Music Boxes

Follow me down the path of the pretty boxes all lined up for your viewing and listening pleasure. I’ve been blogging about the boxes we live in and work in (especially my own), and now I’m looking up many more box top treats.

Music Boxes!  Did you ever have one of those? I’ve lived in one or another most of my life, and they are marvelous creations! They come in all shapes and sizes and are usually of the wind-up variety or spring-loaded to the opening of a door. So delicate and sweet the little plinkety-plink sound of the music that entices your aural senses. I received one once when I was a wee lass and played it endlessly throughout my formative years whenever I needed a little lift. My Mom gave me another one when I was 14 or so. It was not a box, but rather a mini stage upon which sat a grand piano made of glass that played “You Light Up My Life” when the turnkey wound up. My Mom told me that it had belonged to my Great Grandmother, but I couldn’t believe it though I played along. ‘-)  Debbie Boone had brought the Joseph Brooks penned tune to the masses in 1977 and I wanted to debate Mom about the fact that G-Grandma had passed way before my birth, but she liked to believe her stories, so I let this one go.

I’ve sung in music boxes too: the small acoustically-treated boxes in studios (called an “iso-booth”) as well as the live and reverberant ones filled with people and booze called nightclubs. These are two very different music boxes.  You pay for one type that puts you under a microscope in a holy torture of sorts as you attempt to sing or play the notes of the song perfectly.  The other pays you to entertain humans, and no one cares if you make a mistake here and there. In fact, sometimes that’s called brilliance.

If you’re an audio person who likes to record yourself, then you’re well aware of the times you have purchased audio programs for recording and editing. Though the software arrives on a disc that could easily be mailed in an envelope, often, it arrives in a box that has no other reason than to look big.  The box literally holds a thin, plastic optical disc and some paperwork about copyright infringement and other legalese. This is one reason that I’m glad to have a cloud to download from, but some programs are just so biggie big. Microphones and other audio gear purchased by musicians usually arrive in boxes too. A speaker is a boxed enclosure that contains one or more drivers and a crossover, and if it is active, it contains an active crossover along with amplifiers that provide power to the drivers (aka speakers).

Bud, take the wheel.  I feel a song coming on,” claimed Malvina Reynolds as she penned “Little Boxes“, (copyright 1962 – the year of my first breath of life). If you can make it past the 6-second commercial, this lil YouTube video shows you how a music box works. Music Box 2                  music-box_reuge-verona-orchestral

About danaj33

writer * department chair of Broadcast Electronic Media Arts and audio faculty at City College of San Francisco * music composer and producer * always in discovery mode, learning, living, loving, and laughing.
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