Tinkle (Late Night Conversation)

“The piano flushed playfully, skipped, Tinkle. Laura’s hands clapped and she squealed. “YEAH!” The piano man (a high schooler) smiled at Laura’s mom and his buddy running the recorder gave the OK. This recording became popular enough to end up in 100’s of 1000’s of music lesson books internationally.

What happened was that a high school kid got a notion to record some of his musical doodling so that he could train himself to write music that he hears onto sheet music. (Musicians do stuff like this) So he’s playing little snippets of musical fun he had learned messing around along with a few lessons.

The kid’s mom was visiting with a neighbor lady and the neighbor lady’s little girl Laura was enjoying the novelty. “Um, um, can you, can you put in a tinkle sound?” “Like this?” He tinkled the piano lightly. “Yes. Like that.” Laura drew back shyly. The kid chuckled. “OK Laura. Here it comes.” He played a dramatic buildup, then, the cat attacked his foot, the piano skipped, the cat bounded away and the piano man’s fingers tinkled.

The moms came in with some chit-chat and the story was forgotten.

It took a few months to transcribe the ditties and during that time the project took on a midlife of its own to the point that this particular song became a favorite for music lesson publishers to put in their music instruction books.

So here we are, America becoming Greater by the nano-second, and 10’s of thousands of hopeful piano students have given up. Well, partly due to trying to learn songs and trying to learn difficult timings like the one in the song with the Tinkle where there is an off beat skip and then a tinkle. You know, where the cat attacked his foot. Every time they play it someone criticizes it or they mess up the Skip-tinkle that makes the song so unique and it ruins the whole song.

It is so horrible getting ready for a recital or Grandma wants to hear a song and Mom says, “Hey sweetheart, why don’t you play the Tinkle song.””

“You know, That’s why I quit guitar. It was some shit like that.” “Yeah man, That’s why I quit the drums. It’s like, I just wanted to play but I couldn’t get it just right.”

“Yeah, well, anyway, the reason I was thinking about this is because you were talking about being so worried about, you know, being good enough and all. I mean, maybe you are good enough. Maybe you are enough. What if someone filmed you in your normal life or recorded you in your normal talking and put it out there. And people would check it out and be like, “This is really cool and stuff” and then people would run around thinking that they’re not good enough because they aren’t just like you not knowing that you were just screwing around.”

“So that guy was just screwing around?” “Yup”. ‘Man, I bet people do stuff like that all the time in life.” “Yup, I think so.”

“So this guy is no greater than anyone else, its just that the cat made him miss a beat and someone transcribed his mistake and now anyone that can’t make his mistake as transcribed is some kind of loser.”


“Oh….. So my whole life I’m trying to be as cool as someone else and I’m just as likely just trying to imitate their fuck-ups.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“You guys are drunk.”

It actually made sense though.”

“Think so?”



4 thoughts on “Tinkle (Late Night Conversation)

    1. About 10 years ago I was reading in a guitar magazine about how an Eric Clapton fan at a concert hollered at Eric and said “Hey Eric, I can play your songs better that you can!”
      Eric is purported to have responded, “Yeah, well, You play my mistakes better too!”

      I suppose this is because of the note-for-note transcript that ‘cover’ players use to sound like the original artist.

      Whatever. I sure enjoy your articles.


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