Shut up and Sing

November 7, 2014 10:01 PM

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A singer singing is naked. The singer is the matador to the listener's bull. A pianist can still depress the keys, a violinist still stop the strings, even a wind player can still count on the instrument to respond if they are ill. But a singer's body is her instrument -- a fickle one at that. A cold, a tickle, even a stressful day, can turn a singer's instrument against her. Since even the tone -- deaf can sing, the potential exists for there to be enjoyed a more immediate, stronger sense of identification between singer and listener than possible with any other instrument. How moving and human the singer's lot: as over time her experience and artistry grow, her instrument decays!

My six-year-old son, to whom my wife and I sing every night, is extremely outgoing; yet, when his mother sings in public (she is a trained opera singer and composer), he writhes with discomfort. It is as though the act of singing to others creates such an intimate transaction between his mother and ...

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