Whole note

Redonda (round)

Blanca (white)

negra (black)


We have a good time in orchestra practice. I’m pretty sure I was feverish yesterday, which somehow made me more talkative than normal, but in English, which wasn’t that helpful to everyone around me, I’m sure.

Some of the orchestra members like to practice their English.

clarinet: “Como se dice en ingles?” (What’s this called in English?)

me: “That’s a tuner.”

clarinet: “aja. Gracias.”

flute: “THANK YOU, not ‘gracias!'”


It makes me laugh a lot. Also, the Italian trumpet player behind me sometimes talks to me in English, which is a little odd too, and the director speaks English to me sometimes, but he must have learned some kind of British English:

“When you’re playing the black ones… no, the uh… what do you call them?”

“Quarter notes?”

“Ah, the quavers. yes.”


I don’t know why I find it so funny that the notes are called like “the black ones” or “the round ones;” “half notes” and “quarter notes” are just as weird I’m sure.
Maybe because I first learned to read music when I was about 7, so I didn’t question the note names. Oh well.


With all the talk of negras and blancas, and the fact that here we use do, re, mi, etc instead of C, D, E etc, makes orchestra practice an even more interesting experience for me. And I have newfound respect for all the English-as-a-Second-Language people that I’ve played in orchestras with in the past.

All in all, getting back into classical music in a big way has helped me to keep my sanity as we approach the one year mark of living in Colombia.

Sanity, a soap brand in Colombia. Someday I want to do a blog post of brand names that just wouldn’t fly in the states.


3 responses »

  1. Franklin Sierra says:

    Hahaha I suspect they thought sanidad translated as sanity

  2. Ian Rowswell says:

    Abby, If you do we can do a Japanese version as well. Also with brand logos that would not fly in the states

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