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Marching Music

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Marching Music

Postby balzaccom » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:23 am

From our latest blog entry:

As we hiking through Henry Coe State Park last weekend, I found myself humming Chopin's Funeral March as I trudged up the long, steep hills on the last day. Admittedly, I was humming it a bit faster than the usual tempo, but still...A funeral march? When I mentioned this to M, she shared her own song of the day--The Star Spangled Banner. hmmmm. Must be an Olympic thing. It still seemed a better choice, but you can't always pick your tune!

At some point on every hike, I find myself marching to a tune in my head. With luck, it's something I really like, and it can really shorten the day's hike if it is. But M is more likely to find herself droning on to a song she actively dislikes, but unable to get the tune out of her head. Poor M. Her worst fear is a day full of bubble-gum pop music in the High SIerra..

I was trained as a classical musician, so I take this stuff pretty seriously. In fact, I've been known to pre-select a tune for my hiking pleasure, just to make sure that I like what I'm hearing. Think this is crazy? The next time you get a song stuck in your head, stop the music. Literally. Stop thinking about that song, and insert another one, one that you like a lot more, in its place. It works, but you have to pay attention!

Speaking of paying attention, I have even focused on a piece of music I am trying to learn, making sure I am getting the timing just right. There is something about putting one foot in front of the other that really drives home the downbeat. And all those little grace notes and syncopated accents fall into place very clearly when you have to hit the next downbeat with your right foot!

(If you want a real challenge, forgo the typical 4/4 beat of the march, and tackle a piece in 3/4, 6/4 or 6/8 time. That means that you wil be alternating the downbeat between right a left feet as you walk. Don't try this while you are chewing gum!) This has the added advantage of getting you to waltz up the Mist Trail with a pack on your back...something the other hikers will have never seen before, and will certainly share with their grandchildren!

So who needs an i-pod? We carry this music right in our heads--and we can adjust not only the volume but even the rhythm of the song to match the pace we need: slower inthe uphill sections, faster once we hit the open plains.

From the Halls of Montezuma to I took my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry, marching tunes are a part of our hikes every year.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda... go ahead. Try to get that one out of your head!

Here's the url:
http://sites.google.com/site/backpackth ... e/our-blog
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/



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Re: Marching Music

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:09 pm

I have music playing in my head always when I hike, and much of the rest of the time that I don't physically have real music playing. I never really know what will pop into my head at any given time. For me, 99 percent of the time it's a classical piece (while hiking--for other moments of life it can be jazz, hip hop, or old school funk/soul, as well as classical). When hiking, the movement of the piece that sticks in my head is pretty much also a faster movement (opening, finale, or scherzo). As much as like the slow movements of various pieces (for example, late Beethoven slow movements are my very favorite things on earth) they don't seem to mesh with powering through the mountains. There is one tune from the not strictly classical genre that would stick in my head on some of the harder parts of some of hikes (in fact I think it may still come a-calling at times): this is the tough-slogging motif from the soundtrack of the Bridge on the River Kwai. For some reason, the more cheery (and better known) march tune from that movie does not tend to get into my head when hiking but the blood, sweat, and grunt, tune, does. Music in my head makes all things better for me, and it certainly is part of my hiking experience (but since I'm at home now, I think I'll go to my CD player and queue something up).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Marching Music

Postby gdurkee » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:13 pm

Great topic! Though not sure I want to know what's going on in the brains of hikers... . Although I listen almost exclusively to classical (opera & instrumental), I have an embarrassing number of ad tunes going through my brain when hiking. Probably few here remember the Doctor Ross Dogfood commercial: "doggone good. Woof!" Also the SF Zoo song ca. 1960 (All the animals in the zoo are jumping up and down for you...).

We would often have a chorus of the Dr. Ross song on snow surveys when having dinner (spam & roast beef hash. Woof!)

As a youth, Carole King's "Way Over Yonder" would loop endlessly (just looking it up, I can have it as a ringtone!)

I do try to get rid of the worst ones from my brain by switching songs, but then find I've slipped back to the toxic one. I vague remember an SF story years ago where those types of tunes were examined, and the core reason for the looping extracted for a new tune -- it ended up shorting out the brains of anyone who listened. Kind of like Snow Crash, I guess.

g.

Way over yonder is a place that I know
anWhere I can see shelter from hunger d cold
And the sweet-tastin' good life is so easily found
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound

I know when I get there, the first thing I'll see
Is the sun shining golden, shining right down on me
Then trouble's gonna lose me, worry leave me behind
And I'll stand up proudly in a true peace of mind

Way over yonder is a place I have seen
It's a garden of wisdom from some long ago dream

Maybe tomorrow I'll find my way
To the land where the honey runs in rivers each day
And the sweet-tastin' good life is so easily found
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound
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Re: Marching Music

Postby Hetchy » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:30 pm

Can't I just post a smile sometimes?! :D
I like that little dittie.. or tune.. or whatever the young folks call it!
I hope you don't mind if I totally and recklessly plageurize that one. only amongst my best beloved of course! :D
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Re: Marching Music

Postby will_jrob » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:44 am

On uphill trudges I like to get my breathing synchronized with the second movement of Bach's Violin Concerto (#1?).
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Re: Marching Music

Postby Timberline » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:40 am

Well, what a fun topic! One of my favorite mental music choices is "The Happy Wanderer" - - anyone else remember this tune?

I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.

Chorus:
Val-deri,Val-dera,
Val-deri,
Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Val-deri,Val-dera.
My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
"Come! Join my happy song!"

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o'er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky!

After a few rounds of this, you have endorphins pouring out your ears! Since I tend to mutter the tune under my breath as I walk, the "ha-ha-ha-ha-ha in the chorus can be a little demanding at high altitude, so it works best on downhill stretches where you can really get into a riff with it.

My other favorite is the overture to Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition". The opening cadence was written to be a perfect stroll, and so it is. It got me from Le Conte Canyon to the Dusy Basin Lakes before I went bonkers with the fear that I'd never ever get it out of my head again! ](*,) Actually, Mussorgsky could be a soundtrack to the idyllic Sierra backpack experience, if you let your imagination run with it.

So tra-la-la, everyone! :lol:
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Marching Music

Postby Rosabella » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:52 pm

Well, if we're going to play "does anyone remember...." Does anyone remember the song "The Tuolumne Meadow Store"? We learned it at one of those ranger-led campfires back in the late 50's in Yosemite. It's still one of our good, ol' favorites right up there with "Smokey the Bear" and "She'll be comin' 'round the mountain". :)

However, I will admit that I bring an iPod hiking. I listen to some clasical, but mostly Broadway... my favorites (to name a few) are Wicked, Jekel & Hyde, and Phantom of the Opera, as well as some Movie soundtracks like Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall, Lonesome Dove.... Les Miserables was one that I listened to a lot, but I ALWAYS ended up crying :crybaby: It made people nervous.

I don't listen to my iPod all the time, for sure, but for me, it doesn't distract from the experience but enhances it - not unlike the use of music in a movie. Plus, whenever I listen to that particular piece of music again later, I always remember where I was when I listened to it hiking.

I guess I could bring my Piccolo instead of harmonica if I REALLY wanted to get the "marching" thing going! :D I still have some of my marching music from band.
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Re: Marching Music

Postby gdurkee » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:09 pm

Post the words to Tuolumne Store -- I vaguely remember it but nothing surfaces.

There was a guy wandering around Charlotte last year with a Banjo! ("Welcome to Hell, here's your banjo.."). Nice guy, which was good.

g.
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Re: Marching Music

Postby Rosabella » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:15 pm

There were a lot of verses, and they all pretty much bashed the quality of the food at the store - we thought it was hilarious! I found out just a couple years ago that it was basically plagiarized from a song called "The Quartermaster Song" about the food served on a whaling ship (I think). Anyway... an example of one of the verses:

Oh, it’s rice, rice, rice, that makes you think of lice, at the store, at the store,
Oh, it's rice, rice, rice, that makes you think of lice, at the Tuolumne Meadow Store

CHORUS:
My eyes are dim, I can not see
I have not brought my specs with me


The ranger who taught the song had all kinds of fun verses, and as we got older, added a few of our own.

I've only run into one other person who knew that song... he also learned it at a campfire program.

Next Time I come by Charlotte Lake I'll sing it for you! :D
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