Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Music and voice

A lot of bloggers refer to their love of music, how it sustains them, and in one or two cases what a wonderful channel it is for their creative energies. I can readily appreciate the power music has to change mood, banish fatigue, evoke memory, inspire passion, and generally enhance the sweetness of life. All this said, visual things mean much, much more to me. I am image-orientated, not sound-orientated, and I would sooner become deaf than blind.

I'm sorry if that sounds like some kind of heresy. So much of our culture is based on music. But I am not mainstream. I could live in a world without music if it were beautiful to behold, and birdsong and running water were the only things to hear.

I do of course have a large and indiscriminate store of favourite music in my conscious mind, and much of it is constantly with me on my phone, there to be tapped into. And I'm sure I have an absolutely staggering amount of music tucked away in my subconscious mind, simply awaiting a trigger of some kind to recall it again - the jingles of 1960s TV ads, snatches of film scores, the theme tunes of old TV shows, and singles that never made it into the top ten. Not to mention old hymns, carols, and weird kinds of ethnic music that people have introduced me to. But none of it is central to my daily life.

I do use music to make ironing fun, to play in the background while I take a shower, and to keep me awake when driving at night. But that's not the same as loving music, or regarding it as essential as the air one breathes. I always tell people that I am just not a musical person.

I do however like voices. I can listen to conversation for much longer than I can listen to music. And I particularly like singing voices. It is still one of my personal ambitions to learn to sing. How I do that with a voice artificially raised, stretched and adapted to a female presentation is a very good question. I mentioned this ambition to Christella today. She didn't dismiss it as impossible. She said I was making very good progress with my voice, after only five sessions. So perhaps I may learn to do more with it than just ask for a cup of coffee.


  1. No heresy! Some people are more visual than aural, and that's just the way we're made. I seem to have a lot of both, and I'm not sure whether I'd feel more deprived without sight or hearing. Please don't make me choose!

    It does seem, however, that a large number of trans women are musicians. I wonder if there really is a strong correlation.

  2. I hadn't really thought about it that way before.

    I'm sure that Christella will be able to point you in the direction of songs that suit your voice range eventually. I have problems with my thyroid and my voice isn't what it used to be, so I can't sing in the same way.

    Isn't creativity supposed to be a feminine thing ? - a lot of trans women paint and take beautiful photographs too.

    I love the colours in you flickr display Lucy

  3. I think you may be right, Veronique, about there being an unusually strong correlation of a transgendered state with a passion for music. And because music is about counting, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that many trans people are unusually good at things mathematical. Whereas even basic arithmetic is an effort for me - I misread numbers, lose count, make errors, forget the 'how to'. Oddly enough I was always a whizz at geometry, but then you can 'see' a triangle, square, or circle, can't you?


  4. I hadn't thought about the correlation between being transgendered and loving music, but I too think you're on to something. My transgendered aunt has always loved music and occasionally sings in choirs. She's lucky in that, with a bit of practice, she can sing alto, but she's also confortable singing as a lady tenor.

    Oh, and she's a pretty keen mathmatician too. Case proven?

  5. I love listening to music, but losing my sight scares the hell out of me.
    I could cope in a silent world better than one where I couldn't see properly.
    Great to hear you are making good progress with your voice and hopefully you will be able to learn to sing.

  6. I am still working at finding my music voice. I can sing alto fairly well, but it involves a good deal of going back and forth over the passaggio (where your voice breaks). Keeping decent resonance and timbre is pretty tricky in that range, but there are voice teachers who can show you. Right now I am just muddling though it, perhaps in the future I'll be able to shift my weekly allowance over from electrolysis to voice lessons.


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