02 December 2007

Enjoy the Silence? Please?

I'm really late getting to this Salon post, but I've been out of town and I'm just now getting caught up on my blog reading. Having a cold allows you to catch up on your reading. The article came at a very appropriate time of year: the holiday season. The article is about a movement in Britain, called No Music Day. As the graphic will show you, for one day no music is played, and we forget how pervasive background music has become in our everyday lives.

I am a music lover. I've played piano, cello, violin. I've been a classical ballet dancer, which requires a certain musical ear and appreciation. I love all types of music, and can even appreciate the art in tunes I don't particularly like. I am a music lover. But at this time of year the music that fills out everyday lives starts to make me a little stabby.

I used to love Christmas music, even though I'm not a religious person. To me, they used to symbolize an exciting time of year filled with friends, family, homecomings, good food, and gift-giving. The first time I'd hear a holiday tune in a store or on the radio, my heart jumped a bit at the anticipation of the holidays, that it was finally here. Then one Christmas after college I worked part time in retail to make some extra money. And I now have a strong aversion to holiday music. Working eight hour days listening to the same hour-long loop of Christmas music started making me a bit delirious. At night, while trying to fall asleep, I couldn't get the music out of my head. As I approached the shop for my shifts, I could hear the music wafting out of the front doors, and I would fill with dread.

Now, everywhere I go, I hear that dreadful noise, and it just puts me in a bad mood. I realize that this is a personal issue, but I've also noticed that just about everyone I know feels the same. Christmas music is no longer special or exciting, it's almost a hassle you must put up with for the last two (3? 4? Do I hear 6?) months of the year. I guess I'm just a scrooge. But this is something that needs to be examined more closely. In the name of consumerism, we have cheapened one of humanity's greatest artforms: music.

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