Why the Melody?

I heard a cardinal in high-fidelity just as I left my house the other morning - "bwordy, bwordy, bwordy" echoing down the street. The trees being still bare, it was easy to spot him by following the song - he was up in the top of a maple about forty yards away. As he shifted briefly from one branch to another, the light caught him at just the right angle, bringing a brilliant rush of crimson even at that distance. A morning thrill, a rarity these days, trust me. I stood listening and admiring him for a few seconds and then noticed some rustling in the big tree just overhead. Two robins were flitting about, not singing much. Just as I spotted them they flew off and again the sunlight hit them and I was treated to a flash of their rusty-orange breasts. A sure sign, I thought with a smile - spring is here. There's a song for every occasion and this took my inner juke-box straight to Rodgers and Hart's great "Spring Is Here" - its melody began running through my head as I walked to the subway. It struck me that this song is a kind of analogy for both my aging and growth as a musician - when I was younger, I didn't have much use for it, but it's become a favourite tune in recent years. I think the difference is that I appreciate melody a lot more than I used to, and understand it better. Bassists like myself are often slow in developing a melodic sense, because the instrument doesn't often get to play melodies - being low-pitched, it's usually much more involved with rhythmic more [...]