Risque notes

First, a reminder to Lil. You have won a copy of The Redwyck Charm. Please send your snail mail address to elena @ elenagreene.com (no spaces). And now to my post….

I’ve been feeling down this winter, between life issues and several bouts of the flu. It’s been hard to get good blocks of writing time, which I need in order to be productive. (And yes, I’ve tried writing in small pockets of time. It always backfires on me because I get so frustrated having to stop just when the words begin to flow.)

Recently I decided to start playing piano again, because it’s something I can enjoy, even if it’s just ten or fifteen minutes. I’m not that good and never was, but since I’m playing just for myself, it doesn’t matter. What I really need is some sort of creative outlet to lift my mood on days when I can’t write.

Sometimes I envy the life of a lady of leisure, with time to perfect her music.  Maybe it would be scary to be expected to perform, but on the other hand, it would be nice to have an appreciative listener. Maybe someone like Colonel Brandon listening to Marianne Dashwood or even Darcy listening to Elizabeth, who sounds like she was a dabbler just like me.

pianoSometimes I live vicariously through my heroines. In one scene from The Incorrigible Lady Catherine, the hero catches her playing Beethoven (considered inappropriate for young ladies) when she thinks no one is around. While writing, I listened to a recording of the sonata she is playing. I could only play it in my dreams!

There was a pause. He took a few steps toward the drawing room, but stopped as he heard Miss Arndale begin to play again. This time it was a darker music, rippling and cascading, the end of each phrase accented with forceful staccato notes. Full of passion. He’d never heard anything like it before.

He peered through the threshold of the drawing room as she began another movement, slow and reflective, with an understated pathos. She looked so very lovely, her eyes half-closed, her slim body swaying ever so subtly in time with the music. He didn’t dare interrupt. He didn’t even want to breathe as he watched her silently from the shadows beyond the doorway.

The slow melody ended, and she launched into an exuberantly lively tune which sounded like the finale. Philip listened in wonder as she transitioned from a bold, intricate passage to a contrasting theme as tender as a love song. He saw the flush of concentration on her face as she returned to the earlier bold theme, her look of exultation as she drove out the final notes, rising, mounting to a glorious final chord.

A critique partner said she was expecting Catherine to smoke a cigarette at this point, which I took as a compliment.

Do any of you enjoy making music, amateur or otherwise?  Do you enjoy musical heroes or heroines?


P.S. The painting is by Edmund Blair Leighton.

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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6 Responses to Risque notes

  1. HJ says:

    I would have loved to learn to play the piano. Even if you don’t think you’re very good, just being able to play a few melodies would be relaxing, I should have thought. BTW, flu is notorious for making you feel depressed, so you’re perfectly normal! A good multivitamin with iron might help, as would one of those lights used to treat seasonal affective disorder (assuming that the sun is as rare where you are as it is here).

    • Elena says:

      HJ, Thanks for all the suggestions. I do use a full spectrum light but it is the cheapest on the market. Maybe I need to upgrade. I’m doing everything I can at this point! The music strategy seems to be paying off. Today was my first writing session in over a week and I finished a chapter, so I’m happy about that!

      Oh and I just wanted to say that it’s never too late to learn to play the piano. There’s a lovely book I read a while ago, “Playing the Piano for Pleasure” by Charles Cook. I found it very inspiring and encouraging.

  2. I was going to say it is never to late to learn to play and you never know if you are one of those people with a natural knack for it unless you try. I guess you can say I am musically inclined! I am a retired opera singer with degrees in music education, vocal performance, music history and pedagogy. With that being said, I must admit my piano playing is on a par with Elizabeth Bennet’s at best. LOL

    I love the passage from The Incorrigible Lady Catherine! And yes, almost all of Beethoven’s works were considered far too passionate for young ladies.

    I’ll be giving a workshop on the musical education of young ladies in the Regency at the Beau Monde conference this year and I hope to provide a list of pieces thought appropriate for young ladies and even some thought completely inappropriate! Both lists might surprise you!

  3. Elena says:

    Louisa, I knew you were musically gifted and knowledgeable. I wish I could be there for that workshop! Hopefully they will find a way of recording them.

  4. librarypat says:

    I wish I could play a musical instrument. I love music, but do not have the talent for playing it. My oldest daughter plays piano and was rather good. She hasn’t had much time for it, but with practice it will come back. My other daughter played, but not as well. Her son loves to play and has a good ear (she did too. It used to bug her piano teacher because she would play by ear and not read the music). He started mandolin and has expanded to fiddle, guitar, and piano.

    • Elena says:

      What a musical family! But when you say you have no talent, again I wonder if some teacher told you that. Just my opinion, but unless you’re aiming to be a professional, it doesn’t really matter how well you play. On the other hand, improving is part of the fun, at least for me. But I don’t compare my piano playing to anyone else’s. That would be depressing and not the point at all.

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