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Like a Space Within a Pentachoron

novice player for dance-fighting became a pianist for a girl, who had the color of coffee with cream, so that she would sing softly as he played the chords to accompany her. In the days when he was a student becoming a master (but not a master of dance), he would entertain by improvisation on the piano at a coffeehouse during his leisure hours, and there was unofficially and informally a study hall for the students like him who would work even after midnight. In a sitting there he might consume two cups of coffee, four tobacco cigarettes, and six white pages on both sides all while writing out mathematical equations for preparing his classwork.

With a pen in one hand and the cigarette in the other the student would try in mathematics to show his work to himself, particularly on some occasions to derive the musical ratios of just intonation, while pausing to sip his coffee at the cafe. His high school music teacher once asked him for a cigarette when the choir that he accompanied with piano was away on a concert field trip, and he gave it to her, too. A jazz master had later taught him piano techniques. Although having later become a master himself, he went to a student house party where most danced or with piano and drum played songs such as “Black Orpheus.”

A high school choir would harmonize more and dance less than people would at a tropical hoedown, but the smokers among them would always find time for a cigarette before a gig. It was imaginable that if anyone was going to smoke at the hoedown, the musicians would instead of the singers or dancers, but typically they were all the same people in different roles. At gigs, the pianist found that the time between songs was just enough for him quickly to roll a cigarette, light it, and put it in his mouth. He also took to restoring an old coffeehouse piano as a hobby such that he would glue a broken hammer while he might have been smoking du Maurier cigarettes imported from Canada.

The accordion would contribute tonality to the African rhythms of a show—with a style from (very absurdly) far south of the border—at a cafe where everyone would drink espresso and smoke cigars if not playing music or dancing. Tobacco and coffee had been major products of American plantation farms. Capoeira experts agreed that smoking was bad for the game of dance-fighting originating there, and the game incidentally had also become an intramural sport club at a school. It came as a surprise to such a club when word got out that their captain smoked, as he of all people was the only one who did.

For tobacco or coffee, a well known fact in the history of the New World is that south of the Mason-Dixon line, the plantation farmers would grow both; although for coffee, they were typically much farther south—even on another continent from that line. At a coffeehouse, a master and student (who both smoked something) met and may have spoken about music, dance, and sport, particularly that which brought them together in the first place. The fact was that coffee itself may have been a crop which in part had inspired their spirited activities because of the development of farm workers with their game of Capoeira. After the dancing game would be played, occasionally the players would (although not traditionally) sit together near the piano and perform popular songs in a romantic way, just as when the coffee-colored girl would sing.


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