Wednesday, 18 July 2012
You hum it, I'll Play it
Because of that, I delayed doing a lot of the things most people do, so I was late settling down to marriage, late buying a house, very very late deciding whether or not to have children.
Had it not been for music I would have been a totally different person, and who knows, that might have been a good thing, but the one thing I was always sure of was just what I meant by music.
Most people, even of my generation, were exposed to the beginnings of 'pop' and then rock and roll with all its later sections and sub-sections, but I never was.
My parents listened to classical music from time to time, and my father had a 'repertoire' of about 10 pieces of music which he either sang (badly) or whistled (sometimes in tune). He made up his own words to the odd classical songs and mauled beyond recognition orchestral music (mainly Mozart). Nevertheless if I had the radio on the third programme he would almost always recognise what was being played or sung and knew who had written it.
The introduction of pop in the 50's caused prohibition at home, and if anyone wanted to listen to Sinatra, or the older crooners from a previous genre the reaction was immediate and there was no court of appeal, "turn that racket off, or go up to your room" was the usual reaction.
When I started to sing at school, it was not actively discouraged but the usual reaction to an outburst of song was "stop showing off", so I really only sang outside of the house until I was in my teens, when various people told my parents, "she has a good voice, she should join a choir".
The fact that I did sing and went on singing, choirs, opera companies, even briefly, with a local band (swing), and at another time, a folk-group, was mainly because my parents were growing with the times and starting to open up to other ideas.
Probably because of the early narrow musical field I'd been exposed to, for a very long time I was a musical snob and regarded anything other than classical music as second-rate and not really music at all. I remember being quite shocked when listening to "Desert Island Discs" to discover that some quite well educated people chose pop songs among their records. Somehow I had formed the opinion that only the uneducated would choose to listen to "that sort of stuff".
Much later when I began to have singing lessons with a very famous and well-respected teacher I had to begin to adjust my thinking and recognise that if a song, or a piece of music was good of its kind, it qualified as music.
My snobby narrow-mindedness gradually changed to a grudging acceptance of most other genres, but I still chose to listen to opera, orchestral, or song recitals and choral work.
Ballet music also became a favourite, and it was not until I had a jazz trumpeter in my life that I began to listen and eventually to love jazz.
By this time, my parents had advanced so far that their Christmas present to us for quite a few years was a trip to a West-end musical and a meal for the entire tribe.
So now I had added musicals to my list (well, some musicals anyway), and I learnt to appreciate the merits of the wonderful Leonard Bernstein among others.
That was pretty much it, until TV became a bigger part of my life as I got older and in recent years the Andrew LLoyd Webber series of hunts for stars for his various shows has got me more or less hooked.
The current Superstar competition has introduced me to even more very varied styles of music and singers and while I still have no real liking for the very loud rock style or incomprehensible lyrics of some of the competitors, some favourites are beginning to emerge.
I have already decided in my own mind which two singers are the best on offer and have also decided, just in case Andrew can't make up his mind, that they could share the role jointly a week at a time.
My good friend the Vernacular Vicar includes a U Tube favourite on a side bar on his blog, and I am getting a further education. (Not necessarily one I enjoy every time), from that. So just what is music, who decides, and is there a cut-off point, or do we just go on opening our ears and minds to every new thing while hearing lasts?
Sounds like a good idea to me.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:40:00 pm