Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I listened to a great deal of music in the last three days, in a number of different venues. One thing I noticed every time: when a musician played rapid, repeated triplets, the audience burst into big applause and hollering. That was the only thing I noticed that was consistently true everywhere I went.

Now all the places I went to were Blues clubs, but you can hear rapid triplets everywhere. You can even hear them in “Free Bird” and such.

Rapid triplets aren’t that hard to play. They might be a little hard on the fingers if you do them for a long time, but that would have to be a really long time. In fact, many musicians play them when they are trying to think of something else to play. It’s sort of like “you know” or “uhh” or “that’s an interesting question” in conversation. 

I think people applaud repeated triplets because they hear them once and they like them but then they have the opportunity to hear them many times. Maybe they become comfortably with them as they become more familiar. Maybe if they hear them enough, they want them to fly away, like a mother bird might to her young. Perhaps the audience is saying “You can do it” knowing that they will go away, and they will miss them, but that they will be fine once they do. And they even know that someday they will come back. They will look different, but they know that they will come back.

Perhaps they return when they miss the big applause and all the hollering.

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