Random Borrowing #3: Murder

Back to the library to seek random inspiration. The idea is to select an item at random and relate it to music composition in some way.

The random item selected today was a book that made me feel dirty. It was a book in the True Crime genre, specifically focusing on murders of one spouse by the other. It is called Till Death Us Do Part by Paul B. Kidd.


It’s kind of freaky that people like this kind of book. I guess it is an extension of the Crime genre, but trying to associate the fictional genre with real people killing spouses leaves a very different feel to the whole thing. It feels like it disrespects the victim and is cashing in on a horrific crime to make money. It’s a sordid version of a gossip magazine, with less pictures.

I randomly picked a page (36) and, with an impending sense of yuck, began to read. I was rewarded with part of a tale of what was apparently a famous case in the 30’s, where the police couldn’t identify a body and so put it on display for quite a long time in Sydney University. Apparently, there were large queues to view the body.

Anyway, I shall endeavor to relate this book to music composition somehow.

Perhaps we could think of marriage as a vow or promise that, if violated, could end in someone killing the other. In a piece of music, there is often the establishment of a “sound” for the music, which usually includes a key, instrumentation etc. This is a kind of promise to the listener about what to expect from the rest of the music.

If an author was to write a similar book about musical works, then perhaps he would choose pieces of music that start off with a defined tonality and beautiful harmonies, but they all end with a cacophony of noise and rage. Perhaps an electric guitar would be smashed on stage. Then the book would focus on how a group of people try to deduce the nature of the original music from the shattered remains of the guitar.

The particular story on the random page used the public display of the body to get leads from the public. A reward was offered and many wild and insane leads were received. Eventually, some of the leads led to the murder being solved (it was the husband, of course). Perhaps exposing the innards of a musical composition before it is finished to others could  have some interesting side effects. From my own experience, I do this occasionally with my own stuff. It almost always leads to a reevaluation of some part of the music and improves the result.

Perhaps the real message is that this book is repulsive to me, but many others might like it. The same can be said of many kinds of music.