Keyed Up


45s at 78 were Smurf stuff,
baby voices singing high and fast
and tape reels finger slowed
were spooky talk.

The man on the stage
can sing it fast or slow;
syncopate, accelerate,
cheat the composer of his time
all with constant pitch.
Change the key;
the same song can be sung
soprano, basso-profundo,
a dozen keys chromatically
unlock all the scales
that balance every note.

The ear adjusts,
the brain recognises
and the foot taps.

Technology accelerates.
Now pitch can be changed
with a cloud of digital helium,
or tempo rushed
whilst the pitch holds true.

Today I found a virtual singer
on the net.
Enter the words and notes
and she (or he) will sing the song;
change the key, the tempo,
add vibrato, resonance,
all the twirls and trills you want;

but you won’t hear the breath drawn
feel the heart beat.


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