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Pets With Good Taste In Music


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Not too long ago I got a new pup (a miniature schnauzer - see my avatar for a picture of Boudicca). Those first weeks didn't leave anyime for concertina practice, with the walks every 2 hours and getting her housetrained. But after a couple months, things settled down and the concertina came back out. Lo and behold! When I play, Boudy comes running over from wherever she is in the house, and sits attentively and listens. Often she wants to jump up next to me on the couch. No howling or whining, just polite attentiveness. I wish I could get my family to do that! It's refreshing to have someone in the house that appreciates the concertina!

I haven't tried out the PA on her yet ...

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We have a couple of cats who come to visit occasionally. The first one was so enamoured of my partner's concertina playing, that she climbed into her lap to get closer. Her nickname soon became Squeezy.

 

The second cat, Charlie, doesn't seem quite so interested, as no food comes out of the concertina when it is played, but certainly doesn't leave the room.

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When I was in college I was studying the classical guitar. The 1st Villa-Lobos Prelude (E minor) starts with a characteristic slide on the A string from B up to E, and I was learning that piece my freshman year (it's actually not that difficult). One day my mother called and told me that she heard the piece on the radio and as soon as it started the dog went nuts, like "where's David?"

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One of our cats comes to the linen closet just outside my study when I'm playing the concertina and begs for the door to be opened so she can nestle in behind the flannel sheets. Perhaps they provide a baffle for the high harmonics? Maybe she likes concertina music, but only when muffled.

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A number of musically astute beasts have shared my life.

 

In the early 70's a bear hunting dog showed up on my porch (I lived in a remote mountain valley in North Carolina). Skinny decided to stay and was a great friend. Seems he had a thing for french horn, trumpet and trombone. One evening (in a very odd mood fueled by a locally brewed elixir) my partner and I decided to listen to a recording of Verdi's Requiem. In the Dies Irae there is a monsterous section of brass that evokes the very deapths of hell released on earth. As this section is shaking the cabin, I hear a mornful moan from the porch...Skinny. There he is leaning againist the window, with a far away look in his eyes, head lifted high, adding his voice. The hair on my neck stood on end.

 

Skinny would also "accompany" my partner as she practiced her french horn on that same porch, sitting right beside the bell of the instrument in a transported state that could only be discribed as dog nirvana.

 

Skinny didn't care one way or the other about my concertina, banjo or guitar. He would lay beside me and sleep. Too tame I suppose.

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I can't figure out if this is relevant or off topic, but:

 

The actual quote:

 

"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.

To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."

 

From "The Mourning Bride," Act I Scene 1 by William Congreve (1670-1729)

 

Nothing here about beasts.

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"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.

To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."

...

Nothing here about beasts.

You sure? Shouldn't that first line have read, "savage beast"? :D

"R", matey! B)

 

Of course, there are those who dispute that the sound of a concertina is music.

 

But I'm curious about that "soften rocks" and "bend a knotted oak". Sounds to me like music is being blamed for volcanic eruptions. :P

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Re: pets,

I've had a laugh at sessions at my house when I've suggested maybe a song would be nice, then playing those high notes down at the bottom of the rows on the right hand of my C/G my cairn terrier will start in howling! Try it with your own dog; I think it's the same principle as dogs howling at train whistles.

 

Alan.

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My curly retriever LOVED the bagpipes. He would get very excited if he saw the piper or heard bagpipes. He would rush outside to locate the piper and patiently sit beside the piper and sing....for the entire practise sesssion. He sounded like an extra tenor drone. Occassionally the old flat coat retriever would join in and sound like a bass drone but only for a few minutes. This curly had even given himself concussion rushing into a closed door when he thought he heard pipes!

 

Now my labxcurly has taste, she likes the tina!

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Our late cat, Pixie, used to climb into my lap between me and the concertina when I was playing. She would happily settle down as long as I kept playing. If I stopped she looked up at me and mewed until I started up again.

Some day I shall find and scan in a photo.

 

Robin Madge

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Our late cat, Pixie, used to climb into my lap between me and the concertina when I was playing. She would happily settle down as long as I kept playing.

 

There are two noises that make our cat Winston flee for the hills. The first is the vaccum cleaner, and the second is the concertina. Maybe its my playing?

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I got my Golden three years ago, and used to leave the Classical music station on for him during the night when he slept in his kennel. When my son James comes home and plays the melodeon, Talisker becomes very quiet and attentive. I haven't heard him sing, though, and he is generally a non-barker.

 

Pic of Talisker and James:

 

 

Edited by greenferry
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After leaving the mountains of North Carolina for the big city of Chapel Hill, a shinny black cat named Hexe shared my life for awhile. When I pulled out my concertina in the evening and sat in this low backed padded rocker, she would jump up on my shoulders snuggle under my hair and purr as long as I played, occationally bitting me on the chin. I've been told that the bites were a sign of affection....for me, or the concertina?

 

The picture is from that time.

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We live on a farm and when practising outside in the summer, (a morris jig with my wife dancing), we noticed after a while that all the cows were lined up against the fence watching and paying quite close attendance.

 

I tried testing them later by waiting until they were at the end of the field, then started to play. Sure enough, after about 30 seconds, they came running up to the gate to see and hear what was going on. Obviously wasn't the wife's dancing then!

 

The best audience I've ever had except they didn't clap much and didn't leave anything worthwhile in the hat afterwards.

 

Alex West

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