For the record, I don’t believe in The Mozart Effect and even if it’s true, I think trying to convince people to listen to classical music for some beneficial effect is wrong and detrimental. So I found this hilarious:
LISZT EFFECT: Child speaks rapidly and extravagantly, but never really says anything important.
BRUCKNER EFFECT: Child speaks v-e-r-y slowly and repeats himself frequently and at length. Gains reputation for profundity.
WAGNER EFFECT: Child becomes a egocentric megalomaniac. May eventually marry his sister.
MAHLER EFFECT: Child continually screams–at great length and volume–that he’s dying.
SCHOENBERG EFFECT: Child never repeats a word until he’s used all the other words in his vocabulary. Sometimes talks backwards. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child blames them for their inability to understand him.
There are several more, and don’t miss the comments because there are even more.
Note: I first saw some of these on Facebook then Googled it to find more.
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. If you’re my age you probably learned in elementary school that Franklin talked to the French, “discovered electricity,” invented the lighting rod, and wrote a few wise and witty lines, such as “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And that was just about all. But, as adults, we have learned that he did quite a bit more than that. One of his many inventions was the glass armonica.
And here is a modern composition for glass armonica and orchestra.
It can be a little embarrassing to admit that you like Elvis Presley. There’s a good chance that someone will assume that you are one of those people. And some of his best songs are neglected in favor of the more catchy, and in some cases annoying, songs. Take, for example, Blue Christmas. (Please!) I absolutely hate, loathe, and despise that song. Maybe if they didn’t play it so much around Christmas. It is not really a Christmas song. It’s a broken-hearted love song that just happens to mention Christmas. (not to mention that the background is seriously annoying which might be the worst thing about it. I usually like Elvis’s background singers but on this one they sound like… well, I can’t think of anything else that bad right now.)
Elvis recorded at least one whole album of Christmas songs but Blue Christmas is the only one you ever hear. Unless you go looking for them yourself. This is one of my favorites, even though I don’t entirely agree with the sentiment. If every day was like Christmas, Christmas would no longer be special. In fact, I think, in some ways, all the wrong ways, every day is like Christmas. Kids no longer have to wait for Christmas to get toys or special treats. Most kids get toys and treats throughout the year, often as bribes to “be good”. And we adults don’t wait to treat ourselves either.
But anyway… sorry for the rant. Here’s the song. I love the gentleness of it.
I know I said I wasn’t going to post anything today but then I read this about the Buffalo Philharmonic and I was intrigued by Kelly’s description of the orchestra as “rather like dark chocolate, deeply rich and complex,” so I went searching on Youtube and found this seasonally appropriate piece that I had not heard before.
Poppycock. (I love that word.) I listened to the whole thing and I think it actually made me a little bit tense. That constant droning… it’s like an insect buzzing around the room. So what is the most relaxing tune ever? (IMO, of course) The first that comes to mind is Silent Night as performed by Mannheim Steamroller. As for the most relaxing non-seasonal tune… I’ll have to think about that.
The only one that I have actually heard is MacArthur Park. I guess that makes me… I don’t know… old or something? To be fair to the rest of them (and I really do hate to be fair to any of those) the MacArthur Park lyrics don’t sound nearly as stupid when they’re sung as they do when you read them. At least not to me but I don’t pay all that much attention to lyrics anyway.
It’s strange… I hear the words but the literal meaning doesn’t always get through. The words are just part of the music, like notes. One particularly funny example is Lola. I had been hearing this song for several years and certain words popped out – like “Lola” and “cherry cola” – but most of it just went right past me. Then one day some years back I was driving through Tulsa and this song came on the radio (This was during the years when Tulsa did not have a classical station) and I have no idea why but I actually heard all the lyrics. For the first time I understood what the song is about.
So lyrics don’t really mean all that much to me anyway. I prefer music without any words at all. Or with words in a language I don’t understand. Especially Latin. It’s all about the music.
Bach’s music is, to me, architectural. It is mathematical. Now, to some that might make it sound like the music is clinical and sterile in emotion, but nothing could be further from the truth. Bach’s music often suggests, more than any other composer’s, something cosmic, and his work springs from the deep connections between music and mathematics. It’s the primal sense of wonder that may well be the very first emotion we all experience, that sense of grandeur before a Universe that is vaster than we can conceptualize and yet we have innate abilities to conceptualize a great deal of it. That’s what Bach means to me.
It might be that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” but that’s some good writing about music. When you try to write about music it is easy to sound pompous. The best way to is not to write about the music itself but to write about how you feel about the music. And that can be hard too.