Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Music Minus One

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Music Minus One

Article excerpt

". . . Music minus the solo melody part-with the tapes or records providing the background music, you can play an instrument or sing along with the band, try your hand at Grand Opera, or even perform a concerto, surrounded by a full symphony orchestra."

-From the Music Minus One Catalogue

Sunday afternoons, my father practiced flute in the family room. He warmed up, playing scales while my mother worked the crossword puzzle in her wing chair, like a throne. Three o'clock and she was still wearing her nightgown and slippers. Our store downstairs was closed. She was sick of looking at dresses all week. Sunday was her day of rest.

I sprawled on the floor with my homework. Each in our little orbit. My father gave it all up when he married her. Abdicated, like the Duke of Windsor.

Music was no life for a family man. During the War, he had led the band in the Marine Corps, in the South Pacific. In the photo, each man poses with his instrument except my father, holding a baton; clarinets and saxophones leaning against their chests, like rifles at port arms.

It was my job to start the record over. The sheet music, stapled to the album cover, was propped on the music stand. The needle skated its single blade

in smaller and smaller circles on black ice. …

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