Chapter 8

Helen worked her way through the music theory final exam.

"Why are prime forms useful?"

"I know this one. All the chords that belong to the same Prime form sound similar."

"Who cataloged every possible prime form, for sets with 3-9 members and ordered them according to their interval content?"

"I don't know. Wait! I do know. I don't know how I know. Allen Forte did it. That's why we call them Forte numbers!"

Helen completed the exam, answering every question perfectly. She asked herself, "How did I know?"

The answer came to her. Sparky had downloaded the entire internet into their memory. Any question she asked, if the answer lay in the vast knowledge organized in the internet, she would know the answer!

 Even without looking at an iPod or tablet, she could browse the internet and send or receive email and phone messages!

Afterward, Helen strode into the cafeteria to meet her friends. "Hello Joe, Hello Bob. Today is July 7th. Remember that Victor and Angela have invited us to their home to watch Melody's splashdown with them? Afterward, Victor will make a recording of us performing our music. He thinks that maybe he can market us."

The trio arrived at Victor's exactly on time. "Hello folks. Glad you could make it. Come in."

Victor led them into the spacious living room. Angela, seated on the blue and golden colored long sofa, waved. "Here's the best place to view the screen." She pointed to the 2 meter by 2 meter screen on the wall, about 3 meters away.

Helen looked at the wall screen. The picture showed the descending capsule. The parachute had already deployed. "It's interesting that NASA decided to go back to wet touchdowns."

Victor replied. "It's only because of the new coating materials that totally protect our cars and boats from salt water corrosion. NASA no longer needs to worry about salt water damage to their space vehicles."

Bob looked askance at Victor. Helen, wondered why, and immediately knew the answer. She anticipated Bob's response. "What about the need for expensive fleets of ships for the recovery?"

Victor laughed. "You might not know this because you never worked for NASA. In the 70 years since the 2020 moon landing, we have so improved the accuracy of landing maneuvers that now we need only one ship for pickup."

Joe entered, carrying a large bowl of popcorn. "You were right, Angela. Your spherical microwave oven is much more efficient at popping pop corn."

As they watched Melody and the other astronauts be interviewed, Angela commented. "Helen, Melody has invited us to her annual Halloween party at her home in Texas. Would you and your friends like to come with us this year?"

Helen swallowed her mouthful of popcorn. "Yes! Of course we would."

After the news program ended, Victor stood, and addressed the trio. "Let me show you my equipment." Victor led them into a small room whose walls were covered with glass cabinets holding electronic equipment. "I designed the door and walls to make this room soundproof."

"You will perform there." Victor pointed to three small stools in the center of the room. Taking care to not bump their instruments, Bob and Joe each perched on a stool and Helen stood between them.

"We will be ready in exactly twenty seconds." Victor flipped a switch. "Twenty, nineteen . . . " At five he stopped counting and used his fingers to show the number of remaining seconds.

Joe and Bob, at the same time, began to play. Helen's lovely voice harmonized immediately with their playing. Victor smiled as he listened to their playing. They performed so beautifully! Surely this would make the top hundred.

With the recording completed, Victor spoke to them. "It's a very good recording. Thank you all. Now I need to record your answers to a couple of questions. Next I can submit everything to my producer. If he likes it, then we all might be a bit richer. I'll let you know when Grant sends me his evaluation."

Victor led them into another room obviously designed for photography. He instructed them to sit on a long couch and look expectantly into the video recording camera.

Victor waited until they were seated. "Now I will ask two questions, and each of you will answer the question in turn."

"The first question is: 'Why did you become a musician'?"

Bob answered first. "On my 7th Birthday, my grandfather gave me a piccolo. The next year, in a school play, I used it to play the ending part of 'The Stars and Stripes Forever.' Later I learned how to play other musical instruments." Bob turned to Helen, swinging his open hand toward her as if to say, "your turn."

"I've always loved music. My mother sang professionally, and she sang to me all my life, including before my birth. That may be why I have a natural perception of intervals. It wouldn't have made sense for me to go into any other field of study."

Joe grinned at Helen before taking his turn. "I had a high school sweetheart, a beautiful girl in the church choir. I wanted to impress her. So I began to study the fiddle. But she moved to Sweden."

Then Joe smiled. "But now I know how to play the fiddle."

Victor returned his smile. "Good; "Then he asked his second question; "What do you want to be doing one year from now?"

Bob answered first. "I have my eye on being an instructor in the school of music here at the university."

Next Helen answered. "I see myself as joining some opera group. I had expected that when I finished school, I would become an opera singer. If that doesn't work out, I can always support myself by teaching music."

Finally, Joe answered. "I haven't thought about this yet. I will be out of school. Perhaps the three of us would continue to play as a band, and support ourselves by playing at various special events."

After the interview, Victor gave Joe the first disc already made by his recording equipment. "Here's your copy of the recording of the music and interview. Later today, I'll email a copy to Grant so he can evaluate your performance."

"Thank you, my good friend. We appreciate your faith in our music."

Victor combed his red-orange hair with his hand. "I wanted to do you guys a favor for helping me. You were friends when I needed friends. And it looks like I'm doing myself a favor also. Thank you again."