Update #2- Pre-16th century music, live shows, dancing, and the sax.

The journey has only gotten crazier.

My virgin ears have  been under assault by everything from harmonic operas to screaming metal.

The spectrum of music is even larger than I could have ever imagined.

I tried not to expose myself to music composed post-16th century, but music is everywhere.

My first big DJ show was at Dim Mak.

Moon Boots and Perseus tore the dance floor up with their music.

Say what you want about electronic music- from my experience thus far, the electro genre is just like every other musical genre-

90% of it is a good reason to turn my hearing aids off and the other 10% is a blessing to be able to enjoy.

When Moon Boots put on ‘Running From’ it was such a rapturous experience, outmatched only by the first time hearing music. I literally could not stop myself from dancing to the beat.

Give yourself enough time to find that 10% in genres you have not really dug into. I’ve found great tunes in every genre so it surprises me that anyone would refuse to listen to a song simply because of the genre it’s associated with.

Shortly after, going to the Dim Mak show, I went to my first live show at the Bardoot. I dragged my friends there because I wanted to hear Lucy Schwartz. I met her briefly a few months ago and she told me that she was a singer and I’ve always wondered what her voice sounded like.

The picture she painted with her voice was haunting.

People probably think I’m a crier now. I couldn’t help myself though. I don’t think I’ve cried in a more public place before.

Another time I lost it was a few nights ago.

I was in San Diego for my friend’s birthday and there was a man playing the sax on the street.

My hearing aids beeped as I turned them higher. I was planning on walking past slowly to listen to as much as I could without looking like an ass because I had no change on me.

The sax player called out to me as I was passing him. I told him that I loved what he was playing but all I had in my pocket was a credit card.

“No problem at all! Come over here.”

He looked like a nice guy so I walked over, hoping he wasn’t a serial killer.

The sax player grabbed my hand and planted it on the edge of the sax.

He started playing and I heard the wonderful notes again, only this time it was coupled with the rolling vibrations of bass. I felt every layer of music roll down my finger.

The celestial moment was short-lived but its an experience that will forever be cemented within me.

If you’re the sax player, thank you sir. And thank you to Lucy Schwartz, Perseus, and Moon Boots. Keep creating the beautiful music.


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I saw Amadeus for the first time last week (an amazing experience to say the least) and it helped me understand that pre 16th century music probably sounds boring for most people because music was still in its infancy. Music had not gotten the chance to evolve beyond simple notes until Mozart pushed the bar. Critics during Mozart’s period complained that his compositions had too many notes for the brain to process.

However, for someone new to this world of sound, its a great primer. The simplicity of the notes makes pre 16th century music easier for me to grasp compared to the complex behemoth of modern music.

One big surprise for me was my favorite in the batch, the song of Seikilos. It was composed somewhere between 100-200 AD and is considered the oldest completed song. There are older compositions but they only survived in fragments.

My second favorite was the Missa Rex Seculorum… it’s exotic and exciting. This was one of the few that I went back to for repeat listening.

My third favorite was the music of Greek antiquity, specifically the Ymnos Ti Nemesi. I don’t know what instruments are used here but the song brings a smile to my face when I hear it.

Without further ado, here’s my playlist of my favorite pre-16th century music.

Also I had the opportunity to do an interview for the Associated Press and the Atlantic. Check it out if you want more background information, and thank you to all the writers/bloggers out there.

The next update will dive into classical music, my first music festival experience, and it will also be the release of my first short film I was able to help compose the soundtrack for… stay tuned!

If you have suggestions for what to listen to from the classical era please let me know in the comments. 

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5 comments on “Update #2- Pre-16th century music, live shows, dancing, and the sax.

  1. Diane Williams on said:

    I know what you mean about live sax music…it’s amazing. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Looking forward to your next film.

  2. Charlotte on said:

    Just read your story on the Atlantic.

    I’ve been obsessed lately with 2 Classical music pieces:

    Wagner – Tristan and Isolde – Prelude to Act I (used in the fantastic movie Melancholia)
    Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet No 13 Dance of the knights

    Enjoy

  3. Michael Gilchrist on said:

    I never considered how complexity may be introduced to us; but I suppose even as kids we are sung nursery rhymes, which probably works as a primer for more complex pieces, the same as pre 16th century is doing for you currently.

    I wonder what you’ll think of things like “Rhapsody in Blue” and if you have the same feeling about where it feels like. That’s badly worded, but I don’t want to ‘spoil’ it for you.

  4. Last comment of the night, I promise, haha. But you mentioned the simplicity of music pre-16th century and I had to share this.

    This is Kamilə Nəbiyeva singing Muğam, which is a form of music from Azerbajin that has been dated to have originated in the 9-10th century but has also been claimed to have predate the 7th century. It’s difficult to learn, and the most popular singers, known as khanendes, are given the title National Artist and often perform at government functions abroad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ccz1RCnpwA&feature=related

  5. Don’t forget that especially for classical and pre-classical music the interpreters/performers are very important – not only the music piece itself. In the last 20 years there was a lot of research to reconstruct the historical correct interpretation of early music. This Wikipedia article gives a short introduction to this subject:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historically_informed_performance

    It’s all about hearing the music as it was once intended by the composer. Resulting in the use of original instruments, small ensembles and a more transparent/lucid interpretation/performance (without vibrato for instance).

    I can recommend these two (free) internet radio streams from the Netherlands:

    For early music: http://www.concertzender.nl/newplayer.php?cid=2&mode=theme

    For baroque music: http://radioplayer2.omroep.nl/radio4/baroque-around-the-clock/

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