Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Name That Tune

The New York City Subway system has an interesting soundtrack. I'm not talking about the screech of the trains or classical music pumped in like they do at the Port Authority (or Christmas music that started the day before Thanksgiving).

No, these are individual musicians. So far, I've heard music from acoustic guitars, electric guitars, a violin, an accordion, a steel drum, a trombone, a saxophone, drums (the plastic bucket variety), a clarinet, and a keyboard.

I have also seen singers and dancers, but mostly in the Times Square station, where there is more space. People are more likely to play in the evenings, probably because they know none of us will be very appreciative or generous in the morning. Most of the buses and trains have an unspoken (no pun intended) quiet policy, and the subway is no exception.

The evenings are another story, especially Friday nights. You hear all sorts of music, and since it isn't on its original instrument and lacks lyrics, I invariably add an element of Name That Tune to my commute. The problem is that once I've figured out the song, it's stuck in my head.

And do you really want to have Christopher Cross' "Caught Between the Moon and New York City?" or "My Favorite Things" (on saxophone) in your head? Me neither. I've also heard the Jackson 5, and all sorts of other one hit wonders from the last three decades.

In other news, work is going well. Some of the interesting items my colleagues at findingDulcinea have been working on include a piece on a computerized dog translator and other studies into canine behavior. Dogs actually have more subtle emotions than previously thought.

Now if only they would devote similar research to cats, then I could figure out what mine is trying to tell me. I think it might be important.

Want to host a great Super Bowl party? Use our guide to watching the game. It includes hosting logistics (make sure the food table, if it's in another room, is still within sight of the TV) along with food and drink recipes. Anyone up for some Tequila punch? I have to pass, but it sounds interesting.

And if you have no idea what all the fuss is about, or are exasperated by a football-illiterate friend, send them our guide to Super Bowl 42. This guide includes the history of the Super Bowl, Giants and Patriots, as well as news and analysis for each team.

1 comment:

Ursula said...

Emily, as a newcomer to the city, you may not know that the MTA holds auditions for subway musicians.

Audition winners are allowed to play under those official-looking banners, and get the prime locations. The losers, we assume, can be chased off the platform by the transit police.

I guess that means that subway music isn't randomly good--it's the best!

But the other night I passed a great but unofficial jazz duo on the Lexington line. A sign in front of the collection hat read: "For Obama."