize the melody or the chord progressions. This seems to happen every so often, most often when I turn my iPod on without looking at the screen: a piece of music that I've heard dozens of times is totally unrecognizable by virtue of an unorthodox starting point, and in that moment it could become absolutely anything.

There's always a brief moment of delight in recognizing the song, followed immediately by the disappointment of having been alienated from the original mystery that so completely captured my attention for those 3 seconds. I can't remember what it was that I first heard when I entered the room - I only remember that it was "Old Bloody Orange" that was playing.


Jen Selk said...

THIS ... I totally get.

neilshyminsky said...

Worst comment ever.