The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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The Refined Woodworker


mozart1

As far as the world of written woodworking is concerned, I am probably considered little more than a foul-mouthed thug from the inner city. There was a time when I would have hidden from my past in that regard, but now I embrace it-not so much proudly-but just as an indisputable fact of my existence. But like the would-be gentleman paupers of old, I’ve spent much of my life in an effort to improve myself, with some success. I was an intelligent kid and a good student, and I worked hard to increase my intelligence and knowledge of the world around me. It was not my station in life to study among the great minds of our time, and sit through the lectures of angry geniuses gifting the lesser minds scattered about them with their teachings. I went my own way, reading from my own version of “The Harvard Classics” which has left me with a somewhat incomplete but interesting collection of knowledge.

Part of my self-education was music. Like most kids from my generation, I was introduced to classical music not by my parents, but by watching the Loony Tunes, as my parents were fans of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, et al. As I got older I broke away from my parents tastes in music and became a fan of the popular music of the day. Still, good music transcends the generations, and like most teenagers I had delusions of rock stardom, so I took music lessons, guitar and piano to be precise, and during those lessons I was introduced to a wide range of musical forms. Later in life, I decided that I wanted to teach music and took classes in college to attain that goal. College music theory courses consist mainly of jazz and classical. Why? Probably in order to teach the two basic theories of harmony: diatonic and chromatic. During that time I acquired a decent collection of music and music books, and once the new-fangled iPod became available I uploaded a good portion of that music to the player. I now have more than 1000 songs on my iPod, and I’ve found that truly enjoy listening to music while I woodwork.

So what type of music do I listen to while woodworking? Everything. My player goes from modern to classic rock, country, classical, jazz, film scores, rap, blues, folk and pop. If you happened to stumble by my garage while I was woodworking you may hear ‘Water Music Suite No. 2 in D major’ followed by ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’. No, my music tastes aren’t “eclectic”. Because I’m a Cretan thug I don’t like the word “eclectic.” People who use that word really aren’t “eclectic” at all. Good music is good music; period, and I don’t care what “genre” it’s a part of.

But if I had to pick one genre of music to listen to while woodworking what would it be? I have to say that it would be Classical. I like to woodwork early in the morning, and Classical seems to be a lot easier to digest at 7 a.m. than your typical Black Sabbath song. Don’t get me wrong, I can stomach a little ‘War Pigs’ cranked up to ear-splitting levels at sunrise, but I don’t think anybody else in my house could. Still, if a foul-mouthed, vitriolic hooligan like myself can appreciate a little Chopin while woodworking, then maybe the rest of my journalist degree lacking, uncouth, unrefined, unholy, insincere, inconsiderate, and obnoxious woodworking cronies can too.

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6 Comments

  1. ….”Like most kids from my generation, I was introduced to classical music not by my parents, but by watching Looney Tunes”….

    Oh yeah? I got 6 words for you:

    Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro! (say each “Figaro” faster than the last one, and in a higher and higher pitch…)

    Us Canucks here are spoiled, we have CBC radio, some really good classical music, and commercial free too. Classical for marking out and carefull sawing and fitting, “Canned” 4 non-blondes and Zappa for jamming stuff through the thickness planer and monotonous drill press duties….

    • billlattpa says:

      When I lived in Philadelphia Temple University’s radio station played 12 hours of classical and 12 hours of jazz. Unfortunately I now live too far away from that station for it to come in clearly. If I’m woodworking during the afternoon I usually have classic rock on, but early morning is almost always classical. Thanks.
      Bill

  2. dzj9 says:

    Bach’s solo sonatas ring out nicely in my shop. But mostly it’s the contemporary pentatonic stuff.

    • billlattpa says:

      Up until fairly recently, if I had classical playing it was always Bach or Mozart piano, mainly because I have several CD’s of each. But around 6 months ago I downloaded two, 100 song classical compilations from Amazon for only $1.99 each, so I just let them play on shuffle.
      Bill

  3. bloksav says:

    I don’t have a radio or any other sound system i my workshop. I prefer to work in silence, I do sing occasionally though, but not very often.

    • billlattpa says:

      I didn’t usually listen to music while woodworking until my wife got for me an iPod “dock”. Much of the time, I just plug it in and put it on “shuffle”. The iPod automatically groups the music into categories, so if I’m in my garage woodworking early in the morning I make it a point to play classical music mainly because my garage is attached to my house and I’m doing my best to keep the peace, and classical music does seem to fit the mood during that time of day.
      Thanks.
      Bill

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