Heavy of Heart

Authors of an essay that appears in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine analyzed several of Beethoven’s compositions for clues of a heart condition some have speculated he had. The rhythms of certain parts of renowned works, researchers say, may in fact reflect the irregular rhythms of Beethoven’s own heart caused by cardiac arrhythmia.“His music may have been both figuratively and physically heartfelt,” says co-author Joel Howell, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

“When your heart beats irregularly from heart disease, it does so in some predictable patterns. We think we hear some of those same patterns in his music.”“The synergy between our minds and our bodies shapes how we experience the world.  This is especially apparent in the world of arts and music, which reflects so much of people’s innermost experiences,” Howell adds.

… Take for example the final movement “Cavatina” in Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130, an emotionally-charged piece that Beethoven said always made him weep. In the middle of the quartet, the key suddenly changes to C-flat major, involving an unbalanced rhythm that evokes dark emotion, disorientation and what has even been described as a “shortness of breath.”

In the composer’s directions to musicians playing the piece, the section is marked beklemmt, a German word that translates to “heavy of heart.”

via Was Beethoven’s music literally heartfelt? | University of Michigan Health System


You might find your small soul

The thrill here is quicker than you’d think
The way some jet-lagged bar kept pouring the wine
From over their heads then sit back down again
Four times is once too much for luck
And that’s how many times the clock struck
I wandered home, saying your name

The arches here were built ’cause they don’t fall
The cathedrals to make you feel small
You might find your small soul
But leave the preaching to the president
The crowd cheers, his eyes get wet
I’m full as it is, I’m full as it is
So don’t feed me more

You’ll be having my head, big as a birthday
‘Cause I left all my doubts on the airplane
I didn’t know, I didn’t know I’m not in control
I didn’t know, I’m not invincible

And maybe some things are better left unsaid
But if you wanted to test that, out well, yeah, I guess, you could’ve said
But there were nights in bars that I recall
Your breath was courage laced with alcohol
You leaned in, and said,
“Make music with the chatter in here,
And whisper all the notes in my ears.”
I didn’t know, I didn’t know the weight of my tongue
I didn’t know, I didn’t know what I’d done

The lights here are softer than you’d think
The dim lit peacocks in the trees,
They’re hiding their eyes and their beauty, like me
But if my eyes were on my back
I know what I’d be looking at
Through every shade of browns and greens
I didn’t know, I didn’t know it was nothing new
I didn’t know, I didn’t know it was you


Bizarre Celebrations: Happy New Year

a Happy New Year’s Eve deserves a happy song, imo

Let’s have bizarre celebrations…

Let’s forget who, forget what, forget where.
We’ll have bizarre celebrations…
I’ll play the Satyr in Cyprus, you the bride being stripped bare.

Let’s pretend we don’t exist, let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica.
Let’s pretend we don’t exist, let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica.

Let’s have bizarre celebrations … let’s forget when, forget what, forget how.
We’ll have bizarre celebrations … we’ll play Tristan and Iseult, but make sure I see white sails.

Let’s pretend we don’t exist, let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica.
Let’s pretend we don’t exist, let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica.

Maybe I’ll never die, I’ll just keep growing younger with you, and you’ll grow younger, too.
Now it seems too lovely to be true, but I know the best things always do.

Let’s pretend we don’t exist, let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica.


I wish I had somewhere to go

There are days where I really luck out on my lunch hour and get to catch a performance in the rain.

This fellow is named Alan, and he is banned from a local corner store called The Den after a feud with the owner who sounds like a bit of a dick if you ask me. Alan is a ramblin’ man, with calloused hands, a thick head of hair, and a beautiful guitar that he accompanies through a variety of music perfect for hearing on a rainy day.

a musician belting out covers of Conway Twitty in addition to songs he's written
a musician belting out covers of Conway Twitty in addition to songs he’s written

I was fortunate enough to catch an admittedly poor recording of one of his original tunes and I enjoyed meeting him. He’s never met an Emory before, and it pleased me to be the first.


a Sunday Morning with Lou Reed

It was the voice of a sullen siren named Nico that first drew me in.

But in the afterglow of Femme Fatale was the poetry of Lou Reed that got into my brain and became part of my blood. Eventually it would be his words that reinforced my bohémien bridges and made them structurally sound.

Like a lot of my favorite music, I first heard the Velvet Underground courtesy of my BFF Eric. The Velvet Underground & Nico was a toaster in my bathtub; an electrifying restless joyride into teenaged angst and cigarette smoke. Hearing them for the first time lifted a veil on a part of the sound of Sonic Youth I could never put my finger on before, the man behind the curtain of what I loved about music. It was his Load-Bearing Rock that could make me feel stronger when I felt weak, and brave when I felt scared.

I’ll be dropping a needle on my well-loved 12″ of Loaded soon and looking forward to all tomorrow’s parties. Like Beardless Harry you’re certainly good enough for heaven.

Safe home, Lou Reed.


Waiting Room

I filmed this in 2001, at one of Fugazi’s free concerts held in a park in Washington DC. I was with my BFF and we were delightfully well-rocked by the end of it all. I don’t remember for certain which park it was in, but I believe it was Glover Archbold Park because I remember being near Georgetown and American University and leaving town via the GW Parkway after being bumper to bumper for A BILLION HOURS.