The most boring music imaginable

The most boring music imaginable

There have recently been a few comments about how only musicians like Irish music. I’ve actually heard the comment above from the husband of an Irish-Music-Loving lady of my acquaintance.
Some people say that it’s the wall to wall reels and jigs of the typical modern instrumental session that the punters don’t like, and that might be the case. But I’ve been at hard-core tune sessions where the place has been jam-packed. It is true that some of the least ‘technically accomplished’ sessions seem to be most popular with the man on the Clapham Omnibus. I play in a little session once a month which largely (apart from what little new stuff we can inject) consists of sentimental ballads, Christy Moore songs and a selection of instrumentals first popularised by Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention back in the Middle Ages. People flood from miles around to hear this.
On the other hand, the session I play at in Oxford every Wednesday has a good mix of instrumental music, but very few people come to listen (those that do tend to return regularly). What was, in effect, the same session, when it was a mile closer to the centre of Oxford, had plenty of punters every time(!) Could it be that people like it if it’s there, but it’s not the sort of thing they can be bothered to make a special effort to get to? Should we be bothered?

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Where is the balance ?

Some well performed songs are as equally boring as 3 sets of well played hornpipes.

Some badly performed tunes can be more listenable than a well polished song.

Some badly sang version of the wild rover can be a breathe of fresh air among slickly arranged sets of lunasa style reels.

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If anyone is interested in the Oxford session I’ve just posted the details in the sessions section …..

https://thesession.org/sessions/1209

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IMHO most non-musicians don’t appreciate instrumentals, or not nearly as much as vocals. A whole generation has been conditioned to have that preference. Back in the 30’s and 40’s many of the most popular recordings were big band instrumentals. When is the last time an instrumental has made the top 40 in pop/rock music.

I like ITM with a touch of Irish Folk mixed in, not the other way around.

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The sessions I go to have all been around for a number of years, and are well publicized. The majority of folks in the pub would probably be there whether there was music or not, but there is a sizable and enthusiastic minority that comes specifically because they like the music. And there are a lot who come specifically to hear the instrumental stuff. Sometimes in life (and on this website) we tend to over-generalize, and one of the generalizations that doesn’t hold up everywhere is that punters don’t appreciate the music. Just because you don’t have an instrument in your lap, it doesn’t mean you are an ignorant cretin with a tin ear.

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ITM doesn’t compete well in the mainstream musical market place. Even though it enjoys a world-wide audience, it’s still very small compared to most other mainstream music genres. It’s also too ethno-specific and the fans are very critical. All of this leaves ITM in the very outer orbits of the music industry… if even there at all

All music genres have people that either like or dislike it, and all music genres seem to all sound the same to people who are not interested or bored by it. Every time my radio scans across a C&W station it sounds like the same song that was on the last time it scanned across there. As a musician, I know this isn’t true, but that’s my impression. When I’ve been in the mood (which isn’t often when it comes to C&W) I will listen and even enjoy it for a moment before I move on. Electronic music all sounds very similar, and so does hip-hop and heavy metal etc. Any music is potentially boring really, but fans of particular genres will fervently argue with you if you mention it.

I didn’t get interested in ITM because I thought it was wildly popular. As a matter of fact, back in the mid 70s when I first heard it I didn’t know even one other person in my hometown that was even aware of it. There probably were, but no one in my circle of friends and acquaintances. I liked it for strictly personal reasons and didn’t expect anything more from it other than my own enjoyment. It was only after that fact that I discovered the community that loves and supports it. But as I said, that community is still very small compared to other music genres.

So considering that all music is potentially boring to people not interested in whatever it is, and that most people are into other kinds of music – most people will find ITM to be quite boring. That fact doesn’t in anyway alter my personal regard for it.


I didn’t get interested in ITM because I thought it was wildly popular. As a matter of fact, back in the mid 70s when I first heard it I didn’t know even one other person in my hometown that was even aware of it. There probably were people, but no one in my circle of friends and acquaintances. I liked it for strictly personal reasons and didn’t expect anything more from it other than my own enjoyment. It was only after that fact that I discovered the community that loves and supports it. But that community is still very small compared to other music genres.

So considering that all music is potentially boring to people not interested in whatever it is, and that most people are into other kinds of music – most people will find ITM to be quite boring. That fact doesn’t in anyway alter my personal regard for it.

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I’m an ignorant cretin wiht a tin ear and an instrument under my chin. :-)

Weird :-/

I just read my post and something weird seems to have happened. The last two paragraghs repeated… Jeremy?

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Ottery puts me in mind of the Apocalyptic Buddhist vision: "When the last monk throws away the last scrap of saffron cloth and takes himself a wife…"
So: When the last fiddler uses his bow to beat the cat and reprograms his ipod entirely with trance music…

I think we might be okay for a week or two yet. :)

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One of the things that prompted this thread was going to the Herschell one night where there was some amazing music that you would think people would pay a fortune to hear, yet there were more people playing than listening. And that session isn’t just tunes, there are great songs as well. You might say that no-one goes out on a Monday, but I had a friend trying to persuade me to go with her to the opera, by coincidence, on a Monday night, and that was virtually sold out, a month in advance with the cheapest tickets left being fifty quid(!)
The Herschell is free and as a listener you stand a good chance of getting some grub!
Where’s the sense in that?

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…Lots of people who go to opera are only showing off anyway - and I know a few like that.

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I agree with griffith; except it has been two generations who have heard very little melody in popular music. And I’m not aware of ANY instrumentals being played on pop radio stations, top 40 or otherwise.
To those accustomed to simplistic, repetitive tunes, made even more memorable by mundane lyrics, Irish reels (in particular) sound like endless scales being practiced. I have heard the same comments applied to modern jazz; by people who DID grow up listening to big bands.
I would make a comparison with current eating habits:
Try taking someone used to eating ‘fast food’ on the run to something/somewhere else, and suddenly place them in a formal dining situation where there are standards of protocol and etiquette, the process seems to be intolerably long, and the only entertainment is provided by the diners themselves in something quaintly called CONVERSATION.

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"I have heard the same comments applied to modern jazz"

Well, yeah, sure, but in that case it’s because that’s all it is.

KFG

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“IMHO most non-musicians don’t appreciate instrumentals, or not nearly as much as vocals. A whole generation has been conditioned to have that preference.”

I agree. I played in rock & roll bands back in the early-to-mid sixties and it was pretty much expected that we have some instrumentals in our repertoire. A lot of the top-40 hits were instrumentals and some bands played nothing else (The Ventures, Duane Eddy, Travis Wommack). After Jimi Hendrix and a few others, rock guitar playing became highly focused on extended improvised (or not) solos and hyper-virtuosity. I think this contributed to the near death of the pop instrumental tune by conditioning listeners to meandering riffs and hot licks and by intimidating instrumental tune players out of the scene.

Would bluegrass be as popular if the instrumentalists hadn’t traded in the tunes for hot licks? One of the many things I like about TIM is that it doesn’t lend itself so easily to that kind of adulteration.

But, more to the point, I think there are other things at work. In any session, concert, coffeehouse venue, there seems to be a critical mass of serious fans you have to draw before the spark ignites. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you move a session and only half of the core punters follow, the momentum could be lost. Maybe just temporarily.

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"I played in rock & roll bands back in the early-to-mid sixties and it was pretty much expected that we have some instrumentals in our repertoire."

People still danced.

KFG

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I once heard ITM described as a "thinking man’s listening music."

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Here’s another thought ("Somebody shut him up!") In the recent movie about Bobby Darin (can’t remember the title)
Darin is trying to make the big comeback with more serious, meaningful songs, and nobody is listening. The bimbo wife, Sandra Dee, comes out with a real eye-opener: "What they hear is what they SEE!"
So the ex-star drapes himself in glitzy sets and clothes and orchestra, sings the same new songs, and BINGO!
Transpose to the unglamorous ITM’s hunched in the corner of the boozer, backs to any potential listeners, sometimes refusing to even acknowledge them. "Who the hell ARE those guys?"
Say what you will about the era of Mitch Miller’s singalong records, and anyone-can-do-it skiffle. It seems that now, everyone has the right to full-time, non-stop entertainment; and the people who provide it must be glamorous stars whose lives are constantly monitored by the media.
How do you respond to the weird people with odd instruments in the pub?

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I watched the Gael Force DVD and, quite onestly, I was bored stiff. All the musicians seemed boxed up and somewhat unocomfortable, and the singers came off as a largely pretentious lot. Most of the disc was vocalists, too. There were bright spots, sure, in fact there were quite a few, but for the most part, I was so bored that I nearly fell out of my chair. Watching Altan play looked as if someone just offstage was holding a whip and a pistol..

<smile, smile, play, smile, keep smiling, no mistakes now..>

Funny thing is, you know that people like Altan, Chieftains, De Dannan, Christy Moore and Maura O’Connell can really shine when they’re comfortable. Was anyone at the concert? It was ages ago in Dublin but I’m guessing it would have been better to see it live? Usually is, anyway.

I can see if some run-of-the-mill pop fan accustomed to listening (suffering) to the likes of Beyonce or other somesuch radio friendly expendable synthetic trash listened to, say, a Leo Rowsome record, then they might be totally bored with it, even turned off by it. I’ve cleared whole rooms at parties by playing stereo commando to see who’s who in the room. But people like that don’t really enjoy music, I think, or they would jump at the chance to hear some new real music, played by real people on real instruments (not just a bunch of made-up starlets using auto-tune).

I’ve also discovered that most people haven’t ever given it a listen, and prefer to boorishly stick to their proud opinions, anchored with iron and founded on thin air. I don’t like that. Anyhow, I’m a musician, so there’s my reason for giving any instrumental music a listen. But what’s yours for not giving it a try, buddy? That’s what I say. They usually don’t have a response capable of holding any water whatsoever. Let those freaks listen to commercial radio a dawdle away into oblivion, bilssfully ignorant and painfully stupid.

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As old John Thomson from the fast show, jazz club say’s
NNNIIIIIIICE !!!
GRRRREAT !!!
WOONDERBARRR !!!

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"’I have heard the same comments applied to modern jazz’"

"Well, yeah, sure, but in that case it’s because that’s all it is.

KFG"

Oh, Christ….

chris smith

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Well, you can’t change popular tastes but you can take some satisfaction from being the best musician you can be.

I didn’t take up the pipes to be an entertainer or to seek attention; I took up the pipes because their sound enchanted me, and stayed with them because of my love for the music and (most of ) the people who play it ; ) I suspect a lot of musos’ stories fall along similar lines.

And many "civilians" do express their enjoyment of the music. They’re a minority but they’re still out there. If someone has something kind to say about my music, I say "Thank you, I appreciate that" and treat it as a validation of all the effort.

Any no-talent shyster can land a gig with some fast talk. But you have to have music in you for a complete stranger to come up to you out of the blue and say, "Thanks for playing tonight, I really enjoyed your music".

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"But you have to have music in you for a complete stranger to come up to you out of the blue and say, "Thanks for playing tonight, I really enjoyed your music"."

Ok… but on the other hand I’ve heard some really crap hack-jobs trying to play the music and overheard some punter saying the same thing to them before. I’ve also witnessed big turnouts for hack-bands and slim turnouts for really good trad players. I’ve even been at really great gigs by established ITM musicians and overhead punters say things like, "They’re ok, but I prefer to listen to real Irish music… like, [insert name of their favorite hack-band]"

Oh the humanity!

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The nice thing I encounter around the NE US is that there are radio stations that play ITM for at least a few hours each week (college and National Public Radio stations, that is). I find many of the music lovers that come to listen to us in sessions learn about ITM by way of those shows. We also have celidhe clubs, websites, folk concert venues, etc, that support the music. All this seems to work together to form the ‘critical mass’ of enthusiasts that someone mentioned above.

Regarding the "jazz or ITM all sounding the same issue," I recently bought a Pat Metheny solo guitar album, the first jazz album I have bought in a couple of years. The first time through, I was having a little trouble enjoying it, despite the fact that there was some awsome playing going on—I found myself thinking ‘where is the melody?’ Whereas, when I first got in to ITM, I often thought "where are the solos and improvisation?" To each his own I guess, no form is inherently better than the other, they just have different conventions that underly them. Like lemon pie or chocolate ice cream—neither is superior, they just taste different.

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"Oh, Christ…."

Well, that was easy.

"…on the other hand I’ve heard some really crap hack-jobs trying to play the music and overheard some punter saying the same thing to them before."

I’ve gotta make a living somehow.

"I recently bought a Pat Metheny solo guitar album…"

I’ve got one of his broken strings floating around in my desk somewhere. The tech just tossed it on the stage floor and I picked it up and put it in my pocket. Memento of the gig.

KFG

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Off on a tangent, but I wonder if Irish trad music, and trad music in general, appeals more to people who actually participate in making the music. It is, afterall, a body of music created for the pleasure of active *participation*—either playing it or dancing (step or set) to it—not just as listening music.

I’m sure that most musicians enjoy playing whatever music they play, but most of today’s more popular forms—rock, classical, pop, rap, even blues and jazz as they’re played today—are strongly influenced by their status as music for an audience of *listeners.*

Music whose purpose is to compete for an audience has to have an obvious melodic or rhythmic hook. Some trad tunes have such a hook, but many don’t—their rhythm is set by the form (reel, jig, slip jig, etc.) and their melody is simply a subtle variarion on the greater theme (think "context") of all the other trad tunes.

This distinction is even more evident when you contrast instrumental music with vocal music. Words add another "hook" opportunity.

Let’s face it, Peeler’s Jacket or the Aughacashel or the Killavil Fancy don’t have a hook with the same kind of instant and almost universal appeal (nor the emotional directness) of the Hallelujah chorus Johnny Cash’s Hurt. The Peeler’s Jacket, Aughacashel, and Killavil Fancy only begin to stand out when you hear and understand them in the context of a thousand other reels in G, and thousands of reels in other keys.

My guess is that most people who listen to Irish trad also regularly participate in it by dancing (in a way that requires some study of steps and patterns) or playing. I’m fairly certain that most people who listen to American Top 40 music do NOT actively participate (unless you include pumping your arms over your head to the beat as a form of dancing :o) ).

So of course our music is boring to people who are accustomed to music crafted to more directly pluck at their heartstrings. It’s like trying to serve cream of wheat to someone used to a diet of hot chili.

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er, that’s "Hallelujah chorus *or* Johnny Cash’s Hurt."

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"I wonder if Irish trad music, and trad music in general, appeals more to people who actually participate in making the music."

I’ve also wondered the same thing. I think there are more people listening than playing, but of the people who play — they rarely want to just listen. I’ve watched avid fans who would go to any ITM gig that came around suddenly loose interest in being an audience member — unless their mentor is playing of course.

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Well, but when you come right down to it, when has popular taste EVER been an indicator of quality? A huge amount of sh*te produced to cater to popular tastes comes out, has its warhol, and then disappears —- year after year. What endures is what actually takes up residence in people’s minds and hearts, and as often as not what turns out in the verdict of history to be enduring wasn’t widely popular at the time it originated.

I think that for many of us here, this music has taken up residence on our own minds and hearts. And I think that’s what really counts, when you get right down to it.

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Yep. I suspect that the ratio of "participants" to "just listeners" for fans of Irish trad is much higher than it is for, say, fans of Celine Dion, Yanni, or everything played on MTV.

I also think that actually playing this music enables you to listen to it in something like slow motion, appreciating the smallest variations and empty spaces and all of the time between the notes that otherwise go by in a blur if you’re not intimately familiar with the music. (No doubt this holds true for any musical form that emphasizes streams of short notes played at rapid tempos.) So on that level, it’s more enjoyable to listen to if you understand it as a player. But then if you understand it, deep down, you really want to be playing along, not just listening.

I enjoy Irish trad concerts, but I always end up getting my fiddle out afterwards and playing off the inspiration. I enjoy sometimes just listening at a session, but it almost always informs my playing later.

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Cross posted there with Sara—I was responding to Jack above.

I agree with Sara too, but with the obvious caveat that some "popular" music, however produced and packaged it might be, can also be enduring and powerful on some universal level. Sometimes good music overcomes the shortcomings of its marketability.

Conversely, som Irish trad tunes are plainly the labor of people with too much time on their hands and too little to do, the crocheted doilies of the musical world. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad (they make nice buffers in sets between more melodramatic tunes), but not everyone wants a doilie on every piece of furniture in their house, either.

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Each to their own, Will, I like wee fancy hornpipes, and wish I could play more of them. But yeah the blood pressure goes up with a big set of Big reels. Yowsahh!
Yet, fur aw that an aw that,
there’s just no pleasing some people.
To them it’s just boring old jigajig music. They associate it with saddos sitting round having no fun, but playing dumb jigajig music. Those folks just wanna go party. Dance. Then shag. Then get up on Monday morning to go to work on the checkout at Sainsbury’s/Wallmart/Dunne’s.
D’you blame them? They don’t need yet another goddamm thing they have to try and understand. Give them a break guys. These people are what keeps capitalism alive. THey love it for they know no other life. And the fatcats want it that way.

So. I detect some people being a bit self-conscious bout playing The Music. Don’t be. Be proud….feel previledged…because you are. You’re not yet caught in the consumer trap of having no interests apart from what *they* (the multinational capitalist concerns) tell you to have, so they can make money out of you, when you end up doing "Retail Therapy".

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Y’know, that doesn’t sound a bad life, apart from the working on the checkout bit :)

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The shagging bit is intriguing. In contrast, say, to folks who just wanna go session. Play tunes. Down three kegs of Guinness. Then stumble home at 5 am and fall asleep on the stoop and wake up in their own p*ss. Then get up on Monday morning, get yelled at or the silent treatment from the missus, and go to work on the computer at the attorney’s/accountant’s for Sainsbury’s/Walmart/Dunne’s….

Just kidding. :o)

And just to be clear, Danny, I *love* the doilie tunes. You don’t stick with this music for nigh on three decades if you don’t have a passion for stuff like Walsh’s Hornpipe and the Belfast and Humours of Glendart and My Darling Asleep. I’m just saying that I can understand why the other 98% of the planet thinks those tunes are twee.

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Will sez:

"I’m just saying that I can understand why the other 98% of the planet thinks those tunes are twee."

I think the number is more like 99.999998% of the rest of the population including most denizen of bars and pubs. I once heard it remarked that the reason ITM major players were so friendly is that they have to be since model airlplane building is probably more popular (in the sense that more people participate.)

Sessions are for the players but are usually held in public places where alcohol is consumed. After a while hearing the same tune played over and over doesn’t make any difference to the audience because they are too intoxicated.

Mike Keyes
http://www.banjosessions.com/dec05/triplets.html

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LOL, Mike, I was trying to be optimistic, or at least generous. But you’re estimate is probably closer to the truth.

Except every March 17 that percentage shifts to 99.999997%.

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Within the fire and out upon the sea
Crazy man Michael was walking
He met with a raven with eyes black as coals
And shortly they were a-talking
Your future, your future I would tell to you
Your future you often have asked me
Your true love will die by your own right hand
And crazy man Michael will cursèd be

Vivat
Vivat
Vivat

Fairport

PP

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"I wonder if Irish trad music, and trad music in general, appeals more to people who actually participate in making the music."
- there’s an element of truth there I guess. Look at the percentage of audience consisting of musicians, friends of musicians, or relatives of musicians at any trad concert….

On a slightly different tack, one thing that separates musicians from non-musicians might be tolerance to pop music. I know quite a few musicians who find it almost uncomfortable to listen to modern ‘compressed’ music and find it quite oppressive, where as most the population seem to listen to that stuff all the time …..
or am I over-generalising again?

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I love the bit about "showing off" at the opera. Do they really sit there for five or six hours of Wagner in German, just for appearances?
I am a session-animal, but I am also mad on opera and yes, we do book a box - but only to be as near as we can to the action so as not to be disturbed by the "show-offs" eating popcorn and answering their mobile phone - we also get the best view of the orchestra as well.
I suppose I am also elitist as I can spell previledged (sic).

Regarding capitalism keeping the workers down. The trade unions also keep the workers ill-educated so they cannot make a free choice and become capitalists. We mustn’t forget that Mechanics’ Institutes and the like, used to be provided to educate the working man - apart from Ruskin and the WEA, what is the Labour Party doing to educate their members nowadays? (Enrolling graduates?)

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God, I hope not. I worked for Opera Colorado for a couple years and quite enjoyed it — I like opera, actually, at least a lot of it, and I believe that lots of other people genuinely go to the opera because they like it as well.

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‘people genuinely go to the opera because they like it’
That’s a bit insipid sounding Zina (!)
People go to the opera because they LOVE it!
It’s such a ridiculous mix of art and populism, and so outragiously extravagant, the you tend to either love it or hate it , I think.
We were in Italy a couple of years ago, near Florence, and there was an open air performance of La Boheme on in a nearby town square, so I booked tickets and had to drag my boy (16 at the time) kicking and screaming to it. "I don’t like opera!" "I HATE opera!!!!"
We tied him to his seat ;-)
We bought him an amazingly amazing icecream from the shop on the corner of the square.
The set is stunning. They’ve recreated a garret against the backdrop of the church that forms the whole side of the square. The square is crammeed with chairs - all taken, and the excited buzz quietens as the orchestra strikes up.
The Opera starts with some recitative as the friends gather in the artists studio.
Elliott definitely looks intrigued - I’m watching him more than I am watching the stage.
It’s a bit like the panto (Oh no it’s not!)
Then the tenor steps forward, opens his mouth and this amazing voice, which seems almost to exist independently of the singer, projects, almost floats, out over the square.
Elliott’s jaw drops. A position it stays in till the interval when he has another icecream. He’s never heard anything like this before, not in ‘real-life’….
Of course, he knew all the tunes, he’d heard them all over again and again in the car when he was little - before he started to demand equal rights of play on the car stereo, before he then got his MP3 player.
At the end of La Boheme, he said he would definitely go to another one one day. Quite something for a cool teenager to admit, even if he felt it.

Trouble is, the opera is a bloody expensive night out!

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DANNY MACKAY
I’m afraid that I don’t agree with your Conservative views, but I would defend to the death your right to express them.

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Not a big fan of the Romantic operas. The Bel Canto’s are fantastic though - what’s the one about the woman in the castle who goes spectacularly nuts? My favourite!

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Lucia de Lammamoor?

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Turandot is a favorite of mine. But how can you not like La Boheme? "Ahhhh…. my foot?"

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My tiny foot was frozen last night - I went to sleep in a drunken stupor (not for the first time) and left it sticking out of the duvet.
i’m sure I could write a libretto on the subject.

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Well, tell you what, I just watched "8 Miles", Eminem’s (or whatever he’s called) film, and I thought it was bliddy marvellous. I suspect it was just semi-autobiographical, where Rabbit (Eminem), the only trailer trash white kid among his peers from Detroit goes through many trials to become top rapper. Great footage of the lad himself in action.
Before that I knew he was talented but somehow never found the time to listen to him, so inadvertantly condemning his thing as boring. So it works both ways - but what would a BOF like me know?

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I went to the opera (La Boheme). To see what it’s like.

It was actually worse than I had expected.

To be fair to the genre, this could have been one spectacularly crap production.

Back in the sixties the then BOF generation used to object to the trendy modern pop music, saying that you couldn’t make out the words. Then they’d go switch on the wireless and listen to Aida (etc) sung in Italian/German/Urdu (etc).

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Just stumbled on this. If you think diddly tunes or Cage’s 4’ 33" are boring, think again.

HALBERSTADT, Germany (AFP) - A new chord was scheduled to sound in the world’s slowest and longest lasting concert that is taking a total 639 years to perform.

The abandoned Buchardi church in Halberstadt, eastern Germany, is the venue for a mind-boggling 639-year-long performance of a piece of music by US experimental composer John Cage (1912-1992).

Entitled "organ2/ASLSP" (or "As SLow aS Possible"), the performance began on September 5, 2001 and is scheduled to last until 2639.

The first year and half of the performance was total silence, with the first chord — G-sharp, B and G-sharp — not sounding until February 2, 2003.

Then in July 2004, two additional Es, an octave apart, were sounded and are scheduled to be released later this year on May 5.

But at 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Thursday, the first chord was due to progress to a second — comprising A, C and F-sharp — and is to be held down over the next few years by weights on an organ being built especially for the project.

Cage originally conceived "ASLSP" in 1985 as a 20-minute work for piano, subsequently transcribing it for organ in 1987.

But organisers of the John Cage Organ Project decided to take the composer at his word and stretch out the performance for 639 years, using Cage’s transcription for organ.

The enormous running time was chosen to commemorate the creation of Halberstadt’s historic Blockwerk organ in 1361 — 639 years before the current project started.

That original organ, built by Nikolaus Faber for Halberstadt’s cathedral, was the first organ ever to be used for liturgical purposes, ringing in a new era in which the organ has played a central role in church music ever since.

As part of Halberstadt’s John Cage Organ Project, a brand-new organ is being built specially, with new pipes added in time for when new notes are scheduled to sound.

Cage was a pupil of one of the 20th century’s most influential composers, Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951).

Cage’s avant-garde oeuvre includes works such as the notorious "4’33", a piece comprising four minutes and 33 seconds of total silence, all meticulously notated.

The organisers of the John Cage Organ Project say the record-breaking performance in Halberstadt also has a philosophical background — to "rediscover calm and slowness in today’s fast-changing world".

END STORY

Reminds me of the new mega-capacity iPod, which can hold 2.3 million tunes, or half a Grateful Dead song….

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Re: The most boring music imaginable

Showad, I’ve seen La Boheme in English and in Italian, and I couldn’t understand the words in either language! I think your expression - ‘It was actually worse than I had expected.’ is a bit of a giveaway as to your level of receptiveness….
;-)

Will, that really does sound like pretentious crap(!) When’s the CD coming out?

Re: The most boring music imaginable

LOL, you mean the 2,397,411-cd boxed set? I think the release party is set for April, 2647. I hear tickets for the event are already on sale—one a month for the next half millenium….

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I once went to a ‘Yes’ concert that seemed to go on for 639 years ….

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I always wished that I could go to a Yes concert. Perhaps I am better off to have missed out….. ;-)

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‘Tis better to travel in hope, than to sit listening to Yes’s turgid virtuosity for three hours (a mental 639 years).
Irish music is more aligned to punk (3 minutes of high speed adrenalin) than the soporific noodling of progressive rock, methinks ….

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"Irish music is more aligned to punk…" Yes! Or it should be. Obviously, personal opinion, but still…

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Re: The most boring music imaginable

Mark - " ‘It was actually worse than I had expected.’ is a bit of a giveaway as to your level of receptiveness"

is actually intended to make the point that I was at least willing to give it a try. Instead of "No I won’t go because I believe I will dislike it" , I got as far as "Yes I will go, and give it a chance to impress me."

Sorry - but German soldiers singing "You’re under arrest" just doesn’t gel for me.

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I guess it is an acquired taste, but German soldiers singing "You’re under arrest" doesn’t REALLY form an adequate synopsis of La Boheme. One of the things about opera is that they are frequently very silly, either in plot (try figuring out what is going on in Il Trovotore…), language, or in the ludicrous compromises made to reconcile singing ability, acting ability and physical appearance (a rather portly wench singing the consumptive Violetta wasting away in La Traviata comes to mind).
Opera is a bit like panto, I guess. Only more affecting.

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I tend to love opera BECAUSE of some of those silly things; perhaps it’s because I worked backstage. A consumptive Mimi in La Boheme who usually outweighs her distressed suitor is another fine example of the "La Triviata" syndrome you mention, Mark.

Oh, and I just remembered the final dress rehearsal (with large enthusiastic audience) for a run of Otello — poor Desdemona got smothered afer the desperate struggle and lay with arms dramatically stretched out and her blonde (fake) locks hanging down, on her back on the huge dramatic round bed (the then-Boettcher Concert Hall was in the round) as Otello got geared up to do his huge ending star turn. He took a huge breath to start the thing up and turned to gesture dramatically at his pitiful dead spouse, and then her left breast fell out of her rather low cut dress.

*She’s* trying not to laugh audibly or visibly, since she’s supposed to be dead as a doornail, and *he’s* practically swallowed his tongue trying to sing this huge, demanding piece of grief, guilt, and anger while trying not to make sounds like geese quarrelling.

He was to make a big ring round the edges of the stage while singing, but that night he instead draped himself (and his thankfully enormous robe sleeve, let’s hear it for the Moors) dramatically over his dead wife’s body while the two of them shook with supressed laughter and she got herself safely tucked away again under the cover of the sleeve.

Ah me. Happy days. :)

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See, it’s panto(!)
Actually, I think that the inconsistancies and flaws in opera are part of what makes it moving. It’s big and messy, and in that way, more like life than, say, film. In real life the fact that Rudolpho loves Mimi wouldn’t necesarilly be an indication that Mimi wasn’t plain (or plain ugly), or fat (maybe unlikely if she’s dying of TB). In a film, they would feel obliged to have a beautiful Mimi. In opera everything is artificial, so you end up accepting anything, and it seems to lay you more open to being affected by the power of the music and the singing.


… that’s my theory, anyway.

Re: Opera boring? Not when practised without warning on a train..!

Opera need not be a boring musical form at all.
Several years ago I was travelling north from London in what was probably quite a crowded train. Two young men were sitting opposite me, making conversation. I can only assume it was about music: one of them, wishing to demonstrate a point and evidently a trained professional singer, simply erupted into a bar or two of song, at full operatic volume. Everyone else jumped like shot cats, even as he casually recommenced his conversation with his mate. We weren’t given a chance to be bored - it was a musical mugging…

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I cant help but notice that this is another elitist "I hate all forms of music other than ITM" thread. Its about music, making music, playing music and enjoying music. I like to watch my friends perform and encourage them, I felt pride when my friend got a major role at the Met, I especially felt proud watching my daughter perform at the Wellington opera house For the record, I like opera, pop, boroque, choral, bluegrass, gospel…… I like music.

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Re: The most boring music imaginable

pinch of snuff

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When you look at threads where people get hot headed and come to blows about THIS music and what is good, what is bad, what is "wrong" and what is "right" - well if that happens
among people who love this music, then the differences are going to be even greater between those that live it and those that don’t.
Youy can;t please all the people all the time, and with this music you shouldn;t even try. If you can please yourself and not be a nuisance (which I find quite difficult!!) then that should be enough.
So no Ottery, I think we shoudn’t be bothered.
On the Opera thing, the little I know of it I like.

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"those that LOVE it" not "live it", although both would work

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