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No, I’m seriously asking you to identify it. I have no idea where I was when I turned a corner and saw this gorgeous and unbelievably old church:



I got off the train at St. Lazare (took the 4 to the purple 14–I’ve come to the conclusion, by the way, that my six years in Chicago and the environs have made me hyperaware of colors when it comes to public transportation.), then walked to one of the several excellent music stores on Rue de Rome to buy this, the reading of which is currently making me feel like I never took theory at all (but of course, most of what I’m reading is stuff that I’ve never thought about, I just knew it, like the fact that a staff is five lines):


Actually, I’m finding it incredibly useful, precisely because it’s never occurred to me really to think about the fact that they don’t call it a quarter note in French–they call it une noire. Just like the Quarter Pounder with Cheese is called a Royale With Cheese.

Moving on. In French they call a quarter rest un soupir, which literally means a sigh. An eighth rest is un demi-soupir–half a sigh. I’m not sure that there’s really enough time for a sigh during a quarter rest, maybe it depends on the tempo, but I love the idea of rests being associated with breaths. It harkens back to something I worked on with Nova Thomas at CoOPERAtive a few summers ago, about breath being the thought behind what you’re about to sing. It’s challenging for me–breath for me is a stressful thing, which seems counterintuitive, but as a singer, learning how to breathe well and use the breath efficiently is half the battle. I like that in French, the word for a quarter rest is not just a breath, but a breath with built-in emotions. There’s always something behind a sigh, even if you can’t articulate what it is.

Anyway, then I wandered around for a bit, seemingly lost, but managed to make an enormous loop back to St. Lazare. Don’t ask me how–it just happened. Maybe later I’ll consult my map and figure it out. And then on the way home, the 4 train stopped at Saint-Placide for ten minutes and everybody had to get off and wait for the next one. It was ungodly hot and a little smelly down there, and by the time I finally drew breath outside at Porte d’Orléans, I was more than ready for some goat cheese and veggies on an excellent little baguette (I didn’t even attempt to “just eat half” of a regular-sized baguette, as I’ve seen how well that’s worked in the past) and a nap. See, it’s not all beautiful architecture and delicious baked goods! Paris is not a perfect city. The Métro is not air-conditioned.