An In-Tune Happy Birthday
Extraordinary musical experiences can occur when you least expect them. Like tonight (Sunday). I stopped by the tiny Italian bistro in our little town of 500 souls on the central Oregon coast to order a pizza. Only one table was occupied, eight friends celebrating a birthday. What a perfect opportunity to sing Happy Birthday!
Oh no, not Happy Birthday! Probably the one song that has been sung out of tune more than any other song in the history of Western music! I walked over to the table pretending to be the bearer of a singing telegram. That’s when the idea hit me. Instead of getting everyone at the table to simply break into Happy Birthday with the same out-of-tune dis-harmony heard at most birthday parties, I thought, why not have everyone sing the song in the same key!
Fortunately, I had already memorized the sound of an A-440 tone so all I had to do was hum it from memory and say, “Okay everyone Happy Birthday in A.” I hummed the A and got everyone else to hum along with me. Once we were all in the same key, we started singing.
It was the best version of Happy Birthday I had ever heard because everyone was singing in the same key. So the next time you are at a birthday party and it’s time to sing that song, make sure everyone first knows the key.