Music – How does one develop a strong liking for specific music? Part 1
Since Colin Stewart alias the Epigramman created a page in Facebook named Let’s just talk music and cinema , I’ve noticed a significant difference in different cultures’ taste for music. The Americans, Europeans, Asians, people of the Mediterranean and the East, Australians, Africans and South-Africans, et cetera, and more distinctively the cultures within these groups, have their own, unique strong liking for specific music.
This observation has triggered my analytical mind once again into action.
To understand the actions of others I always have to understand my own first. Why do I like the music I like, was therefore a question I've asked myself for the first time.
Considering the fact that no person is able to like something that was never introduced to him, I reviewed my life to analyze the music that was introduced to me.
In "The Merchant of Venice" Shakespeare said through his character Lorenzo:
"The man that hath no music in himself,
nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils."
Before birth -
The fact that sounds of music affect the unborn child has been proved by researchers. By now we know that certain music stimulates the development of a baby's brain and certain systems already in the womb. This is however not the topic of this hub, therefore I add a few links for readers who would like to know more about this.
First five years -
I was the first child of a young mother of eighteen. She was a dedicated Christian and a musician who did not have the opportunity to develop her musical talents to a level where she could have been regarded as a famous artist. She and her brothers, and in particularly her brothers, were simply the providers of music in our family circle. While her brothers occupied the guitars, concertina and piano-accordion, my mother excelled on the harmonica. And, of course, naturally, singing and whistling.
Already before I was born I must have heard her sing her favorite hymns. Until today she loves singing hymns all by herself.
Church choir -
Both my parents were members of our church choir. Regular rehearsals were the order of the day. I, and later my siblings as well, had to go along and keep ourselves busy where we could be seen but not heard.
In the car, on our way to wherever, my parents sang in harmony, practicing the hallelujahs to be sung in the choir.
My father's favorite hymn
The choir presented the Messiah at least once per year -
At least once a week I've heard the beautiful sounds of a pipe organ -
All of these still my favorites.....
And, of course, Christmas carols on the Pipe Organ!
The church with its Pipe Organ was my haven for the first 35 years of my life. The sounds of the organ and the enjoyment of singing hymns with my co-Christians released chemicals in my brain that were like drugs I needed at least once a week. Music activities in the church, as well as the divine messages provided by the reverend, were certainly the source of my emotional strength and power.
I still remember my favorite nursery song -
“Die Lappop” (The Rag Doll), was about a poor, thrown-away ragged doll living on a rubbish dump. She was sad until she was crowned as queen by the rest of the thrown-aways: A rotten pumpkin, a broken shoe, an old gramophone record, a sock without a mate, an empty beer bottle, a wilted coronation, a patched tube of a car's wheel and an old newspaper...
I sang this song also to my children and grandchildren, but I cannot sing it any more. I cry before I finish the first line - this is a condition called LACHRYMOSIS. In French 'Cri de Coeur', meaning "Cry out of the heart due to mourning not dealt with". I guess I will always mourn the good and the bad I have lived. Life is precious. NOW, the present moment, dies in a second to be forever dead in the past.
More favorites were "Die Dapper Muis" (The Courageous Mouse), and the song about the frog who borrowed the light of a firefly at a cent per hour in order to date Ms Mouse. But eventually the frog chased the firefly away because he was in fact an eavesdropper.
Oh, and the donkey -
The donkey is a wonderful thing
He is a brother of a mule
and the other day he
started to cry....
(This record, just as it is, as well as the Ragged Doll and many others, were often played to me and my sibblings, but most of the time my parents sang this before bedtime or while we were driving in the car - television existed only in our dreams)
Folk songs -
By the time I went to school at the age of five, I knew all our folk songs, or at least the melodies.
The Alibama was a ship - probably the ship that brought the first white governor, Jan van Riebeeck, to the Cape on 6 April 1952 -
Far away in the old Kalahari (a desert in South-West Africa) the farmers sing -----
We also sang the folk songs of the native black people -
Family reunions - Music delivered by the musicians in our family sounded like this, and everybody would sing along and/or dance -
My uncles played our unique 'Boere Musiek' and young and old would dance until sunrise, especially on New Year's Eves -
Being a member of a choir goes without saying...
In my time it was Apartheid - the whites and blacks sang in separate choirs -
Piano lessons -
I had music theory and piano as a school subject for 2 years when I was 9-10 years old. My parents rented a Hammond organ for me to practice on at home. (Pianos were too expensive.) Because of many reasons a piano player should not practice on an organ or a keyboard; I was compelled to stay after school to practice on one of the available piano's. Sometimes it was on the concert grand in the hall; I will never forget how very important and famous I felt while playing on that one. It gave wings to my imaginations and I could figure myself in an enormous auditorium, the best pianist in the world listening to the thunderous applause of her fans. Well, my reports clearly stated that I did have the talent to become an International pianist, so my dreams were relevant.
But then we moved to another province where music was not offered as a school subject. Being one of five children, my parents could not afford private lessons. My father bought us a Yamaha organ and simply said: "There you are, you are good enough to teach yourself."
Well, not one of the musicians in the family had any formal training, and they were regarded as the best in their communities. So who would have guessed that I will not be able to reach any significant heights without formal training?
I remember playing a duet on the piano during a concert at the end of my filth grade and remember in particular Bach's Minuet in G, maybe because it was the solo I played at the same concert.
Oh, and I was for a couple of months a percussion player in the province's junior youth orchestra, doing the triangle, glockenspiel and all those tambourines and rattles and symbols. All I can remember is the feeling of boredom I had discovered in that orchestra while waiting... waiting... waiting for my turn to produce a sound.
By the age of eleven I was hooked on my parent's music - Just a few examples:
Slim Witman -
In the meanwhile I played my own versions of everything I heard on our Yamaha organ - though our model's mini-pops were not built in, but separate -
And of course I was not at the age of 11 as good as this guy >>>>>>
At the age of 12
I discovered POP MUSIC
Continue in PART 2 (to be published soon)
© Martie Coetser (February 2012)
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