Sistine Chapel

Beginning of Semester Field Notes

Well, it’s a new semester as of yesterday when I returned from Italy. Courses include the music of India, the music of Indonesia, a seminar in field/lab techniques, a theory seminar in ethnomusicology, and two ensembles: Gamelan & African. I’m also auditing two courses: Tibetan historiography, and ancient religions of Tibet.  I’m TA’ing both pop & roots music again – though this time, pop is at 8am.

It all seems rather suicidal at this point. Why? I completed my infamous productivity tally after having decided that I only got off kilter last semester when I stopped keeping track of my hours. My total number of work + sleep hours equals 168 per week. The only problem is that there is exactly that many hours in a week, so the 30+ hours of “wiggle room” (though it never really was) I had in the fall doesn’t exist anymore. Hopefully I can adjust some of the projected hours within a few weeks, otherwise something’s got to give.

Rome was amazing of course. My flight to and from was quite disastrous. Between snow storms and invalid out-of-country tickets, everything that could have gone wrong probably did. With that said, we had a great time. I spent all of New Year’s day sick in our room with a fever, which is a bit sad, however my partner kept reminding me I could be sick with a view of the colosseum, or sick with a view of a waffle house. I think I’ll take the colosseum. P.S. I even stayed sober on New Year’s Eve!

The only music I heard the entire time I was in Italy includes Gangsta’s Paradise (in a supermarket), We Will Rock You (at an ice-skating rink), children’s choirs as I listened from the dome of St. Peter’s during Sunday mass (amazing),  and quite possibly the worst street violinist I’ve ever heard (while in line for the Vatican)…I know – as an ethnomusicologist, everything is supposed to be relative, but this guy was just terrible and I would much rather have enjoyed listening to the multi-language soundscape that surrounded me in line.

I did leave with a few opinions:

  1. The Sistine Chapel has nothing on St. Peter’s Basilica.  Ok – maybe this isn’t entirely true… but the Basilica was just entirely amazing.
  2. I finally understand what everyone means when they say the Sistine Chapel is in 3D.
  3. Roman taxi drivers are insane. Going 166 kph on narrow cobblestone streets just isn’t right.
  4. I’ll take New Year’s Eve in Rome over Times Square any day.
  5. Maybe, just maybe… their cuisine beats New Orleans. Even Chinese food in Rome was amazing.

That’s all for now – back to my to-do list…