Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Vertical Christmas Medley

Soho the Dog's not the only one recycling holiday specials on his blog - although I agree with Matthew that there's no topping his top from last year. But hey, you can't watch Wagnerian dreidels all day long. Anyway, I'm opening the season by bringing back an old, pre-blog creation of mine. I used to call it "Sing Along with the Ives Family," since it was designed as a tribute to Charles' love for smashing tunes together. However, I'm not sure he ever set seven going at once, and if he had, he would certainly not have set them all in the same key. (Maybe I should call this "Christmas In C.")

So, in the spirit of medleys that I established last post, I'm going to call this a Vertical Christmas Medley. It's just right for our busy, modern world when no one really has time to hear seven carols in succession - now, you can have them all at once, and still have time to do a little shopping. If your ears are sharp, you might be able to pick out all seven, but I'll post the names of the tunes . . . in a day or two. I'm sure Charles himself would say it's not about the intellectual game of naming tunes, it's about letting the simultaneity envelop you and become its own melodic mass.

(click above)

As ever, I can't resist a postscript. We've been talking about Stravinsky in one of my classes, and I always enjoy breaking out the "Heart and Soul" in-two-keys-at-once party trick to illustrate polytonality. [UPDATE: See this 2008 post.] However, I've been playing it that way for so long that it no longer sounds whacked to me - nor do Stravinsky's Petrouchka clarinets or his Le sacre chords, etc. In the same way, I've been listening to my little vertical Christmas medley for so long that it sounds right. I love the way it illustrates the tendency for tunes to be more rhythmically active in the middle of measures/phrases; there's this sort of frenetic undulation as the rhythmic activity quickens and then slows. It definitely puts me in the Christmas spirit.

More MMholiday fun to come . . .

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