What I'm Listening To

L. B. Thompson

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Nina SimoneThere is a word in German for a tune that gets lodged in your memory—Ohrwurm; literally translated it is “earworm.” I woke up one morning with the simple piano introduction to Nina Simone’s version of the Rogers and Hart song “Little Girl Blue” dominating my thoughts, and weeks later I realized it had become more of an ear-caterpillar.

First, I decided to try to play the tune by ear on my cello, which is not an ability I have. But it is such a basic tune, and there was no one to witness me struggling to find the notes, so I tried. A few days later, I was still thinking about it, and confessed my obsession to a musician friend. She didn’t know the song, but when I played it for her, she recognized the intro tune as a Christmas carol called “Good King Wenceslas.”

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