The Musical Saw: Oh God, What Have I Done?…

Note the earlier posting from February 20, an encomium to Natalia Paruz and her ability to make a carpenter’s saw sound like the voice of an angel.

For years I have been a musical instrument freak. The only woodwind I’ve never owned, for example, is an oboe. I don’t know why. It’s gorgeous and I love it. I’ve played clarinets (two different sizes), saxophones (ditto), the flute (Irish, baroque, and Boehm), recorder (many different sizes). It’s like some sickness.

I’ve never had the urge to play brass or stringed instruments. It would be nice to play the violin like Perlman or Heifetz but I suppose not.

And then along comes Natalia and her musical saw, and I’m walking around with this voice in my head. I don’t know whose voice it is, but it comes out of that damned saw she plays in the subway. Right, she’s a “busker,” a person who plays out of doors or in transportation and takes home what she gets for a day’s work. In her case that probably includes random conversations with strangers (“What the hell is that? Did you get it at Home Depot?”), weird people behaving in bizarre fashion in front of her, and I’m sure the random “Hey honey” pick-up line.

So I have had a couple of email exchanges with Natalia and she’s fun and informative. She’s not quite an evangelist for the saw but just her playing and personality did it for me.

I bought a saw. Now I have to learn to play it. They say it’s not difficult. Uh-huh. Natalia herself said the hardest part is getting the thing to play in tune. Even she goes a little wide of the pitch now and then. But it sounds like a voice, human and carrying. We’ll see.


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