Listening to classical

Categories: Learn Something
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I’ve been listening to the classical radio station almost exclusively in my car for the last several months. No annoying DJs, no over the top commercials. I’m much calmer in my car and the songs don’t get stuck in my head and distract me for the rest of the day. And two things have finally clicked in my mind.

First, listening to an organ piece one day it became crystal clear that the organ is a wind instrument and the piano is not. Something I’ve always known, but I finally heard that difference. An organ sustains notes and a piano does not.

Second, the voice is an instrument! Which, again, is obvious. Growing up singing hymns in church with the organ/piano playing the exact same notes everyone (should be) singing, it used to confuse me that on choir pieces the piano did not play the notes everyone was singing. But I had no problem looking at a director’s symphony score with a different instrument on each line and every instrument playing something different. Listening to a vocal piece (which I generally don’t like in classical), it finally dawned on me that the vocal line is just another line in the score. It’s just another instrument that basically plays notes you can find in a dictionary.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that in classical music it’s just as important who wrote the original as it is who did the cover. It’s Bach’s piece played by this group. On pop type stations, they never tell you who wrote the song, only who performed it. It’s not “Hold On” written by Amy Foster Gillies, Michael Bublé, and Alan Chang, performed by Michael Bublé  (and his band). Although I can highly recommend that song.

It’s not “Save the Last Dance for Me” by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, first recorded in 1960 by Ben E. King with The Drifters, …

… covered by Jay and the Americans (1962), Ike & Tina Turner (1966), The Beatles (1969), John Rowles (1969), Harry Nilsson (1974), The DeFranco Family (1974), Ron Shaw (1978), Emmylou Harris (1979), Dolly Parton (1983), Herbie Armstrong (1983), Geno Delafose (1998), Bruce Willis (1989), Daniel O’Donnell (2003), Michael Bublé (2006), Herbie Armstrong (2010), and Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town (2010). I’ll recommend the Michael Bublé version of that one too. (I had no idea there were that many covers of that song.)

And that is what I have learned by listening to classical music.

4 shared thoughts about Listening to classical

  1. Brett says:

    Bruce Willis? :brett:

  2. Sonia Barton says:

    It is one thing to know it in your head, and another to realize it. It takes on a different meaning. Thank you for coming over and visiting from MMB.


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