February 1, 2015

8.10 am. A time for heart searching. Always a messy affair. 8.45 am. A little teaching admin, correspondence, and listing of this week’s ‘to dos’ before pressing on with the last part of the conspectus. Out of the blue, a line from the Beatles’ song Eleanor Rigby addressed itself to me: ‘Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear’. I was drawn to its implicit notions of the absence of an audience; the enforced redundancy of the genre (which is normally written to be spoken, heard, or, in its literary form, read); and to more poetic ideas, such as those of a silent sermon, a sermon that God alone hears, and a sermon as mode of prayer. I didn’t know where this concept might lead.

11.00 am. Occasionally, I hummed musical tones, and tested my sense of pitch against the keyboard:

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Sheffield Phoenix Press, the the most prolific publisher of contemporary Biblical studies, has announced that it’ll cease commissioning new titles. Bloomsbury Publishing will, henceforth, take up the mantle. This could herald a rejuvenation of the not only this discipline but also the interdiscipline of the Bible, art, and visual culture …

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… to which I returned, after lunch. The fleshing out of sections had begun (and so also periodic fretboard training exercises). The discussion, engaged in the first half of the conspectus, had to be parcelled out into categories which were, in turn, filled with topics dealt with in that discussion. During a period of respite during the afternoon, I dug out some of my own fretboard pattern maps, which I’d drawn when I first returned to guitar playing after an over thirty year hiatus:

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Realistically, you have to memorise every note on every string at every fret. However, there are recurrences such as pairings of consecutive notes (B C, E F) and intervals (D G, A D (each pair a 4th apart)) — which, once mapped onto the fretboard, provide some bearings  — but no repeating patterns of significant length, such as would provide a less bitty mnemonic. (Learning the notes on a keyboard is a doddle in comparison.) I should use the fret markers more, and localise my learning to one string at a time, and in the vertical scale.

6.15 pm. Practice session 1. 7.15 pm. The beginning of a week of evenings dedicated to PhD Fine Art and undergraduate Art History dissertation submission reviews:

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