A PERFECT PITCH DIVERSION

Somewhere sandwiched between my cello beginnings was the discovery that I had "perfect" pitch. Controversy about this phenomenon will probably continue into eternity but, one thing that might be concluded from our family's history is that it can be inherited. All of is got it. Then again, with as much music as was going on in our home it was difficult to forget what an 'A', or any other note, sounded like.

Whatever my age was, I know that I had an LP player because I was listening to the HSQ's Dvorak "American" constantly. I can remember my mother telling someone, "if you want to get a person hooked on string quartets, start by playing them this one." What she couldn't add (but I will) is that you have to play them that recording because, to my mind, and/or any of my most elite and respected colleagues, if you can't bring yourself to call the Hollywood String Quartet the greatest, you will at least have to say there isn't a better one, period!

So we're in one of the many cars we had, and we're driving somewhere, either Palm Springs ("The Springs") or Vegas, and I'm telling my parents how much I like the Dvorak. "Oh," says one of them, "how does it go?" So I start singing the Scherzo and, as I'm singing, mom gives dad "a look," and her eyebrows go up. "Oy, another one!" You see, it takes one to know one, and she now knew that we all had perfect pitch.

[I'd like to digress for a moment here, reader, and, speak to those of you who know that Scherzo, because I have never quite gotten over its notation. You see, I listened to it until I had memorized every note, and when I finally got a chance to try and play it, I was unable to do so. Dvorak did a little "tricky dicky" by putting the upbeat on the downbeat. Why doesn't somebody just re-write the thing so that it looks like what it sounds like?]


Go East Young Man
Mr B, the Duke and Me
Grandpa Grisha
A Perfect Pitch Diversion
Banging My Head On My Pillow
All content © 2020 Frederick Zlotkin