Wednesday, February 6, 2008

visual music

I just read an interesting article in New York Times. Personally, while I myself am distracted by overly theatrical performances, I have found that non-musicians actually react positively to this sort of behavior. Think of rock stars and their antics--no young person who goes to rock shows is going to be bothered by any of the much milder aerobic activity displayed by classical musicians. And I think that vision need not impede a concert experience--on the contrary, I think it is an essential part of what makes a live performance so exciting and personal. I even think it can help one listen better. For example, if I hear the strain of a particular melody on an instrument, and I think it's the oboe, I look at the oboe, and I can see that the oboist is indeed playing that melody, and then somehow I hear it better, or I can isolate it from the rest of the notes more easily. I think it's fascinating to watch people perform. I do agree with Mr. Holland, however, when he says that these histrionic performers use their onstage behavior to market themselves, which I find objectionable.

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