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Author Topic: Music and CW  (Read 12913 times)
KC0IOX
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Posts: 28




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« on: December 24, 2001, 12:39:47 AM »

Greetings!  In reading a couple of the other threads, I noticed that a couple of comments compared mastering CW to mastering a musical instrument.  This interests me, as I am by trade a music teacher.  I see a lot of parallels to learning CW and music, and I find the entire subject to be fascinating.  My question is this: How many of you CW ops out there are musicians?  Have you had any musical experience?  Do you still play an instrument or sing?  I'm just curious, because I believe that both skills do originate in the same part of the brain.  What are your thoughts?  Musically yours,
Eric
KC0IOX
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N5XM
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2001, 01:51:07 PM »

Eric, I want to thank you for putting this up, because both subjects are very near and dear to my heart.  This may be a little long, so bear with me. I think it is easily possible that someone who has never played an instrument in their life can be an excellent CW op, but it makes perfect sense to me that someone with musical ability has an easier path to becoming a superior CW operator, or at least sounding like one. Some folks have what we call a "tin ear", and while CW doesn't change pitch like melody does, there is definite phrasing, tempo, rhythm, and timing in doing good CW, and I think anyone who's been on the bands will tell you in a NY minute that there are all kinds of fists out there, some good, others not so good, some terrible, and some great. A lot of anything is how willing someone is to put in the time in getting good at doing whatever they want to do.  It's a no-brainer that if you practice something you're gonna be better at it, but I think there's more to it than that. The best fists I hear have perfect mechanics, but they have a musical quality, a flow that has a lilt about it, almost a meter, if you will, that isn't there with just rote sending of characters.  You can copy it just fine, but it doesn't have the flow that musical CW has. It's easier to follow the thread of this kind of CW, at least for me. I started playing guitar 33 years ago, and have played professionally, although now I just play for fun and to relax. I can sight read enough to get by, but I basically play by ear, and improvisation is my forte. Whatever it is, I wish more folks could hear how they sound, so they would practice a little more.  There is just so much emphasis on copying that we forget that we will be judged by our fists before we are judged by our ears.  
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AA8KS
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2001, 12:29:41 PM »

  I think there is a definite correlation.  I'm a musican.  It made the code much easier to learn because I could learn each new letter as a fragment, the most obvious is "Beethovens Fifth" for V.  Or a circus fanfare "Tah Dah!" for A; a boogie rhythm for C, etc.  Also being a musician helps you develope a "phrase memory" of sorts that is readily applicable to CW.
  Also I have learned from experience that there are at least 4 types of hams that you'd better have a quick pen to copy their code: 1. Ex-military CW ops.  2. Ex-railroad CW ops.  3. Musicians.  4. Contesters. (not necessarily in that order).    
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KD1JT
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2001, 09:26:12 PM »

Been a musician all my life, and still sing and play guitar.  Learning CW was fun, I made 20 wpm Extra code in three months.  CW has always been my only mode on HF (well ... 99.9%), and I didn't own a mic until I'd been a ham for three years ... grin!

While not as apparent with modern electronic keyers, you can tell who has rhythm on a straight key.  My kids could do the "QSO Rap" since they were little tykes ... "UR RST 5NN 5NN QTH" and "BEST BENT WIRE"

73 de Dennis
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AK2A
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2002, 06:41:28 PM »

You are right on the money. Im a working Jazz musician and cw came very easy to me (passed my general at age 11). I knew lots of kids in the high school band that got tickets just as easily. CW is rhythm. Most of us (musicians) think in non-verbal ways, and tone in rhythm is but one. Remember Beethovens 5th as a "V"?
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KC0IOX
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2002, 12:45:01 AM »

Thanks for the nice responses to the post!  I thought I was on to something.  It's nice to see some musicians in ham radio, and the nice responses.  I am a high school band director and trombonist, with an emphasis in jazz studies, and I enjoy all kinds of music, but jazz is my first love.  When you think about it, CW does almost swing in a sense, and I really enjoy a good fist, as it really does have a flow to it, and those QSOs are really easy on the ears.  To me, I think it's in the rhythmic spacing between characters and words, at least thats what I think makes the good fist good.  Anyway, thanks for all the responses, and warmest 73!
Eric
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WK9O
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2002, 03:15:06 PM »

I am a professional guitarist and singer, I am 56 years old and started out in music and ham radio as a teenager. CW is my favorite mode, though I have also used various phone and digital modes.
I can remember tapping out CW with drum sticks on a practice pad. I think that my musical abilities made the code more accessible.
CU on the bands, or in one.. HI
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N3WSH
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Posts: 29


WWW

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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2002, 10:30:45 AM »

Yet another voice in the chorus! I learned CW very quickly and easily at age 16, and a large part of my attraction to ham radio is the "music" of cw. I began with piano lessons when young, but it didn't last. Took some lessons on the string bass and french horn in high school, but no luck there, either. I did learn to play the guitar a bit, though, on my own, during high school. In the 70's I began morris dancing, a folk tradition from England, which led me to learn to play the pennywhistle, a very simple and beautiful-sounding pipe, which was the first instrument I could play "real" music on. In the 80's, I took up the fiddle, which I've learned and stayed with, playing for contradances and such...traditional, old-time, Irish, Swedish, Quebecois and such like. I was also in the chorus in middle school, and still like to sing. My wife (who plays the mandolin) and I go to sing sacred harp sometimes, when we get the chance.
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KC8RXE
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2002, 05:04:15 PM »

I'm a musician and singer, and have shocked everyone I know by being very slow to pick up CW. I'm very good with pitches and melodies, but rhythms seem to be causing me problems. Anyone have any suggestions?  :-)

James
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N2XE
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2002, 03:17:39 PM »

I'm a pretty crappy musician, guitar and trombone.  Not half bad at CW, picked it up pretty quickly, now at 40wpm.
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N0SSS
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 07:35:38 AM »

My telegraph key is a musical instrument, capable of playing a linked-polyrhythm whose superposition possesses the complexity of information.

www.youtube.com/morsemusic

I consciously hammer the key-down 2/4 beat, while my sub-conscious hammers the key-up 2/4 beat.

I had twenty years of combined experience playing violin, piano, guitar, and blues harp prior to playing the straight key. My total practice time required to master the straight key was 8 hours. However, I listened to the code for 2000 hours before attempting the straight key.

Of all the instruments I have played, the telegraph key is dearest to my heart. It is enchanting to weave two rhythms, spinning out threads of thought across space for communication.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 08:41:09 AM »

Classically-trained percussionist/timpanist.  One-time oboe soloist (see the thread on Morse Code and the Brain).  I never used one skill to complement the other because the rhythms, while sometimes close (e.g. the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony DO sound like a "V"), are not always what they seem (e.g. the downbeat for this great work is a REST.  Nobody plays the downbeat.  This work is a conductor's worst nightmare - at least the first movement.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2011, 02:06:07 PM »

the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony DO sound like a "V"), are not always what they seem (e.g. the downbeat for this great work is a REST. 

Huh.  I thought the intro downbeat was an eighth note triplet (one-and two-and three-and four-bah bah bah BAHHH)

Still think a person's code sending skill is better if they have a sense of timing.  Just my two cents.

Bill in Pasadena
(I prefer Symphony #7 anyway)
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2803




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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2011, 05:09:24 PM »

the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony DO sound like a "V"), are not always what they seem (e.g. the downbeat for this great work is a REST. 

Huh.  I thought the intro downbeat was an eighth note triplet (one-and two-and three-and four-bah bah bah BAHHH)

Still think a person's code sending skill is better if they have a sense of timing.  Just my two cents.

Bill in Pasadena
(I prefer Symphony #7 anyway)

Hi Bill -

Nope.  In 2/4 time, starts with an eighth rest, then three eighth notes followed by a half note that's fermatafied...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._5_(Beethoven).

I like the 9th - actually MOST of the odd-numbered ones.  The only even-numbered Beethoven symphony I really like is #6.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2011, 05:32:06 PM »

Ah yes, I get it.  Like Lawrence Welk: an a one an a two. Wunnerful, wunnerful!

Same here about Symphony #6, although Fantasia ruined it for me.  It's hard for me to hear it without picturing little cartoon nymphs and centaurs scampering around.

Bill in Pasadena
(soaking my feet in the Elysium)
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