Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without the Messiah, so when I heard about the Uniting Methodist Church's "Sing It Yourself Messiah," I joined some friends and sang.  I love Handel.  It was great fun - except for one miserable chorus that I had never heard before.  I've sung the Messiah many times and heard it even more times, so I don't know how I missed "Chorus No 37 - The Lord Gave the Word."  Apparently, I am not the only one who missed this painful gem.  During the rehearsal, the director kept saying "Don't worry about the semiquavers."  To say it was weak would be an understatement.

Semiquaver.  Now there is a musical term I'd never heard.  Later, I asked Jill sitting next to me, "What's a semiquaver?"  She looked at me like I was crazy, and said "it's one of these little notes here with the two flags."  I just had to stare at her.  Are you joking me?  "You call sixteenth notes semiquavers?"  Wow.  I've studied music since I was knee high to a grasshopper.  How did I miss that?   I'm astonished.  Apparently, this is the terminology used in the British system of music.  Most of the world uses it.  A quarter note is a crotchet, and a whole note is a semibreve.  Just for the record, a sixty-fourth note is called a hemidemisemiquaver.  Astonished.
This church had beautiful acoustics. 

Speaking of the Messiah, I love flash mob choirs.  Wouldn't it be fun to be in one - to just stroll through a busy train station and suddenly burst into song, with a dozen other people.  I love this one.  It's perfect to get into the spirit of Christmas.  You can tell which people in the video know it's traditional to stand for the Hallelujah chorus.


Julie said...

Ha!! I am laughing at the names for the notes-- wow! They are so funny! Thank heavens for the quarter, eighth, and sixteenth-- I have a hard enough time teaching it that way to my kids.

beck said...

What the...? "Sixteenth notes" makes so much more sense. Then it's all about math...which Jeremy claims I'm not good at. But I am. Really good.

beck said...

And...I love that flash mob too. I had just finished telling Ethan about the tradition of standing during the chorus because that's what the King did, blah, blah. And we were looking for the people that we're singers that were standing. I noticed though, that it looked like some of the standers started singing after they stood up like they were a part of the group. Maybe they felt stupid. I always liked standing. It made me feel like I knew what was going on. Props to dad.