From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Musical Talent Appreciated

A willing audience


It seems to me that, when I was young, older people genuinely enjoyed a live musical performance of the amateur sort. I grew up in the country, so I'm talking about older country folks. I would include people the age of my parents (born in the 1920s) in this group of music appreciators as well as the elders of the community who were born as far back as the 1880s and 1890s.

Those older people valued homegrown musical talent. They loved to hear someone play a toe-tapping tune on the piano, or the guitar, or the accordion, or the fiddle. They admired someone who could stand in front of a group and sing a song. They were thrilled to hear a trio or a quartet sing in harmony. Music was a treat for them!

For us today, music of a thousand genres is available 24/7. We are sated with music. If we don't hear the music we like on the radio, it's available on the television, internet, CDs or ITunes. We pipe it into our brains with our headsets. We don't need to make our own music in our parlors-- and that surely means that a lot of modest musical talent is never noticed, developed, or appreciated.

1 comment:

RunAwayImagination said...

I believe that making music is an essential part of what makes us human. Our lives today are flooded with music - in the elevator, grocery store, car, dentist office and so on, but these experiences are primarily passive. No other experience binds groups of people together in the way that harmonizing and staying on the beat does. The experience is completely cooperative - there is no competition - everyone participates in creating beauty. And as Keats reminds us, beauty is truth, and truth beauty.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.