Recycling Music

I am trying to clean out my house.  I have x amount of space, but it seems like I have 2x amount of stuff, so half of it has to go.  The problem is, I hate getting rid of things.  Everything I own has some sort of memory attached to it, and I must confess to being more sentimental than I would like to be.  But even knowing this about myself, I was not prepared for the reaction I had when I tried to clean out my music boxes yesterday.

I have a lot of music.  From opera scores, to choral works, to choir anthems, to photo copies of random things I sung once, there are boxes and boxes of music sitting upstairs, and shelves and shelves of it sitting downstairs.  How did I get so much music?  Well, it’s easy when you never throw anything away.  So the time has come.  Time to cringe and purge.

To start with, I decided that I was not going to get rid of any opera scores.  For one thing, they are expensive to replace, and for another, one never knows when one is going to have to sing any given opera, so those all stay.  Next I went through all of my choral works, and since I had purchased most of these, and generally enjoy them, I kept all of those as well.  Hmmmm, this is not going well.

But then I got to the largest section of my collection: mountains of unfiled white sheets of paper that ostensibly had music printed on them.  Intermingled with all of this music were contact sheets, rehearsal schedules, seating charts, and a variety of other singing paraphernalia that I will never need again.  Ok, this was easier.  All random seating charts from concerts I did 8 years ago are getting recycled, even though they do bring back fond memories of whatever event they were from.  Same goes for rehearsal schedules and whatnot.  But then that brings us to the music.

Something deep in my soul cannot stand the thought of recycling a piece of music, even if it is a photocopy on a torn piece of paper and I will never sing it again.  It seems almost sacreligious in a way.  I know that I am never again going to sing the large stack of men’s Finnish songs that were photocopied for me back during my brief stint in that all-male Finnish choral group, but can I really just toss them into the recycling bin?  I don’t think anybody else would want them, and they are taking up a lot of space, but….it’s music!  Somebody composed it, and I sang it, and now I am going to destroy it?

But what is music?  Isn’t it more about the sound that is produced, than our meager attempts at capturing that sound in writing?  I can’t ever destroy a song by throwing a piece of paper into the recycling bin.  As long as someone is around to sing it, it will always exist.  But how can they sing it if they don’t remember how it goes!?  They need the printed photocopy that I just erased from existence!  I just killed a song!

Perhaps this is all irrational, but it’s how I feel anyway.  I separated the music into a small stack of songs that I might sing again or really enjoyed more than the rest, and then a much larger stack of things that I don’t really need anymore.  The recycle stack is still up there, waiting in musical purgatory for me to grow a pair and send it off to die.  I’ll get to it.  One of these days.

Posted in Cleaning, Music, Recycling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.