A Little Help: On Behalf of Sheet Music Purveyors

In another life, your very own snark factory, Empiricus, was once a snarky little sheet music purveyor. Back then, there were many idiomatic oddities with which I had to regularly deal—someone looking for a specific piece of music might have the wrong Hoboken number and I’d be charged with trying to help them find exactly which Haydn piece they came to the store for. Other times, a very thick accent proved challenging. Fortunately, there were always tricks of the trade that produced some good results. One, if they could sing the theme, or melody, or whatever, then that increased the chances of finding the right piece. Two, someone else might not know the name of the piece, but knew what the music’s cover looked like. There were always ways around missing information.

Sometimes, however, there was an utter lack of communication. It might have gone like this:

Little Empiricus: Hello there. Can I help you find something?

Sabine Kortals of the Denver Post: Yes, please.

Little Empiricus: It would be my pleasure. What are you looking for?

Sabine: Mozart’s Piano Concerto.

Little Empiricus: Which one?

Sabine: The “Elvira Madigan” Concerto.

Little Empiricus: ...? The “Elvira Madigan” Concerto?

Sabine: Yes. It’s very “beloved.”

Little Empiricus: (scratches head) Huh. Is it this one? (sings) Do, Mi (flat), La (flat), So, Fa (sharp), Mi (flat)...

Sabine: No, that’s not it.

Little Empiricus: How about this? (sings again) Mi, Do (sharp), Re, Fa (Sharp), Si, Re, Sol (sharp), La...

Sabine: No. That’s not it, either.

Little Empiricus: Hmmm. Don’t know what to say. I’ve never heard of the “Elvira Madigan” Concerto, before. Sorry. Do you have any other information?

Sabine: No (sigh). Well, thanks anyway. (leaves)


Then, later that evening, I’d return home from work and Google “Elvira Madigan” and “Mozart Piano Concerto,” to see what I might find, just in case Sabine ever came back to the store. Then I’d find out that “Elvira Madigan” is reference to a Swedish movie. A Swedish movie! In it, the second movement from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major (K.467) is played as a backdrop to a “lazy boat ride.” Crap! Of course I know that piece! Dammit! That's another Breitkopf & Hartel I failed to sell! You might be able to see, now, why I was fired.


David Rakowski said...

Just a thought, and it goes back to Danny Felsenfeld a while back.

Time for Empiricus and Sator to life the anonymity. Empiricus, I know who you are. Your secret is safe with me. But I am disappointed.

Sator Arepo said...

Hey Davy,

We're reticent to reveal our noms de blog because we're both young academics who could jeopardize our (questionable) careers via our snarky commentary. Probably we're never gonna make any money anyway, but there you have it.

Say hi to Pozzi Escot for me!

(Is that enough of a spoiler?)

Oh, and also Joe Johnson!


PS If you really wanna know, I'll email you personally.

Sator Arepo said...

And why disappointed?

Empiricus said...

I should qualify your remarks, Sator. I don't think nom de blogs should be a question in an anonymous forum, especially one devoted to, hopefully, positive dialogue (snark is merely the catch, which should always be taken with a grain of salt). Other than that, I was disappointed, too. I should know "Elvira Madigan," I suppose.