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memfree's Journal: last night's dream of music and memory 3

Journal by memfree

Had a vivid dream last night and -- despite the distraction of the alarm clock -- managed to remember a good deal of it. After emailing it to friends, one asked me to post this silliness, so I will ... but I doubt it'll work for those who are unaware of our real-life situations.

Part of the dream I can't remember is the thing I was obviously *trying* to remember. I'd gone over differences and uses of a bunch of minor scales yesterday and my brain was trying put the info in long-term storage, but I'd already lost the name of the particular minor I cared about from short-term, so the dream failed to resolve that. Also, the dream didn't follow linear time, but I've written this as if it did to make it more coherent.

The dream:

The starting point is fuzzy, but involved me as a teenage punk. At some point, good real-life friends (Girl and Guy) ended up in the scene. We went to Girl's's/my new apartment in West Philly and hung out in the attic trying to learn our instruments (two guitars plus Guy on 5-string bass guitar). Skipping the details, we sucked.

Girl suggested that if we just dropped acid, we'd figure everything out. I thought that was a GREAT idea! Guy thought that was a HORRIBLE idea! The cats (which seemed to be all the cats I've known any of us to own) decided that it should be a majority decision and they'd act as the Supreme Court if there were any Rules Violations.

I ran down to the fridge to get a fresh round of music acid (as opposed to dancing, filming, or other types that were stocked in the egg container-y thingie) and brought them back. By then, Guy had deferred to the Judgment of the Cats, but insisted that if he was going to be dragged into our madness, we'd have to document the event, and started a reel-to-reel recorder as I handed out doses.

Unlike any drug known to man, this acid gave us instant comprehension of a wide array of music theory and application. With new-found insights and ability, we fell together in a seamless jam centered around some bluesy progressions but diverting from that repeatedly and purposefully to explore different minors -- with our prime groove using ... umm... whatever-that-minor-is-that-has-an-arabic-kinda-sound-to-it.

It didn't take much discussion before we'd ascended into this 'arabic' flavored jam for a LONG time and as it progressed we talked less and played more. Our speech -- questions and suggestions about who'd lead or where to head -- descended into increasingly less complete thoughts as our playing improved, and kept doing so until we reached the point we'd just grunt, smile and nod.

Eventually, I realized we'd lost the ability to speak, and I pointed this out by playing a riff that equated to the same sentiment. Guy gave back a sarcastic bass line that effectively said, "Duh! You can't take music acid and retain speech! That's what the instruments are for -- for TALKING!" And Girl -- like a firm but loving mother -- came back with a string of major chords suggesting we lighten up and get back to the music.

But by then the mood was different and the magic was wearing off and we couldn't get back to the Arabian theme and we all got frustrated. Still speaking via instruments, we became increasingly upset and dischordant. We couldn't find our groove. We couldn't remember what we'd been playing. We were coming down too fast and all our ability was evaporating from both mind and fingers.

We decide to play back the tape and jam with that. Sure, we wouldn't be able to record anything new while the tape was in play-back mode, but it was doubtful any additions would be as good as what we'd BEEN playing, anyway. One of us decided to make a written transcription of what we'd played in tab form, and we realized that we'd already lost the ability to read sheet music. Somewhere in there, we'd returned to actual speech, too.

After much talk, we were all straight, and had little incentive for jamming to the tape, but with all the talk we had not yet gone as far as to turn the tape off RECORD, so we did that, rewound and pressed PLAY. It turned out that the tape was just an hour-long loop (despite having two unconnected reels), so the rewind put us back to the point where we're saying stuff like, "Well let's see what we've got" "Are you going to tab this out in pen or pencil?" "There's no point in recording us talking"

We were distressed that we'd only got an hour of tape, but we'd really only talked for about 10 minutes, so we expected there was maybe 30 minutes of a great jam, 10-15 minutes of talking-by-instrument and falling apart, and a few minutes of whatever (we discussed this at length and did complicated-seeming math to derive this).

After various equations, we knew how to fast-forward the tape to the point where we hit STOP. We then switched to play-back with a great anticipation for the joyous music we'd made. For a long moment, there was silence on the tape. Then we heard a grunt. Then a few more grunts and breathing. Slowly we realized we could hear the muffled sounds of instruments being picked, slapped and hammered, but there was no music to it -- just tiny percussive hits devoid of differentiating tone.

The recording was only able to pick up our human noises -- not our music -- it was as empty as our memory of what we'd played.

---

Of all the movies I saw this weekend, I'm embarrassed at how much of the dream was *just* from the least 'important' flick, "50 First Dates" (spoiler: a girl can't remember new experiences, but eventually her dreams include the guy who loves her -- even if she can't remember who he is). The movie covers the interaction between memories and dreams. THAT part of yesterday I still remember. Still can't name that minor scale, though, and obviously I won't until get home and review it. Maybe tonight's dream will give me long-term access to it.

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last night's dream of music and memory

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  • Harmonic Minor is a badass. It doesn't take any of your shit. Could that be what you were thinking of?

    You weren't playing any modes, were you? (Phrygian? Mixylidian? Spelling? ;)

    Kewl dream. I've heard of that whole acid+instruments==talking with music thing before and its a yummy thought; alternative modes of communication.
    • Yes, Harmonic Minor is sweet. And no, I wasn't *technically* playing modes, but the formal name I couldn't remember (and have since checked) would be a Chromatic Hypolydian scale -- rather than simply calling it a Persian scale.

      Yours was a double-plus-good call, though because I'd been comparing it to the Harmonic Minor scale. With a natural 3rd, Chromatic Hypolydian isn't even a minor scale, either, (flat 2, 5, and 6) but I wasn't remembering that in either dream or post-dream wakefulness. This is all
  • Very cool. :)

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