Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympic Fever and the Power of Music

Yes. I have Olympic Fever.

I watched the opening ceremonies, and truly enjoyed listening to the children's choirs from all the British Isles (especially the choirs from Scotland and Wales) and the mixture of Shakespeare and Elgar ("Nimrod" and The Tempest). I enjoyed the spectacle of the first part of the history of Great Britain (or England, or the British Isles, or the United Kingdom), but I merely endured the blue-hued and overly-long salute to British pop music. Paul McCartney's performance of "Hey Jude," however, was remarkable.

People from (nearly) every country of the world speaking (nearly) every language of the world, encouraged by McCartney, sang the chorus together in full voice. The range is small, it is a repeating motive that spells out a major triad with a nifty ninth that resolves to the tonic (twice!), and then steps down to the fifth degree of the scale. It can go on forever, and the process of escaping the envelope of the octave has meaning every time.

And then McCartney did a "Pete Seeger": he had the audience sing without him. First the men, and then the women. Then he had them sing all together.

All of these athletes who are in London with one purpose in mind (to be the best they can be at the thing that they have given every day of their young lives to do), who will compete with one another with all they have, and who, in many cases, may not be able to communicate with one another through language, were able to communicate by singing the chorus of "Hey Jude" with all of their hearts. And they could sing it with all of the people who were in London to watch them do what they do better (faster, higher, and with more twists and turns) than anyone else in the world.

Such is the power of music.

1 comment:

LaDona said...

Yes - the power of music. Couldn't help getting swept away via the power of television.
Great post!