Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

On lullabies

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Ted Gioia has some interesting observations on the lullaby in The Honest Broker:

(1) Is any music genre more disrespected than the lullaby? It may be the oldest music genre, and almost certainly the most widely performed. Every one of us has benefited from the lullaby at some point in our life—if not as a singer, at least as a listener during our infancy. But show me a single musicologist who specializes in this genre. Who has written its history? What music writer has celebrated its power?

(2) And this power is undeniable. If you were constructing scientific experiments on the efficacy of music in changing human behavior, the place to start is with a lullaby. You rarely hear the words “power” and “lullaby” in the same sentence, but the history of song as a force of dominance and submission could hardly find a richer area for exploration. Yet it represents such a gentle force of persuasion that many would resist any such inquiry, almost as a matter of principle. The whole topic is rich with philosophical and sociological implications.

(3) The omissions in the standard texts are sometimes startling. The single most frequently cited book on the mesmerizing power of music is Gilbert Rouget’s Music and Trance. I don’t have my copy at hand (its packed up in moving box right now), but if I recall correctly he has no interest in lullabies. He’s a skeptic about music’s ability to put people into a trance state, yet almost every parent on the planet knows otherwise from personal experience. Rouget doesn’t even realize that this is an issue he ought to consider.

(4) The absence of lullabies in music history books is even more striking. Medievalist John Haines offers this interesting observation: . . .

Continue reading. There’s more. And I offer this:

Written by Leisureguy

12 August 2021 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life, History, Music

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