Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tales From the (Massage) Table: The Tragedy That Is "Massage Music."

I've been trying to find some music to play during massages, but, being a musician, I have some rather stringent guidelines.

1: NO. ENYA.  See here.

2: No symphonic music.  I have played so much of it, I get caught up in it. I find myself accenting along with Berlioz, much to my client's dismay.

3: No panpipe.  For god's sake, no panpipe. I feel like we should go all Terminator and go back in time and sterilize Zamfir's mother.  (I wouldn't kill her -- she may have had other non-panpiper children--wait.  That wouldn't work either.  I'd think of something.)

4: No synthesized covers of pop music.  My ears wanted to suck themselves back into my skull when I heard -- get this -- Greatest Hits by the BEATLES -- on PANPIPE. With synthesized backup. I shudder at the memory.

5: No 'classical' music played (synthesized or real instruments) at excruciatingly slow tempi "because it's for MASSAGE music. That will be so sooooothing." Except for the flutist/massage therapist who is slowly asphyxiating because I always tend to breathe along with the phrases of things I've played. Somewhere out there is an oboist with whom I need to have some serious words. Entre'acte from Carmen (Bizet) is supposed to be Adagio.  Not molto Gravissimo.  (That's not even a real tempo marking)

6: No religious/pentecostal/gospel music hiding as background music.  I recently got to the end of a massage, having used a borrowed CD to try it out.  My client commented that the music had been really upsetting, since it brought to mind years of being forced to go to "Revivals" at his parents' church. Oy.  I had no idea that music was anything but boring, cheezy Muzak (no, the CD case did not say anything about the origins of the melodies. I checked.).

7: Nothing with "surprise accents" or sudden percussion interludes.  Many a comfy massage-trance has been broken by ill-advised use of high-hats, triangle rolls, pings of gongs hit with hard-tipped mallets, or random bird chirps.  Which leads me to...

8: Crickets.  GodDAMN, I hate the crickets.  Does anybody really find that soothing?  Even bird chirps can be intensely irritating.  Anything that comes out of the blue, starts abruptly, and leaves you worrying about when the next occurrence will be is OUT.

9: This is a late add.  THE HAUNTED HOUSE. Just yesterday, I was using a perfectly lovely ooohhhh-ahhhhhhh, bonggggggbonnnnngggggoooooohhhhhh pseudo-asian thing, when ALL OF A SUDDEN, it went all Haunted Mansion on me.  These voices? Sounding like a bunch of ghosts who found some pot and got all stoned and were trying to go around scaring people at the local mall for kicks.  It was truly bizarre. I assume it was synthesizers, since I cannot imagine any singers who would be willing to record themselves making such sounds.  Unless they were also baked.  Possible, I suppose.

As you can see, I have my work cut out for me.  This is why I'm working towards creating, playing, and recording my own music.

At least I know that I won't use any frickin' crickets.

1 comment:

Jenny Hart Boren said...

A masseuse I had a while back used wave and water sounds…seems like it started with a brook and ended up at the beach. I loved it, but I don't know if it's everyone's cup of tea.

More than the music, my most irksome issue when having a massage is being chilly. Can't relax when I'm cold!