Something a bit different
I did something a little different tonight.
My dad is into choral music, and invited my brothers and me to go see the
Missouri State Concert Chorale, a group of college kids from MSU. There were about 50 of them in the group, led by Guy B. Webb, a Julliard-educated professor-type guy. They sang at a cool Spanish-styled Catholic church at 51st and Main.
I can't really say that this music isn't my bag. I've always been around music like this off and on, but I'm typically more of a rock concert type guy. This was really impressive. The music is totally different. It's fairly quiet (for the most part), and sung in different languages (Latin, Russian, German, French, Swedish). There
are no instruments. So, the normal things you lock onto in music (the groove, the lyrics, the guitar sound, etc.) are all missing.
But there's other things here that the other stuff doesn't have. It's a peaceful flow of notes that you just kind of soak in. Some of it was downright mesmerizing. One song they did, a Slovenian thing, was really chaotic and freaked out. It was kind of spooky. (If I was in a dark hallway and heard that noise going on at the end of the hall, I think I would run the other way.)
One interesting thing about this music is how the crowd responds during and after a song. At a rock concert, there are fists pumping in the air, and everyone's going "Yeah! Yeah!". When the song ends, everyone goes nuts and yells and claps. This stuff is different. You look around at peoples' faces while the music's going, and they're concentrating, really listening to it. The last note ends, and you hear the last echoes float through the room and die out. If it is a faster-paced song, people wait until the conductor's arm drops, and then they clap. Some of the slower stuff is so intense that when it ends, the room is dead quiet. It's like everyone's holding their breath trying to prolong the last note or something. Then you'd hear everyone start breathing again, and people would look at each other and grin with kind of a "Dude, that was awesome!" look on their face.
Something about this that interests me is how this music holds your attention so strongly, perhaps even more than rock-n-roll does. Good rockin music commands attention by towering over its audience and kicking up dust. It's all fire, fury, and bombast. This stuff commands attention in a different way, just as efficiently. I think it does it by being so quiet that it forces you to really pay attention in order to get anything out of it. Then, while you're focusing on it, it builds up and swirls around you until it drops you off at the end. And the end seems to be the point where you come to your senses and go "Wow! That rocked."
I've heard this kind of music ever since I was a kid, but never made any moves to actually collect it to, you know, listen to it on an iPod or something. I might do that and see how I like it!