Friday, June 03, 2005

Living High's Meme

I've never done this before. Sin ( once nominated me but the questions went on forever. Living High ( has done it, but the questions are much more self contained. Here goes.

1. Total Volume of Music on my computer: 2997 songs.
2. The Last CD I Bought: Omara Portuondo: Buena Vista Social Club
3. Song Playing Right Now: Right now silence. Last "song" heard was the opening to Beethoven's Ninth.
4. Five Songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me: Phew. Tough. In no particular order: Sway -Dean Martin(mush). I Don't Love You Any More-The Eurythmics (schadenfreunde music). I Want You - Marvin Gaye or Madonna or Robert Palmer (hope music). La Boheme-Puccini-Barbara Hendricks(The kind of background music I assume they play in heaven.) Don't Explain -Billie Holiday (music that reminds me that I'm human). Meda Ishq Vi Tun - Abida Parveen (for the hidden spiritual in me). That's six-but who's counting!
I pass this on to Sin, Sarah, TDH, Mac and anyone else who feels so inclined!


Blogger assiniboine said...

So how-inclined? To respond with one’s corresponding recent repertoire?

I won’t tax your patience but the exercise did somewhat surprise me with how lazy my listening has been of late. Possibly because I’ve been entertaining and it’s a matter of considering appropriately undemanding background music.

But, a propos of the spiritual, why, pray, as you disclosed recently, have you jettisoned ALL your Gregorian chant? I have certainly culled a fair amount of crap-chant dating from the days when it was all the rage and every monastery in Europe was recording its choir regardless of whether it was any good: three out of four CDs I bought then only got listened to for the first two minutes. (I may be your only correspondent who actually reads neums, the medieval musical notation that precedes modern sol-fah, but it doesn’t take an educated ear to distinguish the gold from the dross.)

Which leads to a topic on which we have dallied before: the close affinity — to my untutored ears, anyway — between well-sung Gregorian chant and the truly magnificent choral devotional music one hears in a rural Pakistani village: settings of the poetry of Sufi mystics like Lal Qalandar Shabaz, I assume, though obviously I could very well be in error. Now there wouldn’t be any direct connection between the two — Gregorian chant is derived ultimately from the ancient Greek modes — but there is also a very strong similarity between Gregorian chant and the Old Syriac chant one hears in Syrian Orthodox churches in India. And that comes from pre-Islamic Syria, obviously, and also from the ancient Greek. Well, there could very well be a nexus between that and what is chanted in rural Pakistan. Entirely speculative, of course, but these perhaps superficial affinities are strongly in contrast with the bellowing of Eastern (as opposed to Oriental) Orthodox liturgies.

This isn’t entirely idle chatter. What I’m leading up to is that (1) it’s of course impossible to inquire into any of this in any library accessible to me; any leads on where one might look? And (2) is there such a thing as recordings of the village devotional music I mention? As opposed, that is, to religious-themed Pakistani pop chart idiom instrumental and vocal music.

10:54 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home