JUNE/JULY 2005

NO NOTATION

ON THE IRRELEVANCE OF MUSIC THEORY TO THE SOUNDS OF OFFICE WORK AND LOUD ROCK MUSIC

by Fat Bobby

The plain and usually ugly truth of my daily life is that I’m a temp. If you’ve been here, you know what it’s like to feel hemmed in by necks—thick, cologne-reeking, beef-blissed necks. I don’t look at faces, since next week I’ll be in a new office, a new temp gig, and I don’t want to waste memory on faces. It’s all necks.

There’s no music in here, ever—save for the tinny clatter of speakerphone conference calls and the buzz of hundreds of yards of fluorescent lights, the sound of the unconscious mind humming nonsensically to itself, spinning variations on an arid, unadorned melody.

I studied music theory for a time, and it opened my eyes to harmonic frameworks that changed the way I thought of music. Poring over Bach’s four-part cantatas and trying to write my own imitations; struggling with ancient modal counterpoints and twentieth-century twelve-tone matrices, I built a particular kind of vocabulary. This vocabulary, it turns out, is completely irrelevant to the music that I make.

I play in what I usually describe to curious co-workers and well-meaning uncles as “a rock band” called Oneida. I don’t try too hard to go any deeper into the subject since I’ve managed to convey in shorthand that we’re loud and uncouth, and probably unschooled and unskilled. If pressed, I’ll admit that our music is fast and extremely repetitive; if the inquiring party is still onboard, I’m delighted to go into specifics.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

Fat Bobby plays keyboards in Oneida.

STAY CONNECTED
News on Facebook Photos on Instagram Stuff on Pinterest Announcements by RSS Sounds on Soundcloud Exclusives on Tumblr Updates on Twitter

Subscribe to our mailing list