Wrong note drag
I hate doing things wrong. No, I really hate it. Really,. really hate it. When it comes to things I do, I am an irritating perfectionist, with impossibly high standards. Others can get away with many things, perhaps even most things that don’t involve apostrophes or murder, but I hate to get something wrong myself.
As a person who dabbles in theatre, I arguably have more opportunities to get things wrong publicly than most people tend to have. Forgetting a line in a rehearsal is mortifying, and getting your legs in a twist reddens your face no end, but there is a truly terrible crime. The wrong note. Singing the wrong note feels like a terrible act of desecration, like the scratching of fingernails on the blackboard of the world. If I do such a thing, then I’m letting myself down, I’m letting everyone in earshot down, I’m letting the composer down, and I’m letting music down. Music is, as I have said before, a powerful thing. It’s almost alive, and it can probably feel pain as I inflict a screeched note in the wrong key on it. Mis-placing a held note in a ballad is like kicking a kitten, it’s just wrong in so many ways.
Thankfully, I’ve never done it in performance (unless you count the time I was so nervous that an entire song came out an octave too high), but I have done it in private and in rehearsal, and it’s a truly terrible feeling. There’s the wash of sinfulness and guilt, often combined with the terrible tang of public embarrassment. Perhaps I over-state the case, but it’s a horrible thing to experience, whether as singer or singee. I apologise to all the notes I’ve missed, and all the notes I will miss in future – I hope you survive the maiming my vocal cords gave/give you and go on to have a happy life in the throats and ears of many other people. Top A, this apology is for you most of all. I know it must feel like a campaign of terror, but I have never intended to hurt you.