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huh, a musical post

My phone has an FM radio app! I did not know that phones had built-in radio capabilities. I even have a native radio app. It is slightly irritating to be loaded with so many apps that are unremovable (some stuff I would seriously like to remove, cough five hundred iterations of google this or that, lifelog) but sometimes it is useful. Haven't had a radio since my old alarm clock radio broke years ago. Apparently you just plug in earphones and the cord acts as the receiver.

It means you don't get to choose your music (obviously) but it's good because then you don't get stuck in a rut of playing the same track over and over again. Or rather, I do. If I like a song, I will play it on repeat for as long as I don't get sick of it.

Like! Necessary Evil by Nikki Yanofsky was on! I liked Yanofsky--she sang for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games (it's on youtube "I believe" by Nikki Yanofsky | equally amazing French version, "J'imagine" by Anne Villeneuve)--but I haven't followed her since. So that was nice! And I can tune into the classical station, instead of discovering music as I currently do, which is go to the symphony at random when I see a work I'm already fairly sure I will like (no Rachmanioff) which doesn't mean much broadening of musical horizons.


On a second musical note, the choir is doing Fauré's Requiem and a selection of Tudor anthems. Fauré's requiem is beautiful and lovely. The altos almost never get to sing! I want to defect to either the soprano or the tenors. The section solos are beautiful, but we practically get a role like "we need one more voice for the seventh in this chord, I wonder which voice we haven't used yet, oh yes let's use the altos!" Fauré, please include us in more than simply the last three measures of any given movement.

I exaggerate. There is one movement where we get a soloish part with the tenors, if I'm remembering correctly. But a lot of it does consist of standing and listening to others sing.

The Tudor anthems I love-hate. Uh. They're really tricky! But they will be really cool if we get them together, and they really take a lot of work (AND we get to sing, hooray). We're doing a few by Weelkes (O Lord, arise), Byrd (Justorum animae, Sing Joyfully), Tallis (If ye love me) and I think the Parson Ave Maria. Anyway, they're difficult because they're firstly heavily split; there's divisi in almost all the parts, all the time, so everyone's working under half the usual support. Especially when the weather is really bad and about 40% of the choir doesn't show up. They're all very very polyphonic too (style of music with voices singing different, independent melody lines instead of supporting one single melody). And oh my god, the word placement. Some of the anthems are in English, like Sing Joyfully. But the word placement is so weird. Normally, words that are more important--nouns, verbs, names, significant ideas--are given more emphasis: through pitch, volume, writing them with different harmony, etc. But often it can be done through simply giving them longer time. "The", "a", "of" often are quick notes because they're usually not very important. But in the anthems some of the words are set extremely oddly. We'll sing "of" for three beats and then "strength", an actually important word, for one only, which then ends the phrase. Not only is the rhythm odd for the ending of a phrase, but the length of time spent on each word is oddly disproportionate. Why would you spend so much time on "of"?

Some of the weird stuff I think is actually an effect of English having changed in the intervening half millenium. Like in the Weelkes, there's a part where it goes "and bless thine inheritance" but written like this:

musical excerpt with alto melody line and words

(I'm getting better at typesetting in musescore! It occurs to me now that I'm done, though, that I could have take a picture of my score with my phone, downloaded a pdf online of the music and took a screenshot...which would have been faster, but OH WELL.)

Basically, it sounds like "and bless thine inhe-riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-tance". Which is a) a long time for one syllable in the middle of a word and b) a very strange place to put the stress. Inheritance is accented on the second syllable, "he". I wonder if in Weelkes' English the stress was on "ri" instead.

I don't have this problem in Latin texts because I have no idea what syllables have stress, whether Latin even has stress-related minimal pairs (I'm sure that is the wrong word, but like the verb/noun difference between "to reject" vs "a reject") and I can just happily go along singing syllable by syllable. (I know that's bad. But it was the only way to get through Bach's motet, which was actually in German, but completely opaque re: syallabification as Latin to me, and which involved singing one syllable on the most endless melisma. Horrible. You forgot what word you were singing by the time you got to the next syllable.)

Also in the Tallis, the line goes "if ye love me [...] I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter" which I know he means something else but I mentally translate that to a blanket every time and want to laugh.

I was going to do a post about Agent Carter but I spent too long on this part, and have already accidentally clicked "POST" because the updated beta Create Entries on DW is really messing with my muscle memory, so I'll leave it at that this time.

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/164275.html.




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