Note: This was written a number of hours ago. I just forgot to post it.

I’m watching the end of Solti: A Celebration. I just happened across it while there’s a break in the Sharks’ game. No, I’m not really an ice hockey fan but, well, they ARE in the playoffs and they are from here and I start to get more interested when it’s a playoff game.

But back to what I planned on writing about here … it’s interesting to watch the oboists; they take more reed than I do. Of course some folks in the States take in more reed than I do as well, but I don’t think anyone here has the reed in their mouth all the way to the wrapping. (Why do I feel as if I have written all this exact same stuff before? Have I? Hmmm.) Of course they probably play on different reeds than we do here too. We have “long scrape” (or “American scrape”) reeds that, if I know what I’m talking about, Marcel Tabuteau originated. Funny, the “American scrape” was developed by a French man. Of course he was here, playing in the Philadelphia Orchestra (thus, some also call the scrape the “Philadelphia scrape” … how confusing all of this can be!). My understanding is that the oboes in the UK are somewhat different as well. I’d like to see their oboes someday. Maybe I’ll make it to an IDRS convention some year and get a chance to view them then. Time will tell.

But this whole reed thing. I’m constantly telling my students, “Corners forward! Less reed! Think “oooh” not “eeee”.” And then I see these players and I wonder what my students would think. They just might decide that I’m nuts!

And yes, I’m nuts, I suppose. But I will continue to harp on them for the embouchures. Because with our reeds I think I do know what is best. Really.

What a silly ramble. See what an opera can do to the brain? Or perhaps it’s the reeds. Or the oboe. Or everything.

Oh. And the Sharks just won. They move on. Not bad.

… and for me that means church in the morning, unless I’m entirely fried. So I’ll be off in a short time. But while I was checking out music news I ran across an article in the UKs Guardian about karaoke style music for churches.

I promise you that if that happens at the church I attend I’ll go elsewhere. Period.

Our church still uses a hymnbook, believe it or not. We also have another book with the more contemporary songs, and this book, unlike so many I’ve seen, also has notes in it, which I appreciate. Some of the contemporary songs aren’t bad. In fact—dare I say this?—some are good and even better that some of the junk in the old hymnbook! Of course some are horrible, but I can tell you that there are some terrible old hymns too. I often can look at the date of a hymn and know if I’ll like the music or not. That schlocky, emotional, romantICKY era of hymns I can do without.

But karaoke? Pleaasseee say it ain’t so!

Update
I’m back home from church. We sang from the contemporary song book. While there are notes printed in the book, I was reminded that they don’t really suggest singing harmony. I make my own part up, though; the songs are so simple you can harmonize the first time through even if you’ve never heard the tune before. I don’t care for completely predictable music, but I suppose for hymns it’s a good idea. These songs, after all, are for everyone to sing. Complex harmonies and difficult lines probably aren’t the best thing. (I remember, at another church, when we did have a few of difficult things to sing, in fact, and it was only embarrassing to hear everyone muddle through.)

I do think that not providing notes in church music is a reflection of things going on with music. Fewer and fewer people can read music. Some churches (I’m talking Protestant here since that’s what I’m familiar with) are even moving back into the “harmony is bad” thing. A colleague of mine told me her husband, who is a pianist, was told that he needed to stop playing harmony because it distracted from worship and everything should be in unison. Sigh.

30. April 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

(Yes, I really should be asleep by now! When I get home from opera, though, I’m sort of wired.)

From what this article says, some arts organizations in San Jose may be losing some money they were counting on due to the sale of the Mercury News. Let’s hope the new owners are as generous as the old owners were.

It’s always a struggle in the arts.
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