• alternate tuning

    by  • January 11, 2007 • Uncategorized • 5 Comments

    Something in the day lead me to a poem rather than an essay. I’m less confident in my poetry, but it is what I have to offer.

    Alternate Tuning

    I’m confused.

    I don’t understand.

    I’ve played guitar a long time.

    But tonight, I’m trying something new.

    I press the string against the neck for a

    G, but the note that sounds is B.

    My fingers go where they have always gone,

    Only to find notes they don’t know:

    My guitar has learned a foreign language.

    My hands know the chords in English, I guess —

    But my instrument now converses in

    Farsi, French, Urdu — Arabic?

    I am a beginner again,

    Trying to recognize an old friend

    Who has reinvented himself.

    I recognize the shape,

    The way the curve fits under my arm,

    But I don’t understand what he is saying.

    I stumble through the dictionary

    Of chord shapes, looking for something

    I recognize: a meaningful translation,

    Looking for a way to not feel so stupid.

    I could retune the strings back to the notes I know,

    We could go back to the same old chords,

    But I think I would always hear

    The trace of an accent in the strings.

    So I try again, forcing my

    Fingers to find the notes in new

    Places, to let my guitar lead

    Me to a new melody.



    Blogging since December 2005


    5 Responses to alternate tuning

    1. Anonymous
      January 11, 2007 at 3:37 am

      Is there anything you can’t do well? You are soooo going to be OK.

    2. January 11, 2007 at 5:09 pm

      Wow- what a great way to share where you are. This is very evocative, and I really enjoyed it, and in a small way, resonated with it (I don’t have a musical bone in my body, but the imagery still rang true).

      I love the idea of an instrument with an accent!

    3. January 11, 2007 at 5:11 pm

      This really spoke to me; there’s an overwhelming sadness in your imagery. Well done.

    4. January 12, 2007 at 2:06 pm

      Morning commute today: “And if the band you’re in/starts playing different tunes…” Pink Floyd. How appropriate and synchronicit-ish and all that.

      I have a high-mileage little ebay special at home currently tuned something like E B E B G#(broken string). Keith Richards used something like that to get what he called “happy accidents”.

      I can relate. Or hum along, whatever!

    5. kq
      January 14, 2007 at 8:03 am

      wow, alternate tuning, eh? That is SO what this is. Thanks, again.


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