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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Thing To Do Today: quaver.

Today is St Cecilia's Day, and St Cecilia, as of course you already know, is the patron saint of music.

Now, you may not think of yourself as musical, but how about having a quick quaver, anyway?

Luckily, one way to have a quaver doesn't involve any musical talent whatsoever, because to quaver can mean to say or sing something in a shaky voice. Frightened or old people do it a lot, and so do people who can't sing. Actually, so do people who can sing.

British musicians are more inclined to quaver more than those in America, because British musicians call the American eighth note a quaver (that's a rather quick sort of note that usually arrives in groups). In fact British musicians have several types of quaver for use in the more agitated pieces and we call these even quicker notes semiquavers, demisemiquavers (the notes getting shorter and shorter as the name gets longer) and so on right up to demisemihemidemisemiquavers, which is ridiculous (Americans sensibly call these 256th notes).

Mind you, even if you are musical you'll probably want to avoid those.

These are mere sixty fourth notes, or hemidemisemiquavers.

To inspire you, here are lot of quavers and enthusiasm (and something that sounds at moments a little like a Fred Flintstone impersonation). It was written by Handel in honour of St Cecilia:

If you're worried about upsetting St Cecilia by making hideous noises on her special day then I suppose you could always sing a song of the sort that has even more quavers, but is unlikely to rise quite as far as heaven:

Well, it might be fun to try, anyway.

Thing To Do Today: quaver. This word comes from the 1300s word quaven, to tremble.

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