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A comment about the place of music in life  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I have watched this video a few times and what sticks out to me is one comment...

Nike Marshal on the Mandocello

About 1.08 into the video Mike makes a comment about music being a very common thing in times that many people watch TV now. That not only did most people know how to read a little music which they all learned in school, but in fact whole groups or families of instruments were created for this market. So this was not a solo kind of thing at all, but something the whole household was involved in. (I say household rather than family because I suspect that there where more extended families and boarders than there are now) I feel that interacting with other people is important.

As an added note... I have been playing drums, guitar and bass since the early 19070s and started playing mandolin in the past few years. I can't read music (at least not in real time) but only follow chord charts. So perhaps being able to read music is a bit over rated. I am currently making a Mandocello (as with the Cello, the C is pronounced as CH). Len's Madocello build
 
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I can't remember the source now, but I remember reading about an experiment in which people were asked to sing their favorite song. Almost all demurred, saying they couldn't sing; but when encouraged, they gave it a try. The experimenters then compared the songs their subjects sang with the same songs recorded by the original artists. In nearly every case, the subject sang with near-perfect pitch and tempo -- all the while insisting they couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.

In the book where I read this, the author expressed wonderment. He pointed out that you might know very well you will never be NBA material, but still happily join in a pickup game of basketball; you might be perfectly well aware that your cooking is not on a par with Julia Child's, but that does not make you embarrassed to make something for the church picnic. So why are people so self-conscious about music? he wondered. I wonder the same thing.
 
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I did not grow up with this although when we moved south more than forty years ago it was a natural phenomenon in this area.
Local to us and one that we went too as often as possible, was what was known as a 'musical' held saturday nights in one of the musicians homes.  The furniture was pulled back, more chairs got out and they played all evening and those who could danced...several generations, all in one room...it was always lovely.  The hills here had many of these happening for decades and still do.

Many potlucks and events are music oriented here...mostly acoustic, mostly hill music, heavy on fiddle, banjo and guitar.

My husband plays guitar, so maybe we are more aware of the local music community here.  It's quite awesome

...and we're expected to sing a long
 
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Judith...Your post made me think of this song by Mel McDaniel.

 
pollinator
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I am horrible...

I can sing, I really can despite being a man's-man so to speak. I have even being told I have a nice voice and stay on key though I have no idea how.

But I NEVER sing, even at church. It comes down to so many pastor's, when they get to the part of the bible where it says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord", they inevitably make some stupid comment about men singing. The truth is women smell better then us, they sure the heck look better then us, but there is something powerful about men singing, so they do not sound better then us. I just wish Pastor's would not make a cheap shot at men's expenses to make a from-the-pulpit joke, because for that reason, I REFUSE to sing. You cannot say I suck at singing if I never sing right!
 
Mother Tree
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Travis Johnson wrote:
But I NEVER sing, even at church. It comes down to so many pastor's, when they get to the part of the bible where it says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord", they inevitably make some stupid comment about men singing. The truth is women smell better then us, they sure the heck look better then us, but there is something powerful about men singing, so they do not sound better then us. I just wish Pastor's would not make a cheap shot at men's expenses to make a from-the-pulpit joke, because for that reason, I REFUSE to sing. You cannot say I suck at singing if I never sing right!



I'm not terribly musical, but there's not much that can beat a male voice choir in my opinion.  

Here's a video of the sort of male-voice singing that used to happen in the coal mining valleys of south wales.



The tradition is still going - here are some boys from the valleys singing my favourite song of all time. Even I sing this one, but only when the only being within earshot is the dog.  And, being a true Welsh Sheepdog, he joins in full belt too!



I have a friend in there somewhere.  He's since upgraded from Only Boys Aloud and become a fully fledged member of the Treorchy Male Voice Choir. Here they are putting welsh song back on the streets of the welsh valleys.  I'll be back there for a visit soon myself, too.  



This one can't embed, but it's a link to a recent short video of the Treorchy choir singing in the local community chapel, which even I deigned to attend while I was there to see what role they were playing in the local community.  I missed this session though - I was busy being spoiled rotten taken around the welsh folk museum and buying dragons to bring home with me. My friend is there - he's the one with the pony tail.  https://www.facebook.com/blaencwmchapel/videos/272972933336262/
 
Jim Guinn
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Travis Johnson wrote:

I'm not terribly musical, but there's not much that can beat a male voice choir in my opinion.  



I would have to agree with you, Travis (at the risk of sounding sexist. :) BTW...How Green was my Valley is a great movie. And, I once read (in Reader's Digest) that we should all sing out loud in church. If God gave us good voices, it is the time to thank Him. If He gave us bad voices, it is the time to get back at Him.
 
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Mother Tree
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Can't resist sharing this one too - it's kinda fun, and shows the place of singing in welsh life. Plus it has dragons...

 
Jim Guinn
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Judith Browning wrote:I did not grow up with this although when we moved south more than forty years ago it was a natural phenomenon in this area.
Local to us and one that we went too as often as possible, was what was known as a 'musical' held saturday nights in one of the musicians homes.  The furniture was pulled back, more chairs got out and they played all evening and those who could danced...several generations, all in one room...it was always lovely.  The hills here had many of these happening for decades and still do.

Many potlucks and events are music oriented here...mostly acoustic, mostly hill music, heavy on fiddle, banjo and guitar.

My husband plays guitar, so maybe we are more aware of the local music community here.  It's quite awesome

...and we're expected to sing a long



Not a Saturday Night Musical, but I found this on YouTube today, and it reminded me of this post. At 62 y/o I am thinking of learning the fiddle. I have always loved fiddle music.

 
Jim Guinn
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Well, today I took the plunge. I have been thinking about it for so long and wanting to do it. I woke up this morning thinking what am I waiting for. I really love fiddle music and want to learn...even if I am 62. The past few days I've read a couple of pieces about folks who didn't learn to play until they were in their 70's and 80's.  I have had my eye on a violin I've wanted to buy for some time now, so this morning I bought it from Fiddlerman in Florida. https://fiddlershop.com/collections/fiddlerman-violins/products/fiddlerman-concert-violin-outfit

A new chapter.

Fiddlerman_Concert_ViolinFM_Concert_Violin_Outfit_1_x700.jpg
[Thumbnail for Fiddlerman_Concert_ViolinFM_Concert_Violin_Outfit_1_x700.jpg]
Fiddlerman Concert Violin Outfit
 
Jason Hernandez
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Jim Guinn wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:

I'm not terribly musical, but there's not much that can beat a male voice choir in my opinion.  



I would have to agree with you, Travis (at the risk of sounding sexist. :) BTW...How Green was my Valley is a great movie. And, I once read (in Reader's Digest) that we should all sing out loud in church. If God gave us good voices, it is the time to thank Him. If He gave us bad voices, it is the time to get back at Him.



And then there's Luciano Pavarotti!

But even those of us without highly trained voices like his -- well, as I mentioned earlier, knowing you'll never be NBA material doesn't stop you from enjoying a pickup game of basketball, does it? Context matters. Spectators at the pickup basketball game have different expectations than spectators at Chase Center. Likewise, singing in church, or gathered around the family piano, is not the same situation as a Kacey Musgraves concert.

That same book I referenced earlier also said that, according to the best research, "talent" is not a real thing, but rather, a label we apply after the fact to the ones who worked the hardest. It said that it takes 10,000 hours of work to become a virtuoso, and that virtuosity is within reach of anyone who has the time and discipline to put in those 10,000 hours.
 
Jim Guinn
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Jason Hernandez wrote:
That same book I referenced earlier also said that, according to the best research, "talent" is not a real thing, but rather, a label we apply after the fact to the ones who worked the hardest. It said that it takes 10,000 hours of work to become a virtuoso, and that virtuosity is within reach of anyone who has the time and discipline to put in those 10,000 hours.



Now that I have decided to learn how to play the fiddle, I have read very similar statements by Wayne Erbsen:

Some people have more natural ability to learn musical instruments more than others. However, after teaching people to play for over fifty years, I still feel that determination is more important than natural talent. In fact, if I had to choose between having talent vs having drive, I’d pick drive every time. People with talent sometimes don’t appreciate their gift and often squander it. On the other hand, people with drive tend to succeed at whatever they’re working on, be it the fiddle, or pinochle. If you’ve got the will to learn to play the fiddle, and the drive and determination to focus and apply yourself, I have no doubt you’ll be successful.



and by Dr. Josh Turknett in speaking about learning a musical instrument:

Those who have reached the level of mastery have done so because they were masters of the learning process, or masters of changing their brains. They did not reach mastery on account of any special genetic gift, or talent.

 
pollinator
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The more you learn, the easier it is to learn.

I was a choirboy from grade six onward, all the way through university. Great fun.

Music is transformative. There's nothing like standing in a group of individuals three-hundred strong and singing a single piece of music in harmony. You feel the music because you become the instrument.

Honestly, for me, it doesn't even matter if it's a mixed choir or male voices, a giant concert choir or a tiny chamber ensemble where there might be two people on one part, except for the solos, baroque, classical, romantic, or any flavour of jazz, it's all the same indescribable sense of transfiguration, as though in the moment, you cease to be an individual, linking your mind with others to produce this one singular work of art, at once static and ephemeral.

I can't do simple tasks with my mind wandering without finding myself singing. At those times, it may be lines from a massive choral work, a solo jazz number, or some random classic rock. Hell, it might even be a jingle from some random commercial.

It's completely integrated into my whole self. Music is life.

-CK
 
Jim Guinn
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Chris Kott wrote:
I can't do simple tasks with my mind wandering without finding myself singing. At those times, it may be lines from a massive choral work, a solo jazz number, or some random classic rock. Hell, it might even be a jingle from some random commercial.
-CK



I can relate to this. While I don't always realize it, I have been told by others that I am constantly humming, lightly singing or lowly whistling a tune. I know sometimes I will do this with a tune over and over because I have a family member who will put on a song on the radio just to get me to "change my tune".
 
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