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I love this carol.

To me, it is Christmas.

The harmony utilizes an exquisite balance of major and minor chords, the dynamics emphasize the awe we must feel, and yet the repetitive nature supports the simplicity of this event--in its simplest form it is a birth of a child, something that happens every day. The wind instruments are pure in tone and color and in their ease they begin and end this piece; the path to happiness is quite simple and pure, really. When we learn complicated lessons in their most basic components, then we can truly implement them, not only with greater ability, but with truer understanding. It isn't until the bridge that this piece takes full form, manifested first through the strings, and then the a cappella in the choir, and finally, fully realized in a grand choral section accompanied by a strong orchestra.

The beauty and brilliance of this piece is truly held within the orchestra. Voices can sometimes be a bit shrill (as most Sopranos are), but steady strings and calm winds command this piece through their augmented and dominant seventh chords. As much of Rachmaninoff's works did, the piece contains Arabic influence, mysterious and highly introspective. The chord progressions, when combined with the midnight influence of a desert lend to intense nostalgia, significantly supported by a lyric that looks inward while trying to reconcile a debt that will not be repaid in full. The piece is a steady journey, but the minor effects are a bit frustrated. It wants to end calmly but is consistently stuck, again, in accord with the lyric. Finally, the orchestra is able to bring it full circle, the winds taking over and acknowledging that while all earthly things are imperfect, there is still peace to be found in the beautiful gifts we have been given.

Yes, I am a Humanities major (albeit an imperfect one). The point is to discover what is important to the composer, the performers, and then take it a step further and analyze what they might not have immediately known as important (something I will be working on for the rest of my life). Certain things resonate over time, music, perhaps more than any other art form, grows more influential with age. It's so wonderful to sit and listen (or read, or gaze intently at, or watch...etc) to amazing works and discover why they matter. What they mean. What they teach. And finally, how they change us. I get to do this kind of thing every day...wonderful isn't it?

So why does all of this matter? What does this mean? What does this teach? In analyzing the technical components of the piece, namely how it is constructed, we can discover the full importance of the emotional impact. The ultimate goal of a composer is to reach his audience and while some will be so struck by phenomenal technical achievement, the lasting impression is reached through the intangible pull of the heart and soul. Each step is vital. In good music, each note has purpose, each beat conveys an emotion, and each key resonates in different ways. This is why music is so fun to analyze. We can't understand why a minor key or chord (or in a more colloquial form, sad notes) is felt so deeply, there isn't an exact scientific formula (although, I'm sure it's been studied). It just IS. It exists. And it is possibly the most powerful device, next to dynamic, that a composer has in creating something that MATTERS.

While I am not the composer of this piece, it matters to me because the tiny components within the life of Christ seem so basic and yet every act transcends our understanding and ability. There is no possible way that we, as imperfect human beings, can give a gift that matches that of the Atonement. All we can do is give those intangible "its"--our heart, our devotion, our faith, our trust, our love. It's a very introspective idea, and deeply personal. In some respect, this song feels like it must be an Easter piece, just as it is a Christmas carol. There are few religious pieces that capture the frustration that mankind has in reconciling the Atonement, and there are even fewer that achieve it as purely as this. You don't have to understand the musical components to know that it is a bittersweet event.

All complicated analyzations, all intricate musical elements aside, at the end of the day, it does what the best music must--it makes you feel something. It changes your soul, not your intellect. Your heart understands because the music reaches all the way in there, grabs a-hold of it, shakes it around for 4 minutes, and then finally says, "see! It hurts, it's hard, it takes time, and it's frustrating...but isn't it so beautiful?"

Like I said, isn't is so wonderful to be a Humanities major?

In short, this piece is freaking gorgeous and makes my heart hurt and my soul cry. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a great minor chord progression.



*note: this analysis is based completely upon the piece itself, only today did I see this video, the images within are not what it is based upon.*

Hate politics.

Love love love that it's all over.

Hate that Prop 8 is winning (and if you try and insinuate that I don't follow our religious leaders, then I will become very sad).

Love that I voted for a person that I may not always agree with, but a person that represents the amazing growth our country has shown. Regardless of your political persuasion and even if you hate the racial factor, one cannot deny the historical implications of this evening. It's amazing.

Also, I love you Anderson Cooper, you white haired fox, you.

Tags:

So deeply saddened.

There is an new ad campaign that I caught on on the Drudge Report. It's of 27-year old model Isabelle Caro, a severely anorexic girl, weighing just 68 pounds. I didn't realize what the ad was going to be when I clicked the link, and as someone who has advocated protection against many types of media, including pornographic media, I feel that this is something that does need to be seen. Not by your children obviously, but the images have made me so deeply saddened that a person could let something take complete mental control and that they would lose all sense for the sake of being thin.

The campaign was on a billboard in Milan at the beginning of fashion week, a very timely and appropriate thing. The model said, “I’ve hidden myself and covered myself for too long. Now I want to show myself fearlessly, even though I know my body arouses repugnance. I want to recover because I love life and the riches of the universe. I want to show young people how dangerous this illness is.”

So yes, the photos are nude (bare breasts, if you can call them that, and her backside are visible), but it is not meant to be tantalizing in any way, or even sexy or glamorous. It is like looking at a victim's corpse from the Holocaust.

This is not glamour and this is not normal. What is so sad is models really do look like this, they are just airbrushed to fix the dead look in their faces for print.

As I said, I despise pornography in every form, and I believe firmly that it is evil, but I also firmly believe that teenage girls need to see this. Not to scare them (although, I'm beginning to wonder if that's the only thing that would work), but to show that this is not right. God did not give us these bodies to abuse. We are divine children of God, with great worth and to destroy our bodies in such a way is heartbreaking.

What makes me the most sad is that some girls fighting this mental disease will look at this picture and see "thinspiration".

Why has our society gone so far off the deep end and allowed the women in "glamour" positions to live this way without doing a thing? Look at Posh Spice, Nicole Richie, Keira Knightley, Kate Hudson, Lindsay Lohan (although it looks as though rehab here in Provo is being good to her), Amy Winehouse, The Olsen twins, even philanthropist and UN goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie. And they're just singers and actresses! This needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

so here is link, click at your own risk. And maybe you don't need to see it, maybe I've described it in enough detail, but as a girl that does pageants and is judged so harshly on how she looks, I am just grateful that God gave me the strength as a young 11 year old dancer to see the danger her friends were in every time they ignored their hunger.

www.nolita.it/noanorexia/indexEng.htm

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