A ten minute writing group exercise on the subject of a, or the, key.
It was 11 in the evening. The baton twitched at the bottom of the upstroke, tired grips imperceptibly tightened on 80 instruments, the timpanist crouched forward ready to strike. The baton swung up…and the 16 year old artiste said “What key is it, again?”
The murmur that rippled round the string section was barely audible, not so the frustrated clatter of the leader’s bow onto his music stand.
The conductor looked heavenward, then through the window into the control booth at the sound recordist but all he could see was the bald patch on the top of his head as he banged it off the mixing desk.
Turning to the spotted youth, with all the patience left to him, he said “Well, what key would you like?”
“I dunno really, same as my last record, only louder.”
“And what was that? I don’t think your agent mentioned it.”
“Keep me up all night”, big hit, top 40.”
Well, what key was that in?”
I dunno. Me manager told the maestro; he hums a few bars and I follow on, like.”
“Well, do you think we could ask him to do that for us now? Is he here?”
“Nah, he’s in Florida, but we could ‘phone ‘im.”
A few minutes later the batton twitched again. Marlon XC stood confidently at his microphone, iPhone in one ear, and looked at the conductor. “OK, guv, Key of Haitch. 3, 4 time. When you’re ready lads. A 1, 2, a1, 2, 3, 4.”
16 May 2014