Monday, May 3, 2010

just an ol' fashioned love song

Martin is now obsessed with the Muppet Show episode featuring Paul Williams. Even if you are older than 30, you probably won't remember this guy immediately. He's got longish, dirty blond hair. A pudgy face that could hardly be considered cute. Tinted glasses. He wrote some nice songs, but he could never be a star today. He lacks the necessary screen perfection. Martin, however, thinks he is the best, particularly in this clip (starting at minute 3).

Martin has wandered around the house for the past two days singing Williams' "Just an ol' fashioned love song." He gets all the music right. He imitates the different backup instruments. But he only gets the words of the first line of the chorus. After that, he sings nonsense words that sound like a garbled version of the real lyrics. Even though he's heard the song a dozen times, his brain has not been able to process most of the words. If I tell him what they are, he's unconvinced. When I say them or sing them, I don't sound just like Paul Williams, so I must be wrong. I'm not sure there's any way for Martin to learn the words of the song he loves short of Paul Williams and two Muppets coming over to teach him.

Martin is committed to a close imitation of the world he encounters. When he sings, he starts songs on the same pitch as the original singer, even if it's been weeks since he heard a CD. He's capable of mimicking very complex rhythms. But he can't process the spoken or sung word as quickly. He sings some garbled lyrics in most songs he loves. Only occasionally will he let us write down the lyrics for him. In written form, our lesson does not intrude on his aural experience. If I sing the words, it doesn't sound right. If I write them down, I have not upset his aural memory of the music.

That's not old-fashioned. It's new-fangled. I'm still getting used to it.

1 comment:

  1. I love that episode! I'm not sure I could watch it quite as many times as I'm guessing you have, but who doesn't love the guy who wrote 'Rainbow Connection?'