Thursday, January 17, 2008

Musica è.... Music is.....

The title of this post comes from a song by Eros Ramazzotti about whom I have written previously, more than once. Musica è or Music is. Recently I read what music means to Crushed and it started me thinking about what music means to me, what part it plays in my life.

Looking back on growing up, in Australia, the only source of music in our house was the radio, one radio, or the wireless as we called it then, with about three or four stations as I recall: an official Australian Broadcasting station, ABC and a few private ones. Everything came through that source, the news, sports broadcasts like cricket and rugby, radio serials, comedy shows like the Goon Show and music. Whatever they broadcast. Their choice, not yours. In fact the golden era of radio was right after the Second World War.

Naturally, as a child, I had no choice in the matter of the radio, neither when we listened nor about the station. I had a much older brother as well and his choice came before mine. So music in our home tended to be almost non existent.

Not till high school did we have an official music education program and we were introduced to classical music on records and I became a member of the choir, for I was a half decent alto. What little music there was in my life tended to be classical. My brother had taken to going to free symphony concerts which the Sydney Symphony Orchestra put on regularly and he often took me along. I did learn to love the violin and would have loved to have taken lessons but in our family there no money for luxuries like that. I suppose popular music was dance music but I never learned to dance and didn't go to the Saturday night dances which seemed to be a large part of one's social life when I was a teenager.

Television came to Australia in 1956 but we did not have one until just before I left home in 1960 to go to England. So as far as music in general was concerned my life was a bit of a barren wasteland. Although when I was in university I did belong to a very large choral society for some years so I knew that area fairly well.

In London I went to lots of musical productions and symphony concerts with my friends and a large variety of music became a part of my life. In 1961 I married a man for whom music was an integral part of his life, well classical music that is. He grew up with a father who was a clarinet player in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the ABC Military Band. At one point they had 14 pianos in their house for his father was also a piano restorer. When we got married he had a stereo with a quite large record collection, all classical so this is what I heard in our house and came to love too.

Needless to say we both missed out on the change in music in the sixties, the rise of rock and roll, although I developed a taste for folk music and bought lots of records. I even bought a guitar and took lessons and became a "folk singer", mostly for my own enjoyment, sometimes in my children's schools.

So music became more important in my life and certainly my children had all the opportunities for music that I never had. Both learned to play instruments, both had their own stereos with their own choice of music, naturally not ours. We owned one of the very early CD players and when you went to the music store, you didn't say do you have the X version of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, you said do you have the Beethoven Violin Concerto on CD and bought whatever they had. Now we have CD players in every room and hundreds of CDs everywhere.

But the really big change in music listening came from the iPod. Less than seven years ago the first one rolled off the production line. What a magnificent technological advance. Now music goes with you everywhere. Your choice, no one else's. Even I have one, as I wrote before and I love it. You have total control over what you hear. So much better than our old Sony Walkmans.

Recently I have decided to explore the areas of music I missed in the earlier days and have been buying some old classics of the rock era as well as borrowing some from my son. Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, U2, David Bowie CDs sit by my player at the moment. I can't say that I have learned to appreciate them yet but I am giving them a chance.

Crushed wrote:
The last fifty years have been an explosion in musical development. Here, technology and knowledge have led the way. In music, man has made huge strides over the past few decades.
Well I have lived through those fifty years and more. I have moved from a life with almost no music to one with music all around me. To where it means as much to me as reading does, well almost. I must not exaggerate here. I've moved into the era where Eros says in his song (English translation below comes from here)

Perché un mondo senza musica
non si può neanche immaginare
perché ogni cuore
anche il più piccolo
è un battito di vita
e d’amore che
musica è

Because one cannot imagine
a world without music
because every single heart,
even the smallest one,
is a beating of life
and love that is

Eros, in concert, singing Musica è. Enjoy!


Carver said...

I enjoyed reading about the part music has played in your life. Music has always been an important part of my life and it interests me to read about the part it has played in the lives of others.

Ellee Seymour said...

JMB, Even I don't have an iPod and I love music, and singing is so uplifting. One day I will get round to it, I have to keep up with you.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

The best Floyd album is definitely Wish we were here.
Radiohead, I go for OK computer, but I'm outovted here by most of my mates who say The Bends.

Bowie, well I love Space Oddity and Let's dance.

And of course, The Laughing Gnome :)

With or Without by U" was offically dedicated 'our song' by my dirst (and only true) love.

So, good choices.

Josie said...

JMB, what a great post. There is such a variety of music, isn't there? I grew up with classical music playing in our house, but in my bedroom I had my own stereo and I played jazz. I preferred it to anything else, and I still do. I always come back to it. It's the one music that gets right into my soul.

Great video, by the way.

I have yet to buy an iPod, but I think it will.

Sean Jeating said...

Some might wonder, some might be able to imagine why, being asked to decide which sentence I liked best, I'd opt for this one:
"I can't say that I have learned to appreciate them yet but I am giving them a chance." :)

ginastewart said...

i came into my office this morning...there was what i thought was an amaryllis blooming in four directions, only drooping in one...i walked around talking about how much i loved "amaryllis," only to get to my desk and discover my new alert, which was for folk music, would inform me that the flower was actually "belladonna,"one of my favorite mysterious words because of the Stevie Nicks song...and some poison mystery...then i read your blog on music...i have a "folk" band called Volatile Baby...we use cello, violin, clarinet, piano and guitar...i think you might find us interesting somehow...serendipitous i know...nice to meet you...try our song blue lights on your ipod...tell me what you think...

Ian Lidster said...

Fascinating journey along your melodic memory lane. You reminiscences of the role of radio in the early days was something to which I could relate immediately. I remember the first portably radios which were the size of small motor vehicles, but we would lug them around because they were 'cool'.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a wonderful post about what music means to you, jmb. Now a confession: I have not yet tried out my ipod thing that I got with my supermarket points! You make me feel ashamed enough to do so...

jmb said...

Hi Carver,
I know how much music means to you Carver, so I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my saga.

Hi Ellee,
I don't know anyone who does not enjoy their iPod so I expect you would too. Perhaps a birthday request?

Hi Crushed,
I have Dark Side of the Moon for Floyd, the Bends and the Best of Bowie which I like a lot.

I think you introduced me to Radiohead and my son had the Bends.

Hi Josie,
I never got to appreciate jazz really. As I said above everyone loves the iPod once they get one.

Hi Sean,
What can I say. I think with music familiarity always increases the pleasure.

Hi Gina Stewart,
I did check out you song on YouTube and it is very nice.

Hi Ian,
Ah the days of the radio. It seems strange that we were so mesmerized by it but we didn't know any better.

Hi Welshcakes,
I guess we all have our own story to tell of the part music plays or has played in our lives. It takes a while to get used to something with new technology but you will soon be on top of it.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting