Sunday, June 04, 2006
I was accused of cheating during my freshman year of college, in a music appreciation class, one of those classes with hundreds of students. The instructor, for an examination question, played a piece of music we had not studied, and asked us to write about it.
The music was the second movement of Brahms' fourth symphony. This symphony was one of a few recordings I happened to own. I had listened to it dozens of times, until I knew it almost by heart.
In my answer to the examination question I identified the piece of music, mentioned that the melody was written in the Phrygian mode, and repeated some other things I remembered from the record jacket.
Everyone else except me got a graded examination back. I got a summons to see the instructor, who accused me of having hired someone else (a music major presumably) to take the examination in my place.
The instructor was skeptical of my explanation and made me write another examination in his office, under his watchful eye.